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Back to 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament coverage

2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Arthur comes up big

'Shady' talks it up, then backs it up

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2008 NCAA Tournament

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NCAA Championship Game

— All it took was Darrell Arthur opening his mouth.

Seriously, that's it.

Once the Kansas University sophomore started flapping his gums in the hours leading up to Monday's national championship - won by the Jayhawks, 75-68, in overtime - Sherron Collins knew this was a special occasion.

"That's when he just dominates games. It's when he's at his best," Collins said of his teammate's history on talkative gamedays. "I think it clicked to him to win big. He was in a different mind-set. Everything was serious."

And Arthur responded with the most memorable - and possibly final - performance of his two-year KU career. In a game which hinged largely on which big men could outdo the others, Arthur paced the Jayhawk forwards with 20 points and 10 rebounds - his fourth double-double of the season and first since Feb. 27. His points came on efficient 9-of-13 shooting, and his final stat line also included a steal and an assist.

"I just knew we had to take it from 'em," Arthur said. "I thought we did a great job just putting the body on them, keeping them frustrated, not let them get easy paint, just try to take it to them on the offensive end."

Arthur's numbers were the cornerstone in a noticeable advantage between KU's big three in the paint and Memphis'. Between Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun, there were 32 points scored and 20 rebounds torn down. Memphis' Joey Dorsey, Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggart totaled 19 and 15, respectively.

The Jayhawk forwards also were able to play with a little more freedom, for the most part avoiding foul trouble (Arthur had three fouls, Kaun two and Jackson one). The same could not be said for Dorsey, who fouled out late in regulation, allowing the KU bigs to do even more in overtime following Mario Chalmers' über-clutch three with :02.1 to go.

They played a big part in stomping the throat in overtime, first with Arthur finishing a lob toss from Chalmers for the second basket in the extra frame (Arthur's final hoop of the night), then with Jackson slipping in two off a dish by Arthur a minute later to put KU up by six.

"Shady, he said 'We're gonna win this game' (after the layup)," Jackson recalled. "After he kept scoring, he kept talking, kept telling guys we needed to rebound. I just said keep running, hang it loose to Darrell because he was hot."

While Arthur kept it cool during the game, he couldn't help but join his teammates in letting some tears flow afterward, making his way to the stands to hug first his mother, Sandra, then his grandmother, Ruby. The two most important women in his life were already sobbing when he arrived.

"I was trying to hold it back, but it started coming out," Arthur said. "I cried after a couple losses in high school, but I never cried after a win."

Arthur's family will also be integral in his next big step: deciding whether to stay for a junior season or enter the NBA Draft. He said the family will talk over the next week or two and ultimately come to a decision, but Arthur said he'd rather enjoy this moment first to its fullest.

"If it is (the end)," Arthur said, "I can't think of a better way."

Comments

John Strayer 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure Arthur will try NBA waters, but I do think both he and KU would benefit from one more year.

Anyway it turns out...best wishes for a bright future.

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johnsont1 6 years, 5 months ago

College would benefit all of these players. The possibility of winning another championship, an education, the overall college experience... those are priceless; things that I would not trade even for an NBA contract.

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Dan Harris 6 years, 5 months ago

Any chance the KU players pull a Florida and come back for a chance at a back to back?

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Mike Hamilton 6 years, 5 months ago

I think Darrell Arthur's game was a bit overshadowed by Mario Chalmer's shot but wow, he played quite a game. Congratulations Jayhawks!!

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KU 6 years, 5 months ago

Amazing performance, Shady. It's overshadowed by the Miracle 3, but we couldn't have won this game without Shady playing at his very best. Possibly his best game as a Jayhawk.I expect Shady to go out a winner and declare for the draft. The big Minnesotan will be The Man In The Middle next year and I think he'll be up for it.

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Dirk Andrews 6 years, 5 months ago

Arthur came through in a huge way last night. His jumpshot is so pretty, and he's so quick that it's hard for other bigs to keep up with his moves. Plus, he's a high flyer playing above the rim, where almost no one all year has been able to stop him or any of our bigs from catching the oop. Great game Shady, enjoy the moment and thanks for the Championship.

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johnsont1 6 years, 5 months ago

One more year of college would benefit all of these players. The possibility of winning another championship, the education, the overall college experience... those are priceless; I would not trade these things for anything, not even for an NBA contract.

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kushaw 6 years, 5 months ago

I disagree with most because Mario's 3 does overshadow Darell Arthur's performance last night. If it wasn't for Mario's 3 the story lines today would be about Bill Self's complete lack of judgement in trying to run a Box and 1 and the go to a freaking 3-2 zone for most of the Final minutes of the game except the last two. Self almost cost the Jayhawks with his coaching that last 10 minutes of the game. After Self's almost debaucle for coaching then would be Arthur's soft play in the post. I disagree with most of you I found Shady's performance very frustrating last night. I guess because of my basketball background I see things from a different perspective. I love Shady, but he is probably one of the softest players I've seen on the court in a KU uniform this year. 14 of his 20 points were created by somebody else on the Jayhawk team. If Shady wants to go to the NBA, let him. He needs so much seasoning it's ridicoulous. The box out (I mean what box out) where Shady let dozier go clear across the lane and get a rebound was absolutely inexcusable! How do you not box out Dozier in that situation. Dozier weighs 200 and nothing! Another thing with Shady is that he does not grip that ball when he is in the post. How many times in that second half did one of Memphis guards come and rip the ball out of his hands. Stats can be somewhat misleading and yes he had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it was one of the more frustrating performances I've seen in a Jayhawk. Out of all the Jayhawks Shady frustrates me the most. He'll probably opt for the NBA which is fine, but he needs another year of seasoning. Congratualtions to the 2008 Jayhawks! What an unbelievable game, but hopefully Shady doesn't let the misleading stat line of the Championship game fill his head with ego, especially draft ego.

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bigjay83 6 years, 5 months ago

kushaw, you're a tool. Ironically, once you say "I guess because of my basketball background I see things from a different perspective," you actually lose all credibility. Your post from then on out becomes laughable. If you have an opinion, just state it. You know nothing of anyone else's background or experience, and on an anonymous posting board there is no proof of yours. Perhaps someone with a different perspective than your own could have a great deal of experience in the sport. And, ultimately, basketball is a finesse game in which many different styles can see success depending on the system, teamates, opposition, etc.So go ahead and state your opinion, as you have every right to. But trying to qualify it as you do makes you look like a JA.

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