Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Good and bad, Tyshawn Taylor is key to KU



Bill Self weekly press conference: Jan. 3, 2012

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Kansas head men's basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media at his weekly press conference Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Battle of the boards: Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson set for KSU

Kansas players Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson discussed preparing for Wednesday's game against Kansas State after practice Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Using your own brain to judge someone who has a different brain type invites trouble. Generally, the best approach lies in challenging yourself to look for something to appreciate about the person who thinks not at all the way you think.

Those who have a buttoned-up brain tend to strive for control and demand order in their worlds, even if it means juggling four things at once. The more scattered, less focused thinker brings more creativity and tends to pay close attention only to that which he finds exciting. When the task is boring, the mind wanders.

Trying to understand what makes the first type tick has been a lifelong challenge. It’s the second type thinkers I empathize with when their uneven focus lands them in trouble, especially when smart people do dumb things.

Tyrel Reed had the first brain type, Tyshawn Taylor the second.

I can’t relate to people who lead with the negative when discussing Taylor’s on-court pros and cons. He’s the second-best player on college basketball’s 14th-ranked team. Without him on the roster, Kansas would have a shaky Selection Sunday, after the TV show, nervously waiting for an NIT bid.

Taylor has frustrated Kansas coach Bill Self at times, but it’s obvious the longer the Hoboken, N.J., native plays for Self, the more fond of him the coach grows.

“He is a pretty scrutinized guy, there’s no question about that, and a lot of that he brings on himself,” Self said. “A lot of that is him being the point guard here with teams that are really good and that kind of stuff.”

It’s more than that, of course.

“He can be frustrating because he can make plays you can’t coach, then he can make plays you wonder if he’s ever been coached,” Self said. “But that’s him. I’m glad we got him.”

Too often, Taylor has played basketball the way so many talented Major League Baseball rookie shortstops have played: A web gem one minute, a botched routine grounder the next.

“I think he’s really talented, and I think he’s getting better,” Self said. “I think he’s made a conscious effort to really tighten his game up in a lot of ways. The last few games he’s played pretty good, but he’s going to turn it over. He’s going to make some mistakes.”

And the coach has learned to live with them because he knows his point guard brings the effort. Taylor, shooting .514 on three-pointers for the season, has 19 assists and six turnovers in KU’s past three games.

“The thing we can’t have him do is become a non-aggressive factor because he’s playing not to screw up,” Self said. “Hey, he’s got to go. He needs to be turned loose. ... The simple plays he can make look difficult and the difficult plays he can make look real easy. I don’t think that’s uncommon. Do guys concentrate more on a guarded three or an uncontested layup?”

In that regard, Taylor’s a caricature of the typical player.

As always, Kansas State will bring the heat defensively tonight. A year ago, Taylor had one turnover in a 24-point home victory, six in a 16-point road loss.

“I’m going to definitely have to take care of the ball to make sure we get a shot every time,” Taylor said.


LngTimeFan 2 years, 3 months ago

TT, many of us who post on the KU boards are not from or for opposing schools, I know I am one of the most diehard KU fans you could find anywhere. The comment that some just don't like you and that is why they post what they do is very childish. We ALL want KU to succeed, and that includes you. When someone in my working life has given me the same feedback for two years in a row, it is time to listen, and listen intently with the focus being to improve the developmental area they are talking about. I could ignore the feedback and not improve, or I could take it to heart and do my best in what ever way possible to improve. People in work life go through this all the time, it is part of life. Your tact seems to be screw you, your comment is based on not liking me so it is bogus. We are not telling you anything that the KU coaching staff has not told you - and told you - and told you. You are agreat player who could be even better if you paid attention and worked diligently on reducing turnovers. You apparently don't think that is important since you have not improved. You may make some super shot, but your turnovers have great potential to cost KU a game at a critical time this year. How will that feel? May not matter to you, but it sure does to us diehard KU fans, many of us LONG TIME FANS. Your legacy could be - he was a great player who could have been much better if he didn't turn the ball over. Stop the "they don't like me crap," it's pretty childish for a Senior in College, especially KU.


