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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Keegan

Kansas proves unselfish

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson scrambles for a loose ball with Hofstra forward Miklos Szabo during the second half, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson scrambles for a loose ball with Hofstra forward Miklos Szabo during the second half, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor.

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2009 KU-Hofstra

Reader poll

Who will lead the Jayhawks in dunks in 2009-10?

  • Xavier Henry 17% 338 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 69% 1362 votes
  • Thomas Robinson 9% 189 votes
  • Other 4% 83 votes

1972 total votes.

Xavier Henry sets record in debut

Xavier Henry set a new record for points scored by a freshman in their debut. X. Henry recorded 27 points and five rebounds in the Jayhawks' route of Hofstra.

The fear, expressed often by those who pin a large chunk of their happiness on the outcome of Kansas University basketball games, was this year’s team would be so deep there wouldn’t be enough minutes to go around. Someone would grow unhappy and spoil team chemistry.

It won’t happen. Barring injuries or another unforeseen occurrence, the nine players who played before garbage time in Friday night’s season-opening, 101-65 annihilation of Hofstra figure to be the nine players who form the rotation when the meat of the schedule arrives.

None of them looked unhappy, unproductive, too rested. Six Kansas players blocked at least one shot, and nine players had at least one steal.

“I think we’re an unselfish team,” senior Sherron Collins said. “I don’t think anybody’s thinking, ‘I didn’t get enough minutes. I didn’t get enough shots.’ The shots are going to be there because we’re going to move the ball and get so many open shots. I don’t think we get too much into the minutes, who’s playing what.”

Collins and Cole Aldrich played key roles on a team that rode that thinking to a national title.

“Sometimes we’ll be a little selfish in practice, and coach (Bill) Self will talk about how on the championship team nobody averaged 15, and he’ll talk about how unselfish they were,” sophomore Marcus Morris said. “We just want to resemble that because it got them a championship.”

For openers, Collins, Tyshawn Taylor, Xavier Henry, Markieff Morris and Aldrich formed the starting five.

“I don’t care about starting,” Marcus Morris said. “My brother starts, and I started last year. Everybody always asks me, ‘Why don’t you start this year?’ We’re playing the best players. The best players always start. Being a sixth man, I feel good about it. Coming off the bench, I can be a spark for the team, and hopefully I can be the best sixth man in the Big 12 or be the best sixth man nationally.”

Marcus played 22 minutes in relief, Markieff 12 as a starter. Both twins looked stronger, more energetic, more decisive than last season. They combined for 15 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Fellow sophomore Tyshawn Taylor did nice defensive work in turning Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins into a non-factor early in the game when KU built an insurmountable lead.

Freshmen Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson — even more athletic than the talented sophomore trio — will push them for minutes, which can only be a good thing.

At times, Robinson and Johnson will play like freshmen. Robinson did Friday against Hofstra’s zone defense. Johnson played like a veteran.

“It’s a big advantage being a sophomore,” Marcus Morris said. “When you get on the court, you know what’s coming.”

Too often a year ago, spectators knew what was coming when the twins shot: an airball. Their mid-range shots looked better Friday.

“I think it’s just confidence,” Marcus said. “We could have shot like that last year, but we were kind of hesitant. Now we’re shooting without thinking twice about it.”

If the shot selection ever becomes poor, the coach can always substitute someone just as good.

Comments

suttonku 5 years, 1 month ago

I find myself disagreeing with part of this article...I think 10 guys will play on this team once Withey is able to play and if Brady comes back looking good then Reed could find himself on the pine...Everyone keeps saying hes a knock down shooter and he went 0-4 tonight...not getting it done off the bench...Like I have always said, if Reed is not hitting jumpers then he is worthless on the court...At least Brady can shoot and play defense.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

Good word Sutton. It is crazy to think of adding Withey to the mix.

I would add that the current 9 man rotation could also be scrambled when CJ gets healthy and learns the system. I don't expect that to happen until at least conf season, but I do think he will eventually get healthy.

As for Tyrel, he started off real slow in non-con last year as well, but led the team (?) in 3's during the conf. O-fers are not great, but you know that almost everyone is going to go thru them at some point.

