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Monday, January 9, 2012

Justin Wesley makes mom proud

‘Snaggletooth’ solid in front of mother at OU

Kansas’ Justin Wesley, center, poses with mother Charlene Taylor-Mask, left, and her husband, Larry, after Saturday’s win at Oklahoma.

Kansas’ Justin Wesley, center, poses with mother Charlene Taylor-Mask, left, and her husband, Larry, after Saturday’s win at Oklahoma.

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Kansas University sophomore basketball forward Justin Wesley hasn’t received any extra pampering or T.L.C. from his mother since he had a front-right tooth knocked out at practice on Nov. 28.

“She was (upset) at first, but all she does is make fun of me. She calls me ‘Snaggletooth,’” the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Wesley said with a laugh after grabbing four rebounds and scoring two points on a strong move to the hoop off an offensive rebound in Saturday’s 72-61 victory over Oklahoma at OU’s Noble Center.

Wesley’s mom, Charlene Taylor-Mask, attended the game in Norman, making the drive from Houston, where she lives with husband, Larry.

“That stuff doesn’t bother me anymore,” Charlene said of being squeamish over her sons’ losing teeth and getting bloodied.

“Now all three of them have had their front tooth knocked out,” she added, referring to her oldest son, Keith Langford, having a tooth dislodged during his KU career, and middle son, Kevin, who had a tooth displaced during his years at TCU. “That’s something they can all get together and talk about when they’re old and not playing anymore.”

Keith, who is KU’s seventh-leading scorer of all time, currently plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Kevin Langford plays for Navarra in Spain.

“Keith is super-excited (about baby brother Justin). He says he’s not the same kid on and off the court as he was at Lamar,” Charlene said.

Justin began his career at Lamar University in 2009-10, then sat out last season at KU in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

“I talked to Keith today. He said, ‘Look at the stat line (from OU game) — four rebounds, a steal, a block, 13 productive minutes,’” Charlene said, proudly.

Like Keith, Charlene has noticed a big change in her son in a season-and-a-half at KU.

“It’s like night and day, not so much the physical part of the game, but from the shoulders up,” said Taylor-Mask, who played college ball at Texas-Arlington. “His all-around knowledge of what he is doing and his confidence level ... (it’s) night and day. I knew he had the physical capabilities to be good, the prototypical body to be that 3, 4, sometimes 5 guy, a defensive stopper, a freak athlete. Looking at him, his moves on the court … it’ll take time to put that together.”

“Coach (Bill Self) and I have talked about this and that, where his confidence level is now from where he came in and where it could be when he leaves. I’m proud of him and really excited for him.”

Wesley, who was put on scholarship this season after arriving as a walk-on, has come a long way just to be in the rotation. He averages 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 points while logging an average of 12.2 minutes in the frontcourt for the Jayhawks (12-3).

It seems working with Self and Danny Manning has been beneficial to the still-raw athlete.

“At the beginning (of his career), we’d always tell him stuff. Keith and Kevin would tell him things. He stepped on campus, and Danny or Bill told him something, and it was like God had spoken,” Charlene said with a laugh. “We said, ‘What? We told you that for three, four years.’ He just loves Danny. The only thing I tried to forewarn Justin … I said, ‘Your first year you are just practicing. Wait until you start playing. It’ll be different.’ He said a month ago, ‘Mom, I hit this wall. I lost confidence.’ I said, ‘Can’t you talk to Danny?’ He said, ‘Mom, with scholarships come expectations.’ I said, ‘You are one of the guys now. It is what it is. You got what you wanted.’”

Wesley, who has been a sponge soaking up knowledge from the coaches since his arrival, said he received a boost just having mom around for Saturday’s OU game.

“It’s always great to play, especially when my mom is watching,” Wesley said. “It’s great to see her. Her living in Houston ... it’s not the same drive as when Keith was here. When Keith played at KU, we lived in Fort Worth.”

He grinned when asked what mom told him about his play after the game.

“She tells me the same thing every game: ‘Run the floor harder,’” Justin said with a smile. “It’ll be fun having her at more games. She was at Late Night and in New York to see us play.”

