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Originally published February 22, 2011 at 12:00a.m., updated February 22, 2011 at 10:42a.m.

Keegan

Did Tyshawn Taylor just get Pipped?

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Lou Gehrig didn’t become Lou Gehrig in one night, so it’s a little early to fit Tyshawn Taylor for the moniker Wally Pipp, but Elijah Johnson’s performance in the first game of Taylor’s untimely indefinite suspension opened a door that Johnson walked through quite gracefully Monday.

After Johnson contributed 15 points and three assists with just two turnovers in Kansas University’s 92-65 rout of Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse, the victorious coach made it clear with several statements that the starting point-guard position is Johnson’s to lose.

As Arte Johnson used to say on Rowan and Martin Laugh-In, “Interesting. Very interesting.” And Johnson — Elijah, not Arte — only got the start because the special device for Josh Selby’s shoe was at his mother’s house, so he wasn’t ready to start until the correct shoe was retrieved for him.

While it’s true that if a team has three point guards sharing the job, it actually doesn’t have any point guards, that’s not a death sentence to national-title hopes in this season of imperfection in college basketball.

It doesn’t get much easier for a player to break into the starting lineup than playing a home game against an Oklahoma State team one year after the James Anderson era and one season before LeBryan Nash’s arrival, in other words an atypically vulnerable Cowboys squad. Still, Johnson showed enough to want to see what he can do Saturday on the road against Oklahoma and again at home March 2 when Texas A&M visits on Senior Day.

As baseball lore has it, Pip was hung over, said he was sick and asked out of the lineup, and Gehrig saw to it that he never got back in. Taylor, of course, didn’t ask out of the lineup. He was told by his coach that whatever team rule he broke, he got caught breaking it.

The team needed either Johnson, who started the season with a two-game suspension for non-specific knuckle-headed behavior, or Selby to play terrifically to shift the focus away from Taylor’s latest self-destructive transgression. Johnson did so by for the most part being content to run the offense that very often resulted in either Marcus Morris showing why he’s a strong Big 12 Player of the Year candidate or in Johnson hitting a jumper he didn’t hurry.

Maybe Taylor’s the last to fall into line and is shocked into cerebral play on and off the court, or maybe coach Bill Self lets Johnson take the reins. Taylor need only look at specific instances of the Morris twins from the past two games to realize it’s possible to let the mind defeat emotions, one of life’s never-ending battles for most of us.

Midway through the second half of Saturday’s victory against Colorado, Markieff snared a rebound in traffic, and his elbows were pointed outward when he came down with it as Buffaloes from all directions were trying to slap at the ball. The natural, emotional response would have had Markieff swinging his elbows to clear space. It looked as if he was about to do just that, but he checked his swing in the nick of time, drew his elbows to his body and covered up the ball. Not missing a beat, the crowd applauded him for his cool-headed play.

His personable brother Marcus, clearly wounded by the heat his brother took in the wake of a three-point, no-rebound night in the loss at Kansas State, was nothing short of terrific Monday, scoring 27 points, leaping to the heavens for an on-ball blocked shot and going out of his way afterward to praise his twin, the star of the Colorado game. Oklahoma State’s wide-body power forward Matt Pilgrim looked as if on a mission to trigger Marcus’ temper at the outset of the game, talking trash to him and bumping him constantly and even nailing him with an elbow. Marcus let Pilgrim play the role of bouncer, and he played the role of the bartender tossing glasses in the air, catching them, pouring drinks with style and pretty much making himself the center of attention without moving his lips.

“It’s hard to say he was trying to,” Marcus said. “At the beginning of the game, he gave me a little ’bow to show he was there. And I gave him 27 (points) to show I was there.”

Taylor also could learn watching the way Johnson, not nearly as quick afoot as Taylor, stayed focused defensively in chasing Keiton Page, the Cowboys’ sawed-off gunner, around screens and frustrating him into a 2-for-11 shooting performance. Self detailed how Johnson played a few of those screens the wrong way, and Johnson also didn’t look like a point guard when he turned it over when trapped near halfcourt once and again threw it away when trying to feed Markieff in the post from an awkward angle. Johnson wasn’t perfect, but he played well enough to make Self tell the world he has a serious shot at stealing Taylor’s job.

