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Friday, December 9, 2011

OSU’s Jared Sullinger probable for Kansas

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Bill Self weekly press conference: Dec. 8, 2011

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Kansas head men's basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media at his weekly press conference Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Nothing’s official yet, but it sure sounds as if Jared Sullinger will be healthy enough to play in Saturday’s Ohio State-Kansas University basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse.

“He just told me he feels great,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Thursday afternoon, referring to the 6-foot-9, 265-pound sophomore All-America candidate out of Columbus, Ohio, who has been limited at practice this week because of back spasms. “He said he woke up dancing this morning, but I don’t know what that entails.”

Sullinger missed Saturday’s 64-35 home rout of Texas Pan American.

“It’ll probably be Saturday,” Matta said, asked when he’ll know whether Sullinger will be able to answer the call in the 2:15 p.m. tipoff.

“I’ll be perfectly honest with you: Saturday is not the most important thing in my mind for him. We definitely want him to play. I think he’s the best player in college basketball, but I want to make sure what we do is right by him as well.”

KU coach Bill Self is counting on Sullinger being able to participate in the battle between the country’s No. 2- (OSU) and 13-ranked (KU) teams.

“If I was a betting man, I’d say Thad is probably not a very good poker player, because I think that he’ll probably play,” Self said. “I hope he does play. He’s one of the better players that’s played in our building in recent memory.

“One of the draws of playing Ohio State and a great team is getting a chance to play against great players. Our guys like that. It’s an unbelievable game where you have two terrific teams and sets of players going after each other.”

KU junior Thomas Robinson, who averages 17.4 points and 12.0 rebounds for KU (6-2), hopes Sullinger (19.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg) takes the court for the Buckeyes (8-0).

“I mean, (it’s) competition. At the same time, it’s a health decision, but if it was my pick, I’d definitely have him in the game,” Robinson said.

Robinson and Sullinger attended the Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James and adidas Nations camps last summer.

“He’s fun to play against. He’s a smart player, very good player. We definitely had a good time,” Robinson said.

One of Sullinger’s teammates is convinced the big man will be in the lineup Saturday.

“Jared looks kind of tough, but he’s a big teddy bear,” point guard Aaron Craft said. “He was walking around really gingerly about four or five days ago, but now he’s looking a lot better. Now he’s got the bounce back in his step.”

Self said KU senior guard Tyshawn Taylor would return to the starting lineup. Taylor “tweaked “ his knee at practice Monday, yet played 34 minutes in Tuesday’s 88-80 victory over Long Beach State.

Home and home: Matta was asked if the KU-Ohio State series would continue.

“We’re going to play next year. They come to our place (in Columbus, Ohio, to complete two-year deal). Hey, by that time, who knows? Maybe they’ll be in the Big Ten or we’ll be in the Big 12 with how all this stuff is shaking out,” he joked of conference realignment.

Big game: KU-OSU game figures to be the marquee game of the weekend. It will be shown live on ESPN.

“I agree we have a chance to make a statement for our team. We have a chance to do something that would be really good for our team and program,” Self said. “We get a chance to have a great team come to Allen Fieldhouse, and it’ll be a juiced atmosphere. I thought we had the national stage in Maui (vs Duke in final) and in the Garden (vs. Kentucky in New York). We have been in a situation where there has been a center stage, and we’ve been a part of it. Now we get a chance to be part of the biggest stage we have a chance to be a part of (this season). I know our guys will look forward to it and the coaches will as well.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments

Brian Conrad 2 years, 4 months ago

Withey , we fans are way nuts. but YOU are GREAT. with you in the game T ROB much better.. and the shot blocking is something only you bring to the table. people forget how important that is.. stay out of the cheap fouls.. and OSU may remember "those big fellows at KU"

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Dr. Robert s. Mosser 2 years, 4 months ago

Lots of dunks but as least two times showed good hands when ball was down low. Hands is one thing that seems to separate TRob and Withey.

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Jayhawks Rock 2 years, 4 months ago

Well folks, it's been a pleasure reading your posts. I read the large majority of them and feel I am richer for it. What a pleasant evening.

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RustyTee 2 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawk fans in OHIO. Would love to see the Hawks win this one. We lived in Ohio (since 2003) and have watched this team in person, they are very good and well coached. Sullinger and Robinson two of the best this year. What I fear is the inconsistent guard play for KU. DO NOT underestimate Aarron Craft. As the team leader he's the real deal, consistantly makes good decisions with the ball. He plays 40 min. of heads up ball, not the fastest, but does so many things away from the ball. Atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse 100 times better than Schottenstein Center in Columbus, should make the difference for the Hawks.

Go Jayhawks!

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John Randall 2 years, 4 months ago

I lose patience very quickly when someone wants to get things the easy way.

Can't we just be grateful for this opportunity to watch our guys challenged all the way this early in the season? Who was it who first said, "To get better, I have to play someone better than I am." Some tennis player, I think.