Charlene admits she expected the worst when KU took the floor against Kentucky in the second game of the season at Madison Square Garden.

“I don’t think anybody expected them to be as good as they are now,” she said. “I was in New York thinking, ‘We are about to get straight up run out of the Garden on national TV.’”

Kentucky won, 75-65, in a close game.

“Never underestimate a kid’s heart and will,” she said. “Those kids play hard. They are playing as hard as they can and playing well.”

She’s been a bit amused at the flap surrounding Tyshawn Taylor’s Twitter account. Taylor entered into a war of words with some demanding KU fans Friday night. Charlene remembers the days she used to get into it with fans on Internet message boards.

She doesn’t use the message boards anymore, preferring to chat with fans via her Facebook account.

“When Keith was here, I was infamous,” Charlene said with a laugh. “I don’t do the boards anymore. Quite a few Kansas fans do friend requests for me on Facebook. I will answer any questions they have.

“(About Tyshawn) ... I don’t care how old he is, he is living a kid’s life. Whether he’s 21 or 22, he is not earning a living yet or paying bills yet. He’s a kid. He has feelings. He’s not out there making mistakes on purpose.

“Sometimes fans take it a little overboards. I don’t care if you are an alumni. You don’t have a vested interest more than those guys suiting up. Whether an alumni or somebody financing the program (as university donor), you are a fan, period. These kids who are on the team don’t want to make mistakes, they don’t want to lose. They are giving all they have. They want to do well more than anybody.”

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Ha, Exactly what I was talking about under the Tyshawn/Twitter story. Why did Keith Langford's mom have to defend her son on internet msg boards???????? It gives me a sickening feeling to think of the profane filth our players must face at times. Charlene is 100% correct about her take on Tyshawn!!!! As a former KU-player's mom, she knows (all too well). Thank you, Charlene! Best line from above: "these kids on the team dont want to make mistakes or lose. They are giving all they have. They want to do well more than anybody." Yep. And those kids have Bill Self breathing down their neck, too. Not pleasant, but they can handle that. The profane personal assaults are uncalled for. Period.

HawksWin 2 years, 10 months ago

You sure did ralster! My sentiments exactly.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 10 months ago

Ralster--- You're the best! Kind of what I was thinking, too!

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Fans that ad hom players need psychic regime change.

And there seems to be a correlation between those that ad hom players and those that ad hom other board rats.

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

May I amend that to read "physic regime change"? Meaning, of course, 'to administer a purgative' . . .

Stephen Johnson 2 years, 10 months ago

Fans need to get off of TT back. KU would not have a chance to win anything without him in the lineup. Sure he makes mistakes, but their mistakes due to being aggressive. Ty always gives 100%.

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

Interesting spelling you have for the contraction of "they are". I was waiting to see if you would finish the sentence, as perhaps, "... their mistakes ... will come back to bite them in ...". I agree we can live with a few mistakes due to being aggressive – though I'd like to see fewer of them.

deepind 2 years, 10 months ago

Cannot agree more! It is sad that due to social media, these days players have to deal with some psychotic "fans" personally!

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

I must have missed the announcement that coach Self requires the players to read all the crap on social media.

Jeeveshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Its good to see that Justin Wesley is doing solid. I thought that ye would definately be a scrub last year.

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

He wore a practice jersey to fill out the scrub team last year – or did you mean "Last year, I thought ..."

jayhawker_97 2 years, 10 months ago

good article, Gary. Justin, i kinda knew you lost your confidence out there. but man, look at your potentials. just keep working/practicing hard with the team, be familiarized more with the plays in practice and you'll be ok. defensively, you're a good shot blocker, maybe not there yet with the # of fouls, but you'll get it (it's improving now). i can't wait to see lob passes from our guards to Justin. this kid hasn't realized his potentials yet. the only way to find out is to let Justin make mistakes!

rock chalk!!

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

When your mom knows the game so well, it won't hurt to listen closer when she observes, "You're one of the guys now. It is what it is. You're getting what you wanted, so make it work for you."

