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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keegan

Blowout memorable for several reasons

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KU vs. Kansas State

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Kansas defeated Kansas State 90-66 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 90-66 victory over Kansas State on Jan. 29, 2011.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KSU coach Frank Martin

Kansas State coach Frank Martin talks to reporters following KU's 90-66 victory over the Wildcats on Jan. 29, 2011.

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In a building packed with so much history, so many banners and so much talent running on the hardwood through the years, calling a game played in Allen Fieldhouse a memorable one requires meeting a mighty lofty standard.

Kansas University’s 90-66 blowout victory Saturday night against overmatched in-state rival Kansas State won’t soon be forgotten by the 16,300 voices that erupted with extra volume every time Thomas Robinson made a contribution, and that was often.

Those fortunate enough to hold a ticket will remember the ovation they gave Robinson when he checked into the game. They’ll remember the even louder one when he checked out after a tremendous 17-point, nine-rebound performance two days after his mother’s funeral in Washington, D.C., attended by his teammates and the coaching staff.

They’ll remember looking at the video of Robinson getting hugs and words of encouragement from each K-State player in the postgame hand-shake line. They’ll remember feeling good that Robinson had cause to smile in the wake of the unspeakable tragedy of losing, in rapid succession, his grandmother, grandfather and mother.

Not a hint of travel-weariness was evident for a team long on air miles and short on sleep in recent days. On the contrary, Kansas was sharp in the ways it always is when on its game.

“I’ve always said that Bill (Self’s) teams play as hard and as united as any team in the country,” K-State coach Frank Martin said. “That is a credit to Bill and his staff.”

Robinson’s tragedy has brought to a national stage something evident to those who pay to watch the team play since early in the season: The players on this Kansas team like each other, like playing basketball with each other and like hanging out together. Coaches can set an environment to try to foster such feelings, but if they don’t recruit the right fits into a program, the mix can go sour. Nobody has illustrated that better this season than Kansas State, foolishly picked by the Big 12 coaches to win the league title. Dominique Sutton quit during the offseason, Freddy Asprilla bolted during the season.

The Wildcats (14-8 overall, 2-5 in the Big 12), who have fallen so far, so fast after a spirited sprint to the Elite Eight last March, never came close to making it a game Saturday.

Without last season’s jet of a backcourt running mate Denis Clemente around this season, so much has fallen upon senior Jacob Pullen. Kansas junior Tyshawn Taylor fulfilled his pregame goal of using his length to bother Pullen into taking difficult shots. Showing why he is a better NBA prospect than Pullen, Taylor frustrated Pullen into 2-for-10 first-half shooting. Pullen finished with 21 points, but many of those were scored when Taylor (13 points, two assists, one turnover and two steals) watched from the bench.

Taylor noted Friday that because he had never lost to Kansas State, he didn’t know how much of a rivalry it was, words similar to those expressed by Martin’s former boss Bob Huggins when he took the job at K-State. (Huggins said it wouldn’t become a rivalry until K-State started winning more games.) Taylor broke the No. 1 interview rule by giving the opposition bulletin-board material, then contributed greatly to the game not feeling more like a massive mismatch than a rivalry. Things went even better for Kansas on the block than on the perimeter.

K-State’s Curtis Kelly, who according to Pullen did not have a good week of practice, was a virtual no-show, didn’t score in 10 minutes of action and spent the entire second half on the bench. Remember when the Morris twins used to have games where they just didn’t look into it? They were freshmen then. Kelly’s a senior.

The twins didn’t play to their size often back then. They do now. Markieff never looked taller than he did Saturday, when he hit the boards hard, defended with passion, dove for loose balls, hit a beauty of a hook shot and finished the night with 20 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. He played like an all-conference center on a night Kelly played like a bewildered freshman. Pullen even commented on how the Morris twins do so much better a job of posting up low than the Kansas State post players, seldom allowed to establish position near the bucket because of the efforts of Robinson and the twins.

It not only turned into such a memorable night for human reasons, it qualified as an important one for basketball reasons for Kansas. The Jayhawks not only have conducted themselves in a mature manner during these days of blossoming from boys into men, they showed they have made progress as a basketball team. Then again, those two areas of growth tend to go hand in hand.

