Friday, March 18, 2011

Tale of two Taylors: ‘Good Tyshawn’ fired up for KU basketball’s NCAA Tournament opener

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor puts up a three from the corner as the Jayhawks work out before their fans during a day of practices and press conferences for teams playing second and third round games in Tulsa on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at the BOK Center.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor puts up a three from the corner as the Jayhawks work out before their fans during a day of practices and press conferences for teams playing second and third round games in Tulsa on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at the BOK Center.


Tyshawn Taylor ready to embrace starting role for Jayhawks

Tyshawn Taylor talks about the strengths of KU and his role on the Jayhawk team during locker-room interviews Thursday at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Travis Releford ready for tournament

After a red-shirt season last year, Kansas forward Travis Releford is ready to play a role in this year's NCAA Tournament.

Boston players discuss their reactions after realizing they had to play KU asks Boston players: What was your reaction after you saw Kansas next to your team's name on Selection Sunday?

— Tyshawn Taylor has had so many personal highlights, and lowlights, in his three-year Kansas University basketball career, he has made wisecracking media wonder: “Is there a good Tyshawn and a bad Tyshawn?”

“I don’t know. I think there’s just one Tyshawn that gets in trouble sometimes,” Taylor, KU’s starting point guard, said Thursday, on the eve of today’s NCAA Tournament opener between KU (32-2) and Boston University (21-13). Tipoff is 5:50 p.m. at BOK Center.

“I also feel I am kind of in the wrong places at the wrong time. It’s how I look at it. I think it’s part of being young. I think everybody has done some things when they are young. When I get up there in age, I think it will probably be something I talk about and laugh about,” he added of some of his stormier moments at KU. “It’s something I can grow from, become a better person and better man.”

The “bad” Tyshawn at the end of February was suspended two games for breaking team rules and lost his starting spot in four more contests.

He enters the NCAA Tournament back in coach Bill Self’s good graces.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder from Hoboken, N.J., regained his starting job in the second half of last Friday’s Big 12 tournament semifinal against Colorado.

He scored 15 points and dished four assists in that game, and back as starter, exploded for 20 points and five assists in the title game against Texas.

“It’s how it’s been my last few years, up and down, up and down,” Taylor said of his junior year. “I want to come in this tournament, try to start this one like I ended the last one.”

Taylor, who for the season has averaged 9.1 points a game off 46.7 percent shooting, with 143 assists against 86 turnovers, has heard various TV analysts say his play could be the “key” to KU’s postseason hopes.

Guard play is considered essential to success this time of year.

“I’ve heard them say it a couple times. It feels good that people think that about me,” Taylor said. “It’s good people are saying that about me. At the same time, we’re so deep. If I do what I gotta do and my teammates do what they’ve gotta do, we’ll be in good shape.”

Taylor acknowledges his confidence is soaring.

“I had a ball,” Taylor, who took the ball to the basket repeatedly, said of last weekend’s Big 12 tourney. “My team played well. I played well. Coach was happy with us.

“I had a ball,” he repeated. “It felt good. I feel this is how I want to play. There’s no better time to start that heading into the NCAA Tournament. I am going to try to keep that ball rolling.”

Self won’t overstate Taylor’s importance in the 2011 postseason.

“Everybody needs to play well,” Self said. “It’s important key guys play well. He is a guy who can change the game and create pace and do some things others can’t. It’s important he play well.

“Elijah (Johnson) started when Ty had his issues and played very well. Then Ty was lights out against Texas and played well in the Big 12 tournament. But we need them both. That’s what I tell them. We need them both. One is more a possession guard (Johnson), and the other kind of a road-runner-type guard. But we need Elijah’s athletic ability and maybe even play some of those guys together or play those two together more than we have.”

Of course, ever-reliable Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed will be starting at guard with Taylor and the Morris twins.

Morningstar likely will open defensively on America East Conference player of the year John Holland, a 6-5 senior who averages 19.2 points and 5.9 boards.

“He’s going to be a tough matchup, whoever guards him,” Morningstar said. “And you’ve got to be ready to play team defense, especially in the NCAA Tournament, because a lot of guys on different teams can score in different ways. But I’m impressed from what I’ve seen from him. He looks like he can do it all. It will be exciting to get to guard him.”

Self said Holland, “is a potential pro. He can do a lot of things. He can post. He can face. He can drive it. He’s certainly athletic.”

KU has a wildcard guard entering the postseason in another player expected to play in the NBA, maybe as soon as next season — Josh Selby.

Selby, who has been hampered the last several weeks because of his foot injury, said he’s healthy and ready for March Madness.