Dillon Davis 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree with the sentiments about Tyshawn. He is still a kid, playing in front of a huge spotlight at KU, under a demanding coach in HCBS, and against really good competition this year. So his own fanbase getting on his back about making mistakes isn't going to help anything. Neither is the KU media. He's our PG and that's just how it is. He's gona have a few TO's a game but as long as he equalizes that with around 10-15 points, some nice assists, and tough D who cares. We're better with him than without him and any KU fan who says otherwise is lying.

ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 10 months ago

Uuuuuuuh, is the rest of the staff on strike today? Where are the new articles?

And I wonder if Turner's mom ever stood up for her son of these boards?

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Was she 100?

What a great person she was/is, if she were the human behind that alias.

Good for her.

But I wonder. 100 seemed to know soooooo much about the early era.

JJHAWK 2 years, 10 months ago

One thing I've always liked about Jayhawk Basketball - Jayhawk family. My other comment - actually Danny is a God within Jayhawk basketball.

chriz 2 years, 10 months ago

Gosh, this kid looks like Kobe Bryant.

nb4ku 2 years, 10 months ago

She seems to have a very high Bball IQ. I guess that's to be expected when you have 3 sons play Div. 1 ball.

Kit Duncan 2 years, 10 months ago

She played for UT-Arlington, according to Gary. Therefore, I believe she likely passed her knowledge on to her sons, not the other way around.

sleepy33 2 years, 10 months ago

+10 How rad would it be to sit around and watch some games with Charlene? I think she should do some color commentary for the Hawks.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 10 months ago

Justin needs to make noticable progress this season because next season playing time is going to be all-out warfare with the level of talent coming in as well as BenMac and Jamari being avalable.

It would be interesting to see what this team's record would be if the roster remained the same, but Calipari was the coach. Something tells me it would be just a LITTLE different....and not in a good way!!!

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Justin will be playing some next season, maybe a lot.

Right now Kevin Young is his biggest problem.

Kevin has finally begun to play just well enough on defense that his efficient scoring becomes a big plus in many situations.

But Justin has the right stuff.

He wants it bad.

This year his job was to prove he could guard the post and the 4. He has, but he fouls a bit too much. So what? Most bigs do their first season of playing.

This off season, he will add 10-15 more pounds.

He will be as solid as Jamari next year.

But with a bit more length.

More experienced.

And he will work on rebounding all off season, plus add a jump hook.

Add rebounding to his post defense and he's a rotation guy, regardless of who else is there.

Best thing for Justin to do is to see a sports psychologist all off season to help him work on his relaxation, confidence and shift between broad and narrow focus. Fouling is all about over compensating from broad to narrow focus. You struggle to refocus from broad to narrow and you over commit on defense because you are completely sure of your self. It makes you a day late and a dollar short on your commitments.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

He just needs more fluidity in his transition from broad to narrow focus and back again; this was also Tyshawn's problem for a long time, only it manifests in Tyshawn as TOs. It still is to some extent, but he's worked hard on it. Tyshawn overcommits, or irrevocably commits on offensive plays, rather than leaving his options open all the time. This is an issue of focus.

Justin has to learn to think more like a prize fighter on defense. He has to take the measure of his man, which is what he already can do, and then he has to learn to cut off the canvas...to use footwork to corner his opponent, and then position his opponent where he wants him, rather than be positioned so often by his opponent.

Really just have Justin watch endless video of heavy weight champions' foot work, cutting off the canvas on their opponents, and then have him watch endless video of Bill Russell cutting off the floor against Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was better than Bill and could always shoot over Russ, but Wilt could never blow by Russ, or get Russ to over commit. People never appreciated what Big Russ accomplished against Wilt mano a mano, because Wilt was so much better. Everyone always distilled it into the Celtics beating Wilt, because Wilt always outscored Big Russ. But Big Russ was defending Wilt from a match-up disadvantage constantly and somehow finding ways to make Wilt earn his numbers.