Comments

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

Taylor's a better NBA prospect than Pullen? Now I'm not the best talent evaluator, I'm just an inner city school teacher, but really? Is Taylor even econsidered an NBA prospect?

Don't want to throw a wet blanket on the rest of the article though. It was a fun game and emotionally, I don't remember watching such a game at AFH for quite a while.

honk_for_hawks 10 years, 10 months ago

Taylor's skill set fits into the the NBA game better than the college game. He has the length, speed, and athleticism that NBA teams love in their point guards. He hasn't shown consistency, but when he is on, you can definitely tell why he was as highly ranked as he was coming out of high school. His biggest problem has always seemed to be his ego. When he doesn't try to force things and lets the drives, passes, etc. come to him, he is one of the better guards in the country. And the only reason you're laughing at that comment right now is because he still has too many games where he makes the stupid mistakes. But believe me, he is on the scouts' radar.

Kyle Crenshaw 10 years, 10 months ago

i agree if he cuts down on the mistakes he can be a rajon rondo type player. he has the speed and can hit the big shot when he needs to which is perfect for an nba type pg

Town Thomas 10 years, 10 months ago

TT did not have a good sophomore season. There was a time some mock drafts from nbadraft and draftexpress had put him way ahead of Sherron Collins. So he was considered.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Taylor is a very talented basketball player, born with the tools to fit well into NBA play. Until these last two Big 12 contests he has persisted all too often in acting and playing like a dope. If he retains the serious focus which we have seen this week, he could yet depart someday from the program with credentials on a par with the better guards who have donned a Kansas jersey the past ten years.
Other than running his mouth this week re the rivalry, his play seems to be settling into serious mode, a tribute to Bill Self's continued faith in him. He is a key ingredient to this team's finishing the season as a Top 4 national power.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

It's his immaturity that I think has held him back as you've pointed out. I definitely see his athleticism, but still don't see the scoring ability that I think is needed in the NBA to be a guard. I may be wrong, like I said, I'm not expert, just stating my gut.

honk_for_hawks 10 years, 10 months ago

I kind of look at Taylor as a Rondo type player. He isn't going to excel on every team in the league, but if he goes to a place where there are already established scorers, he won't need to score. He can just defend and run the offense. Is he as talented as Rondo? Of course not, but you forget just how bad some of the point guards in the NBA are. Taylor definitely can find a spot somewhere.

Jeremy Paul 10 years, 10 months ago

You don't see his scoring ability? Really? I can't even count how many times this year they desperately needed a bucket and he just effortlessly glided through the lane for an easy 2. I certainly agree with everyone else that he lacks focus at times and makes a lot of bone-headed plays. But the dude can score. I think on any other team he'd be putting up 20 a night, and I think he'll be the best pro of anyone on the team.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

Read below apparently others don't either. He creates scoring off of steals and breaks which is what I base that statement on. Hopefully he grows up and realizes this potential he has and I can change my opinion. Rock Chalk! (Where in Penn are you?, I have family in Beaver Falls)

milehighhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Not being a wet blanket at all.

TT is absolutely an NBA caliber guard...l eague drafts on potential, and TT has very good size, length and quickness.

NorthStarHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Keegan....Thanks for the enjoyable reading. Nicely done article; the bracketing of "what was, what was supposed to be, and what it actually is".

Greg Lux 10 years, 10 months ago

TT has a chance for an NBA future .. but he has to improve his shooting and ball handling disciplines. His pluses are speed and length. He has a chance but he needs to improve over the next year and a half.

Rock Chalk

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 10 months ago

TT is a nice college player but will not sniff the league. That is ludicrous.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

NBA scouts have already shown interest, as high as the first round. He will play well in the wide open spaces that NBA defenses provide. He's really not a Bill Self kinda player so we're not seeing his best game. He's more of a Calimari kinda player, which suits the NBA game.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

TT is getting better in spurts and shifts yet he shows improvement on occasion, fun to see it. My haven't the Twin Towers grown up.

Kansas day: 150 anniversary. I recall as very young boy my dad and actually all the dads in our small town grew beards on the 100 K day anniversary as a tribute to the pioneers and wagon train, railroad, farmers that settled the state. 50 years ago my dad was 32 and this weekend he reports his AZ. retirement community was having a Kansas day celebration dinner for all Kansans after the GAME.