Billy Derringer 5 years, 1 month ago

i think its c.j. that is going to ride the pine---nothing comes on a silver platter at kansas-and if hes not showing flashes by the time morningstar comes back i dont see him getting much playing time--i think this is a learning year for c.j. and if he has dreams of the league his azz better get tougher, it would help too if he could grow a few inches he seem small at late night....soft and small is not a good combo...

okjhok 5 years, 1 month ago

Pretty harsh words for a guy that hasn't even played a game yet. Let's see what unfolds. Regardless, barring injuries, I can't see any other players (Henry, Withey, Morningstar) adding significant value to this rotation, with the exception of Morningstar, but the only minutes he will take are Reed's.

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 1 month ago

Maybe, just maybe Withey and BM will get some mopup minutes, at the most.

The problem is the rotation this year will have already been decided. That's the luxury of having so many good players.

As for CJ with his injuries and the fact he has never, EVER played a minute of college ball he WILL get only mop up minutes, at best. Tough break but that's life.

100 5 years, 1 month ago

Last I saw CJ Henry is 6'4", which is solid height for his position (1 & 2). Mario Chalmers is 6'1". Tack on CJ's strength (he's one of the toughest on the team according to Self), & we have a perfect guard for the Self system, which gets guys to the League.

He will get over the injury. Let's see what he can do once he's healed -- from what I understand he's really good, he's a scoring & passing machine with a tough as nails approach to defense.

Regardless, next year's team is looking pretty stacked again!

As for this year....

"Team Play Wins Championships." 40-0.

trueblue9 5 years, 1 month ago

There are no minutes for CJ and that will be sure to piss him off and certainly seems like it could have an effect on chemistry. He thinks of himself as as good as anyone on the team, SC, TT, his brother, whoever (and probably is better than Reed and BM). X came here b/c he wanted to PLAY with little bro, not practice with him. Maybe he can compete for some minutes - I certainly saw nothing last night to suggest that Reed is a lock for the rotation.

cg1029 5 years, 1 month ago

Other then the starting 5 I think that it is impossible to say that the rotation is anywhere near set after one game... I think that the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the 9 guys who played significant mins fri are the best that we have RIGHT NOW. When eligible morningstar will play (Hopefully not taking minutes from EJ since he is more talented) my guess is that Reed and Brady will fight for minutes with Brady winning out in the end. If Withey is healthy when he is eligible he probably will play a role similar to Aldrich on the 08 title team. My guess is close games he will play a few minutes a game to give Cole a rest and more minutes if Cole is in foul trouble or we are blowing somone out. CJ is the wild card and there is no way to know what he will do. He has not played in 4 years is not healthy and there is noway to know what he has to offer. If he is healthy and can play my guess is that depending on the matchup he could come off the bench and play at either the 1,2, or even the 3. Against smaller quicker guards EJ will be the primary backup for Collins against more physical big pt guards it could be CJ.

JayhawkPurist 5 years, 1 month ago

Big up to Mc. Morris for his maturity. It's this kind of team-first attitude that wins championships. Big up.

ParisHawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Coach Self has said he'll play 9 guys max, 4 bigs and 5 others. Right now among the healthy, eligible guys it is clear who the 9 are. CJ has a month before Brady gets back to get healthy and fight Reed for the last spot in the rotation.

When Withey is eligible it will be very interesting: either he doesn't play, or one of the current bigs sits, or Marcus spends a lot more time at the three. If Marcus plays more at the three, might we see Xavier and him on the court at the same time? In that case, there would be precious few minutes for Reed, Brady and CJ to fight over.

jhawkr 5 years, 1 month ago

Who cares about the top 9 or 10 at this point. It's early in the season and with a deep squad the top 9 or 10 is going to fluctuate based on performance and practice time. Any show of an attitude would knock you way down on the totem pole.

As for CJ, who knows or cares right now as we don't need him. I am not sure at this point if he is a good player or a player to be named later with X. Yes, we wanted him all those 5 or 6 years ago, but does any know what he can really add. If he is so strong, how come he hasn't been able to play thru his injuries the past couple of years.

With this squad he is going to be left in the dust before long ...........

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