Another guy for Justin to look at was Nate Thurmond on Wilt. Wilt and Big Russ both said Nate Thurmond, when his head was in the game, was often their toughest defender.

Maybe there isn't tape of these old guys, but if its around, it would be a big help for any young post man to watch.

Post Script: Justin needs to learn that when he hits a wall; that is just his next chance to become an NBA player. Every wall has a door, if your will is like a jackhammer. :-)

Stencil it on his locker.

John Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

Another instructive exercise would be to watch Wes Unseld get back on D and take away the opponent's preferred position on the floor. He always kept the opponent at least a step or two away from where he wanted to be. At 6'7", he was a finals MVP and perennial all-star because no one ever had good games against him.

Kye Clark 2 years, 10 months ago

I was thinking the same thing about Justin and his prospects for playing time next year Oak.

In addition to Jamari, the post will also have Zach Peters, Perry Ellis, & Landen Lucas entering the fray. So that's 4 more guys in the mix, combined with Withey, Young, & Wesley, bringing the total to 7. Typically only 3 see big minutes in Self's system. Despite what Self might say about Ellis being a hybrid 3/4 I can almost guarantee his time for his freshman year will be in the post. The history is there, Julian Wright & Marcus, that those type of players usually don't progress enough to play the 3 until at least their sophomore years. Justin seems like a good kid and under different circumstances could develop into more than just a post defender, but my suspicions are he will be one of the odd men out next year. I also suspect someone may have to redshirt, the most likely candidate being Lucas.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

I really do not think Justin will be playing much at all without major improvement. And I don't see it happening. I would suggest that Justin is simply a guy who has the talent to play at Lamar, or a smaller D-1. But he should not be in the rotation at Kansas. My opinion is that he has no business on the floor at KU. Bill Self obviously did not plan or expect that Wesley would ever be in the rotation. Wesley is being forced into a role on this team by circumstances.

We can all probably agree that Teahan is a better (obviously different) player than Wesley. But was Teahan really supposed to be part of the mix? If Lacey signs, and BMac is eligible, is Teahan in the rotation? Maybe. Maybe not. Likely not. No slam on Teahan. You go with the superior talent. He's a redshirt senior who has never really played. That tells you something.

Of course, we all appreciate his effort, his practice, his commitment. This has nothing to do with that. There are thousands of basketball players in this country that would immediately do the same if asked. But they don't get asked. They don't have the talent.

Unfortunately, it is not good news for KU basketball if Wesley is in the rotation. Seems like a nice kid. KU needs to be in a position next season where Wesley does not need to play.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 10 months ago

Conner is not the better when talking about potential. Conner knows the offense and what is expected of him..and does it. He will also play slow but fundamental D, occasionally drive the ball and make a few good assists when the opportunity presents itself.

Wesley is a much better athlete...he can create, rebound and make masterful mistakes. Wesley knows his clock is running out at this level. He sees how his brothers make a living... I'll take the athletic potential I expect a much better Wesley next year.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Each season there are players with less physical talent than others that make the 8-9 man rotation, even the 5 man rotation.

It is just a historical fact. And it happens on lots of Top 20 teams every season.

Why?

Because the guys with greater physical talent are not always ready to do the basics that coaches, especially sticklers like Self, require.

It is pretty obvious how much physical talent Elijah Johnson showed up on campus with.

But it is also pretty obvious from this year that all of his physical talent was not nearly enough to make him able to play at a D1 level.

EJ is barely cutting the mustard this season, so far.

If Brady, or Tyrel, were still on the team, EJ probably would be coming off the bench for barely 10 minutes a game, because Brady and Tyrel proved year in and year out they could shoot 40% from trey when not injured, or in a slump, while doing all the basics. EJ would still be backing up Tyshawn and then we would not have to watch Naadir Tharpe, who is not remotely ready for D1, playing any minutes at all.

And if Xavier, or Josh, had stayed another season, and had had time to nail down all the basics and stay healthy, Tyrel, Brady, and EJ would all be joining Tharpe on the bench except for brief stretches in the pre season.

