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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kansas’ Elijah Johnson puts in his time

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson (15) gets a flying, celebratory bump from teammate Tyshawn Taylor during a first-half timeout., Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson (15) gets a flying, celebratory bump from teammate Tyshawn Taylor during a first-half timeout., Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU vs. UT Arlington

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Kansas defeated UT Arlington, 82-57 on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 82-57 victory over UT Arlington on Dec. 29, 2010.

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Kansas University guard Elijah Johnson is used to being subbed out when he gets tired.

That didn’t happen Wednesday during KU’s 82-57 victory over UT Arlington at Allen Fieldhouse.

“It felt good playing a large amount of minutes tonight, because I wanted to see exactly how far I could go,” Johnson said after a career-high 26-minute effort.

The Las Vegas native said he wanted to prove to himself that he could push through fatigue on the court and could be a player that takes on “starter minutes,” coming in the game when KU coach Bill Self felt like the chemistry was off or when the team needed to settle down.

“It just felt good to know that I can do it,” Johnson said. “I always wanted to know that, and tonight, I got to know that by coach giving me that much time.”

Starting in place of Tyshawn Taylor — who missed four practices this week after getting stuck in New Jersey because of bad weather — Johnson impressed as KU’s main point guard.

The 6-foot-4 guard tied a career-high with 11 points to go with five assists, two steals and one turnover.

He also made three of his four three-point attempts, setting a career-high for three-point makes.

“It felt good, it looked good, and it was good,” Johnson said with a laugh about his long-range shooting. “Just to sum it up for you, it felt good.”

Quietly, Johnson has put together some solid offensive season totals. He has made 10 of his 18 three-point attempts (55.6 percent) and has 26 assists to just eight turnovers.

It was Johnson’s first start since last year’s La Salle game on Dec. 12, 2009.

“I can’t lie and say it doesn’t feel good (to start),” Johnson said. “It feels great to start, but it’s just about what’s most important (for the team) — if he (Self) needs me to be the eighth man or he needs me to start at point guard, whatever it is.”

Self complimented Johnson, saying there was no question he was one of KU’s best five players Wednesday.

Self said it was tough to know how to distribute the team’s minutes at guard.

“You play Ty (Taylor), you play Elijah or you play Josh (Selby) or you play Tyrel (Reed),” Self said. “Tyrel’s been our best perimeter player consistently throughout the preseason.

“It’s kind of a coin flip right now, but it will make for some interesting practices moving forward the rest of this week.”

Comments

fansincewilt 8 years, 10 months ago

We just need to have it figured out by March. These are great problems to have. Robinson, Johnson and Reed were our best players last night - three players that have been left out of some sample starting five. If Robinson gets much better, it is going to be difficult to deny him a starting position. He can't shoot like the twins but is very active around the basket. At this point I think the best defender is going to get the nod.

duanep5ku 8 years, 10 months ago

EJ, you have a great attitude and I'm glad you have stuck with the KU program,even last year when the minutes were not there for you yet on the court. I know many fans on the message boards was worried that you would leave the program. EJ, I'm sure most Kansas fans on here are very thankful that you stayed with the program,so keep working hard on and off the court and stay positive. I think if you stay positive and keep working hard, your time will come hopefully soon. I know you have a growing fan base on the message boards dying to see you get more minutes on the court and hopefully you will get the opportunity to start more games. Good Luck

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 10 months ago

EJ I loved the way you played yesterday keep it up!

I am very impressed with both EJ & Robinson! They are playing their game regardless of the competition. I do hope EJ gets the major minutes from TT because he is definitely a more natural PG. My starting 5 would be MkM, Robinson, Reed, Selby, EJ. They are the guys who work the hardest, and show the most emotion on the court.

clevelandjayhawker 8 years, 10 months ago

Weird when you dont have "our best player" in the starting 5, but I agree with your lineup just maybe have kieff off the bench, but nice problem for Self to have

Joe Baker 8 years, 10 months ago

I've loved EJ from the start and he's proving himself with each opp of pt. I'm pleased to see his progress. His mental toughness is beginning to show each game. I love his control and composure. EJ, Rel, Robinson and Withey are going to be huge in the coming days. Withey looks rough but he will develop in due time. I try not to comment on TT because he's too mental to understand.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 10 months ago

Tyrel hasn't been the best perimeter player as far as offense. Just coachspeak.

melrank 8 years, 10 months ago

If EJ keeps playing like this, it will be difficult for me to continue resisting Theutus and HEM's pleas for more time over Tyshawn - especially with Tyshawn's lackluster play the last couple of weeks.

He definitely deserves more time based on what I've watched the last couple of games.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 10 months ago

EJ deserves 20+ per game based on what he's done all season, in my opinion.

TT has built up some goodwill with me from the first 9 games. I have confidence he'll bounceback and leave those USC and Cal games in the dust. Just a brief regression. We need TT to play well to win it all.

A thought: Take the minutes in the 3 guard positions from last night, give 10 of Brady's to Tyshawn, putting him around 25; give 5 of Brady's to Releford, putting him around 20.

The question is, are we worse if that occurs? That's really the question.

Not to go back to the whole Brady debate, but it seems to me that we have a great 8 man rotation, with Brady and Withey to fill in as needed, situationally. Brady can be used very strategically .. if EJ is off, if TT is having one of "those" games, foul trouble, etc. Very valuable to have that option vs. a less experienced player.

melrank 8 years, 10 months ago

I remember you said TT banked some goodwill with you a while back. I assume he's withdrawn some of that goodwill recently. I do agree with you that he is a big key to us going far and I hope he gets it turned around. The Selby-envy theory regarding Tyshawn's play is an interesting one and probably has some merit.

I try to stay clear of the Brady-debate because I just don't know for sure. Obviously Coach sees things I don't so I sorta roll with it. I can't argue with your minutes allocation or your Brady/Withey situational critique - well done.

Hank Cross 8 years, 10 months ago

Brady and Withey should be regulted to a couple of mintutes at the end of the first half to protect against a good player picking up a silly foul and garbage time at the end of blow-outs. If the two of them could not assert themselves against a team like UTA, they're minutes really need to go to more productive palyers.

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