Sunday, February 21, 2010


Look who’s listening: Taylor

Colorado forward Shane Harris-Tunks fouls Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor as he soars to the bucket during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Colorado forward Shane Harris-Tunks fouls Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor as he soars to the bucket during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas defeats Buffaloes, 94-74

The Jayhawks took down Colorado Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU vs. Colorado postgame

Coach Bill Self addresses the media following KU's victory against Colorado on February 20, 2010.

Audio clips

2010 KU-Colorado

Reader poll

Whose offensive game were you more pleased with following the Jayhawks' 94-74 victory over Colorado?

  • Cole Aldrich (17 points, 6-for-8 shooting, four offensive rebounds, no turnovers) 28% 587 votes
  • Tyshawn Taylor (17 points, 6-for-7 shooting, six assists, three turnovers) 69% 1432 votes
  • Undecided 2% 50 votes

2069 total votes.

To do the Hokey Pokey, you put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, you put your right hand in, and you shake it all about.

To do the Tyshawn Taylor, you turn yourself around, you take your mouth guard out, you slump your shoulders forward, and, cringing, you slowly look toward your coach and wait to hear it.

Taylor plays for a tough coach, one who often loudly lets a preening player who thinks he’s having quite the day know otherwise during a break in the action. The best approach to playing for Bill Self is to realize he’s not going to let any mental lapse go unnoticed, let him sear the commentary on your mistakes into your ears and don’t give him an explanation because he’s been around long enough to have heard it all, and he’s not interested in hearing it again.

Too many times in the past, Taylor played the role of the answer man, thinking an excuse would placate the coach. From his fearful facial expressions to his inane Facebook posts to his broken hand from the fight with the football team, it has been some sophomore slump for the long, lean guard from Hoboken, N.J., Frank Sinatra’s hometown.

Taylor played his way out of the starting lineup for nine games and at one point strayed so far from understanding what it takes in the way of concentrating and paying attention to detail that Self threatened to bump him from the rotation if he didn’t start playing better. After that, Taylor improved in games and practice. He was rewarded with a return to the starting lineup for Saturday’s game in Allen Fieldhouse against Colorado.

It was a terrific opportunity for Taylor to restore lost confidence. In choosing to make the move against Colorado, Self picked the right opponent for Taylor to exploit with superior quickness.

In a (big) word, Taylor was splendiferous. Sure, he committed three turnovers in the 94-74 victory, but they were overshadowed by 17 points, six assists and two steals. He made all but one of his field-goal attempts and all of his free throws.

He never looked like a terrified child waiting to take his medicine. When his coach talked, he listened. He played strong defense and left his defensiveness at home.

“I think me not wanting to mess up, when I play like that, that’s when I mess up the most,” Taylor said. “If I just play with a free mind and be aggressive like I played tonight, I think I can have games like this more often.”

Taylor knew he had to justify his coach’s born-again faith in him.

“It was in the back of my head, but once I got on the court and started playing, I was just playing,” Taylor said. “I really wasn’t thinking about how he was feeling.”

Smart approach for the sensitive sophomore.

“My confidence has been up a little,” Taylor said. “Coach has been on my good side because I’ve been practicing well.”

Self smiled when he thought about Taylor’s season.

“It’s been fairly well-documented that Tyshawn has had a little bit of a roller-coaster year, but I think his head’s right,” Self said. “I think part of getting his head right was for us to kind of do what we did. He sees it the same way we do.”



Dirk Medema 11 years ago

That's a good way to see it - winning.

(When is Coach Self going to become a national team coach?)

tophawk1983 11 years ago

Screw that. I may be in the minority but it seems obvious to me that Coach K's success with the national team has come at the expense of his success at Duke--mainly in always needs to be priority #1A or at least 1B. Plus Self is going to be coaching the Spurs when Pops retires anyway right? Oh man I hope not!

86finalfour 11 years ago

Where are the Keegan ratings for this game?

John Brown 11 years ago

Looks like Self has the team peaking in time for the NCAA. I just hope that TT can continue to improve from this experience. He has the talent to go to the next level but then many players with the talent also wash out of the NBA. JR Giddons who had the talent maybe in the process of washing out. When a draft pick is traded in their first year to get some value out of the mistake of picking them it is a sign of wash out. We all know the story of JR. Hopefully, TT will overcome the JR legacy and live up to his potential.

Jeff Schartz 11 years ago

Keegs - Taylor did not break his hand fighting against the football team, he dislocated a finger or thumb.

floridajayhawks 11 years ago

TT, Coach is never on your good side, you are on his good side.