EJ is still struggling his junior season, not because he was sitting his first two seasons, but rather because he was barely competent to be on the team in terms of the basics and fundamentals required to play D1.

If EJ is struggling this season, just imagine how awful he would have been his freshman, or sophomore seasons. It is a truly hideous thing to imagine Self having had to play EJ as a freshman, or even most of his sophomore season, given how much of a struggle it still is for him to stay within himself and play the role the coach asks for.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

This is not a knock on EJ. He wasn't ready. His high school coaches didn't prepare him. He probably didn't nave access to someone like Carl Henry, or all the pros and former pros that Josh Selby seemed to have grooming him from a young age. And even they struggled to play the game.

Heck, Jeff Hawkins would be starting ahead of EJ this season for sure.

But EJ hung in. He struggled. He stayed positive. He fought through his mistakes and his bench time. He took the acid tongue lashing him day after day after day.

And then he got his chance. Tyrel and Brady moved on. Self didn't land any great young OAD to park ahead of him. And he is able to stay on the floor without doing any thing extremely stupid and there is no experienced 3 star, or 2 star, with a great trey gun to step in and steal his outside shooting attempts.

Traditionally speaking, EJ is right on time for normal development. In the days before so many jumped to the L, junior and senior years were when most players finally figured it out. EJ figured it out a bit down the stretch last season, but its clear from watching him struggle this season that he was not really ready even last season. EJ is going to become a fine, fine player likely in February, or maybe next season. But until then he is fortunate to have Self only be asking a rather modest amount from him so far.

So: back to Justin. Everyone is down on him right now, but he continues to give Self exactly what Self wants from him, though with too many fouls. So: his minutes are cut back a bit and will be so long as Young is efficient enough on offense to offset his blow-by's on defense. This pain will focus Justin to foul less. He will foul less. And when he does, he will start eating back into Kevin Young's minutes, because Justin guards better, and can hold his ground better, at 220, than Kevin can at 185.

Justin could easily lose his minutes for awhile next season, the way Brady lost his to first Xavier, and then Selby. But the great thing about basketball is that physical talent, hype and a great jump shot can't hide defensive flaws, ball handling flaws, and want-to flaws.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Another thing in players like Justin's favor is that injuries don't affect their games nearly as much as injuries affect an OAD's impact contributions. Once an OAD is injured, as always happens sooner or later, unless the OAD is just an animal and can remain effective with the injury, the OAD, ore the 4 start player, becomes only a little better than lesser players like Tyrel, Brady, and the still lesser players like Justin.

I always think about Shady. He had to be one of the most talented guys that has ever played at KU, but he was such a head case that he benched himself his sophomore season, if I recall correctly. On the nights when he was lacking "concentration", there was no fall off, when Self brought in Kaun with two bad knees and no ability to grab a rebound, or score. If an impact player cannot impact, a role player that is great at the fundamentals is the preferred player often times.

Justin?

He could wind up like Conner. He might have to wait another season or two before getting more PT.

But the chances are that Zach and Landon are going to need a whole lot of work next year just to stay on the floor. The likely hood is that they will be about as effective as Markieff, TRob and Shady were their first seasons. :-)

Oh, yes, Justin will have a very good shot at back-up minutes next season, maybe even some starting minutes, as soon as Self plays Zach and Landon and exposes them to themselves, as Self usually does.

Will Perry Ellis probably play at the 4 next year?

It all depends on how good Ben Mac and Andrew White are next season, and how good of a point guard Self can drag in.

Naadir Tharpe is not going to own the point next year.

If Self cannot bring in a 4-5 star, play right now PG, then Self will plug EJ in at the point and pray Tharpe has figured out how to guard his own shadow next season as a back-up.

EJ at the point means Ben Mac and Andrew White have to be mighty flipping good out of the box, or Self has to move Travis back to his natural position--the 2--the position that Trav will play in the pros.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

If Trav has to play the 2, then Perry Ellis and Kevin Young may take over the 3, and Self will go with a big man rotation of Jeff, Justin, Jamari and probably some Zach. This would be an especially good rotation, if Jeff gains 20 pounds, Justin gains 15 and Jamari can actually play out of the box. This lets Zach mature at a reasonable rate and lets the other big, red shirt and work on his game.

