Kansas University basketball veterans Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson braced themselves for a barrage of questions from a larger-than-normal contingent of media members before practice Monday in Allen Fieldhouse.
“We kind of prepared ourselves when we walked out here. We figured it’d be all Missouri questions,” Taylor, KU’s senior point guard, said amid a backdrop of about a hundred students representing groups camping out for Saturday’s 3 p.m. home game against Missouri.
“It’s understandable. Everybody is excited about it. We’ve got to take care of business Wednesday. I’m thinking about it, too, but I can’t look past Texas A&M at all. They are a good team that could definitely beat us,” Taylor added.
The Jayhawk duo actually fielded plenty of questions about A&M on Monday.
KU (22-5 overall, 12-2 Big 12), which is tied for first place in the Big 12 with Missouri, meets the Aggies (13-13, 4-10) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Reed Arena in College Station.
Taylor, who recently told coach Bill Self he’d been a bit worn down, says he’s energized for the pre-Missouri match-up against the Aggies.
“That was good. I think I needed that,” Taylor said of playing just 27 minutes in Saturday’s 83-50 rout of Texas Tech. “We had a day off after that, too. That helped. I feel good now. I’m a little nicked up, a little banged up like any player this time of the season. It’s been a long season. I’ve played a lot of minutes. We get after it at practice. There’s a lot of wear and tear on the body, but I feel good. I’m excited. This is a really big week for us.”
Senior Khris Middleton, a 6-foot-7, 217-pound junior forward who didn’t play in the Aggies’ 64-54 loss to KU on Jan. 23 because of a knee injury, will play Wednesday. Dash Harris, a 6-1 senior from Los Angeles who suffered an arch injury in the KU game and hasn’t played since, returned to practice Friday.
“I have no clue. I’ve given 17 updates this year and been wrong every time,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “He’s been cleared to practice. He’s not made it through an entire practice.”
T-shirts: Self on Monday’s “Hawk Talk” radio show invited fans to purchase “Kansas Operation: Victory” T-shirts. The shirts, being sold at kustore.com according to the website, “celebrates the rich tradition of Jayhawks victories over Missouri since 1854.”
“We will sell a lot of them — 15,000, 20,000 of them. We sold 8,000 last week,” Self said. “The profits we make through the athletic department will go to charities in our area that promote relief for our soldiers who have given so much overseas and in combat, people that have sacrificed so much for us. If you want to wear blue to the game, wear that one. It’d be cool.
“It’s something we thought we could do three weeks ago to raise funds for an important cause and give our fans a shirt to like. This is obviously the last time,” he added, referring to the end of the Border War rivalry’s coming to an end after this season.
Morris recalled: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey announced Monday that former KU forward Marcus Morris has been recalled from NBA Development League partner Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Morris, the 14th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 22.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.4 steals in the 10 games he played with Rio Grande Valley.