NebraskaJayhawk 11 years ago

“It’s been fairly well-documented that Tyshawn has had a little bit of a roller-coaster year, but I think his head’s right,” Self said.

Clearly, TT's head has been spinning all season long. Hopefully this is a sign that his head is right and it stays deflated. There is a difference between playing with confidence like he did last night and playing with arrogant selfishness which usually leads to poor decision making. Yesterday afternoon, he scored and distributed the ball like he's capable of doing and played some decent defense. He is the most athletic player on Kansas's team hands down and I hope this kind of performance continues. Some of my recent posts have been pretty negative about his play thus far this season and so I was glad to see him not only play well, but appear to genuinely listen and try to learn from one of college basketball's greatest current day coaches.

Mike Kendall 11 years ago

"In a (big) word, Taylor was splendiferous." Tom Keegan.

Geeeze, Keegan, that's a big word for you. And I thought Jaybate used big words--or, maybe that was big posts I'm thinking about.

"If I just play with a free mind and be aggressive like I played tonight, I think I can have games like this more often." Tyshawn Taylor.

Take us to the promised land, Tyshawn!!! Final 4 in Indy. Keep playing like that and I guarantee you we won't here from the UK posters, KentuckyRifle and The Crow anymore!!!!!!

Steve Brown 11 years ago

On the yellow brick road to Indy you need a lion with a ton of courage, thanks Sherron.

throw in a Tin Man with a big heart, in part from his grandmother.

You also need a scarecrow with a brain that maybe didn't know he had a brain. Thanks TT for finding your head.

Throw in twin pair of magic slippers then the analogy sort of breaks down from here...

Steve Brown 11 years ago

slyr: you said couple days ago, we've been critics for months and now time to become fans- I agree.

Alohahawk 11 years ago

Lighthawk: Love the Oz analogy. But, it doesn't really break down from that point.You just overlooked two major factors for it to be complete. KU has the Wizard (Self) who can bring about the things we desire most, AND the last line of the movie - "There's no place like home (Kansas University). PS: BTW, Please find a rainbow enclosed from Hawaii!!!

Robert Brock 11 years ago

I don't know if KU has necessarily asked for Taylor to be the ultimate game changer or glue man or whatever you want to call it. KU simply asks him to play his position with a high IQ - take care of and value the ball, limit tournovers, make the smart pass, pick the right spots to drive and finish or drive and pass, play solid perimeter defense, etc. He looked great yesterday - he needs to string some more games like this together against OU, MU, KSU, and the best competition KU has left, and go into March with a high level of confidence.

Steve Brown 11 years ago

I support slyr new posting rules as we near March post something affirming and supportive or at least be creative and keep your negative or critical views to yourself.

next up: Big Monday.


waywardJay 11 years ago

it's very interesting that Both Xavier and Tyshawn turned into world beaters in the same game..... Their games match eitehr others so well....up tempo lightning quick guard who can get to the bucket, and a perimeter guard who can slash but prefers to pop the trey....

Hey Kentucky fans, we now have 5 legitmate 15-20 scorers in our starting lineup. How's that working for you ?

Steve Brown 11 years ago

Manhatten, Columbia, Lexington.

I never cared much for cats.

kubirdfan75 11 years ago

FINALLY not one but two or three guys stepped up so that collins on a bad run didn't have to big props to the young guys ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK

Steve Brown 11 years ago

Ralster by jove you've got it, like longhorn pep band playing visitor fight songs in Austin on game day.

we'll support and comfort other programs and their fans while we stomp them on the court.

mind the ball boys...mind the ball.

Lance Hobson 11 years ago

It's only one game, and it was CU. Self needs to keep an eye on TT, he's a long way from out of the woods but certainly on his way.

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

lighthawk..does your post mean that Xavier is Dorothy?? :}

Jaybate..I consider you a friend and enjoy your posts but the last couple days have not been among your shining moments. Maybe it would be better to take the high road against hostile posts, rather than retort with a preemptive strike. Life is too short to demean someone else or yourself over postings about a college basketball team, albeit one of the finest in all the land. Just sayin'.

On a game note, did all of you watch the Buff guards continually blow by our man defense? My conclusion is that for Kansas to win the National Championship, Cole will have to stay out of foul trouble, because he is our last, best defense to the hoop.

I counted five blocks and ten altered shots.....that's a THIRTY point swing that will be huge come tourney time.

