Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Tyshawn Taylor transforms magically

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor and KU coach Bill Self have some words during the first half of Monday's game against Baylor.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor and KU coach Bill Self have some words during the first half of Monday's game against Baylor.


It’s as if Tyshawn Taylor woke up a few mornings ago and his identity had changed, even if his body had stayed the same. He became Sherron Collins, plus a few inches and minus a few dozen pounds.

In the snap of a finger, the kid whose confidence had been shaken by the venomous bite of cyberspace, turned into a relentless scoring machine. He imposed his will on the game to erase a 12-point, second-half deficit to Iowa State on Saturday, then topped himself, emphatically erased a short-lived Baylor lead late in the first half on a very big Monday, sending his team on the way to a 92-74 rout in Allen Fieldhouse, where the Bears remain winless.

The first loud sign that Taylor would have the sort of night Collins had in leading Kansas to a 100-90 victory two years ago came in the first half when Thomas Robinson had the ball in his hands, facing Taylor, who was at the free-throw line.

Palms up, arms stretched, Taylor pinned his shoulders back to let Robinson know he wanted the ball. Robinson hesitated, and Taylor widened his eyes, made the same gesture and all but stomped the ground, non-verbally telling his teammate he wanted the ball and he wanted it now! This time Robinson gave it to him, and Taylor showed why he so badly wanted the ball. He knew nobody could stop him from getting to the rim.

Nobody stopped him all night because Taylor’s quicker than Collins ever was. He’s Cool Papa Bell quick, as in gets out of bed to turn off the light switch on the other side of the room and is back under the covers before it’s dark.

Kansas coach Bill Self thought the world of the way Collins attacked, but he never invoked Allen Iverson’s name in making a quickness comparison. He did recently with Taylor.

Taylor doesn’t always exhibit Collins’ court savvy. Then again, Collins didn’t bat a thousand there, either. Both guys win so much more than they lose.

For the second game in a row, Taylor scored a career-high 28 points. On this night, Thomas Robinson (27 points, 14 rebounds, a dunk you’ll see on the big board for decades) improved his strong candidacy for player-of-the-year honors and received another endorsement from Dick Vitale, Jeff Withey did a pretty fair Cole Aldrich impersonation, and Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson were models of efficiency.

But it was Taylor who left the Bears inhaling exhaust fumes when he went turbo. In the final 3:49 of the first half, Kansas outscored Baylor, 13-0, to take a 39-29 lead. Taylor scored 11 of the points and assisted Releford on the other bucket.

When he dashed into the lane to put up shots against long-armed guys a half-foot and more taller, he folded up like an accordion, or tossed it in with his left hand or went up and under. Whatever it took, his instincts enabled him to pull the right club out of the bag time after time. He made 10 of 14 field goals and four of six three-pointers. His six assists came in a variety of ways, most memorably on a lob to Robinson, who reached his right arm all the way back and threw one down that blew away the crowd. On another instance, he shifted paces, and when he reached the lane calmly tossed up a lob for a Withey dunk. Taylor also set up a cutting Johnson with a beauty of a bounce pass off the dribble.

Baylor brought a 17-0 record, a No. 3 national ranking and two McDonald’s All-Americans into the building. If one of the teams has two collegiate All-Americans, it won’t be Baylor.

“We had the best big man, in my opinion, in the country today,” KU coach Bill Self said. “And we may have had the best point guard in the country today. I thought those guys were just fabulous.”

A loud pack of 16,300 lucky people didn’t need words to express those same sentiments over and over for a two-hour demonstration of why the players in KU’s starting five have improved so vastly that it doesn’t pay to spend too much time talking about depth problems.


Krohnutz 2 years, 3 months ago

WTF, this site kills me. I replied (once) to Ralster on my original post, and it throws it in the proper reply spot, and also boots it down here as a new post.



yates33333 2 years, 3 months ago

Yahweh. You confuse disagree with don't remember.


rwhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

The two plays surrounding halftime are a perfect illustration of Taylor (and I should note that this is not a critique, I love him and will take his mistakes with his brilliance):

  1. Before the half, according to HCBS, they called a flatten out to have Teahan take the closing 3...and TT completely ignores it, trusts his instincts, and then breaks out with his best impersonation of Sherron Collins.

  2. Baylor gets the ball coming out of the half. Taylor is standing straight up and flat footed, simply watching the action as if he were a fan in the stand. With Taylor's back turned to him, Baylor's PG (Jackson?) moves across the court, checks the wind, and drills a wide open 3.

With TT, I've learned to chuckle and be amused.


Krohnutz 2 years, 3 months ago

This was the best game I have ever seen Taylor play. He was dynamite against Texas last season in the Big 12 tournament, but I would probably drop that down to second place now.