In short, it all depends. One thing we know for shizz sure. Given how bad bigs usually are there freshmen seasons, it sure would be nice to redshirt Landon Lucas.

Heck, Justin is so freaky athletic, if Zach and Landon are better than I think they will be out of the box, then I would definitely red shirt Justin and let him spend a year just working on his offense, if a rouge smoking jacket were even an option for him.

But either way, Justin figures into KU's future as something considerably more than a no play bench warmer.

A 6"9" 220 lb forward that has already stayed on the floor with Kentucky, Duke, Georgetown, UCLA, KSU and so on, oh, yes, he's got potential worth developing. These sorts don't grow on trees. He just has to do what his mother says: run the floor harder. And let Danny teach him to rebound and shoot the jump hook.

Jack Wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

I appreciate your optimism regarding Wesley. You certainly seem to have much more than I do here.

You compare him to Brady .. but isn't he the anti-Brady .. Wesley is a guy that is limited skill-wise but is living off of athleticism, correct? Brady was the opposite. Further, Wesley plays below average defense right now. He struggles as much as KY; fouls more often (or is called for more fouls). And relatively speaking, Tharpe is about the same as Wesley defensively.

One thing I am pretty confident of -- Self will be working very hard to ensure that Wesley doesn't have to play. Everyone wants that, right? Tony Parker? Another thing is that I have no real confidence that Traylor/Lucas/Peters .. any of them .. will provide immediate help. By default, we could be stuck with Wesley in the rotation if none are ready to help next season. But the idea of him playing "like Teahan" his senior year is not a pleasant thought .. that means we have had significant recruiting misses (let's not do that again) or Traylor/Lucas/Peters bust.

Also, Wesley's red-shirt transfer season, I believe, disqualifies him from another redshirt season .. 5 seasons to play 4 I believe.

REHawk 2 years, 10 months ago

I, too, look forward to future games when Justin becomes the recipient of high lob passes. The kid can jump like a kangaroo. Sometime, probably next season, we are in for a treat when Elijah, Travis and Naadir focus occasionally on plays designed for lobs to him. He might yet do some real damage this season vs. teams with limited height, e.g. the turncoat tigers.

MorganR 2 years, 10 months ago

I appreciate the support Mr. Wesely receives from his mom and his famiy. I liked this article because it's nice to get some insight into the players' lives and families. That’s a nice photo too. This article also highlights a long-standing concern of mine that some of the comments in these blogs, such as those about Mr. Taylor, seem so unfair. I urge my fellow Jayhawks to be supportive of KU’s athletes. I hope Jayhawk fans will appreciate Mrs. Charlene Taylor-Mask’s well-said comments in this regard: “(About Tyshawn) ... I don’t care how old he is, he is living a kid’s life. Whether he’s 21 or 22, he is not earning a living yet or paying bills yet. He’s a kid. He has feelings. He’s not out there making mistakes on purpose. “Sometimes fans take it a little overboards. I don’t care if you are an alumni. You don’t have a vested interest more than those guys suiting up. Whether an alumni or somebody financing the program (as university donor), you are a fan, period. These kids who are on the team don’t want to make mistakes, they don’t want to lose. They are giving all they have. They want to do well more than anybody.”

Tony Bandle 2 years, 10 months ago

In a different vein, with six teams [5.Duke, 7.missouri, 8.UConn, 9.Georgetown, 11.Louisville and 13.Florida] all losing last week, it will be interesting to see where #14. Kansas ends up.

Top Ten, baby...here we come!!

Mike Kendall 2 years, 10 months ago

Oak--- I was asking the same question to my wife. I wonder where the Jayhawks will end up in the rankings? I hope the kitty kats defeat Baylor, too, BTW.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

This team is good enough to win it all, but it has quite a bit more growing to do.

From the moment EJ hangs a 25 point game on someone, this team will have arrived.

