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Friday, October 21, 2011

Stepping up: Self, team leaders reveal Jayhawks who might surprise

Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson take their turn at the one-on-one session with reporters on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, at the Big 12 men's basketball media day at the Sprint Center.

Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson take their turn at the one-on-one session with reporters on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, at the Big 12 men's basketball media day at the Sprint Center.

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— So far, six Kansas University basketball players have “really separated themselves” from the rest of the squad during the first week of the 2011-12 preseason, coach Bill Self said at Thursday’s Big 12 Media Day in Sprint Center.

“Hopefully that changes and guys catch up .... Conner (Teahan), Elijah (Johnson), Tyshawn (Taylor), Travis (Releford), Thomas (Robinson) and Jeff (Withey) have really looked good,” Self said in assessing practices since Friday’s Late Night in the Phog.

Some players a pleasant surprise to teammates

Kansas men's basketball players discussed whose abilities and performances have already stuck out them early in the season.

Tyshawn Taylor gussies up for Big 12 Media Day

Tyshawn Taylor said you won't normally find him as dressed up as he was for Big 12 Media Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Big 12 players describe first visit to Allen Fieldhouse

Men's basketball players from around the Big 12 Conference describe what it was like the first time they played in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Teahan has done a great job. I’d say he could be our first guy off the bench right now, in large part because he knows what he’s doing. He’s been around almost as long as (Brady) Morningstar was around. That’s a long time,” Self added of the fifth-year senior out of Kansas City Rockhurst High. “One thing that is known to me that isn’t known to anybody else is, I think Travis, Elijah and Jeff Withey are pretty good. They just haven’t had a chance to show it yet.”

Withey, KU’s 7-foot junior center from San Diego, has drawn rave reviews.

“Jeff is a new player. You are not going to recognize him,” junior power forward Robinson said. “He is playing the best I’ve seen him play. He has a new attitude. He’s been amazing.

“Jeff is going to open a lot of people’s eyes come Nov. 1 (exhibition against Pittsburg State),” added Robinson, who revealed that Withey has been staying after practice for overtime work on conditioning and skill set.

Noted senior point guard Taylor: “Withey is looking really good. He has a lot of energy, a lot of bounce like he’s ready to play, like he knows he has to play. I’m excited for Jeff.”

Teahan and Justin Wesley, a 6-9 sophomore transfer from Lamar, are former walk-ons who have been granted scholarships this year.

“Conner was here when they won a national championship. He played against those guys every day at practice,” Taylor said of Teahan, who red-shirted in 2007-08. “Conner is good, man. He hasn’t had a chance to play because Brady and Tyrel (Reed) were in the same class as him. He’s comparable to those two guys as far as shooting is concerned. He’s 6-51⁄2 and can rebound from that position.

“Justin is athletic, will help us on the boards. If Thomas ever gets in foul trouble, he’s one of the guys you can throw it in there and play three, four, five minutes to sub T-Rob out a bit. I think people will be impressed with him.”

Freshman point guard Naadir Tharpe and junior forward Kevin Young are also expected to be in the rotation.

“Those two guys come to work every day,” Taylor said. “I’m excited for those guys as they become more acquainted with everything — become part of the team basically. It’s tough. Naadir is a freshman, and for Kevin, it’s like he’s a freshman again (after sitting out last season after playing two at Loyola Marymount).”

Veterans Taylor and Robinson have developed a bit of a bond at practice.

“It’s exciting, man. Thomas is a high-energy guy who likes to run,” Taylor said. “That fits me perfectly, because I like to run. I threw, like, five lobs to him at practice yesterday, so I think we’re going to see a lot of that this year.”

Self has been instructing the players on fundamentals early on.

“I definitely think I’m seeing a little more patience from coach Self, a lot more teaching,” Taylor said. “We are still getting after it. He’s just more patient with us, less yelling when we make mistakes and a lot of work.”

Self admits he may take a different approach this season after losing seven players off a 35-3 team.