Man just don't let this go to your head. Same with Robinson; Player of the Year would be awesome for a guy like TRob, but that isn't why he came back this year. Just win.


Steve Gantz 2 years, 3 months ago

What happens if it goes to his head? I hope it doesn't, but watching him do the goofy three symbol with his fingers makes me wonder.


Redlandsjhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

I remember a few times in the last couple years when a poster would say "our bench could be a top 15 team" or something to that effect. Well turns out they were right! Except for TT this team is basically our bench from last year, and they have defeated the number 2 and number 3 ranked teams this year. They are themselves ranked in the top 10 and have a good chance to crack the top 5! The label as the least talented team is starting to peel off with a POY candidate and a senior who could be an all american.

All the things we fretted over and hoped for are coming true (Withey, Releford,etc)

I noticed in the North Dakota game the genius of Coach Self. TRob was being doubled and couldn't get going so Self takes Withey out of the game, inserts Teahan and now ND has to guard the extra shooter which frees up TRob and you know the rest.

Great job, everyone... Rock Chalk


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Through up to 75% of his minutes in the past two contests, Tyshawn has been lightning: streak lightning, sheet lightning, thunderously fantastic. Conference performances and results, to date, certainly validate Bill Self's patient support and tenacious belief in his point guard's potential. Like HEM, I remain more than somewhat on edge, wondering what might happen on nights when his shots aren't falling or a pair of opposing point guards or high profile post defenders thwart his sometimes risky maneuverings. But right now he deserves to wear the crown, King of Lawrence. Two consecutive terrific games have cast his name and game into national prominence. Speaking of thunderous, the fieldhouse crowd roared magnificently last night. Bear scaring clamor and cacaphony!


bennybob 2 years, 3 months ago

The difference between the TT we've seen the last 2 games and the normal TT is that hes actually been finishing the 4-5 drives to the basket he takes every game that lead to difficult lay up attempts.

Usually those plays result in ugly attempts at lay ups or offensive fouls. actually converting on those plays, combined with a hot night from behind the arc, can add an extra 12-15 pts to a stat line and overshadow the TOs.

We've seen this from TT before, he gets hot in streaks. its consistency thats always been his problem. We cant expect him to finish every one of those difficult drives, but if he can convert on half of them this team could be pretty good.


Vernon Riggs 2 years, 3 months ago

One other shout-out from the Baylor game. It goes to Naadir. He got his pocket picked by the Baylor pointguard and lost the ball. The very next play he drove the lane for his only 2 points of the game. Naadir has been in the DogHouse for most of the year but he believed in himself not to lay down. He is going to make a great point guard next year.


FLJHK 2 years, 3 months ago

Anyone else consider that of Dickie V's four favorite venues for college hoops, three (Allen, Rupp and the Dean Dome) are named for Jayhawks?

Kansas Basketball: The foundation of college hoops, now and forever.


William Blake 2 years, 3 months ago

"He became Sherron Collins..."

Not sure I see the resemblance in any form.

Tyshawn is a greyhound and Sherron was a bulldog.

I just hope Tyshawn gets that magic chance to shine in the finals like Sherron got.


FLJHK 2 years, 3 months ago

Folks forget that TT had a great NCAA tourney last year and was the only Jayhawk to show up in the loss to VCU. A case can be made that he has the ability to flourish in the big games.


jrbill67 2 years, 3 months ago

I was Taylor's biggest fan his freshman year and said he could become KU's greatest guard ever. Then he played up and down, had issues, and generally did not play to his potential his sophmore, junior, or even the beginning of this year. Now the last two games, he's shown us his incredible talent, some maturity, and some leadership. If he keeps this up, this team can go a long way this year even though they are not very deep. Just think if he would've played like this his entire KU career...............


KansasComet 2 years, 3 months ago

I love watching Tyshawn Taylor play basketball. I am very glad he decided to come to Kansas. Great game!!


Janet Olin 2 years, 3 months ago

I am often critical of TT when he's out of control, making stupid turnovers, and playing without his brain. He was fabulous in the Baylor game and the 2 previous games, and I am thrilled for him and the team. Finally, the focus to channel his outrageous athleticism into positive play--what KU fans have waited for 4 years now. Congratulations and great job, TT! Stay focused.rcjhgku


Joe Joseph 2 years, 3 months ago

KU is approaching a 6-game stretch where it travels to Ames, Columbia, Baylor, and Manhattan (thrown in with 2 home games against OU & OSU). This stretch will determine the Big 12 and whether or not T-Rob is POY and TT is an All-American.

If KU makes it through that stretch with no more than two losses, then I think the odds are favorable that all three of those things happen.