Regarding Kentucky...I am sure that I am in the minority but, frankly, they scare the crap out of me. I know, I know , I understand all the negatives but they keep winning and keep learning. They remind of that all sophomore team Duke had that got to the final game years ago because they had no idea that they were supposed to be scared and weren't supposed to get that far!!

kubirdfan75 11 years ago

OAKVILLE YES you are the only one they are not any better then we are

jaybate 11 years ago

} OakvilleJHawk,

This is a very charged time of a season on a team, or in any community of their fans. It is a time of orchestrated transition between individuals being forged into teams over a period of time and the orchestration of the emergence of the actual team for the stretch run. It is not seamless. It is not perfect. Sometimes it gets ugly. It is not without errors and mis-judgements, and outright bads. The propellant for the change is often raising level of conflict to a point that individuals seek to unify that team to reduce the conflict and achieve the confidence builders of common cause and harmony. Sometimes things are done to affect the transition that create conflict and unease in the process of fusing teams. Sometimes those measures can become inappropriate. You are my friend and among the most esteemed aliases in this community, I will, of course, give serious consideration to your comments. This is a special season. It deserves nothing less than the best anyone has to give. If I have failed the legacy, or the community, I sincerely apologize.

} "Self, Tyshawn and the Toughening of One Player to Force Teammates to Become an Unselfish Team:"

(Note: What follows is my summary speculation of what has been going on regarding Self, Tyshawn and the KU team. It is opinion, not fact.)

Since late in the first semester, I have asserted that Self was struggling to find a way to forge an unselfish team. The team was so talented that the first semester schedule could not provide the necessary crucible to transform his group of individuals into a cohesive, unselfish team with its own identity.

Self has tried many techniques of forging a team to transcend the predicament. He practically set them up for close games for quite some time, by not juicing them up for games, he normally might have, in hopes of letting contrived pressure force them to have to learn to work together; that did not work. And doing it cost the team a chance for a perfect season against UTenn, when UTenn, despite suspensions, simply had too much talent and want to for an intentionally flat KU team of individuals to overcome on an off shooting night.

Another tack Self has appeared to sail has been to put Tyshawn in a dog house and keep him there until the team rallied/coalesced around him; this is essentially what the following commentary addresses.

jaybate 11 years ago

Self apparently put Tyshawn on the Mario Chalmers baby fat ego diet program for an incredibly long time this season. The diet is a pretty simple one. An exceptionally talented player is selected to go to a toughening farm, instead of a fat farm. While at the toughening farm, the player learns to practice and play without positive strokes for anything he is naturally good at and he gets regularly poked in practice and in the meda for shortcomings in his performance, while at other times gets no poking when he seems to deserve more than a little. The player also only gets strokes for doing exactly what the coaching staff is asking for. At the same time, the coaching staff begins to change what they are asking for from him about once a week. The dieting player experiences constantly mixed signals and no lasting appreciation for any of his accomplishments. Everytime he masters one thing, the coaching staff dials in a new emphasis in what is expected. The player eventually begins to question whether the coaches even know what they want from him. His team mates know that the coaching staff picks out a player ever season or two to go to the baby fat ego farm. Trips to the baby fat ego farm often coincide with times when the coach is trying to build team cohesion. Why? Subjecting one of the teams most talented players (or sometimes one of its beloved lessers, even) to the baby fat ego farm, and its toughening regimen, eventually forces teammates, who at one time may have resented the player, or may simply not have cared enough about the team, into a kind of survivor's guilt, and/or into wishing to do anything to relieve the continuing punishment of the player. There but for the grace of god go I, think teammates, yet they want the punisments of their friend and teammate to end. These teammates work harder and play more unselfishly to avoid being the next player selected to attend the baby fat ego farm. But as Tyshawn's stay at the baby fat ego farm stretches from days, into weeks, and from weeks into months, the teammates begin to understand that Tyshawn is being picked on beyond reason by the coaching staff; that Tyshawn has long since learned what they wanted him to learn; that Tyshawn is taking the abuse that he is taking, because of their lack of unselfishness. Tyshawn's teammates like Tyshawn a lot, as one likes anyone that one has been through many trials and tests with, and they know he is a terrific player and loyal teammate, or he would not have been picked by the coaches to go to the baby fat ego farm in the first place. At first the teammates say it was his own fault. He shouldn't have done this, or that. But over time, the teammates begin to realize that the punishment does not fit whatever crimes they can think of that the player has committed.