“It’s exciting. Tomorrow I will be jumping out of my pants. I’m not going to lie to you,” Selby said Thursday. “I saw the atmosphere on TV today. It’s crazy. I can’t wait.”

Of his own upcoming performance, he said: “What’s happened in the past is past. This is a new season for us and me. I’m coming in with a different attitude. When coach throws me out there, whatever he needs me to do, I’ll do. I think right now, one thing we have to do is stop them from scoring. From what I’ve seen on TV, Holland is very tough. They’ve got a fast point guard, too, in Irving (D.J., 6-foot freshman, 7.9 ppg, 3.6 apg). I think if our bigs play well and our guards play well, we should be able to do some good things.”

Selby wouldn’t trade his mentor, Taylor, for anybody.

“Tyshawn is fast, can defend, can get to the rack whenever he wants. He’s special,” Selby said.

He’s also key to KU’s gameplan today and, if the Jayhawks win, Sunday’s battle against either UNLV or Illinois.

As far as the “bad-good” Tyshawn debate, “For me, there’s only a good Tyshawn,” Selby said. “If there is a bad Tyshawn, he does a good job of not showing it.”


basketball122009 9 years, 10 months ago

tyshawn is key to how far we go!! ROCK CHALK!

KULA 9 years, 10 months ago

Looking forward to a great game from Tyshawn. He is definitely key to how far we go this year.

Kansas needs to come out a slap it on someone Friday, like Florida and UConn did Thursday. None of this namby-pamby BS like the Lehigh game last year.

Glad to see Louisville go down--I was worried about them. But I wouldn't have minded going through Louisville & Notre Dame & Pitt and owning the Big East like we do the Pac 10.

Really torn over the UCLA/MState game--didn't know whether to gloat over M-State for being chumps who didn't belong or UCLA for being chumps who blew a 23 pt lead. In the end, glad to see Izzo go down.

Great to see K State move on and represent the Big 12. Sorry to see Mizzou go out in the first round--especially to the Big East. Go A&M & Texas! Btw, how come there's no Big 12 team in the East regional?

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, the committee doubled up Kansas and Texas A&M in the Southwest, and Missery and Texas in the West. Puke won't be forced to play the Big 12 till the final 4. Personally, I don't think they'll make it past the Elite Eight.

Kyle Crenshaw 9 years, 10 months ago

duke could have to play texas in the sweet 16

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

My mistake. Assumed Jaybate's comment was accurate without double checking which region Puke was in. Not used to seeing Puke away from the East Region. Texas will be a tough out for them.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

"And What If..."

~And what if Selby is healthy and Tyshawn is on? Simple. KU is the King of March and April.

~And what is it? March? And Self is about to try another guard combination--the one so many have been calling for--Tyshawn and EJ. I love it. KU may be the first team to work at getting better all the way through the flippin' tournament. Hey, Coach Self, let's schedule some post tournament games to keep getting better. Let's play through the flippin' tournament to get to some serious getting better!

~And what if TRob's knee actually feels a little better? He may be ready to return to Dunkternity levels of terror in the paint.

~And what if Mario Little has his shooting slump out of the way? Bring it Mario!

~And what if Tyrel has broken through mind barrier of suborbital flight? What if he turns into Dunkin' Reed for the last six games of his career. What if mid air knees to the grilles of opponents are his new signature move? Yeee haw!

~And what if the Twin Constitutions of the Paint let freedom !@#$%^&ing ring? Sweet Philadelphia freedom!

~And what if Brady goes 16-24 from trey the next six games and Roger finally says, "Man, I had a few inches on the kid, but, man, he really is better than I was." What happens? No one, beats us with the trey on their hot night; that's what happens.

~And what if Mother Morris has finally sat Jeff Withey down and said, "Pale face, I've got some soul food here that is going to make a tank outta you, too. Eat and swat, young man, eat and swat!" KU has that 10 minutes of unexpected big one key game to close the circle and win the ring.

~And what if Mom and Dad Releford say, in their best imitation of Mr. and Mrs. Heathcliff Huxtable, "You know, son, you're a Huxtable, and well, Coach Self has these moments where he gets so pre-occupied with getting better one way that he forgets about how much better he can get another way. Young Travis, we are quite confident that Coach Self is going to call your number when the chips are down and you least expect it, and, well, son, we love you, and believe in you, and want you to kick some gluteous maximus, if you know what we mean?" The pain circuit in Travis' ankle suddenly interrupts and goes impact monster and says, "Hey, look, Mom and Dad, I'm Wind Millin' on Duke!!!"

~And what if all of the above comes true? Simple. Round up all the Vettes for a parade. Hang another banner. And welcome this team to the pantheon.