Maybe Self said what he said to capture Taylor’s attention, or maybe the coach simply has grown weary of inconsistent point-guard play and is ready to turn the job over to the most consistent performer.

North Carolina’s season turned for the better when junior Larry Drew II was benched in favor of freshman Kendall Marshall. St. Louis Cardinals ace Joaquin Andujar once said, “Baseball can be summed up in one word: Youneverknow.” The same goes for basketball.

• A previous version of this story was updated.

Comments

trout984bum 3 years, 2 months ago

Lee, I had the same suspicions about Keegan's supposed speed disparity between Taylor and Johnson, even though I think Taylor may be a bit faster.

I'd still like to see the Selby we saw in his first game as a Jayhawk. Taylor's attitude and lack of ball control will always drive me crazy, but now it's Johnson's turn to not screw up or get injured...

However, if I've seen it once, I've seen it a thousand times. One fantastic game against a mediocre opponent is no benchmark for deciding who gets the start for the remainder of the year. Let's see what happens over the next few games.

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lee3022 3 years, 2 months ago

The goal of a journalist in modern Internet format is to evoke page hits and comments. In that regard this article is an outstanding success. The advertisers will be pleased.

I am no basher so this is a serious question:

"Taylor also could learn watching the way Johnson, not nearly as quick afoot as Taylor, stayed focused defensively in chasing Keiton Page"

Since Bob Knight (suspected of having some knowledge of the game) in the broadcast said that Johnson had all the physical skills of Taylor is Johnson really not as quick afoot as Taylor as Mr Keegan contends?

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Robert Rauktis 3 years, 2 months ago

"Lou Gehrig didn’t become Lou Gehrig in one night, so it’s a little early to fit Tyshawn Taylor for the moniker Wally Pipp, but Elijah Johnson’s performance in the first game of Taylor’s untimely indefinite suspension opened a door that Johnson walked through quite gracefully Monday."

This is great!! Four lines of run-on sentence. Great for teaching the "no's" in simple communication and creative writing.

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Lance Hobson 3 years, 2 months ago

Is TT really faster than EJ? I can't believe that, EJ is a speedster. If he's a pot smoker we should just get rid of him, we don't need that on our team.

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Woody Cragg 3 years, 2 months ago

IMO if it's more "impotent" to smoke it insted of walk it (rope), he should wear a damn tuxedo to a vasectomy so he can look impotent too! Sounds to me as he appreciates Kansas University about as much as a pig in a white shirt, so let him go elsewhere to get just whatever he wants. He's likely getting what he's got coming now. JMO

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squawkhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

<<<<<<<>>>>>> Little Tyshawn Taylor was suspended for failing to tinkle in a jar. Instead, he enlisted the help of a WBB player, also suspended, to tinkle for him. Naughtly little birds!

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 2 months ago

Now, as I have said earlier that, Johnson should be playing rather then Drunken Brady. Klutz Brady made 2 free throws and thats it. Can't make a layup, missed 2 shots, lost man 3 times, fouls man that makes shot and free throw, he is totally a dud. Johnson, Little, and Releford are the players that need mins. keep brainless Brady on the bench. When Brady is on the bench you could see the chemistry gel out there.

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jaybate 3 years, 2 months ago

"Maybe Self said what he said to capture Taylor’s attention, or maybe the coach simply has grown weary of inconsistent point-guard play and is ready to turn the job over to the most consistent performer."

--Tom bo gai aka Kung Pow Keegs aka The Most Inconsistent Sport Commentator in KU History,

Leave it to Keegs to write an uninspired story that is a deep down tick from a clump of recent good stories and do so when writing about Taylor being inconsistent.

As Gomer Pyle might have shouted, "Citizen's arrest for imitative fallacy! Citizen's Arrest for Imitative Fallacy!"

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 2 months ago

How do I correlate TT defense on Pullen to Bill Buckner?

Pullen Bucknerized Taylor last week?

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Lebowski 3 years, 2 months ago

I didn't like to think of TT getting Wally Pipp'ed... I like to think that he just got Munsoned. Maybe he'll come back in March and start at point with a rubber hand.

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juke4jay 3 years, 2 months ago

You kiddos are making me feel quite old today. e.g. 'What was Laugh In'?? Wow, talk about a generational gap!