My great gmother talked about leaving civilized Indy with kerosene street lights and a white picket fence to come to buffalo fields and homestead Kansas, first task to dig a water well then clear the ground. She married my greatgrandfather born 1898 on covered wagon coming to homestead Kansas.

Not that my story means anything but it is the collection of who we are: a family of pioneers that dug wells, broke the ground, planted crops, fed a nation, settled communities put up fences and welcome our neighbors as long as they don't stay in the lane more than 3 seconds. hoor-rah!

Ken Sedgwick 10 years, 10 months ago

Your story does mean something. Celebrating without the facts, and stories means nothing.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

Great stories lighthawk. We've got to keep those stories alive. One of my grandfathers was born in a sod house in western KS. I remember my grandmother sometimes referring to OK as the Indian Nations.

Jocelyn Kennedy 10 years, 10 months ago

Great story - I remember the beards that year as well!

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 10 months ago

Love the old stories. My great great (don't know exactly how many greats) grandfather was killed riding from Baldwin to Lawrence in an attempt to warn the city that Quantrill was coming. A group of riders had come through Baldwin and let it slip that they were on on the way to join Quantrill. It was dark, and his horse stepped in a hole and threw him. He might have changed history. His name was Jerry Reel, but he shows up in Kansas history as "an unknown rider."

Funhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Great post, lighthawk. You make me think about a relative of mine who was a farmer just east of Eudora. So the story goes, he saw for hours a huge, ascending black cloud. He stood on top of his hill looking a long time, scratching his head and wondering what in the world was the cause of the big fire on the west horizon. It kept burning. "He knew something big had happened," but didn't know what, word taking awhile to get out back then, August 21, 1863.

P.S. The future campus was a corn field in 1863, being outside the limits of Lawrence at the time. The men who survived the attack that morning hid inside the big cornfield on the hill, saved by the tall, green corn stalks. Of course, they heard the commotion going on just to the east, at the bottom of the hill. They shuddered and prayed. Reminds me of the corn field scene from The Planet of the Apes!

TommieSmithElbow 10 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like the "hallowed ground" protected Kansans from the heathen of Missouri long before it became a campus! The men who survived probably could see "The Antlers" above the top of the corn and simply avoided the immaturity.

phi4life940 10 years, 10 months ago

"... Kansas State, foolishly picked by the Big 12 coaches to win the league title."

Let's not forget that Keegan also picked KSU to win. He needs to take a page outta Dickie V's book and eat crow. Don't scold everyone else for picking them when YOU also picked them....just saying.

Otherwise...good article.

RCJH. LR

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

Ahaa! Good point. "Foolishly" is a pretty strong word Keeg Party. You wanna explain your pick?

Tom Keegan 10 years, 10 months ago

I never picked K-State to win the Big 12 this year. NEVER.

hammerhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

As my friend said yesterday:" It was KANSAS Day, not kansas state day!"

Lone_salina_kufan 10 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone else notice how when Tyshawn changes speeds on his drives he is virtually impossible to guard? When he gives that hesitation move...unstoppable! Like to see him utilize it more often.

RockChalk26 10 years, 10 months ago

I couldn't agree more. All season long I have been wondering why our guards don't change up their speed. They are way more athletic then the opposition but they aren't exploiting it.

ManOnTheMoon 10 years, 10 months ago

My buddies and I were just commenting on how with a little work TT could be a Rondo-type guard in the NBA. Great vision, like Rondo, good size and incredible length, like Rondo, the one thing TT lacks, a jumper, JUST LIKE RONDO ... just a thought.

Rookie poster on here by the way.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Welcome to the family ManOntheMoon. Always nice to have more views for each of the threads. Advice: Ignore all trolls. They don't deserve to be recognized.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

ManOnThe Moon: "...the one thing TT lacks, a jumper...." You might add, and persistent focus. Welcome aboard. As you probably already know, this is a very informative and fun site.

Jeremy LeMaster 10 years, 10 months ago

I was just coming to post the same thing. They have a complete lack of chemistry... Texas righted the ship this year from their implode last year. KState has some talent but not quite up to the level that Texas had last year. I would really like to see them maintain some level of relevance in basketball. It definitely adds to the excitement of the Big 12 (10) season.

Oh well, at least next year we get to play Texas, aTm and Baylor as well as the other former south teams twice a year.

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