Joe Satterwhite 9 years, 10 months ago

ok well i want whatever you are smoking because that was priceless!!

tjg1 9 years, 10 months ago

jaybate, i just want to say your posts get me through my workday, thank you! Sometimes they're a little long, but always entertaining. I scroll past your posts every time and save them for last.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

I save 'em too. I usually keep them up so my wife can read them. She doesn't always get everything, you have to be quite a fan to understand his depths sometimes, but even when she doesn't understand exactly, she appreciates and loves the writing.

Thx jb.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Ah, its good to get a laugh on game day!

ParisHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

In the other regions, the higher seed won every time but one. In our region, only the underdogs won. We are the only #1 seed whose path to the Final Four got easier yesterday.

That being said, can we please just win t? Today is the last game of the season until we win.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

Nothing is easy after the #1 v #16.

1 is the biggest target in sports. The glory and fame involved in racking #1 is a nasty powerful, and legal, steroid.

Playing #1 is to steroids, what playing #12 or #13 is to Lunesta.

Nothing got easier.

ParisHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Another disgustingly off-topic post: if you do Twitter, follow Jay Bilas during the tournament. Insightful and hilarious! Digger Phelps must be furious. If you don't get his reference to his dog eating from the Morehead bowl, ask me and I'll explain.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Yes, I also would like the explanation. I'm guessing it has something to do w/Pitino calling Phelps the kiss of death.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Should I feel guilty that I was GLAD Mizzou was bounced in their opening game? Strangely I found myself pulling for KSU. I think it must because I didn't want Pullen to go out like that. He has proven to be a worthy warrior.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

It is never morally wrong to save a Fizzouri defeat.

But keeping KU's self interest front and center, it is sometimes better for KU's conference image for something good to happen to Fizzouri. :-)

tjg1 9 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing wrong w/ that, I felt the exact same way. I will always root for the BIG 12 teams, with the exception of Missouri. I can't and won't root for Mizzery, ever... period.

SaulGood 9 years, 10 months ago

I am excited for Tyshawn, despite a great many growled protests to his play in the past. I like the humor that the guys are in for the tournament, and not looking forward to 'casters talking about "overconfidence" or the like. I hope Tyshawn can admit his shadow may always elbow its way into the forefront, and concentrate on making short, smart passes and using that speed to combine with strong drives straight to the hoop. This kid could end up being huge in the tournament. Selby - there's so much pressure in your court life right now - I hope we see that megawatt smile on your face several more times this season while you're out on the floor.

More than anything, I want Boston to be the first victim of what a high-octane, talented team can do when they play together, trust each other, remember the fundamentals, and play to win.

Tonight's the night, guys! Own it!

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, when jaybate lines up the 'vettes for the big parade, let's hope the Ferrari is polished and purrin', all set to lead the pack.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

I rather like this Holland kid. He's having fun!

Oh yeah, he also shoots like 87% FT. (170 for 196 I believe. Deadly) He's taken about 150 more shots than McM this year, but he hits well under 40%, and 32% from the arc. Nonetheless, he is the head of the terrier, so BStar, get out there and cut it off. And don't foul.

JHawk74 9 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Self should start Johnson in this game to keep Taylor under control for our next game. Taylor seems to play better after not starting a game or two. I'm not sure I agree that Taylor is the key to how far we go in the tournament. If Taylor is not playing well we have other guards to play his position. The Morris Twins are the key to winning a championship. If KU has 6 great games from them we are National Champions. RCJH!

tjg1 9 years, 10 months ago

I was thinking the same thing, BUT i have full confidence in Bill Self. He is the sheriff in Lawrence. Bill Self is the law.

waywardJay 9 years, 10 months ago

You forget Quickly, Craig.

All we need to do is look back a couple games to when Tyshawn was suspended and Elijah was getting his wheels worked on how we couldn't close out teams because we didn't drive.

Drive the lane means you get fouled. Drive the lane + made basket + made foul shot = NEgating the next posession on the other end.... IE, the best they can really hope for is to not lose alot of seconds and to hit a three pointer.....

Case in point, we are up 5 with two minutes to go..... two scenarios....

With tyshawn, we can run the weave down to 15 seconds and hope a good shot opens up, if not we can back it out and have tyshawn break down the guard he's against ( either off screen or on ... or not at all.... ) and cause mayhem....

Without Tyshawn, we just simply play half court and hope we can get the morri's free for a close in shot.... The other team will DEFINETLEY be playign zone in this scenario eliminating easy passes into the post, and forcing our shooters ( Brady and tyrel ) to Bomb us out of the zone.