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danmoore 2 years, 4 months ago

I hate the timing of this game. If we had played OSU annually for the last 25 seasons we would likely be about 20-5 against them. It's unfortunate we meet in one of those rare seasons where they happen to be the better team.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

More on recruiting:

p>Scout.com on their Phognet page for KU, dated Dec. 9th, has an in depth write-up/interview with White on his decision making process for selecting KU, and the aftermath of his decision. Makes him sound much more intelligent than most recruits.

Article ends with White saying he can't wait to become a Jayhawk. Sounds to me like he already is a Jayhawk, a true "Crimson and Blue" Jayhawk at heart.

Wish all KU recruits would read the article.

Also recommend it to those fans doubting the KU coaching staff's recruit selection process.

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Ian Brown 2 years, 4 months ago

Okay, I have spent too much time talking about next years players/team. So I'll go ahead and discuss a couple things I think we must do in order to compete:

NOTE: Many of these points will sound obvious, but with this team, the obvious must be stated and made blatantly clear.

  1. Contain Sullinger and keep him off the offensive boards. Considering TRob is one of the best defensive rebounders in the country, this goal should be attainable. However, if he's not careful, it could lead to foul trouble for TRob, which leads me to my next point.

  2. Our big men must stay out of foul trouble. In order to compete, Withey and TRob not only have to bring their A-game, but they must stay in the game!

  3. Our guards--I'm talking to you TT, Elijah and Releford--must take care of the ball and focus on each possession. Tyshawn will not get away with any lackadaisical passes with Craft guarding him. In fact, it sounds odd, but against this OSU team, our guards should be "guarding" the ball when it is in our possession, because their guards have a knack for knocking balls away and getting in the lanes for easy takeaways. Tyshawn should be particularly careful here. Unfortunately I could see Craft getting into Tyshawn's head. Hope not.

  4. Releford must lock down Buford. Releford is our best perimeter defender and Buford is OSUs best outside shooter. Releford cannot leave him open or else Buford will make him pay as he shoots 46% from beyond the arc. I think Releford is up for this challenge, but if he continues to struggle offensively, Releford can't let that get to his head. We need his defense.

  5. Get the ball to Robinson! I know Robinson has a tendency to rush things--and I could certainly see him doing it against his basketball arch-nemesis, Jared Sullinger (obviously, they'll be battling for bragging rights, and possibly draft positioning)--but we must find a way to get the ball in his hands. This is easier said than done, for our passing has been god-awful this season, especially when attempting to feed the post. Most importantly, this could get OSUs bigs into foul trouble, and their front court is not deep at all. Also, TRob should do everything he can to take advantage of a "hobbled" Sullinger.

  6. Hit open threes! This has a lot to do with TRob as well. He must know when to kick the ball back out when he's being double/triple teamed. We know Teahan can knock down the open shot (In fact, I'm looking for him to have a big game), but our guy Elijah MUST (must is supposed to be in all caps) hit shots tomorrow if we want to win. I think Elijah is going to come up big. We need him to come up like UCLA big.

And... I could go on forever, but I've already spent entirely too much time on this website today, so I will probably rejoin the conversation later tonight or tomorrow.

P.S. Like I said, most of this is simple; obvious; fundamental; etc. However, with this team especially, you cannot take anything for granted.

Rock Chalk!

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Joe Baker 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm so glad that TRob and Withey got to battle the twins before they went to the NBA. They are both better and stronger than Sullinger inside and definitely outside. Sullinger has no outside game.

Withey and TRob have played with Sullinger caliber players for a few years at KU. They should both be up for the challenge inside. TRob has the edge because OSU bigs will have to play TRob outside after the LBST game. Monson said it best, "We wanted to force TRob outsde to beat us, he did."

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BrockIII 2 years, 4 months ago

UNC vs UK will probably go down as the biggest matchup of the year with all the starpower that shared that court. Sullinger and Robinson would probably be the biggest individual matchup of the year though - two All-American first teamers and future lottery picks battling it out. Fun fun fun.

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tical523 2 years, 4 months ago

Their guard Aaron Craft is the one that really scares me. He controls the ball as well as Steve Nash and is so solid on D. . .if he is hitting threes watch out. gotta bring it tomorrow guards!!! Rock chalk.

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AsadZ 2 years, 4 months ago

OSU game without Sullinger will be a NO WIN situation for KU.

If we win, folks will point out that OSU was not at full strength

If we lose, folks will point how how overrated KU is that we lost to OSU at home without Sullinger.

That is why I hope Sullinger plays tomorrow.

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bennybob 2 years, 4 months ago

This is bad news for the KU fan in me.

For the basketball fan in me this couldn't be better. I'm really excited to watch T Rob and Sullinger spar for draft potitioning on saturday.

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Ron Franklin 2 years, 4 months ago

My biggest fear is that TRob and Tyshawn are going to try too hard too often and not play within the team concept.

Kansas obviously has the defense to stay in this game. I just fear their lack of patience on the offensive end is going to cost the Hawks a close one.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

Why there is hope for a Kansas victory:

1] Although Sullinger declares himself 100%, a back injury is a real issue in basketball and going up against TRob, he may over-exert and reinjure himself. 2] The game is in Allen Fieldhouse...always a factor toward victory. 3] Withey continues to stand tall and dominate the middle...can make people alter shots without actually making contact. 4] Long Beach State game provided lessons and improvement goals for Tyshawn, Elijah and Travis. 5] Conner stays hot from the outside. 6] The highlight ESPN game gets a top notch set of refs.