I've been a consistent Keegan basher, but found this article entertaining, and the title enaging. Everyone is entitled to their viewpoint. Given the number of baby boomers out there + Jayhawk fans, I suspect this article was overall a big winner for LJW.

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Danny Hernandez 3 years, 2 months ago

I thought Tom could have written his article without the "The team needed either Johnson, who started the season with a two-game suspension for non-specific knuckle-headed behavior, or Selby to play terrifically to shift the focus away from Taylor’s latest self-destructive transgression." TK, Really, was that necessary to get your point across? Nice how you slyly referred to Johnson as knuckle-headed and Taylor as self-destructive....At least you're not a homer...Can't imagine how you'd write the article if you were DeArmond or a tiger booster.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 2 months ago

All readers agree The fact that Keegan is paid Makes us want to puke

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RockCaCO3 3 years, 2 months ago

Alot of English Majors posting today. Time for a sonnet, or maybe a haiku, ah yes, I love haikus!

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Judgesmails 3 years, 2 months ago

Another lame article from Woodling,,,,err, Keegan.

Isn't there some hoops legend from the peach basket days you could have referred to instead of Wally Pip?

Laugh-In ? What the hell is that?

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Adam Evans 3 years, 2 months ago

Throughout most of the first half of this season, everyone was screaming for EJ to "get his chance". I never once thought he was ready. And at that point, he showed time and again why he wasn't ready. OKST is a decent team. Sure, not a top tier B12 team, but decent nonetheless. EJ became a man last night. He wont the confidence of his teammates, his coach, and his fans. Including myself. Way to go EJ. Now that you are in the driver's seat, drive us home buddy.

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Mangino_Maniac 3 years, 2 months ago

Did I read that correctly - did Keegan just use a quote from Joaquin Andujar???

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RockChalkDoc 3 years, 2 months ago

Wouldn't it be more accurate to ask if Tyshawn had just gotten "Gehrigged"?

Great team effort against OSU. The unsung hero was Mario Little. He went after every rebound with a vengeance, ending up with ten in only 19 minutes!

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wildhrt 3 years, 2 months ago

Even more than the the misspelling of Walter Pipp, the more glaring error is Keegan's comparison of Elijah Johnson to Pipp. Pipp was the person for whom Gehrig substituted and became the new starter. Why would Elijah Johnson be fitted for the moniker Wally Pipp if he ultimately replaces Tyshawn Taylor as the starter? The more apt comparison would be Elijah as Gehrig and Taylor as Pipp.

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davelass 3 years, 2 months ago

Keegan...wow. As I attempted to read through this 20 car pile up you posted as an "article" I couldn't help but ponder a whole series of "would you rather" queries...you know..the game you played on the bus for that god awful 4 hour away game...at this point I would rather stick bamboo under my nails while listening to a loop of Tears for Fears then attempt to process again what I just read..

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Funhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

This was a fun article. The beginning was funny if you are a baby boomer. Ha - Artie Johnson hiding in the bushes at Laugh-In, "Vehr-dee een-ter-est-ink." After last night's game, yes, things at the point guard are very interesting. Did you see Elijah's look of concentration the whole game. Elijah was a bottle of glue emptied onto that sawed off gun slinger. He shut him down! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlm4O_...

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swjhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

That lead sentence wasn't even worthy of a junior high newspaper. Count me in as a Keegan basher.

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KGphoto 3 years, 2 months ago

Interesting enough story. Not too sure about the Cowboys being "vulnerable" without LeBryan Nash or James Anderson though, since Moses parted the crimson twins last night and scored an all-too-easy 27. Or should I bartender-it-up and say he poured in 27, on 8-11 shots.

Mostly I liked it. A little creative writing in jaybate's absence is appreciated. But uh, jaybate... any time now.

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Cameron Schienebeck 3 years, 2 months ago

I love playing the Keegan headline game. It's amazing how many times I can look through and pick his out. I'll just leave it at that.

As for the game, EJ played great but those of you who think we don't need TT are just plain stupid. This game is about depth and we are one of the few teams with depth and experience on our side. We'll need both come tournament time.

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12steps 3 years, 2 months ago

Tommy, what have ya been drinking lad? Sounds like you hit the top shelf.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 2 months ago

As ahper says everytime he reads a tk article "waitwhat"

The last paragraph was my favorite. Talking about UNC season turning move. Err whoops, they just set the record for fewest points scored in a home game last weened in a 2 point win over BC. To a quote from a obscure STL pitcher.