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Here's another trend that I have noticed over TT's years as a Jayhawk. I seem to recall that after making one of his super talented passes or scores, in previous seasons he would turn right around and create a blunder. Now the opposite appears to happen. The turnover comes first, then the marvelous play soon follows. If I were an opposing coach or opposing team captain I would be on red alert for Taylor's focused atonement, because it is dead certain that he will mete out subsequent punishment!
Bill Self is less and less inclined to pull him to the pine. The pluses and minuses from the starting point guard position are merely a part of current Jayhawk flow. I think that Bill Self, like all of us, has grown tremendously intrigued by playing the waiting game with TT, at least half patiently waiting to see what he will do next.


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

I've gotta disagree with you on that, bennybob. He has played a significant role in a heck of a lot of those seasonal wins in his time at KU. Have we ever had a kid who has logged more minutes in winning games? His mistakes merely stand out like a loose garter sliding below a prim lady's calf. But he does a heck of a lot of good stuff, even when the turnovers seem astronomical for such an experienced player. We most often win, in spite of the errors; and his focus seems to intensify immediately after a blunder, so that he startles the opposition, viewers and his own coach with marvelous maneuvers or 3 pt. bonanzas.


bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

“He can be frustrating because he can make plays you can’t coach, then he can make plays you wonder if he’s ever been coached,” Self said. “But that’s him. I’m glad we got him.”

NO, hes frustrating because he makes many more of the "has he ever been coached?" plays than he does the "you can't coach that" plays.


phogphan2000 2 years, 3 months ago

Good coments drgnslayr

Some people say he looks to shoot all the time driving, I think sometimes he has his mind made up to pass it to TRob and the passing lane isn't isn't necessarily one thing or another. He forces action, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. KU has lost some pretty big games in the past because nobody wanted to make something happen. The more guys on this team that decide to do that, EJ, TR, TRob, the better off TT will be. How many times in his senior season was Collins criticized for forcing bad shots? But how many of those times did the rest of the team leave it on him to force the action as none of them wanted to try? If TT had tried to make more happen in the last couple minutes of the MSU Sweet16 game KU probably wins, but the defense focused on Sherron, KU let a lead slip away and went home. I don't think TT takes it lightly when he turns it over, most players get down more from that than a bad shot. If other players move the ball and attack the paint more, it's going to give him the edge he needs to drive the lane and have options from which he can make good decisions. That's the way I see it anyway.


William Blake 2 years, 3 months ago

Besides the shear volume of TOs from TT I believe the way he acquires some of those TOs brings a great deal of negative attention on these boards.

A certain percentage of TT's TOs are very "amateurish" so fans react on them with, "hey, I can do that!" And they are right. Problem is, the same fans can not do what TT does when he makes great plays.

Whether people want to credit him or not, TT has made strides in his game. He still makes big mistakes, but he does play in better overall control. And he is definitely a much better finisher at the rim (compared to last year). Even his trey has improved!

TT needs more help from the other guards.... EJ has been stepping up and I have a feeling if the stars are aligned right tonight EJ is going to have a special game tonight. TRele has become our sleeper swing man... building better stats under the radar. That's fine as long as he can bring up his numbers a bit more. I'm not sure about his foot injury and wonder if he can be effective tonight. We need to run more plays to get him in the midrange for scoring.

TT will look like a pro if the rest of the team sets hard screens away from the ball and does all the grunt work that never gets noticed. That's the only way to create those beautiful finishes, whether they come from the paint or from trey.

Come on, Hawks... Rock Chalk! Send these kiddy kats back to the farm with their tails between their legs!


