Monday, January 12, 2009


His own worst critic

Taylor’s approach changing

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor delivers an exclamation point in front of Tennessee forward Scotty Hopson during the second half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor delivers an exclamation point in front of Tennessee forward Scotty Hopson during the second half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bill Self’s “think about the next play” command isn’t easily learned by emotional young athletes just out of high school.

Some young college basketball players are too consumed with making excuses for why they messed up the last play. They are too busy flapping their jaws about the referee, etc., to concentrate on the next play.

Others spend too much energy blaming themselves to focus fully on the next play. That disappointment feeds on itself. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas University’s excitable, eager-to-please freshman out of Jersey City, N.J., falls in the latter category. Nobody wants to succeed more than the talented Taylor, but consistency has eluded him.

“I’m not sure exactly what it is,” said Taylor, averaging 9.5 points per game. “I’m giving as much effort as I was before. It just hasn’t been going my way lately. I mean, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m going to keep working hard.”

He talks at a rapid pace, and sometimes he’s in too much of a hurry on the court. He has improved on his early-season tendency to barrel into defenders waiting for him near the hoop, but his outside shot and defensive focus come and go.

“Coach tells me a lot, ‘When kids get recruited, they say they want to go to a place they can play right away.’ And that’s something I made my decision on,” Taylor said. “I’m playing a lot of minutes for someone just coming from high school and just jumping in. It’s different, and it’s a lot tougher.”

Taylor isn’t too proud to acknowledge he’s feeling the pressure of all the responsibility that comes with immediate playing time.

“I have to play good,” said Taylor, who scored two points against Michigan State in his worst performance of the season. “I have to play good. I kind of beat myself up about it a little bit. I want to perform well, and I get down on myself for not playing well. Coach tells me to think about the next play, keep my head up, don’t dwell on it, think about the next play, think about the next play.”

It doesn’t come naturally.

“I’m trying,” he said of adapting Self’s mantra. “I’m trying. I’ve just always been the type when I do something wrong, I kind of get down on myself, and coach doesn’t want me to do that at all. I’m sure I’ll be all right.”

Taylor has the quickness and length to develop into an elite defender, but he doesn’t have it down yet.

Asked at which end he has been playing better of late, Taylor said, “Right now, I’m not doing either one so good. But coach wants me to play defense a lot better. That’s what he’s been getting on me a lot about, just guarding.”

Sherron Collins predicted Taylor will return to his productive ways, “before Tuesday. I talk to him like my little brother. We have one of the closest relationships on the team. I’ll keep my young fella positive. That’s my job. I think he’s pressing a little. He wants it so bad. Tyshawn, he can make plays. He’s ahead of where everybody thought he would be. Nobody thought he would be this good early. When he doesn’t make a play that he can make, he gets down on himself. He just needs to let it roll off his back.”

And Collins needs some of the pressure relieved from carrying too much of the load on his back. Taylor has the talent and desire to do it.


jaybate 11 years ago

Tyshawn has just run head on into Naismith's Third Law of Basketball Dynamics. This little known law was first formulated by James Naismith during his first year of watching Phog Allen coach the Jayhawks. The law goes like this: the better a frosh plays early, the quicker opposing coaches study and discover his weaknesses and shut him down with those weaknesses.Young Brandon Rush was a great example of the Third Law. He was very good at the start and so coaches studied him and discovered he had no left hand. Very shortly, Brandon had no mid range game, because defenders guarded his right hand entirely and not long after that they began bear hugging him on the three point stripe while guarding his right hand and Brandon, a great three point shooter, suddenly saw his trey shooting percentage and attempts drop.Tyshawn revealed quantum speed early and a knack for scoring and defending exceptionally well for a young guard. After a few games, however, coaches had enough tapes to discover tendancies. On offense, they discovered that Quantum T did not like the experience of a lot of aggressive contact as he took it to the rim. He had always been so much quicker and so much more springy than highschool players that he had grown accustomed to pain free visits to the orange hulahoop. The idea of prison bodies scratching his corneas in mid air and then trying to extrude him into the cracks in the hard wood took some of the daring out of his jump'n'dunk game. And when Quantum T lost his daring above the orange hulahoop, it suddenly seemed feasible to covalent bond him with malevolent looking perimeter defenders who seemed to say, "Go ahead, speed ball, use some of that wave/particle paradox speed of yours going around me and see how it feels in the nuclear paint collider about ten feet behind me, when my teammate, Twenty-to-Life Marvin, the guy with the tatoo on his bicept that says, 'Skin. Eat. Repeat,' comes head hunting."Since that time, Tyshawn has been up and down and up and down. To combat his penetration game denied him, he has brought forth counter moves that improve him but also betray to the scouts yet another kind of weakness. It is as the evolutionary biologists like to say, "a Red Queen game."The Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland had to run faster and faster just to keep up.The EvoBi guys describe evolutionary dynamics in competitive environments where Species A manifests a new skill, or strategy. The new skill saves it from being eaten, but then its predator, or prey, Species B develops a counter strategy that exploits the new feature, or some other one. Then Species A evolves a counter to the counter and so on.Tyshawn Taylor was ensnared by Naismith's Third Law of Basketball Dynamics and next he was caught in a Red Queen game. Life is very tough in D1.A lot tougher than the incoming freshman realize.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years ago