“We won a lot of games the last two years: 68-6 (record), and the losses have been like the end of the world,” KU’s ninth-year coach said. “I can’t be like that, because we are going to experience some losses. So we need to try to enjoy it and get better, kind of like we did with the ’09 team. We were not very good early, but showed flashes. We lost a game against Syracuse early in Sprint Center (89-81 overtime) where we played great. We just didn’t finish. To me that was a good process game. Even though I didn’t like it at the time, we got better. Then we go to Michigan State, and they had us down 25 (in 75-62 loss). We got them down 13 in the Sweet 16 (in 67-62 season-ending loss). We just didn’t finish. Those are the type of games we have to embrace. It’s going to be the hardest year we had by far to win the league.

“Other teams are good. Also, we lost a lot. We are inexperienced, but you don’t go into anything saying you hope you finish second or third when you’ve had as much success as our guys have in recent memory (seven straight titles). The whole goal is to win. I don’t think we should shy away from that,” he added, noting the biggest task in coming weeks/months will be to develop depth to go with those six players who are off to fast starts.

Comments

Billy Derringer 8 years, 1 month ago

I respect how coach knows that this years team is some what limited in body's, that said in recent years teams like Butler, G Mason, an (cough) VCU has all made the final four, an i know that they were limited to some degree. all this team needs is hunger an leaders an health, in self we trust. One last thing coach i pray you kick some major azz on the recruiting trail this year, were off to a good start with Perry and the BIG guy catching all the touchdowns in texas, but were going to need a banner year. all is fair in love an recruiting....maybe you could hire a studs dad to be a assintant coach, sure worked out for us the last couple times (Manning-Chalmers) go get em coach.

jayhawka15fan 8 years, 1 month ago

Ed Manning was hired as an assistant under Larry Brown.

John Randall 8 years, 1 month ago

Both those hirings were far more legitimate than "hiring the kid's dad" makes them sound.

Larry Brown hired his former ABA teammate, Ed Manning, long before either knew that Danny would become good enough to win the Naismith award. Danny attended Lawrence High while growing into the nonpariel forward we all remember.

The Chalmers family moved to Lawrence AFTER Mario had ended his recruitment by signing the National Letter of Intent. Months later, an opening on the KU staff (non-coaching position) was filled by an extremely qualified applicant who happened to be named Ron Chalmers.

˜

KUFan90 8 years, 1 month ago

You do realize there is a "D" in the word "and"?

Also, the NCAA has now banned the practice of hiring a recruits dad to the staff to get the kid to come there.

Joe Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

Except TAM- They are the exception when they hired J-Mychal's dad.

The ncaa does make exceptions when they make a rule.

AverageCitizen 8 years, 1 month ago

You can't hire a relative to OTHER school positions but you CAN hire a relative as an assistant coach. Perhaps they realized that schools aren't going to give up such an important job unless the relative is qualified.

On another note, Tyshawn looks rather nice dressed up. I have heard a maturity in him when he speaks this year that has been lacking the other years. I think he has leaped into adulthood. I'm excited to see how this team unfolds. Glad to hear Jeff finally is coming on strong. Perhaps this is the first he has been healthy.

longhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. This is just a stupid, stupid error, considering it was just LAST YEAR that Teahan redshirted.

Gary Wirsig 8 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely wringing my hands in dismay over this egregious error.

Joel Hood 8 years, 1 month ago

Bedore knows better that than....surprising.

yates33333 8 years, 1 month ago

Bedore is a great sportswriter, so this really is surprise.

TenaciousD 8 years, 1 month ago

You're right. I think Morningstar was the only person that red-shirted that year.

texashawk10 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm surprised this mistake still hasn't been fixed 17 hours after publication.

Alohahawk 8 years, 1 month ago

We know what Elijah and Travis are capable of. The unknown commodity is Withey. It's Withey who has left most of us wondering, or disappointed. I like that the team is complimenting his work ethic and that they are saying he is going to surprise people with what he brings to the table. If he does, there will be a lot of people eating crow this year. And the opposition will be eating the Jayhawk's dust as KU leads the pack at the conclusion of the regular season: Big 12 Conference champs once again. Gee, that has a nice, familiar ring to it.