As good as Tyrel and RBady are at the perimeter Jump shot, It is far easier for us to score when Tyshawn creates mayhem, I don't think any of tyshawn's detractors could argue against that point. ( HEM ? Theutus ?...Feel free to disagree... ) Penetrate and kick when you have great athletes downlow is a HUGE advatange. And Tyshawn's the only one who can do it Consistantly.

It was ealso interesting seeing Mario Little do a little bit of Penetration during that stretch Tyshawn was down... Not sure how I feel about that long term, but tyshawn in foul trouble.... and down to our potential last few posessions ( say against a team like Purdue ? ) It would be interesting to see if BIll trusted that same move from mario.

Keep in mind the last two teams Tyshawn Point Guarded in tournament format won the national/World title. His High School team won a championship, and the u19 squad won a gold medal. Feasibly this is the time the ferrari gets the best gas mileage.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Winning tonight is not the issue [no #1 has ever lost it's opening game.]

The issue is setting a team mindset for the tournament. The Hawks need to destroy Boston to set in place in the minds of the other teams that resistance is futile and that the Crimson and Blue Ninja Assassins will Sherman March through the field, waving the Scythe of Defeat and cut down all who dare stand in the way, showing no mercy.

Make this year March Massacre!!!!

Jared Grillot 9 years, 10 months ago

YES! No more "Good enough to win". We need "You had no business playing with us". We need "Let that be a lesson to the rest of you". I keep reading, "We're not going to be intimidated just because it says 'Kansas' on their jerseys" and we need to change that, starting with brutal devastation tonight, so that the announcers start using the words "clinic", "rout", "drubbing", "manhandled", and "message to the rest of the field".

Light 'em up, 'Hawks! RCJH

Jack Wilson 9 years, 10 months ago

When March hits, it is not the time to analyze like we do during the season ... now, truly, there are no style points. We are who we are. There's no prepping for the tourney. We're here.

I would caution on the TT optimism. I saw KULA's first statement above .. that TT is key to how far we go in the tournament. That may be true. Scary, but possibly true.

I truly hope that coach Self has a relatively quick hook on TT .. quicker that the game at KSU, but not so quick as to yank him after one error. Coach Self, better than anyone, knows the look of the bad TT, and he shouldn't hesitate. If TT is playing poorly, he can drive the ship right into the iceberg.

This team will cruise to the Elite 8. We will not overlook UNLV or Illinois, and certainly won't overlook our Sweet 16 opponent given their upset wins. Many times in the tournament you need some luck, and skating by without having to play Louisville is a pretty big deal. In 1988 we got Murray St. in much the same manner.

And we are just plain better than ND, Purdue, or anyone down below in our bracket. But we will need to play at least our B+/A- game to beat them. Nothing less.

As has been the case with this team all season, it will be about focus. We come out like we did vs. Oklahoma St .. we do that vs. anyone from the UNLV/Illinois game, forward, we likely go home. It is that simple.

That brings us back to TT .. he sets the tone. If he drives and clanks, dribbles off his foot, gets a charge, focuses on getting his shots .. basically does his "I look like a selfish freshman" routine .. that is a big part of the "focus" thing for this team. Because he has the ball in his hands.

I am optimistic.


KULA 9 years, 10 months ago

It's all about the penetration. And Tyshawn's the only one who's proved capable of that. If anyone's smart enough to play zone against us, and we settle for 3's like we did against OSU, and Brady and Tyrel go cold like they did against OSU, we'll lose to a team that we're just plain better than (like last year). I'm not counting on Brady and Tyrel to get and stay hot for six straight games. It's all about the penetration.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Is Mike Anderson finally going to give up on the press?

Robert Murphy 9 years, 10 months ago

Only if he's smart which is questionable. He's always got that look on his face like he knows something but I have yet to figure out what it is. Actually, most of the coaches the tournament look like idiots to me, They all yell and grimace at their players like they are a bunch of dogs when they are really only slaves.

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Wow. Tennessee routed by Michigan, 75 - 45. Could be Bruce Pearl's last game coaching Tennessee..

FarSideHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I had Tennessee beating Michigan, precisely because I know that Pearl is very well liked by his players and they will be motivated to win for him under the circumstances. Also because they had the talent to knock off some very good teams early in the year. I am beyond shocked that they gave up half way through and lost by 30!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm just ready for the games to start. Today has some been some really good games, but higher seeds have prevailed all day. Kyrie Irving looked "Rusty" and "Slow", but he did pass the ball well. Go Jayhawks!

Steve Brown 9 years, 10 months ago

someone help me, my dad 85 in Az is trying to plan his weekend naps is asking me what time we would play on Sunday, anyone have a guess. thanks.

Robert Murphy 9 years, 10 months ago

If I hear one more idiotic comment about Selby in the NBA next year I'm going to hang up.

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