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Obviously, what has brought occasional wrath from the Jayhawk Nation is the manner in which Tyshawn has fallen short of what most of us view as his tremendous potential. When the kid is on and focused, he is among the finest guards ever to play Div. I ball. For him, personally, the 4-year sojourn has been sad with its mercurial ups and downs. During upside moments he would appear definitely to be a first round draft selection. On his downside, he probably grades out as not worthy of a second round risk. There is still time for him to prove his value...and to lead this team to another Big 12 title. He has started all 4 seasons, but for his short suspensions, and has even played through serious injury. Are Sherron, Tyrel and Brady the only Big 12 major minute players ever to play 4 seasons for Big 12 title teams?
I hope for TT the very best. If he continues on the statistical upswing, as the recent few games have shown, then we are on track for at least a share of another league championship and a decent run into the heart of the NCAA Tournament. Tyshawn yet might be picked up by an NBA franchise led by a patient coach and general manager who are willing to gamble on his potential greatness.


baldwinjhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

TT is probably to the most frustrating player to watch that has worn a Kansas uniform.


missouricat 2 years, 3 months ago

The three point shooting will tell the story between you guys tonight and the inside big guys are a even draw.


Steve Gantz 2 years, 3 months ago

SInce the infamous 11 turnover Duke game, (pts, assists, turnovers) Fl Atlantic 18, 1, 4 USG 24, 5, 5 LBS 12, 4, 5 OSU 9, 13, 7 Dav. 15, 7, 5 USC 10, 9, 2 How 13, 5, 1 UND 18, 5, 3

This shows progress in the area in which we all were most upset about TT. The 3 point shooting percent of over .500 is also a surprisingly nice number as well.
I've never been a big TT fan. I've tired of his antics which I believe basically cost him his sophomore season as he showed regression after his freshman year. But I do see his indispensable value to this years team.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree with this article... If Tyshawn Taylor were to get hot in March this team could make a legitimate run. If he plays erratic then the team is toast. Tyshawn playing to his full potential makes this team scary. Unfortunatly, Tyshawn playing erratic also makes this team scary!


fansincewilt 2 years, 3 months ago

Excellent article with really good insight. The comparison of Reed to Tyrel is not about two point guards but about two different mindsets. I think we really miss Reed but now Taylor has more to say about the development on this team. Time will tell. Taylor has way more talent than most people realize and does have the ability to take us a long way into the tournament. However, there's another side to that equation. Taylor gives us hope. The game with a not 100% Taylor against Davidson shows how dependent this team is upon Taylor being 100%. I think tonight Taylor completely breaks down the KSU defense. If he doesn't, I don't think we win.


Jeremy Paul 2 years, 3 months ago

“I think he’s really talented, and I think he’s getting better,” Self said. “I think he’s made a conscious effort to really tighten his game up in a lot of ways. The last few games he’s played pretty good, but he’s going to turn it over. He’s going to make some mistakes.”

That's the type of comment I like to hear about a freshman, not a senior.


leonard 2 years, 3 months ago

Geez Mareez...Keegan writing about brains and psychoanalysis.

What's on curing cancer or compulsive eating disorders? Answer the phone, it might be Mensa calling.


KansasComet 2 years, 3 months ago

That article was terrible. Was Tyrel a point guard with the ball in his hands the majority of the time? Don't get the connection?


Alohahawk 2 years, 3 months ago

As a point guard Taylor has to sift through numerous decisions/plays and decide on the correct one ("Plan A") that fits, at that moment. Whether "Plan A" will work or not, it often seems that once he has made his decision, he rejects any other option and, hell or high water, he's not changing horses in the middle of the stream/lane. At that point, he's locked in. He's focused on "scoring", and on nothing else.

IMHO, there lies the problem. He changes to a one track mind when he drives the lane. TT needs to plan ahead on what he will do when "Plan A" goes wrong.

That's where the positioning of his team-mates is so important: Where are they supposed to set up so TT knows ahead of time where to kick the ball when the opposition denies "Plan A"? Will TRob or Withey be open for a dunk? Or will he kick the ball outside for a shot beyond the arc?

Hopefully, the team has practiced HCBS's x's and o's enough during the two-a-days over the holidays that it will help to alleviate the problem.

RCJHGKU. Whup the Wildkittens!!!


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