John Randall 8 years, 1 month ago

Any KU fan suffering from a small dose of realism will spend all of this season dreading the recurrence of one of Jeff's many flirtations with serious injury. A healthy season would be his first. The same must be said about a productive season . . .

So many things could seriously downgrade the team we hope will bring in conf title #8. Unlike most years, losing more than one starter for more than a few games during Jan-Feb could be just too debilitating.

Then again, several of our seven consecutive champions have successfully dealt with more than a little adversity. The staff is intact, and we'll have some respectable depth by conference play – not a lot, probably, but some – and that may turn out to be enough.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

I hope that Robinson is right about Withey's improvement.

A skilled big man like that will make a world of difference for us, especially this year.

KUbsee69 8 years, 1 month ago

He looked pretty good at Late Night.

jhkprd 8 years, 1 month ago

There is nothing wrong with the statement, "Teahan and Justin Wesley, a 6-9 sophomore transfer from Lamar, are former walk-ons who have been granted scholarships this year." It's factual, just doesn't mention that Teahan also received a scholarship last year.

John Randall 8 years, 1 month ago

Connor receiving the scholarship and a red shirt the same week was not purely coincidental, IMO. We need him to be last year's Mario Little, the year before's Tyrel Reed, etc., etc. We also desperately need the same kind of solid reserve for the front court, since Braedon and Jamari were jerked aroung by the NCAA.

REHawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for this particular hoops update, Gary. Most of us have been hanging big hopes on Jeff Withey's stepping up big this season (no pun intended). Begins to look factual that this could be a huge year for him and his contribution to team success. I am glad for Conner to get this early recognition. As an aspiring Div. I athlete, he has certainly paid his dues, riding the hardwood for 3 seasons, then taking the redshirt...also giving the football team a shot, as quarterback. He provided glowing sparks with his 3-pt. input, popping into games, often with a hot hand, his first two seasons. We know that, by now, he knows Bill Self defense, and has mastered the playbook. He is an athlete who might have been a 4-year starter in most MO Valley schools, in either sport. I look to see him hit a winning 3 at the buzzer sometime this season. Perhaps a half step or step slower than most of our starters, but a rock solid savvy Jayhawk who can be counted on to do what is asked of him.

yates33333 8 years, 1 month ago

Withey moves pretty good for a 7 footer. He gets into position fast. Hopefully, he has learned not to screw up once in position. He goofed a few times the few times he played last year. Most of the time he played real solid, but coach had the twins he needed to play first and longer. It sounds like that this year Withey has got things down. Manning should have made him court wise by now. I think he will be a deciding force this year along with TRob and TT. It looks like this is not the Big 12s year even though not much was lost in BB with Colorado and especially Nebraska departing. KU just might win the conference again. Beat Baylor!!!

NotWiller 8 years, 1 month ago

I've said to before, and I'll say it again: Travis Releford is going to have a huge year. Can't wait to see his elevated game!! That pic of him looking down court while horizontal in the air going for a loose ball....in October(!)...makes me super excited to see this year. Watching this solid core progress is going to be a good, good time.

tical523 8 years, 1 month ago

If Jeff plays smart but tenacious defense and rebounds like a mad man we will be solid, and I mean real solid. I am sure Self is stressing to our players to stay out of foul trouble, and if we do I think we can make a run at the end of it all. I have high hopes for Kevin Young as a surprise also, he served a year as an assistant coach so he has seen the game/practice from that perspective which is an invaluable experience. Can't wait to watch this group go to work!

ottomark 8 years, 1 month ago

So, here's my question: who starts? I'm assuming Robinson, Whitey, Taylor and Johnson. Ideally, we'd start another big. Is that big Weasley? Or do we got with another guard...?