jaybate 11 years ago

In time, the cliques of teammates begin talking to one another about what a raw deal Tyshawn is getting from the coaching staff. The teammates begin to wonder if the staff will ever let up. They begin to feel the coaching staff they have come to trust, may be out of line this time, may actually have a vendetta against their teammate. The teammates begin to feel as wronged as their teammate. When the coaching staff does not let up, the teammates begin to feel it is us against the staff. They continue to tell Tyshawn that Self does this every year to someone, but they decreasingly believe that this is just the same old same old. Tyshawn knows what they are telling him is true, too, but it is different when it is finally done to you. The teammates reassure him that if he just does what Self wants long enough, that everything will be okay. But it doesn't get better. The teammates begin to start talking to each other about trying to improve, to try to play better, to try to find some way to make things better, to end this mistreatment of their teammate. They begin to feel a deep loyalty to their wronged teammate, a kind of devotion. Sherron and Cole have been through this themselves. They know the crucible and they know there is no way out of it once it for quitting...but no one willingly quits on a band of brothers. They grow to resent what is happening, even though they know where it is heading. Where it is heading is forcing the team to fuse into a band of brothers. Where it is heading is a realization that the real reason Tyshawn is being made to suffer is because the rest of the team has not been playing unselfishly enough to be the best it can be. They begin realizing the team has not really been helping Tyshawn deal with his shortcomings and it has not been helping each other make up for each individuals shortcomings.

jaybate 11 years ago

There is a realization that Tyshawn will not get out of baby fat ego farm until the team becomes utterly unselfish in its play. They begin to realize that in fact the whole team is in the baby fat ego farm, not just Tyshawn. When the teammates finally start playing unselfishly, when they really do start to try to make each other look good at all costs, when they really do put team first, then miraculously Coach Self says, "Hey, Tyshawn is a difference maker. We have to have him back in the starting line up making a difference as only he can." Then there is an enormous upwelling of relief and joy at being a fully united team all pulling in one direction with the coaching staff no longer mercilessly picking one of their beloved brothers apart. The drama is contrived by Coach Self and played out every year or two when an experienced team is not coming together as unselfishly as it should. It is a contrived drama that is utterly real and compelling to all the participants, even when they know that the drama is contrived. Why? Because Bill Self will never blink in this drama, he really will let it play out till the last second, of the last half, of the last game of the season if he has to. He will make players and teams miserable, he will take losses. he will jeopardize his own career, if he has to, because he has a philosophy that dictates team over everything. Bill Self is a player. He can bob and weave through almost any kind of political controversy. He can smile and back slap his way into almost anyone's good graces. He can recruit almost anyone when he really wants them. He can modulate strategy and change tactics with phenomenal flexibility. He can coach his teams to play opponents any way they want, at any tempo they want, at any level of physical aggressiveness they want. But the one thing the man is pure, tempered, unbending steel about is teamwork. He demands unselfishness and once he decides it is lacking he will never give up until he gets it. The crucible of Tyshawn Taylor this season has been among other things, a gambit to force a collection of boys to come together as a team of men. Self is a throw back in one way. He does not demand win at any cost. He demands unselfish at any cost. If a team is utterly unselfish, it will realize its full potential and win as many games as it possibly can. Getting there can be brutal.

jaybate 11 years ago


"TT said it best... he does his best when he just goes out and plays the game.."

TT does his best, as does everyone else on a Self team, once they are all playing completely unselfishly, while just going out and playing the game.

The whole team, not just Ty, required a plate techtonic shift in unselfishness to get to where Ty can just go out and play the game.

The plates have been shifted and are closer.

And what a surprise. The shift took place in late February. :-)

Mike Kendall 11 years ago

ralster--- sorry I didn't respond to you right away. I like how you think---just like me---carbon copy!

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

Jaybate..don't change.

Very interesting premise that you have proposed....kind of like the coach's son getting the constant whipping to the point of his teammates accepting him as one of their own. {I'll bet I could name a half dozen sports movies with that exact premise}

I'm surprised he didn't do this with Xavier but something tells me that maybe Tyshawn doesn't have a former Jayhawk great father sitting in the stands every game....or maybe because X is truly a OAD and HCBS doesn't have the time..or that maybe Xavier doesn't have the "tough love" background that TT has and would be psychologically crushed...or that maybe it's all of the above!!

Steve Brown 11 years ago

Oak I stopped typing when I was headed to X being the combo Dorothy/Toto listening to good witches and bad witches Carl Cal NBA scouts...then considered flying monkeys for our bench and decided it wasn't worth going fw. nice catch.

mind the ball boys, mind the ball....

two nice road games to ponder... 1,999 UNC v. Duke 3.6.10 2,000 KU v. MU 3.06.10

Pls Pls no matter what do NOT put us on cover of SI before 4.6.2010-

Steve Brown 11 years ago

BCRaven, you replied to my 2.14 post when I claimed that if/when TT found game we were unbeatable, rest of season, as all the other pieces were in you still hold that view or modify it due to recent revelations.

