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.


Michael Luby 10 years ago

TK, shoulda picked KU to win this one man.

Stellar win.


KULA 10 years 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...

mojayhawk 10 years ago

Are you sure you're not UKLA? Reveal your identity or be a fan.

bradh 10 years ago

Guys, his statement isn't serious. He's poking fun at those who posted they wanted TT to leave over the last couple of years.

Chris Shaw 10 years ago

God, I love sarcasm! Wait.......:)

connhawk 10 years 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!

HawksWin 10 years ago

Here's one for you to ponder - learn how live & enjoy the moment. If u don't, chances are u would be saying the same crap come Feb 8 - looking into March, then next season and so on - so enjoy the fruits of their labor now.

MinnesotaJay 10 years ago

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

Ashwin Rao 10 years ago

Love the whinos everywhere... Makes comments sections interesting... usually it is the same few who whine a lot. Usually if I don't feel like it, I just don't even read their posts.

Nathan Scholl 10 years 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.

Nathan Scholl 10 years ago

Or Louisiana I guess. LOL. Either way, go hate on a Tyshawn elsewhere. The kid is playing out of his mind and deserves praise.

april28 10 years 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.

PurePierce 10 years ago

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

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

yates33333 10 years 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.

Michael Auchard 10 years ago

I think you have an extremely short memory, regarding Cole, though Withey has played well.

Jeremy Wilhelm 10 years ago

I mostly agree with you - Cole rarely ever got pushed around, but he was a liability in transition. I think Cole played with heart too, but I suspect he never really bought into Hudy's program, maybe due to the respiratory issues he was having. Bottom line, I think Withey is an asset that few counted on pre-season, and he keeps getting better!

JayHok 10 years ago

How about Withey racing free-throw stripe to free-throw stripe to swipe the ball from their point guard in transition?

How about Withey diving like Haase against Iowa State?

How about Withey's incredibly clean block last night on Jones' dunk attempt?

BabyJay2009 10 years ago

To think that Withey has 1 more yr left after this one. Wow! And add on to the incoming class!!!! My grades gonna suck next year w/ all the BBall and FBall parties going on! Oh hell, they already suck anyway....

Steve Gantz 10 years ago

He's growing on me. He's been my biggest surprise this season. His defense, particularly the blocks last night early on really set the tone for that game.

Benjamin Clay Jones 10 years 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.

Mike Stewart 10 years ago

Taylor might be a little quicker than Collins as a freshman. But what made Collins so great were his ball-handling skills.

Clarence Haynes 10 years 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.

Jim Roth 10 years ago

satire: A method of speech, writing or artistic expression intended to be sarcastic, ironic or to provoke ridicule.

(I hope)

Chris Shaw 10 years 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.

Woody Cragg 10 years ago

Great points, there are 4 corners that one or two defenders can trap you in & nothing you can do. You can bet HCBS is hammering that exact point to them daily. When an offense crosses the half court line lackadaisically into the corner with no help, that's when the trap is so effective. Roy's teams were tough about that. I just cringe when I see our team do that, it's like blood in the water to me. Against a hard or soft press our guys are getting in the middle to help much better than 2 mo ago. Coaches really have them playing great right now. Hope this level of intensity can be maintained, they're a blast to watch. They can get another conf notch in the pistol like this and no major injuries to contend with. I also think Jeff deserves alot of praise for his level of improvement. Didn't think he could get this far, this quick-he's still a junior with very limited minutes before this season. Overall, I think our guys were just hands down, better conditioned and prepared vs Drews' team. I may watch the game again today-it was that good.

4jhawks4ku 10 years ago

I think we all take 3 or 4 turnovers if he plays like that. Wow. All the starters were fantastic last night. We are competitive every game and thats all you can ask. Good job Hawks and Coach!!!!!

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

TT had 6 turnovers on the night (as opposed to the official 5) .. the official scorer gave one to Withey on the bouncepass to Withey's right knee that the Baylor player deflected away from him. I have no idea how this could be a Withey turnover. 15:46 mark first half.

On your point #3 .. it is a perfect example. Too many times we fail on the break because of poor execution. On the flip side, TT did thread the needle on a similar break that resulted in a hoop. But we flub up breaks too often.

We now have a monster. Meaning TT has the taste of being the man. The leading scorer. The talk of the town. ESPN. Etc. When the shots don't fall, does he keep shooting? What happens? Does he press? Does he force things?

Take a look at ESPN stats on assists .. these are mainly all point guards. Find Taylor and compare him to others on assist to turnover. It's way bad.

But with an offensive performance like last night, it just doesn't matter.

It's when the shots aren't falling that it matters; when the shots get blocked; when he can't buy a bucket; that he has nothing to fall back on to help the team. Rather, it is a more pronounced negative.

Such is the roller-coaster ride that is TT. The enigma (patent pending .. noticed a few swipes of that moniker without citation).