Jack Wilson 8 years, 1 month ago

ottomark: I agree, Whitey will start, and dang, that Weasley should surprise. Weasley is Longford's brother or something. Ralaferd is really the sleeper though. The freshman .. Thorpe .. he could contribute, too. But Self has to see if we have anyone on the bench that can be a big body like Kong or Aldridge was in 2008.

Tyrone is the leader of this team at the point, though. Hope he plays under control. But watch out for Marvin Lindsee .. a pure shooter.

By the way, did anyone see if Shelby was was going to play in Europe?

Alohahawk 8 years, 1 month ago

All right already. Who installed your spell check? LMAO

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

lmao HEM..but you're right about Releford. Starter? I think so.

Phoghorn 8 years, 1 month ago

We interrupt this thread with an important news bulletin. Truman the Tiger has gone missing and Big 12 authorities have begun a maneater hunt. He may be headed to the SEC based on a phonograph record left behind.

Nick Adams 8 years, 1 month ago

To me, the biggest question/concern with Travis and Jeff is not how good they will be, it's how healthy they will stay. Those two have been riddled with injuries throughout their time here.

Robert Brock 8 years, 1 month ago

I hope that the Hawks play as proficiently as they sell.

Robert Brock 8 years, 1 month ago

I hope that the Hawks play as proficiently as they sell.

Lin Rahardja 8 years, 1 month ago

We actually have talented starters (but most did not have much chance to play, except for Tyshawn). They are mostly Juniors and seniors, so they should have some experiences already. All the potential starters were rated 4 and 5 stars out of high school. Travis was not far behind Taylor, and Taylor was just behind Marcus out of high school. Jeff was ranked just behind NC's Tyler Zeller in term of ranking out of high school. We all know Thomas Robinson and Elijah were blue chippers out of high school, so the starters will be solid. I think they will be good.

The question is will the intensity drop during the rotation?

Ian Brown 8 years, 1 month ago

What does it matter how highly they were rated coming out of high school? That was nearly 3, 4, even 5 years ago for some of these players. Not to mention most of the ratings put out by those Rivals and Scout-type recruiting websites are pretty much all hype and little more than a popularity contest. The ratings are a decent reference point for incoming freshman because we have little else to base their talent on, but they are quite obsolete when assessing or validating the talent of a bunch of juniors and seniors.

Now don't get me wrong, I too have high hopes for this team despite our lack of depth and what certain media seem to think. I'm just tired of people buying into these recruiting services ratings as if they were pure gold, especially when it comes to guys who are 3-5 years removed from high-school/AAU ball.

Rock Chalk.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

+1 I think the ratings are good recruiting tools but pretty meaningless this far down the road. The one exception might be to shows what HCBS sees that others miss with lower ranked recruits.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

Interesting headline....I would hardly consider Tyshawn, TRob, Travis and Elijah surprises at excelling. In fact the surprise would be if they didn't.

Yes, Jeff will be a surprise and Conner would be miraculous!!

I think Justin, Naadir and Kevin are the true potential surprises.

I feel the 2011-2012 team has the potential for the greatest in-season improvement in Bill Self's coaching regime.

However, I seriously feel we will be, at best, 3-2 or even 2-3 after the Maui Tournament Then we go on a pre-conference run of 6-2 with USC and Ohio State as the only blips. In conference we go 9-0 at home, but 5-4 on the road [TX, MO, Baylor, KSU] Big 12 tourney 2-1 NCAA 2-1

That totals 27-10..a great season for most teams, but just average for Kansas. [Caveat- if the growth improvement is realized as it could and we avoid the injury bug, that record could jump up 32-5 or so]

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Withey was highly ranked out of HS but hasn't lived up to expectations.. Maybe this is his year to put it all together but yes..it would be a nice surprise.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

PS Being only five ahead and with the potential on the Carolina team plus a sucking conference, it is likely we will relinquish second place on the all-time victory totals back to UNC.

ParisHawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, because their bad recent year they picked up extra victories in the NIT...