I'm good either way just wondered if you are now having 2nd thoughts...

jaybate 11 years ago


From my experience, Self never puts players in the toughening box until at least their second season. Surviving as a freshman in D1, with all the changes in speed and intensity of play, plus all the life changes of going to college, means freshman basically need intense stroking and bubbly positives all season, or they would just completely crack. Xavier, even though he's very talented, would lose most of his confidence were this done to him as a freshman. It is an excruciating experience that creates a ton of self doubt and irritability in a player.

Self seems to pick guys who have a ton of talent, guys teammates know are cornerstones of the team. It is almost like he is picking them because: a) he knows they are a little ego centric and fragile and need toughening; b) he believes they could be truly special players once toughened; c) teammates consider them especially gifted athletically; and d) he knows they are far enough along in their game to be able to take it without turning completely unproductive.

Chalmers got it. Chalmers needed it to take his game to the next level.

Taylor is getting it. He needs it to drive him to the next level.

And both teams were driven much, much closer together as they watched Chalmers and Taylor get pushed to the breaking point.

It is actually an honor in a perverse sort of way.

Not just any player could take it.

Not just any player can be chosen.

I am sure Mario Chalmers will talk to Tyshawn at some point, if he has not already.

They are in an elite club.

Years from now they look back and laugh at what Self put them through.

But when it happened, it was one of the least funny things either of them had ever experienced.

Young men think they know how tough they are and how much their minds can be screwed with, but they don't know.

Once a expert button pusher gets them to the point where they don't know whether to poop, or stand up, then they understand vastly more about themselves and about the world.

jaybate 11 years ago

If you, as a coach know that one day you are going to have to call a players number in the huddle to make a difference, or you are going to have rely on that player to make a difference in a moment when him seizing the moment will be the only way it will get done, you must prepare him.

Some players, like Brandon Rush, or Sherron Collins, seem to come out of the womb fully tempered and armed with the right stuff for such moments.It is not talent. Almost all of these guys have great talent. It is, rather, a kind of mental toughness that some are born with and others must acquire.

Chalmers, even though he had a very tough father, still had a patch of softness at his core, a patch of thinking he was better and tougher than he actually was. Chalmers had to be toughened.

Cole had lied to himself that because he had faced Kaun, Shady and Darnell for a season he was battle ready. He was wrong. There was a part of him that was afraid of getting the tar beaten out of him basketball wise, physically, and mentally. Self threw Cole to the dogs and talked about him playing soft and about not manning up. Self actually let other teams beat up unmercifully on Cole. I will always believe that Self actually asked Doc Sadler to have his players mug Cole in that one game last season. Self knew Cole had to get physically beaten up, he had to break his nose, or something, to get beyond being a big goofy kid who could block and rebound pretty well to be a dominant intimidating, take no prisoners post man. Cole spent much of last season in baby ego fat farm. There were times when Cole was not sure he had the right stuff; this is part of the crucible. But once Cole had experienced the worst to he could fear, and once Self said he had the right stuff, Cole became ten feet tall. This year, Cole is an animal, a bonafide tough guy, a post man you screw with at your own risk, even if you have more talent than he does.

jaybate 11 years ago

Now Tyshawn is being forced to cross that same threshold, to confront his worst fears, to find out that its not enough to be faster than greased lightening; that its not enough to be quicker than every one; that you really do deep down inside have to be savagely tough to survive. You really do have to go to the rim mano a mano and get the crap knocked out of you sometimes in the process of taking what is yours in the forest the rest of the time.

I am convinced that many great talents lack the mental toughness greatness requires, because their talent has allowed them not to confront just how tough one has to be to prevail in the moment when only competitive greatness will do.

Self is some kind of a master at taking such talented people and introducing them to the warrior that lurks within them that they have never known existed.

Let's all be glad that Bill Self is a pretty good guy, who wants to help players get better; that he does not work in Gitmo. He knows how to confront persons with their deepest fears. Fortunately, he does it to help them transcend them.

Rock chalk!

Steve Brown 11 years ago

Taylor you have graduated Quantico- semper fi.

JBate is right about the fact that you got game, high level game and it is proven by the time energy effort HCBS invested in you.

This thread is done, I reached back in time a few days to let you know, should you be seeing it, that now is your season, time to shine bud, you got it. Now give it.

Smile, have fun. Breathe, relax Do your personal best. Play for the team..

all is well:

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