Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taylor gives digits to KU basketball freshman

Former Kansas University standout Wayne Simien, left, visits with KU sophomore Tyshawn Taylor during Bill Self’s Basketball Camp Monday at Horejsi Center.

Former Kansas University standout Wayne Simien, left, visits with KU sophomore Tyshawn Taylor during Bill Self’s Basketball Camp Monday at Horejsi Center.


Simien chats with Bill Self campers

Former Jayhawk Wayne Simien shared experiences with young fans at Bill Self's basketball camp.

Tyshawn Taylor already has given his first assist to teammate Elijah Johnson.

Taylor, a sophomore from Jersey City, N.J., has agreed to surrender his jersey No. 15 to Johnson, an incoming freshman.

“The number meant more to him than it did me,” said Taylor, who will wear No. 10 this season. “It’s just a number to me.”

For a while, it wasn’t easy for Taylor to relinquish the jersey that treated him so well last season.

The story goes like this: Last year when Johnson, a guard from Las Vegas’ Cheyenne High, came to KU on a recruiting visit, he asked Taylor about the number’s availability.

“It was (KU assistant) coach (Kurtis) Townsend’s fault,” Taylor said with a smile. “Coach Townsend was like, ‘Go ahead and just tell (Johnson) whatever. If he comes, then we’ll just give him whatever number.’”

Well, Johnson did commit, and when it came time to decide jersey digits for the 2009-10 season, he phoned Townsend to see if No. 15 was available.

Instead of giving Johnson a “whatever number,” Townsend instructed Johnson to call Taylor.

“(Elijah) said, ‘Tyshawn, you going to give me 15?’ I was like, ‘I don’t really want to. I don’t really want to,’” Taylor said. “But he was like, ‘I’ve never had any other number. That’s the only number I like.’ I said, ‘You know what? You can get 15. I’ll take 10.’”

Ten perfect

The switch shouldn’t be too drastic for Taylor. He wore No. 10 in AAU games and also through his freshman year of high school.

When he attended St. Anthony High School, though, No. 10 wasn’t available, so he switched to 15.

Last year, KU’s Brennan Bechard wore No. 10.

“I never really had a specific reason why I liked it. I just always — if anybody asked me my favorite number, it was always No. 10,” Taylor said. “That’s just been my number ever since I was little.”

So who’s his favorite all-time player with the No. 10?

“Probably me right now. It’s going to be soon,” Taylor said with a grin. “Kirk Hinrich had No. 10 here. He’s one of the players that pops to mind when you think of No. 10, especially for the university. Overall, I’m not sure of too many players that had No. 10, but I think that’s why I like it so much because not too many people have it, and I can kind of set my own path.”

Taylor, a 6-foot-3 point guard/shooting guard, ranked third on the team in scoring last season at 9.7 points per game. He also averaged 3.0 assists and 26.5 minutes while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor.

He hopes the number switch might also help him develop his own identity.

“Last year, I heard a lot about being Mario Chalmers, comparing me to Mario Chalmers,” Taylor said. “That’s cool, a great honor, but I’m not Mario Chalmers. I’m Tyshawn. I want people to talk to me about me.”

As for the 6-2 Johnson, Taylor said that some form of reimbursement would be needed in exchange for the jersey number. The two will discuss it more when Johnson arrives on campus later this week.

“It’s big shoes to fill — real big shoes to fill,” Taylor said of his old number. “(But) I like No. 10. That’s always been my number, and I’m just going to roll with that one.”

Eager for movie debut

Taylor said he has seen the trailer for, “The Street Stops Here,” a movie about coach Bob Hurley and his St. Anthony basketball program.

The documentary was shot during Taylor’s senior year at St. Anthony in Jersey City.

“It was funny because we were only seniors in high school, and we felt like celebrities,” Taylor said. “Every time we went to an away game, they followed us everywhere.”

Hurley in 36 seasons at St. Anthony has a 957-106 record and has won a national-record 25 state championships. Only two of his players in 36 years of coaching have not attended college after graduation.

The movie trailer, which portrays Hurley as a gruff and demanding coach, is mostly accurate, Taylor said.

“He’s probably tougher. The trailer gave him a good side,” Taylor said. “He wasn’t even that bad on the trailer.”


Eurekahwk 12 years, 7 months ago

So Taylor changes out from 15, and he will no longer have to be compared to Mario Chalmers. Yeah, that's cool. But changing to number 10 isn't going to be any easier! Being the same age as Kirk, he was one of my favorite guards right up there with Jacque Vaughn. He may not have hit the miracle shot to save a National Championship, but he set the latest standard going to 2 FFs until Mario came along. When he hit that shot, I thought to myself "Kirk, you have been replaced. In the minds of young Jayhawks, you are no longer the king."

