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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keegan

Tyshawn Taylor appears to have grown up

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor poses at KU Media Day. Taylor seems to have matured a lot since he was involved in controversy last year surrounding a fight with the KU football team and his Facebook page.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor poses at KU Media Day. Taylor seems to have matured a lot since he was involved in controversy last year surrounding a fight with the KU football team and his Facebook page.

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Marcus Morris’ 28 points help KU to 92-62 exhibition win over Washburn

Marcus Morris posted 28 points and seven rebounds, leading the Kansas men's basketball team to a 92-62 victory over Washburn in its first exhibition game Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Video Highlights KU-Washburn

Video highlights from the Jayhawks' 92-62 win over Washburn.

We all grow up at different rates. For example, maturity-wise, I’m looking forward to my teenage years.

Kansas University junior guard Tyshawn Taylor often didn’t seem as grown-up as most teammates the first two years of his college basketball career. He’d show flashes of consistency, lasting as long as a few games, and then lapse back into poor decision-making.

He’s a year older and seemingly light-years wiser than when he was mired in the whole in-your-Facebook controversy. In talking to him and watching him play basketball, he just seems as if he has gained a few years of maturity in one year. Of course, the true measure of a young man’s emotional stability comes when adversity hits, and there is none of that during a Late Night scrimmage, Media Day and postgame interviews and in an exhibition game against Div. II Washburn.

Still, so far, so encouraging.

Not a gifted passer, Taylor’s doing a better job of making the easy pass. Not a natural lights-out shooter, his shot looks better. It’s obvious he has been working hard at smoothing out his stroke.

More than anything, Taylor looks and sounds like a young man who has learned how to get out of his own way, and when that happens, everything starts to blossom.

Look for less posing from Taylor after spectacular plays, less hanging of the head after bad ones. Look for Taylor to look ahead to the next play more often instead of looking back at the last one.

Marcus and Markieff Morris, throwing great passes, cutting to the hoop hard, playing physically and exhibiting soft shooting touches, easily were KU’s best players in Tuesday night’s exhibition opener, a 92-62 victory against Washburn.

And that was just fine with Taylor. He didn’t play like a guy driven to earn player-of-the-night honors. He didn’t look like a show-off attempting to lead SportsCenter.

The word he kept returning to during postgame interviews was the one that best described his play: solid.

“I need to be the rock for my team,” Taylor said. “I can’t try to force too much, or do too much. I need to be a solid player. I need to make the easy plays and the smart plays. I need to be a leader vocally and by example. This was definitely a goal of mine. I’ve been working toward being a leader my entire time here, and I think I did pretty well tonight.”

Taylor played 22 minutes, scored 12 points, had three assists and two steals and did not get charged with a turnover, though he had the equivalent of one in his coach’s mind.

“He played well tonight,” Self said. “He made one bad decision in the first half. He drove into a crowd, and they bailed him out by calling a foul. He’s talented. His biggest thing is he’s so quick he can get to the paint when he wants to.”

On this night at least, Taylor looked like a pitcher blessed with a 100 mph fastball who realizes it’s better to throw a 93 mph strike than to walk the park while short-circuiting the radar gun.

If all goes well and Josh Selby gets cleared by the NCAA, by the time Big 12 Conference play arrives, Kansas could have one of the nation’s quickest backcourts to complement the nation’s best twins.

Comments

Dan Spurgin 3 years, 8 months ago

Like clockwork. Run this article in the fall and then again in the summer.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 8 months ago

Slayr----You stole my thunder with that last paragraph. All I can say, in regard to the "quickest backcourts to complement the nation's best twins," is "I totally agree!" If and when Selby gets on the court, it will fun to watch!

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hawk316 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom, another nice article, displaying good insight and sound reasoning. I also enjoy your self-deprecating humor. It's a good quality not to take oneself too seriously.

I think TT has finallly gotten over the hump. He will have his moments of regression, of course, but they should be fewer and farther between. If he stays within his game and keeps his eyes on the stated goal, this kid is going to be an awesome piece of a very beautiful puzzle. May it be so.

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steamboat 3 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully we won't have time to shoot alot of 3's in transition at 110 mph. We could see a ton of layups and jams I hope. Speed and hardnose D will create that all night long. RCJH

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birdsong 3 years, 8 months ago

If he has grown up so much then why does he keep making comments regarding Tyrel Reed--I can beat him in sprints, I think they didn't test his vertical jump correctly, etc. Exactly what is his beef with Reed? Maybe that Reed started ahead of him last year?

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hawk316 3 years, 8 months ago

bird, those words were spoken entirely in jest (sometimes, it is difficult to discern humor and/or sarcasm in print). I'm sure TT and Tyrel are on very good terms, and Tyshawn was just having some good natured fun with a teammate.

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jhox 3 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like good old teammate trash talking to me. This team seems to have great chemistry. There is no point trying to make controversy where there is none.