Self said all after the MSU game, "he may have hit the wall." it's no more complicated than that. He's a good player, and he'll learn or he'll be's that simple. athletically, he's as gfited as anyone we have. it's all between the ears. who care if you mess up? during the game, it can't be YOU....because if it is, then you'll mess up again. The coach will pull you from the game if the doesn't wan you to play anymore.and that's the mantra Mr. Taylor needs to live by....just play. don't think about it, don't worry about messing up....just play. Practice is where you think, learn and get better...during game, you just have to play.KU 80KSU 67

yates33333 11 years ago

Cedric Hunter was an excellent point guard at KU except for the fact that he couldn't shoot free throws so he was often taken out near the end of close games. His problem always seemed to be nerves, self fulfilling, self doubt about his ability to make free throws. Since Jaybate is usually right, I hope he is this time. I hope Taylor doesn't have so much self doubt it detracts and hurts him.

Nutflush21 11 years ago

toto- We offered Ellis a scholarship about a month ago. Im not sure why its all of sudden news now. Offering a kid this young is nothing new. Gillespie offered an 8th grader and USC accepted a commitment last year from a 14 year-old. Hes one of the top freshmen in the country and KU would love to have him.

8808 11 years ago

If anyone knows jaybate on a personal level, intervene.

Toto_the_great 11 years ago

Thanks Nutflush, I must have missed that one (holidays are nuts with a newborn).

cklarock 11 years ago

Keep it up, Jaybate -- I appreciate the article, and I even understood it.

100 11 years ago

Just to continue from yesterday, re fans expectations being over-inflated this year...Let's keep in mind, this team, which is essentially playing a bunch of high school kids, beat the last two final four caliber teams it played -- 3 out of 4 halfs. One of these "victories" was on the road.That's not bad. If you're whining, please put a dress on and go join the Missouri Tigers cheering section.Otherwise, Rock Chalk

Jonathan Andrews 11 years ago

Thanks, jaybate. Your essay was more entertaining than the article.If you can channel your energy to more productive means such as this, I might actually read your replies more often.

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

JaybateYour general knowledge indicates that you must be a boomer somewhere between 55 and 65.Your diverse applications of science, geography, physics, philosophy, context with your sports analysis indicate a well-read, professional [architect, engineer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.]Your calm, almost bemused style has neither the West Coast wierdness or the East Coast smartass, thusly, I'm guessing you are a Son of the Heartland.Your knowledge of basketball specifics indicates that you were a player, a coach or both.You obviously are a Jayhawk, or if not, had the good sense to adopt KU as you alma mater.You don't have to answer any question, just let me know how many out five did a get right.PS Bonus Question: I would guess you would chose a glass of wine over a bottle of beer.

kranny 11 years ago

I remember one Russell Robinson hitting a similar wall his freshman year. Maybe he can lend some advice.

jaybate 11 years ago

OakvilleJHawk,Correct on four of five.Bonus question: point of indifference, if both are good quality. Food is the driver. Never drink and drive, or write. :-)

jaybate 11 years ago

Crooner, Wow, that's some kind of flattery! Does it ever work with women? ;-) Seriously, I'll try, but I'm not a pro. What comes out is what comes out.8808,I read your post this way: you are projecting and begging for an intervention on yourself. I have taken the liberty of inviting all of Jayhawk Basketball Nation. We are coming, some 40,000 of us to your house tonight and you will recognize us, because we are all wearing Jayhawk costumes and carrying pictures of James Naismith. You are not alone. People care about you and we will break the cycle of Post Loss Depression with this intervention soon followed by a victory over Frank Martin's hair.Rock Chalk.

100 11 years ago

Jaybate is.... Clyde Lovellette... Well... whoever Jaybate is in real life, with all of the values of truth, education and humor driveled throughout his essays, there is no doubt that he was raised in the midwest (Clyde was raised in Indiana) and more than likely attended KU in the 50's, 60's or 70's.If he's not Clyde, then there's a small chance he could be Dean Smith... (anyone who truly knows Dean knows he's a Jayhawk, through and through, born and raise, deep in his heart... Dean was the only person in the coach's shared KC Hotel room in 1957 who couldn't stop crying after Wilt and KU went down to the Tar Heels). QUESTION FOR JAYBATE: In the final game in 1957, what was the simplest, most sure-fire thing KU could have done to win the game in the final overtime with 5 seconds to go and possession, down one?Back to Dean Smith possibly being Jaybate: Dean is also one of the only living beings, besides Clyde (who he played with) who could have this much humble knowledge of the game, always hinged with a wholesome sense of humor.My bet he's one of these two...There is also a small chance he could be... Monty Johnson... Whoever he is, I agree -- keep up the informed, twisted, odd, yet fun to read posts. His posts alone make this site worthwhile to read even if we have to sift through a bunch of questionable articles.

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years ago

Dean Smith a Jayhawk yes, but through and through?