So heres hoping that Tyshawn wears 10 as well as Kirk did.

waywardJay 12 years, 7 months ago

FOr those who have character problems with tyshawn.... this should quickly dispel any character issues...... that's a good teammate.... numbers are quirky for people

PPhhoogg 12 years, 7 months ago

Who cares who wears what number. The bottom line is winning the BIG DANCE!!! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!!

yates33333 12 years, 7 months ago

Wouldn't it be great if Taylor turns out to be another Jo Jo White.

Ace452502 12 years, 7 months ago

Jo Jo White wore #10 for the Celtics, but #15 at Kansas (and he was in bounds)...

Joe Baker 12 years, 7 months ago

What role models with Taylor being unselfish and Simien teaching kids that b-ball is great, but there's more to life than b-ball.

I can hear the kids say, "When I grown up, I wanna be a Jayhawk!!" The neat thing is what parent wouldn't want their kids going to KU with role models like these two.

You gotta love it!!


Lone_salina_kufan 12 years, 7 months ago

As dumb as it sounds, this is actually a pretty big deal. Already, this star-laden team is getting a lesson in being unselfish and sacraficing for the betterment of the team. The numbers are incosequential, the bigger picture is where the benefit is. It's a really good sign for the upcoming season.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 12 years, 7 months ago

Maxhawk, there's another article on summer conditioning.

Jeez...they can't have more than one article a day?

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 7 months ago

Maxhawk, bogus comment. Quit your whining.

Rick Arnoldy 12 years, 7 months ago

Maxhawk, since you apparently aren’t adept at reading other headlines, here’s the link for you…

JayCeph 12 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone else think that Wayne looks awful in that pic at the top of the page? He's lost soooo much weight. He looks sickly. I hope he's okay but... I can't believe how emaciated he looks now (compared to his playing days).

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 7 months ago

A jersey number?

What is it about needing a certain number that bothers me? Not sure, but it does.

Some one please tell me that recruits don't base decissions on schools on what number they will have.

Chicago_JHawk 12 years, 7 months ago

I was thinking the same thing, JayCeph. His weight looks to be down dramatically.

Chicago_JHawk 12 years, 7 months ago


A followup to my last post...I think the picture must just be a bad one. I just watched the video about him speaking to the campers and he looks much better there.

jayhawkr34 12 years, 7 months ago

A big "ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK" goes out to Tyshawn, thats an unselfish move, which calls for good carma(sp). That also shows alot of maturity, which is something this team needs to take the next step. Good for you Tyshawn, and hope EJ shows the love back.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 7 months ago

"The stars may lie, but the numbers never do ..."

I can see why this is a big deal - I personally think jersey numbers are a huge deal, but too bad it's the lead story and not the football conditioning one.

Oh, well.

Max Ledom 12 years, 7 months ago

Kansas has only made one three on the night, they must make one here to extend the game, Collins almost lost the handle, out to elijah forthe tie!! Got it! Wall at Mid court for the championship no! The free throws did it! And they won't have Cousins in over time, oh and maybe not wall he hurt his ankle!

Wait that sounds familiar. Oh well.

quill_46 12 years, 7 months ago

thats cool for taylor to give up his # and as big as a jayhawks fan that i am ,no dude JOJO was not in bounds.

waywardJay 12 years, 7 months ago

Even in FOOTBALL the number you were can be critical..... it's a psychologivcal thing, remember a couple years ago Rivieria changed his number to a lower numbe rjust to psyche out the other team.......

I whole Heartedly disagree with this being unneccesary at all....

This is beneficial for FOOTBALL as well...... it's about being a Jayhawk..... and that's make the right decisions based on TEAM ORIENTED SPORT..... its a comunity before a 1.......

We can write 200 line stories on condiitoning drills and who has the most improved 40 times coming into the season, but that only serves to rate aperson's draftability and the only people i see going PRO off our team are Stuckey and Briscoe.

GOd forbid we right a column about sportsmanship and team building. God forbid we mention that this kind of thin could never happen at Maryland or Arizona.... People don't just GIVE Up their Sports Number for no reason.....

Tyshawn showed alot of maturity with this, he helped us recruit another big player into tthis school, one that proudly waved OUR banner IN Kentucky for an AAU Tourney..... and people call this BOGUS.....

It makes me forget that not ALl Kansas Fans GET IT.... Thank god most of our Players do.

Thanks Tyshawn, Again. HUGE move..... These things have a way of coming back on you in the end.....

Joe Baker 12 years, 7 months ago

I didn't want to say anything about Simien's weight, but yeah he looks thin. I hope that's intentional on his part. Frankly, I hardly recognized him! If it's healthy for him, then good for him.

Rick Arnoldy 12 years, 7 months ago

So far…

Comments on “number change” article – 24 Comments on “football conditioning” article – zero!

raefrules15 12 years, 7 months ago

I went to bill self basketball camp it was the bomb

James Miller 12 years, 7 months ago

Who cares about football.....this is Kansas....Yeah, basketball.

Milhawkee 12 years, 7 months ago

Remember Wayne was sick for a long time...