KU - Big XII champs Thomas Robinson - POY Tyshawn Taylor - All-American


oldalum 2 years, 3 months ago

Baylor has a lot of talent on that team. I couldn't help thinking, "What kind of team would this be if Self was their coach?" Just seems like Drew is squandering all that skill.


AsadZ 2 years, 3 months ago

TT was out of control, sped up in first 10 mins, too many distractions perhaps. But what I really liked about him is that he settled down and remained in ATTACK mode. Two games in a row he has been very aggressive.

I saw EJ bring up the ball lot more last night. I believe this also had a calming effect on TT and he was able to ATTACK without worrrying about TOs.

It is very pleasing to see this transformation in TT.

Great Job


jazzhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Already one of my favorite teams. I would say this is truly THE testament to Coach Self and his staff. If they are blessed to make even a decent run come March, Coach Self is the National Coach of the Year, hands down. Probably his most masterful job so far at KU.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!


Mike Kendall 2 years, 3 months ago

TT was money last night---so was Mr. Robinson. However, what about Jeff Withey? Wow, he took a few steps forward against the Bears. HCBS liked his performance, too. Told that to Ms. Holly Rowe. Rock Chalk!


Chris Shaw 2 years, 3 months ago

Great game TT! Everybody will remember the final 30 minutes which is great because that is the potential and level TT always needs to play. I'm proud of him.

The thing that concerns me still are the 4 TO's in the first 10 minutes of the game (Actually first 7 minutes of the game). Look, this is not to take away from TT, but 3 of his 4 TO's in that first stretch were all different.

1) The "Creating" from the corner where he tried to step back and crossover backwards between his legs. Where are you going? No need for that. You figured out you didn't need any of that for the rest of the game so good adjustment.

2) I don't think this will ever be corrected, but TT's entry passes are not stellar. A little more patientce.

3) The TO that irritated me the most was the cross court pass to Relly that could have been a 2 on 1, but he waited too long. When EJ or T-Rob grabbed that rebound and got the outlet to half court...................TT turned and took 2 dribbles and then attempted the pass to relly. It was one dribble too many. Either make that turn and quickly make that pass or hold onto the ball and drive it to see if you still have the advantage...............If not, bring it back out because you know the defense is trailing.

Look, I'm not being critical.............just simply observing. Great game TT. Probably the best I've ever seen you play in a Jayhawk uniform. Clean up a few things and we're going to be okay going forward.


Clarence Haynes 2 years, 3 months ago

KULA, I don't give a rat's butt what you think! The one person who has stuck with TT is Bill Self and I feel that genuinely cares for him and his other players. Coach Self's compassion and coaching count here in my opinion, not some mean remark by someone who frankly does not weigh in the equation.


Benjamin Jones 2 years, 3 months ago

"Nobody stopped him all night because Taylor’s quicker than Collins ever was."

I'm not sure Taylor is quicker than Collins was his freshman year, when he was greased lightning.


yates33333 2 years, 3 months ago

Withey is already better than Aldrich. He plays harder and is winded less. He even looks meaner. If I were choosing sides I'd take Withey before Aldrich. Withey plays with "heart," the will to win. In fact that whole team plays that way. This B.S. about "not as talented" only means not as talented as the pundits decided. The proof of ability is on the court, between the baskets. This is a talented team, seven or maybe eight deep. This is the "Triumph of the Will." I know the disgusting background of the phrase so don't bother.


PurePierce 2 years, 3 months ago

"Typhoon" Taylor blew away the Cyclones, now the Bears...

Beware The Phog, Thomas, and now... "The Typhoon".


april28 2 years, 3 months ago

Nice article by Keegan. I've bashed on Tyshawn before. I'll shut up now. It's thrilling to see a young man excel at such a high level. Congratulations.

Also, combine the win with the football news conference, and what you get is a great day to be a Jayhawk.


Nathan Scholl 2 years, 3 months ago

KULA, spoken like a true L.A. sports fan. Go root for Kobe and leave Tyshawn alone. What more do you want? Fans like you are one of the reasons I left Los Angeles. Take the great when you get it.


MinnesotaJay 2 years, 3 months ago

Awesome performances deserve accolades. Why not wait for a mediocre performance to go negative on the guy? Tyshawn, hats off!


manginorh00lz 2 years, 3 months ago

If he's still throwing this stuff together through Feb. 8, count me in as a believer. Home performance is great and all, but on the road is where it counts.


connhawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Taylor has been absolutely stellar the past two games. If he can play half this well for the rest of the year, I saw we've got a pretty damn good shot at making the final four.

I never even dreamed I would have that much confidence in this team before the season started!


KULA 2 years, 3 months ago

I still wish Tyshawn had transferred like some of the more intelligent posters were calling for the last couple years. I just don't like him...


Michael Luby 2 years, 3 months ago

TK, shoulda picked KU to win this one man.

Stellar win.



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