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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Keegan

Kansas lacking on glass

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2008 KU-JSU basketball

Reader poll

Which freshman will have the most dunks this season for KU?

  • Tyshawn Taylor 40% 704 votes
  • Marcus Morris 27% 478 votes
  • Markieff Morris 13% 230 votes
  • Quintrell Thomas 9% 170 votes
  • Travis Releford 9% 171 votes

1753 total votes.

Sherron Collins took his eye off of a pass coming his way and fumbled it out of bounds. A long rebound fell right into Brady Morningstar’s hands in front of the home team’s bench. He couldn’t hold onto it. Tyshawn Taylor tried to feed the post with a line drive when a looping pass was in order.

So it went for much of Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse, where until Kansas University put on a second-half clinic on how to run a fast break, little old Jackson State looked like a team convinced it was going to play Chaminade to Ralph Sampson’s Virginia.

For too many Kansas players, it was just one of those days, even though the Jayhawks won, 86-62.

Yet, a weakness that had little to do with it being just one of those days and a lot to do with a specific shortcoming played a part in Jackson State hanging around as long as it did, trailing by only six points with 15 minutes left.

Kansas doesn’t have enough gifted rebounders on the floor and won’t until junior-college transfer Mario Little (stress fracture, lower left leg) returns to the lineup. Little resumed practicing Friday. KU’s big men, who have had to take on all the rebounding burden, await his return. Cole Aldrich leads the team with 10.1 rebounds per game, followed by Marcus Morris (6.5), Markieff Morris (5.6) and Quintrell Thomas (3.5).

Kansas barely won the rebounding tally, 39-38, Saturday.

A shooting guard playing out of position at small forward, Morningstar has been an efficient offensive player. His .478 three-point shooting percentage and 2.2-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio rank first among Kansas regulars. Even for a guard, rebounding isn’t Morningstar’s strength. In the past three games, the sophomore out of Free State High has played 73 minutes and picked up just two rebounds. Morningstar lacks the length and exceptional athletic ability that made Brandon Rush such a productive rebounder.

“I think it does hurt us (on the boards),” KU coach Bill Self said of not having a true small forward. “It hurts us the most when Cole’s out of the game because when Cole’s out of the game now you’ve got two big guys in there that that’s not their expertise, and you don’t have a 3-man who can help clean up. I do think it hurts us. And there’s no disrespect to any of our guys that we have, but we’re not getting any offensive rebounds from anybody other than our big guys. So I think getting Mario back at some point in time is really going to help us for whatever minutes he’s in the game because he’s a guy who can steal us some extra possessions, no question.”

Long, athletic, active freshman Travis Releford hits the glass hard (nine offensive rebounds in 59 minutes), but until he learns where he’s supposed to be when, he’ll remain a turnover risk.

If a couple of ifs come through for Kansas, rebounding from the small-forward position won’t be a problem. If Little can stay healthy and catch up on all the practice time he has missed, and if Releford can improve his understanding of the offense and of defensive positioning, Morningstar can turn into a valuable reserve at a position his skills fit better.

Until then, Kansas failing to own the boards against an undersized team such as Jackson State shouldn’t come as a shock.

Comments

Dirk Medema 13 years, 1 month ago

Jackson State may be undersized, but aren't we still the first team to have out rebounded them, inspite of their 1-8 record? It will be nice getting Mario up to game speed.

Robert Brock 13 years, 1 month ago

What the heck is the matter with Releford? I once thought that he would be able to step in from Day One and play. Apparently, he is not catching on.

KEITHMILES05 13 years, 1 month ago

Having Teahan play in front of Releford is bad, very bad. The only way Releford will learn is to get out there and play. Every time I see Teahan coming in, unless it is at the very end of the game, gives me heart burn. He's more of a liability than an old lady.This is one thing I disagree with Self. He has no tolerance for ANY bad play. He yanks the guy quicker than you can blink.

rockchalks7 13 years, 1 month ago

im pretty sure self knows what he is doin keithmile...

actorman 13 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone else beginning to suspect that KeithMiles is a flamer who's just trying to get a reaction out of people?

rawkhawk 13 years, 1 month ago

I think Self knows what he is doing, but there needs to be a balance between sending a message to players and the team by yanking a player out of game for a poor play and letting a player work through adversity. Collins is famous for making great plays after commiting poor turnovers. Robinson also had to work through some poor performances in his early KU career to become a reliable veteran player. I see hope in Releford.

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