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago


Has photographer Nick Krug moved on to bigger and better things? I haven't seen any of his work for awhile now. Hope he's just on vacation. His work was so superior, I became spoiled by it. He was a photographer, a great photographer, at a young age. I had so hoped he would stick around for the coming season, because there could a chance they could go all the way and I wanted him there to document it. His photo of the students last year holding the John Steuart Curry mural of John Brown was one of the greatest photographs of a sporting event I have ever seen.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago


I am glad you elaborated on the superstition angle. I experienced this effect when I played, even though I am not a very superstitious person. When competing at the edge of one's abilities, every edge matters.

Interestingly, superstition and its positive effect on performance may now increasingly be understood in terms of the placebo effect, long empirically verified, but lately getting massively researched, because of technological advances in brain scanning the last 5 or so years.

The placebo effect, if anyone has not heard of it, is observed when you give a person a pill to treat a condition, and they get better, even when the pill has no active drug in it.

Recent study of the placebo effect indicates that it works with almost any kind of an incentive that the individual can be made to believe that he/she has actually received, when he/she has actually not.

The placebo effect is so strong that persons with organ transplants experience reduced rejection of their transplanted organs, even when their medicines that suspend organ rejection by auto immune systems are substituted with sugar pills for short periods, according to recent research (note: don't ask me how they got someone to agree to being a subject in such a test, but that is another issue).

Superstition, say, in the form of a preferred number, if believed in very strongly, is effectively a placebo for something--highly effective performance--that there is no pill for.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

Put another way, superstition works, because a person believes it will work; i.e., a person performs better because a person believes he will perform better.

Superstition acts, in a way, like a sugar pill taken, as if it were actually an auto immune suppressing drug.

The placebo effect is not a cure, of course, but it is also not an illusion, or magic trick. Scientific research indicates that on certain symptomatic conditions the placebo effect; i.e., the brain believing that it is getting a medicine that will help alleviate the symptoms, actually reduces the symptoms, apparently by triggering the mind to manufacture endorphins/hormones that actually alter the auto-immune system so that it actually attacks the disease causing agent.

Of course the placebo effect in medicines is only partially effective, and its effectiveness diminishes over time, and disappears altogether, if the person discovers that the pill is a placebo.

A superstitious person rubs a rabbit's foot (a superstition placebo, if you will) until he ceases to believe the rabbit foot delivers a desired performance enhancement; then that person moves onto another superstition placebo. Some coaches and athletes put on their clothes, or wear a particular garment, repeatedly until outcomes are sufficiently negative, or random, that the superstitious person opts for another object, or routine to use as a superstition placebo.

One point here is that it might be better for sports psychologists and coaches to teach players to lay off uniform numbers, because they are hard to change once the superstition placebo effect wears off. Instead, encourage players to get superstitious about things that can be more rapidly jettisoned and replaced, when they eventually fail to work. A steady stream of superstitious items might be able to sustain the placebo benefits of superstion more consistently than one object that works awhile and then doesn't.

Another point here is that superstition may well eventually (if it has not already been) be proven to be able to trigger in some persons a verifiable change in those persons endorphin/hormone levels that may well allow them to perform at higher levels.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

One more point: religion may well have a placebo effect for players and coaches who use their religion as a means of playing to the best of their abilities, aka being the best persons they can be. The placebo effect of religion would, of course, not be a placebo effect at all, if there were in fact a god in heaven, and if that god were in fact the kind of god that helps persons be the best they can be when those persons believe in that god. But the placebo effect suggests that even if there were no god in heaven, believing there were one might well produce some positive enhancement of performance, at least for a while.

Further, I suppose simple swagger, as Coach Self calls the level of self confidence players need to perform well, may one day be proven to have a placebo effect, though proving such things is very difficult to do in a controlled way (definitional problems with swagger and difficulty in isolating its effect). Still, if you believe you are pretty darned good (not too good, mind you, but just pretty darned good), you will probably perform pretty darned well.

All human performance is tied inextricably to neurochemistry and burn patterns in neural nets; this much we know for certain.

As I sit here looking at my Jayhawk watch that I wore the days BRush and company defeated UNC and Memphis for the ring (a watch I decided not to wear again until they reached the next Final Four), I do believe KU will win the next Final Four it enters...if I wear that Jayhawk watch!

KEITHMILES05 12 years, 7 months ago

I saw Simien in April and he looked awful as I hardly recognized him. He has to be on some sort of crazy diet.

His illness was two years ago and that can't be a continued excuse.

mandomax 12 years, 7 months ago

Simien is just showing the signs of what human beings look like after they stop hitting the weights every day as their job. He has more important things to attend to now, and at 6'9," you're going to appear thin if you drop down from competitive weight to normal weight.

Big ups to Tyshawn. Not too sure how I feel about an incoming freshman having sway over an upperclassmen, but if the exchange really went down as described by Taylor, it doesn't seem like EJ was being aggressive about it, but rather asking politely and, most importantly, asking an unselfish person like TT.

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