For the love of god! Please ljw execs! Please!

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RockCaCO3 3 years, 2 months ago

"Maybe Self said what he said to capture Taylor’s attention, or maybe the coach simply has grown weary of inconsistent point-guard play and is ready to turn the job over to the most consistent performer."

The later.

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Janet Scott 3 years, 2 months ago

Nice article, Tom. On the mark.

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upinsmoke 3 years, 2 months ago

I have to echo what topjayhawk said. Pilgram and Moses were running their mouths and bumping all night trying to get a reaction from the twins. Good level headed play tonight from them, and EJ was just what we need. He didn't force anything and let the game come to him. Hopefully he will not let this performance go to his head, and continue this play on Saturday.

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 2 months ago

Velle interesting Tom. Great writing, fun to read. Wally Pip is part of our culture, and you even explained.

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Brianna Zaleski 3 years, 2 months ago

Why the reference to a bartender and a bouncer? So random. Maybe we have a little insight into where TK watches the games and why his columns suck so bad... Too much time drinking and staring at coeds at Fatsos... Fatso!

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Patrickulating 3 years, 2 months ago

Don't be too hard on TK. It took me 15 seconds to google Pipp's name. TK might not have had that kind of spare time.

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actorman 3 years, 2 months ago

Good point, Patrick. I missed that misspelling. Common, TK, get your details right.

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Patrickulating 3 years, 2 months ago

"Lou Gehrig didn’t become Lou Gehrig in one night, so it’s a little early to fit Elijah Johnson for the moniker Wally Pip, but Johnson’s performance in the first game of Tyshawn Taylor’s untimely indefinite suspension opened a door that Johnson walked through quite gracefully Monday."

It is actually Pipp, with three Ps. http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/pipp.asp

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TopJayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Yeah baby. Way to go Marcus. I've been one of those "snakes" you were refering to. Please understand, I never criticised your skills, your effort, or your loyalty to the team. All I was refering to was your getting angry and doing dumb things that hurt the team, and mostly, yourself. Keep your head and make 'em pay on the court. Like with 27 points.

I am so proud of you tonight that if it were permissable, or practicle, which it is not, I would take you to lunch tomorrow and tell you how proud I am of you...

Rock Chalk 'Cus and 'Kief. That's the stuff right there.

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actorman 3 years, 2 months ago

The usual Keegan-bashers are out in force. Go ahead, get your ridiculous aggression out of your system ...

That being said, although it's a good article, there are a couple of errors that need to be fixed:

(a) "it’s a little early to fit Elijah Johnson for the moniker Wally Pip ..." This is a particularly egregious error, since the whole point of the article is that Tyshawn Taylor would be Wally Pip, not Elijah Johnson.

(b) This error isn't as big a deal, but it's Arte Johnson, not Artie Johnson.

Other than those couple of things, good article.

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Todd 3 years, 2 months ago

This article was pure jibberish.

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LAJayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

"Oklahoma State’s wide-body power forward Matt Pilgrim looked as if on a mission to trigger Marcus’ temper at the outset of the game, talking trash to him and bumping him constantly and even nailing him with an elbow."

Yeah, that was pretty clear wasn't it? It's fairly obvious what the scouting report says in how opposing bigs want to take on the twins. Double props to Marcus for keeping himself under control and dominating Pilgrim on the court.

Well done, Marcus. Well done.

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KSA_21_3503 3 years, 2 months ago

I get the feeling this article was rushed. Hey Keegs, time to brush up on your grammar: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Grammar-Style/dp/1592571158

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murph 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't know what you just read, but I just read about two of KU's players making boneheaded mistakes - Tyshawn tailoring himself into Self's doghouse, and then Josh Selby being so careless as to not have his necessary equipment where it should have been - and Elijah Johnson making the most of his unexpected chance.

Welcome to the startlng lineup, Mr. Johnson. We hope you enjoy your stay.

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Christopher Hauser 3 years, 2 months ago

“It’s hard to say he was trying to,” Marcus said. “At the beginning of the game, he gave me a little ’bow to show he was there. And I gave him 27 (points) to show I was there.”

Instant classic!

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