It will officially be very hard to defend.

And its going to happen.

deepind 2 years, 10 months ago

If his shots fall in, EJ can hang 25 in the next game! While I agree with your sentiment, I would like to qualify how he gets his 25. Making 7 or 8 3-pointers is possible. But I would like to see him earn is 25 the hard way (driving, lob/alley, etc.).

Here's my mod of your quote! :) From the moment EJ hangs a 25 point game on someone with only 3 or 4 3-ptrs, this team will have arrived.

jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

I can pop a cork to that. :-)

I believe EJ is good enough to go pro after this season, if the light just goes on.

But the light has to go on.

This is what so many board rats for get.

These guys have to do it in practice, and then they have to do it out on the floor.

There is no coulda, woulda, shoulda in D1.

Everyone has known since EJ showed up that he could be a great player...

If he ever figures it out and does it on the floor.

It is amazing how many persons on this board suddenly stop talking about EJ, once he hangs the exact same numbers Tyrel did, only with more TOs.

EJ has to cut his TOs and he has to jump his Trey percentage from 30% to 40% to hold Tyrell Reed's jock strap. Heck Tyrell could drain treys at 36-38% on a foot requiring surgery!

Can EJ be better than Tyrel?

Well, he would seem to have the speed and hops to allow him to be better.

But for crying out loud: he starts and plays the full game and its mid season and he still hasn't cut his TOs and he still isn't shooting even 36%, and he still isn't stripping much.

What is he waiting for?

EJ has a shot here.

Frankly, Ben Mac and Andrew White are bigger threats to EJ's minutes next season than Zach and Landon and Jamari are to Justin Wesley's minutes.

Come on, EJ. I have believed in you all along. I thought you weren't ready your freshman, or sophomore years, but I thought you were ready this season, and not just to put up Tyrel numbers. You seem like a potential All American, now that you've got the fundies down.

Cut your TOs, up your strips, up your trey percentage, and when that game comes where Self says, "We need you to impact," run wild for 25-30!

Sally Presson 2 years, 10 months ago

I think we all need to ease up on Tyshawn. He's cut down on his turnovers and hopefully is keeping his "Good tyshawn" attitude for every game. Justin's Mom is so correct, none of these players want to lose a game, we all expect so much out of the KU players. and honestly, we live and breath KU Men's basketball. So forgive us if we're too critical and love us because we love KU men's basketball. Justin, you can be proud to join the ranks with a front tooth knocked out--great players before you played with a tooth missing. So glad to have you on the team!! keep up the great work

mikehawk 2 years, 10 months ago

It comes with the territory. This year the target is Tyshawn. Next year, mark my words, it will be Jeff Withey. Lesson: Don't read the blogs and stay away from Twitter. Live in your own world with your coaches and teammates.

AsadZ 2 years, 10 months ago

On a different note, Russell Robinson posted Bill Self's letter to him in his senior year , see below site:

http://instagr.am/p/f0Ezj/

MorganR 2 years, 10 months ago

I am impressed! I hope all KU fans would take a postive approach to commenting on KU sports blogs - especially when we are talking about the young people that wear KU uniforms.

There was an old (1950s) Jimmy Stewart movie entitled "Harvey." Jimmy Stewart's character responded to a question with something to the effect: "There are some people that are so smart. Others are so kind. For years, I was smart, I recommend kind."

For my part, while I would like to be regarded as smart. I hope people I have known would recall me as being "kind."

Thank you for your comments.

texashawk10 2 years, 10 months ago

If Wesley can learn to play without fouling, he can become a very important piece of the rotation for KU. He has a natural aggressiveness about him on defense that when he learns how to play fundamental defense, he can be a real force on the defensive end of the floor. His body also looks like he could put on another 15-20 lbs. of muscle and get to the 235-240 range and just have his way with people on defensive end of the floor. His offensive skill set looks to be very limited, but if he develops any kind of offensive game and learns to play defense, look out for Wesley his senior season to make an impact for KU as either the 6th man or second front-court starter.

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