Why there is fear for a Kansas defeat:

1]Sullinger is actually 100% healthy, plays out of his mind on a national stage and gets TRob in early foul trouble. 2]OSU takes the Kansas crowd out of the game early. 3]Withey tries to do too much and also gets in foul trouble. 4] Tyshawn, Elijah and Travis still think they're playing Long Beach State. 5] Conner goes cold from the outside. 6] There are no top notch set of refs anywhere.

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HawkKlaw 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm not as worried about this game as I was when the season started. I think KU has a decent chance considering we've already had some great matchups against outstanding teams this season...we should be well-prepared for tomorrow night! Let's roll TRob! And TT, we need you to play smart!

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Robert Brock 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad that Sullinger is going to play. Should be a fun game.

KU should keep it close...unless Taylor, Johnson, and Releford turn it over at the usual rate.

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theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate is a rogue.......a maverick.......a desperado.......an outlaw.

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theend 2 years, 4 months ago

KU will keep it close tomorrow/......but i would expect OSU will pull away in the end and win. But this game....like the other two.......is so good for the team.....especially pay off in March.

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theend 2 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate is posting comments on the football page on the Weis story. I didn't know he was a football swami as well as basketball. He is multi-talented. He is a guru.

What's next for Jaybate.....Political satire? Travel Advice? Stock tips?

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kushaw 2 years, 4 months ago

IMO, I think it's going to be interesting how the officials call this game. I hope with all the "build-up" of this game that it doesn't turn into the dud that was the 2007 Championship between Florida and Ohio State.

That game had all the components to be great, but the officials got whistle happy and took Horford, Noah, and Oden completely out of the mix.

Let's hope Withey stays grounded.

IMO, I don't think it would be a bad move to start Wesley in front of Withey just to get the officials use to the rough play that will most likely will happen underneath. I mean, Wesley is foul happy anyway so why not make it count and get the officials prepared. Not saying it's the best decision just a possible smart option. You know, the officials will give Sullinger benefit of the doubt on a couple calls in this game.

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FSUJHAWK 2 years, 4 months ago

This will be a game about the guards on both sides of the ball. We also need Mr. Robinson to play within the system and himself.

RCJHGKU!!!

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope Sullinger is 100% and feels better than he's ever felt before.

Don't want the Butteyes having any excuses after we we beat the opponents. Soundly. In the skirmish. (any Brian Regan fans out there?)

If we control the turnovers, we win the game. RCJH.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

To sum up this year's Kansas Team: Most of the time we are as fun to watch as the Harlem Globetrotters. It's just those 5-7 minutes each half when we look like the Washington Generals that make me nervous.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Just read that KU has hired Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame head coach, as the new football coach. With the large head coaching carousel at season's end, KU could have done worse. Good luck, Coach Weis.

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Ian Brown 2 years, 4 months ago

I posted this in one of yesterdays comment sections, but I don't think many people saw it with all the Charlie Weis commotion.

Well, Jaybate, I hope you didn't scare off all the bloggers that are still interested in basketball in the midst of the KU coaching madness.

Anyhow, I wanted to give an update that I recently saw on our future PF/C Landen Lucas. Now I know he's only a 3-star recruit (as of now) and not ranked by high school hype-machines rivals.com and ESPNU, so I know there are plenty of you who couldn't care less about what he actually does on the court (ratings are all that matters, right?), but it sure does appear that he's off to a pretty damn good start to his senior season:

http://highschoolhoop.com/video/2011/12/kansas-recruit-landen-lucas-goes-beast-mode-in-season-opener/

"Lucas had 27 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots in about 25 minutes as the Wildcats opened their season with a 79-51 win over visiting Oregon City."

The above link also features an interview/highlights from his dominating season opening performance. He looks much better than your average "3-star" recruit.

He went on to say he actually came up short for his goal, which was 30 points and 20 rebounds... so he was a few points off.

Oh yeah, he also went for 30 points and 16 rebounds in Tuesday nights game...

This kid is a baller. I think we are really going to enjoy having this young man as a part of Jayhawk nation, especially after D-Manning spends some time with him.

Rock Chalk Lucas Hawk

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justanotherhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

If I had to predict, Sullinger won't be our demise if we lose. I predict the guard play will be the difference. If we can't keep the turnovers to absolute minimum we will highly decrease our chances.

If Taylor and EJ combine for 5 or less turnovers we have a shot to win. More than that, we are in trouble. Team turnovers need to be 10 or less.

RCJH beat OSU!

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 4 months ago

Sullinger all of a sudden felt better, wow. i'm sure that has nothing to do with recent TRob's solid performance! anyway, it's a good news! looking forward to another great play by TRob, Withey, Teahan (& the rest of the team).

rock chalk!

(starting TT made me nervous, though)

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

Craft's defensive pressure will bother Tyshawn. Elijah would just blow by him.

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