Anyone who has been on an athletic team of any kind in the last 20 years would recognize this as just a good friendly ribbing between teammates. Nothing to be concerned about, Birdsong.

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Ben Kane 3 years, 8 months ago

reminds me the problems russ rob had early on and he turned out pretty well.

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ku_foaf 3 years, 8 months ago

It seemed to me he had already turned a corner in February. His attitude just seemed different, more relaxed and he played well. You could see it in his face. Good for him.

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Danny Hernandez 3 years, 8 months ago

We need TT this year...His speed can't be taught per HCBS and he is so fricking quick, it's unbelievable....

Our backcourt speed, with EJ, TT and JS will be headaches to the opposition

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KGphoto 3 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget Tyrel. Fastest guy on the team for 3 years now. Plus I believe he has the best vertical leap too. As a senior, he might just break out and start dunking on everybody. Sometimes all it takes is one big play to instill the confidence to go for it.

I know it's not his role, but I can dream.

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Christopher Johnson 3 years, 8 months ago

"On this night at least, Taylor looked like a pitcher blessed with a 100 mph fastball who realizes it’s better to throw a 93 mph strike than to walk the park while short-circuiting the radar gun."

Wow, Keenan! You always end up with extremely wordy anologies in your stories. Maybe give them a rest? I think that's a minus 2 in third grade for a run-on sentence!

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

Niko is the son of Norm Roberts (Is Norm still coaching at St John?), who was on Coach Self's staff before and at the beginning of his time at KU. Still comes back for camps and clinics.

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jaybate 3 years, 8 months ago

"If all goes well and Josh Selby gets cleared by the NCAA, by the time Big 12 Conference play arrives..."--Keegs

Poor Josh. Poor Josh's mom.

Notice how not only Self, but Keegs, too, is toning down expectations on Selby's return date. Keegs is talking January now, and prefaces even that with the big "If."

Self now puts qualifiers on just how good Selby is. Before, he was, according to Self, going to be one of the leagues best players this season.

Self's and Keegs' spinning seems to be on a glide path toward Selby leaving KU sometime around January, or earlier.

Reading further between the spun tea leaves, Selby would seem to have no better than a 50/50 chance of ever playing in a KU game.

So: why is Josh still here?

1) Josh's Mom probably wants her son to go to college for at least a year, while this is all sorting out. She probably wants him to come back next season, if he is not cleared for this season.

2 There remains a slim chance that he will be cleared.

3) Perhaps staying on the team creates an opportunity for him to say, well, he was never cleared to play his freshman year, but he spent his freshman year on a D1 team and so he is unquestionably qualified to jump to the L after the season, rather than face issues about whether or not he has to spend another season in D1 before jumping.

Whatever, I'm still saying my prayers that he gets cleared.

KU needs Josh and Josh needs KU.

Something good could come out of this still.

Josh may realize how precarious things are in sports and decide to spend a couple of years in Lawrence.

He did afterall have the good sense to bail out of UTenn and the Dark Pearl.

And his mother seemed a genuine about wanting him to have the college experience.

But maybe I'm dreaming again.

Lesser guys might have cut and run already.

Rock Chalk, Josh!

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Jacobpaul81 3 years, 8 months ago

What he looks like is he doesn't have Sherron Ball Hog Collins calling for the ball on every possession. I can't tell you how many times I watched Collins call for the ball when he was in a terrible position to receive it and poor Tyshawn had to pass it to him, or Bill would go all Russell Robinson on him and bench him for not passing it. Then when he did pass it and the ball was stolen (as it so often was when Collins played), Bill still benched him. It was a lose lose situation for TT.

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KGphoto 3 years, 8 months ago

Although I agree that Tyshawn wasn't responding as Sherron's understudy, I'm not sure we had too many other options. Sherron was "hogging" because nobody else was ready to step up. And Tyshawn certainly learned a thing or two about mental toughness along the way.

Here's hoping he breaks out by applying that knowledge.

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KGphoto 3 years, 8 months ago

Now for my own comment. Short and sweet.

Not only do TT and Selby form the fastest backcourt in the country, Tyrel Reed and EJ are capable of turning our backcourt into a never ending nightmare for opponents. That's four of the fastest players in all of college basketball coming at you with fresh legs and determination. I get tired just imagining guarding these guys for 40 minutes.

If they even remotely put this guard rotation together, and they start clicking? Hwooof.

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HAWKTOPIA 3 years, 8 months ago

The key for TT is to MAKE the quick step lay-ups, fouled or not. TT has what should be his signature move, but does not convert the lay-up enough. If this is not working he will not take it again, and will not see the easy dish for a slam to MM and MM, or the pass to JS or TR in the corner for 3. Make the lay-ups on the drive or sit down and watch. Every team needs a perimeter player who one man cannot guard. step up TT.

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