Jonathan Allison 11 years ago

I liked it too Jaybate.As an engineer, I found the physics allusions particularly tasteful.

100 11 years ago

Sometimes who you are in the heart isn't measured by where you spent the last forty years of your life. Dean didn't choose to be a Tar Heel. Alas, he was chosen by the Tar Heel head coach to join with Carolina... Only after getting to know how passionate (and intelligent) of a Jayhawk he was that weekend in 1957. Without KU and Wilt losing to Carolina that game, Dean would have been the succesor to an unappreciated KU head coach (who was always a great assistant) who only took Phog's head coaching job after he was forced to retire -- Dick Harp.Michael Lee could do the same in Carolina. As could Jerad Haase. But they will always be Jayhawks.

yates33333 11 years ago

Jaybate. Of course I think you're great. You sound like a knowledge MD at times. But what you really know is basketball. I think you are about 50. You start losing it by 65. I know first hand.

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years ago

Hey, I have no problem with Dean Smith coaching North Carolina and all the success he acheived there. I too understand the coaching situation during that era. What I have difficulty reconciling is how a "Jayhawk through and through" begs and pleads, not just once but twice, to bring the second most successful coach in his alma mater's history to the place he built his legacy. You see I have never been upset with Roy leaving, I have been upset with Smith's involvement.

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years ago

Just tuned in to the start of the OU vs UT game. Blake Griffin starts with monster dunks. The Marshmellow twins better get on the Joe Weider bulk up program, otherwise they could need an orthopedic surgeon.

CasperCorps 11 years ago

Does JayBate stand for Jason Bateman? Actor extraoridinair? Or Jail bait? Either way you should be a writer..

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

Four out of five, huh?? Maybe my dreams of becoming a profiler aren't so outrageous after all. Let me guess, you probably didn't actually play the game. Like many of us non-competitors or, in my case, fringe players, I had four years to study every nuance of the sport from the end of the bench. When you play, you play. When you don't, you dream.Someday, I'll have to tell you about my two hour conversation with Buckminster Fuller.Bucky was a fascinating there's someone the world would have profited if he had lived to be about 150.Oh Yes...Go Hawks, bell the Kitties tomorrow!!!!!PS I'm with you...Food first!!!

jaybate 11 years ago

Attended a lecture by Bucky in FLW's Marin Civic Center in 1978. The lecture was scheduled to go for 2 hours 7-9 pm and we did not leave till 11pm. Got our monies worth. Bucky thought out loud for about an hour to show us how he talked his way through thinking. People who have only read him don't get the phenomenon. Fascinating. He gets a lot of credit for the dome, but the quonset hut and tensegrity may be of more lasting significance IMHO. Surely, now that we are in a depression again and the US Naval War College forecasts that our economy will wither to a single net exporting sector call national security, quonset huts will come back.

jaybate 11 years ago

Every one is very kind, but the legacy remains the thing.We HAVE to crush not only Frank Martin's hair, but his David Byrne suit very soon. And I noticed KSU gave OU a good game.

100 11 years ago

BCRavenJHawkFan: if Dean didn't persuade Roy away, it would've been ANOTHER 20 years until we won our championship... Think about it. With Roy's non emphasis on Defense, Dean surely knew deep in his heart Roy would never win one on this campus...To take this a step farther, much like Darth Vader's troubled heart, it is only on his deathbed (which hopefully is a long ways away) that he will realize what he did is/was wrong. He is, and will forever be, a Jayhawk, a 24 year old who cried in the midst of the celebrating coach when his favorite childhood team lost in 1957, the same team he nearly won back to back national titles on in '52 & '53.... Not once, did he ever cry for UNC. He, himself, may not know this now --but he will, young Jedi... Oh, yes... He will.

KGphoto 11 years ago

So, if I may summarize Jaybate into the amount of information the average person could read during the average crap.Taylor is young. He will play against more talented guys than he did in H.S. He will learn from that, and with good coaching, develop.Hmmm. Sounds like every other basketball player outside of Kobe, LeBron, and... this one's for you jaybate... Moses Malone.So let us enjoy jaybate's swirling wind, but remember to recycle his binary. Because if my numbers are correct, jaybate may be one of the leading contributors to global warming.

jaybate 11 years ago

KGphoto,"And the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time."T. S. EliotFour Quarters, Little Gidding, pt. 5

Mark Walters 11 years ago

Enjoyed all this crapola, but.........Who brought up Roy again? Some of us don't hate him for how he left. We hate Roy for being outcoached in the "big" games, not having his team "ready" (like last year in final four when we kicked his butt), and for crying all the time. Maybe he got that from Dean Smith. He will always have enough talent to win it all and probably will win a few more championships. He will have enough talent to overcome his downfalls of being outcoached in an important game.BCRavenJHawkfan, I agree with you regarding Dean Smith NOT being a "Jayhawk through and through". If he was, he would not have turned down the coaching job here and sent us Roy. He is a a point.I also agree the twins better beef up.....the Texas big men could kill'm. Rock Chalk and BEAT THE WILDCRAPS!!

KGphoto 11 years ago

Touché jaybate. Your chalice befits you.Keep it coming.

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