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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keegan

Break makes KU basketball better, but could immaturity return?

Kansas players Tyrel Reed (14) and Travis Releford (far right) congratulate Tyshawn Taylor during a timeout in the first half against UMKC on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Tyrel Reed (14) and Travis Releford (far right) congratulate Tyshawn Taylor during a timeout in the first half against UMKC on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU vs. UMKC

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Kansas defeated UMKC, 99-52 on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 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' 99-52 victory over UMKC on Jan. 5, 2011.

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The list of things to love about Kansas University’s undefeated, third-ranked basketball team runs deep.

For one thing, the Jayhawks have accomplished what good teams usually do during the semester break. They have turned the extra practice time into more even performances, such as Wednesday night’s 99-52 smack-down of UMKC.

For another, even with senior Mario Little serving an indefinite suspension, Kansas has become a deeper basketball team with a greater number of players giving their coach reason to trust them in tough spots, of which there will be many during the Big 12 schedule.

Third-year sophomore Travis Releford, a utility man, has established himself as a stellar defender, both inside and on the perimeter, and a vastly improved shooter.

Sophomore Elijah Johnson has made huge offensive strides, doing a nice job of distributing, shooting and energizing. He has just nine turnovers in 199 minutes of action and has shot .481 from long range.

Freshman guard Josh Selby, who has a quicker trigger than Will Sonnett ever displayed in a dusty television duel, gets better all the time. In one smooth, lighting-quick motion, Selby morphs from dribbling to shooting and is always lined up correctly. He’s made an outrageous 56 percent of his three-point shots, and most of those have been swishes.

The guards do a nice job of feeding the post with over-the-top passes, and the big men catch what’s thrown their way, big factors in the team’s .537 overall shooting percentage. KU also shoots accurately from long range. Subtract senior Brady Morningstar’s 26 attempts and seven makes and the team is shooting .417 on three-pointers, the equivalent of shooting .626 from inside the arc.

Coach Bill Self can use three of the following four guards and have outrageous speed and two or three three-point-shooting threats on the court: Tyshawn Taylor, Selby, Johnson and Tyrel Reed.

Taylor, who against UMKC played his best game since Selby’s activation, joined Selby and Johnson for a stretch that called to mind the days of Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins and Russell Robinson playing together.

So everything’s great, right? Well, not quite. Still, the nagging fear that hot-headed immaturity could surface down the road at the worst possible time lingers.

One game after the twins, Marcus and Markieff Morris, drew deserved praise for taking their benchings to heart and hustled their way to big games played with cool heads in a rout of Miami of Ohio, Markieff spent all but four minutes on the bench in the second half because he trash-talked his way into a technical foul.

“With any team, if guys are so selfish that they think about their actions as opposed to what’s good for the masses, that’s a bad play, and, obviously, we’ve had that happen by having to get the last word in or whatever it is,” Self said. “It’s childish. It is going to hurt us. It will cost us.”

Only if it continues. Self again will take measures to try to prevent hot heads from exceeding the boiling point. If whatever it is he does to try to drive his point home gets the intended result, this team could mature into a most memorable one.

Comments

KEITHMILES05 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, the twins need to man up and stop acting like babies. If you are reading this twins take it to heart.Your reactions are hurting the team so stop it. It doesn't matter who did what but how you react. Right now you are reverting to your freshman attitudes which nobody liked. Grow up and move forward like the good men you are.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 3 months ago

I was listening to Bob Davis and Chris Piper on the radio broadcast (I refuse to listen to Greg Gurley and Dave Armstrong, btw). And for the record, Chris Piper was all over Kieff for the trash talking tech. Kieff will learn from it. After that happened, the camera panned to Kieff on the bench. It looked like at the time, he was going to sit on the pine for awhile. These kinds of technical fouls hurt a team. But HCBS won't allow it---thank God he's our coach!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 3 months ago

I was listening to Bob Davis and Chris Piper on the radio broadcast (I refuse to listen to Greg Gurley and Dave Armstrong, btw). And for the record, Chris Piper was all over Kieff for the trash talking tech. Kieff will learn from it. After that happened, the camera panned to Kieff on the bench. It looked like at the time, he was going to sit on the pine for awhile. These kinds of technical fouls hurt a team. But HCBS won't allow it---thank God he's our coach!

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jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

Dear Tom,

The immaturity will not return.

But what is left of it will continue to be slowly etched away by the acid of experience.

In today's game, if you can defend the post and the trey stripe, go +5 on the boards, average making 50-55% of FGAs, shoot 68-72% on FTs, and shoot the trey as well as the opponent, you are in the hunt for a ring.

Our defense and rebounding have tended to be good. FG percentage is there. Trey shooting has been shaky but seems to be trending up and is usually better than the opponent. FT shooting has been up and down but close to the required minimum range.

It is not a question of whether immaturity will return?

It is a question of whether what remains of the remaining immaturity will be tempered into steel by March?

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Steve Brown 3 years, 3 months ago

Jhawk in Cornhusker land we know the truth you are actually antler in Columbia and I hope Brady hits the winning FT that puts us on 100 at the end of the game while you sit on 50.

who you going to pick on next year, McElmore.........you can argue about playing time a fun excercise yet if they wear the Crimson & Blue then they ALL have my support, you are a detractor. Not a fan, show your true colors, tigerkitty.

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Robert Brock 3 years, 3 months ago

The Hawks have done well - against cupcakes. The opposition is going to get much tougher and our road games will test our young players. I'm pumped!!!!!

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 3 months ago

Puggy, you right about Brady, subtract Brady. I have said that ever since his 2-3rd year. Last year was a flop and this year, well , I think I don't have to say anymore, for Brady, (PT) Pine Time. Travis and EJ need the mins a lot more for production.

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kesmithstl1 3 years, 3 months ago

You have to play the game with a chip on your shoulder! Every school does it! As a result, chippiness goes hand in hand. Don't give me this crap about sportsmanship either (spare me).

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dek9219 3 years, 3 months ago

Glad to see ibrown3 say something about TRob being in our thoughts. Didn't see that mentioned too much last night at all. Get back soon TRob, we're going to need you big time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 3 months ago

"Subtract senior Brady Morningstar."

Got it. Sounds good to me.

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jhwk215 3 years, 3 months ago

why wasnt robinson out there? I missed the first half

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Bill Horton 3 years, 3 months ago

Will Sonnett, late 60's, played by Walter Brennan. He often avoided gunfights by reminding opponents that he was good with a gun - "no brag, just fact".

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Benjamin Jones 3 years, 3 months ago

Who's Will Sonnett? Fifties western TV series character, I'm guessing? And was he chippy?

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kusayzone 3 years, 3 months ago

I went to the game last night and was disturbed by one thing. At one point of the game, the TEAM became a game for ME. It seemed that one player felt he needed to be all the highlight reel material. I saw selfish play and where as I have not always been a Sherron fan, this team doesn't need that.

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Funhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

They are chippy now because coach has always accused them of not playing "tough." They are only taking orders from the man in charge. If that macho tough shtick were to stop, the players would not be getting technicals.

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waywardJay 3 years, 3 months ago

If the only real negative about this team is they get a touch chippy. I take it.

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Trent Smith 3 years, 3 months ago

worst possible team lingers? Can't always rely on spellcheck.

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