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

Okay..pretty funny but UNC is my pick to win it all. Their best players, I believe were given better advice on this years NBA stoppage..purely a guess but having the probable #1 or 2 draft pick come back and Roy having another great recruiting class might give Roy his 3rd.

jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago

"Somethings that Will Probably Not Happen in November and December"

~KU goes undefeated.

~Self sits Taylor, or Robinson, for a half to make a point.

~KU beats a major program by 20.

~VItale picks KU to win the conference.

~Self coaches nude to try to stop a three game losing streak, though he is tempted.

~Manning becomes a jocular, backslapping kind of guy with the bigs in order to get more out of Withey, Wesley and Young.

~Kurtis Townsend wears a Tom Ford small suit to try to land both Shabazz and Kaleb on the same day.

~Joe Dooley abandons intense focus and starts playing Halo on a lap top during games, because he knows this team is going to run the table.

~Lurkers from major programs played have only good things to say.

~Calipari offers Self some mousse after the first two game losing streak.

~Ratso Izzo, after suffering his own humbling last season, leaves the gloves on, if KU and MSU meet.

~Coach Konsonants orders not one cheap shot.

~Roy weeps for KU's early "process losses."

~Eddie and LB have no advice for how to make lemonade from lemons.

Brian Powell 8 years, 1 month ago

Tue, Nov. 15 KU at Kentucky Madison Square Garden New York, NY ESPN at 8:00p.m. CT Tickets Yes Please

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

Weird sounding...like they moved Madison Square Garden to Lexington, KY. {or more likely, moved Kentucky to Manhattan!!]

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 1 month ago

KU is the 2nd game..Duke/Michigan State first. Plenty of tickets left.. I'm in sec 206

Woody Cragg 8 years, 1 month ago

I'll be happy if Jeff just doesn't look as clumsy as in the past. With he & TRob on the floor at the same time, it'll be hi-lo, without Jeff I can see alot more of a transition game. Suits me fine. Also a numerically smaller rotation would be my preference, 6-7 guys which makes them better quicker by playing through their mistakes. JMO This is a good litmus test for HCBS. He's not been lauded for his patience in the past. Alot more guys have talked about & wished to transfer from here than has been made public in the past as well. He can hammer them pretty hard.

Justin Carlson 8 years, 1 month ago

2011 - 2012 Schedule> Sparking some fun predictions, a final regular season record, tourney seeding, and tourney record!

vs. Pittsburg St WIN BY 30+ vs. Fort Hays State WIN BY 20+ vs. Towson (EA Sports Maui Invitational) WIN vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic) LOSE vs. Georgetown (EA Sports Maui Invitational) WIN UCLA/Chaminade (EA Sports Maui Invitational) WIN Finals/Consolations (EA Sports Maui Invitational) LOSE vs. Florida Atlantic WIN vs. USF WIN vs. Long Beach State WIN vs. Ohio State LOSE (HOME LOSS HURTS) vs. Davidson WIN at USC LOSE vs. Howard WIN vs. North Dakota WIN vs. Kansas State WIN at Oklahoma * WIN at Texas Tech * WIN vs. Iowa State * WIN vs. Baylor * BIG UPSET AT HOME WIN at Texas LOSS vs. Texas A&M * WIN at Iowa State * WIN vs. Oklahoma WIN at Missouri * LOSE at Baylor * LOSE vs. Oklahoma State * WIN at Kansas State * WIN (CATS BRUTLE THIS YEAR) vs. Texas Tech * WIN at Texas A&M * LOSE vs. Missouri * WIN at Oklahoma State DAMN IBA ARENA LOSE VS.TEXAS WIN

23 - 8 REGULAR SEASON RECORD, 13 - 5 BIG 12 TIED #1 WITH BAYLOR, 2 WINS IN BIG 12 TOURNEY AND A LOSS, 25 - 9, 3 SEED, LOSE IN SWEET 16 FINISH 27 - 10 What to you guys think!!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

wow....27-10.....exactly my number. I hope we're both wrong!!!

Justin Carlson 8 years, 1 month ago

No kidding! I am hoping we squeak out wins at Missouri, at TX, and another win in the B12 tourney 30 - 7 looks at look better!!

Alohahawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Changes to above predictions:

Win at USC (If I remember correctly, they lost a starter to injury.)

2 wins vs Missery Who U. (MU's best player out with injury. Bitter rivalry will bring out the best in the Jayhawks. Could be one of the last times KU plays in Columbia. Win both for Ben McLemore.)

Lose at Iowa State. (They have a lot of very good transfers. Hilton Coliseum always tough.)

Win both vs Texas A&M (I think a number of Big 12 teams are going to do their best to beat A&M because they jumped ship. Last chance to beat them. I just don't see A&M as that good. And, they have a new coach.)

Chance to tie for the Big 12 regular season with Baylor and possibly win the Big 12 Tourney (KU more experienced by then, although 3 games in short time frame is hard without a larger bench).

Would be 25 wins & 6 loses - regular season. Plus 3 wins - if win Big 12 Tourney, and 3 wins (Elite Eight ) in NCAA ( 2 seed if KU wins Big 12 tourney, or 3 seed if KU loses in Big 12 Championship game). Total 30 wins and 8 losses, or 31 & 7. In Self I Trust!!!

Note: Would love to beat Ohio State in the Phog, and ecstatic if KU could beat Cal Lie Pari and Kenstinky P.U. in The Garden.

Shelbiluvshawks 8 years, 1 month ago

I think you're being ridiculous. We WON'T lose!

Benjamin Piehler 8 years, 1 month ago

KU fan at the "Occupy Denver" protest randomly supporting the university. Funny stuff.

TexasHawk44 8 years, 1 month ago

You clowns couldn't write Gary Bedore's grocery list properly. My guess is that most of you that are criticizing his "horrific error" work at the "Banana Stand" in "Arrested Development" or something of similar ilk.

Bedore knows more about KU basketball than the collective braintrust of a bunch of internet losers/posters (myself included). Please raise your hands if you are professional journalists or writers?

I realize Jaybate is a self-proclaimed scribe...if scribbling on the walls of his padded cell each day with his jumbled box of mishapen Crayolas counts as a profession...

Please give Bedore a break and get a life...

KULA 8 years, 1 month ago

Good post, but still, that was a pretty lame statement of fact by Bedore. Ya gotta at least expect the newspaper to get the facts right.

jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago

TexasHawk.22calibershort,

Glad to see you are giving your Rick Barnes love doll a break and coming up for digital air here.

Even though you reputedly only have four neurons to your name, even those need a little oxygen.

I reckon you have to be from Texas, because your love doll is reputed to require 5-30w Pennzoil instead of KY.

Heck, if I don't read something completely insipid by you at least once every six months, I am inadequately vaccinated for resistance to imbecilic Texas politicians like Mr. Rick "I'm a Frack Lackey Pretending to Be a Fundamentalist" Barnes.

My only question about yo' govuhnuh is this: which oil-agarch is he a fist puppet of?

Honestly, where do you Texans find these fake governors?

Is it true that Dubya's and Rick's I.Q. add up to double digits...together?

Is it a litmus test that Tayhose governors have to look like deers caught in head lights, when ever someone asks them something more complicated than "Hi, Rick what's your first name?"

I mean this guy is so pro drill and frack that he actually appears to have been fracked from behind.

But welcome back, regardless, you empty-headed dullard.

:-)

TexasHawk44 8 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate, Seriously what is your favorite color of crayon? I am betting on "Burnt Sienna". That seems to be a common look in the typical trailer park, but who knows?

That is assuming that are no longer in your psych ward cell...

I realize asking you to choose only one is a difficult task. Please shock the world with a one word answer (one that will not be removed from here) instead of your normal Jay Leno wannabe diatribe. Note: you are not clever enough to be a Letterman wannabe.

Yours truly, The "Empty-Headed Dullard"

jaybate 8 years, 1 month ago

TexasHawk.22short,

I'm not sure what you have against crayons, but at least you are now signing your posts "Empty-Headed Dullard."

That's progress. :-)

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