Woody Cragg 10 years ago

Good post, stats don't lie. But also take into account he played several games with a flat tire (knee).Now maybe he realizes when the rock doesn't drop, that TRel or EJ or TRob can pile on the points also, then play within the flow. Also Jeff is becoming a damn stud in this cast. I said before this season that this would be the greatest test HCBS has had since OR or Tulsa squads overachieved. That's why Self is here & others like Drew, Cal & Barnes are where they are, talking smack & enticing & squandering talent into the shadows. Even tho' we're too limited in depth to get on the bandwagon for a NC, these guys can really click when they play defensively like we have seen flashes of. Who else has 2 walk-ons as their 5-6 guys? Who else lost 4 starters & are back in the top 10 again? So the consensus pick is as always-BG12 CH repeat...until further notice, and with TRob frontrunner for POY & playing smarter as like never before. The road still goes up the limestone path to The Hill. TT must realize that his role must vary slightly from game to game & that each time out, the real contenders may have a different "man" taking control. I really do want to believe he finally sees that unselfishnss is the key in all this. Let's hope the light bulb is finally on. Even the better guards at the next level have bad outings, yet they overcome it with controlled aggression, and playing within themselves and their teams' capabilities. JMO.

chriz 10 years ago

Is that BigManU as opposed to PointGuardU? :)

Mike Kendall 10 years 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!

jazzhawk 10 years 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!

AsadZ 10 years 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

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

Bingo. Perfect point.

EJ bringing the ball up "had a calming effect on TT."

JHawk06 10 years ago

Agree as well. With EJ bringing up the ball it really seemed to let Taylor move around and relax without having to force something right away.

As I have said before, Taylor isn't really a PG but has to run the point because our lack of players this year.

Thad Daugherty 10 years ago

I was going to say that it seems that we (Hawks) and TT seem to play better and more in control when EJ brings it up. Not a knock on TT it puts less pressure on him.

Ron Prichard 10 years ago

re: EJ bringing the ball up. We saw that a lot against ISU, also, and it really seems to pay dividends for TT. I agree that he seems to be more relaxed and able to get into the flow of the offense a little better. Still, when we need a shot or the clock is running down, TT takes over and typically good things are happening. I love it!

Marcia Parsons 10 years 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.

Joe Joseph 10 years 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

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

Seth Davis loves Kansas and Bill Self.....God bless him

Steve Gantz 10 years ago

Loved this line from the article you referred to:

"Even after the outcome was basically decided by the midway point of the second half, Taylor admonished his teammates to keep their feet on the gas. He didn't just want Kansas to win. He wanted this team to make a statement."

One of our frequent criticisms in recent years was an apparent lack of a killer instinct, the drive to bury the opposition. Maybe we're seeing some of that this year.

Janet Olin 10 years 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

KansasComet 10 years ago

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

jaybate 10 years ago

Yes, imagine Indiana this year, if he had followed Crean to Bloomington.

We would have to fear them instead of them fear us.

jrbill67 10 years 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...............

FLJHK 10 years 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.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

+1...And don't forget the Big 12 tourney last year! TT was huge in those games.

FLJHK 10 years 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.

JayHok 10 years ago

Which is funny too because a poster here sent us to a Baylor board yesterday to see what they were saying. Most Baylor fans seemed to respect the program in a major way, but there was one mean Baylor fan out of ten who kept saying that they couldn't connect how KU fans think the pregame video is worth anything in that the inventor of basketball is highlighted and he went on to wonder how that could have anything to do with KU basketball now? He kept going on about how he couldn't connect the how some old man from the 1900's has anything to do with the current Jayhawk team. Maybe the mean Baylor fan doesn't have trees on his land. The rest of the Baylor fans were fine and genuine by the way, all fanbases seem to have a bad apple here and there.


Tony Bandle 10 years ago

Yes, you are correct...there are no trees in Waco, me!!

Vernon Riggs 10 years 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.

Ben Simonett 10 years 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.

REHawk 10 years 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!

Redlandsjhawk 10 years 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

Spencer Goff 10 years ago

Look, here is the truth. This IS his least talented team. Self has had to make up for the void of incoming newblood. And damn he has done it well.

Here is what he gained; Garrett, Lindsay, Tharpe, and Traylor as freshman, with Young as a transfer. In no way shape or farm are they better than Little, Morningstar, Morris & Morris, Reed, and Selby.

Do not confuse "least talented" with "worst." One is a description, the other a negative connotation.

With the exception of the title team (who had a LOT of talent), I am more proud of this team than any other Self has had. They remind me of Roy's 2003 team that won with a short bench and they had attitude that stemmed from two talented upper classman that did not like losing. This team is winning by effort, by guys stepping up, not by having more McDonald's All-Americans than the other team (not one on the roster).

Spencer Goff 10 years ago

Form, not farm. Still wondering when this site will upgrade to a server that will allow us to post-edit. Keegs you hear me?

Steve Gantz 10 years 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.

rwhawk 10 years ago

That's a very common thing for his generation of bball started several years ago. So I wouldn't read into that more than simply it placing him within his generation and culture of American basketball.

Steve Gantz 10 years ago

Ha! I didn't like it when I first saw it with that fool on Kentucky do it against us in the 2nd half after he made his first shot of the game after missing like 7 in the first half.

Spencer Goff 10 years ago

Didn't happen without a screen shot.

Steve Gantz 10 years ago

Do you have any eligibilty left Ralster? Self could use an outside shooter!

Spencer Goff 10 years 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.

Spencer Goff 10 years ago

I don't think anybody, not even Self, planned on him being here any longer than this season. He had the body last year, it was basically if he wanted to go and try to develop in the bigs, or stay put one more year and be a featured post player.

Couple that with the economic impact of his mom passing away and him taking care of his family, to me it was gracious of him to stay this year.

I'm glad he did, just hope his family situation is straight.

rwhawk 10 years 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.

yates33333 10 years ago

Yahweh. You confuse disagree with don't remember.

Spencer Goff 10 years 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.


Spencer Goff 10 years ago

And WTF again, now it is gone. Magically disappeared in the wind.


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