Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Jamari Traylor crucial newbie


Thomas Robinson doesn’t become the nation’s only unanimous first-team All-American and finish second in the Player of the Year voting without having the perfect complement to him doing all the things that brought out the best in him.

Jeff Withey’s remarkable shot-blocking ability enabled Robinson to play less aggressively on defense to stay out of foul trouble and conserve energy for crashing the glass and scoring.

Withey’s ability to catch the ball and either throw down dunks or knock down free throws gave foes reason not to run the entire defense at Robinson.

Withey enabled Robinson to be what he was, the second-best college basketball player in the nation.

Now someone needs to emerge as the perfect complement to Withey to enable him to be who he is, a great shot-blocker and a potential go-to scorer, a 7-footer blessed with a soft touch and deft footwork. Strange as it sounds considering how overmatched he looked at times as recently as his sophomore year, he has developed into a darkhorse candidate for first-team All-American honors, a guy with a good shot at becoming an NBA lottery pick. But he won’t get there without relentless help in the paint.

A banger Withey is not, so the guy playing alongside him needs to be a physical presence, and he needs to be a swift athlete who can sky for boards and run the floor like a guard in both directions.

Perry Ellis has so much talent, such a good aptitude, he’ll find a way onto the court for a ton of minutes as a freshman, but he doesn’t qualify as the perfect complement to Withey in terms of a basketball bodyguard. Wiry Kevin Young’s energy comes in handy off the bench. Zach Peters, a high school football player, has the profile, but he’s a freshman. Landen Lucas plays with confidence and aggressiveness, but he’ll likely need time to develop.

Jamari Traylor, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound red-shirt freshman from Chicago, hits the boards and anybody in his way hard. He’s explosive, runs the floor well and has the look of a guy who will play with a mean streak.

Practices are closed to the media, so his game remains a mystery, but those who played against him and with him in practice raved about his explosiveness and strength.

Traylor and Ben McLemore, the 6-5, 185 shooting guard from St. Louis, were restricted by the NCAA to practicing and even at that just for the second semester because of academic concerns. McLemore has generated more excitement because he was rated much higher in high school (34th, compared to 141st by and mixes fancy jams with a feathery three-point touch. But it’s conceivable Traylor could have the biggest impact of the eight newcomers, even though five of the others were ranked higher in their high school classes than Traylor was in his.


kugrad93 1 year, 9 months ago

Traylor is in the headline, but he isn't mentioned until the eighth paragprah of a 10-paragraph column. Either the headline writer did a poor job, or Keegan buried his lead.


Chris Shaw 1 year, 9 months ago

So this is my concern with Withey and the 2012-2013 squad (BTW-I am as excited about this squad and the next two or three squads as I have ever been for KU hoops). Look, last year there was a handful of posters including myself that thought Jeff Withey would be just fine last season. Despite many of the doubters I kept saying that increased responsbility, increased playing time, playing alongside T-Rob and a sense of ownership to continue the KU excellence would allow Jeff Withey to thrive in Self's system.

Now, even with more of the scoring responsibility, I don't see Jeff Withey having the same type of season as he did last year. I think that if Withey takes on the extra scoring load that 1) His offensive exploits will be shown even more (hurt his stock in the eyes of the NBA) and 2) take away from his defensive presence (Which is the reason he is going to have a long NBA career in the first place).

I think Perry Ellis, Traylor, and Peters will be great compliments, but they aren't T-Rob! For some reason I just feel that Withey's weaknesses will be shown more this year and thus hurt his stock for the NBA next year. I would be shocked if Jeff Withey was a Top 5 pick, but much in the same manner that Jared Sullinger went from a #1 or #2 (Top 5 pick) and fell into the low 20's the next year...................I think Jeff Withey may be in that same category. I hope I am wrong, but just my opinion and two cents. I just think that if Withey takes on more responsbility in the scoring department...............that that hinders his success going forward. I still think he needs to be a plan C or D on offense and roam around defensively doing his thing.


phogphan2000 1 year, 9 months ago

I liked what I saw in videos of Traylor going into last season and thought he'd be the big impact freshman out of BMac/BAnd/NT/JT, so I was definitely bummed when he couldn't play. He would have had a lot of chances to be an energy guy last year off the bench. Fortunately KYo did a good job of filling in off the bench. Hard to see Traylor as a starter, but I think he's capable of hitting the o-glass, swatting some shots and standing his ground in the post. Always good to have athletically gifted players available. He'll definitely make some of the true freshmen work harder in practice. Not sure what the best compliment to a Jeff Withey is, but I think Perry Ellis has a chance to be close to it. I'd say a Marcus Morris type PF that can shoot it, put it on the deck a little, pass it well is the best compliment to a player like Withey. Stretch the D, hit him with some good looks, draw his defender occasionally and let him clean up a few misses. KYo is also capable of playing well beside Jeff I think.


Lance Hobson 1 year, 9 months ago

Keegan's being too kind to Ellis. Everyone knows by now that the knock on him is that he's not always aggressive enough. Being a bodyguard is right out, Self will have his hands full developing him to an adequate level of toughness. He'll be great for us, but not as a goon or anything close to that role.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Where is HEM when you need his reply?????? This article about Traylor outshining (potentially) 5 guys all ranked higher than him should have touched the 'aaargh' button for HEM. Of course it would be great to see a kid be motivated and show some production after being in Selfball for several months and having some Danny coaching+Hudy-effects in place. But we will believe it when we see it, although I am definitely hoping and pulling for Jamari (&BMac). 2 of the more 'likely' contributing newbies.


waywardJay 1 year, 9 months ago

why not pair him with mclemore and call them the Eligibles ?


Lash 1 year, 9 months ago

We had the number one player last year? And there will be 10 new faces on the court this year not 8!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

JTraylor will start in front of PEllis?

Maybe they split minutes, but Perry will see plenty of time/impact. Bringing the beef/D/R's will be a crucial factor in seeing the court, even though there aren't nice glossy statistics to write/boast about.


Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

Keegan didn't mention many facts but I think it's worth pointing out that (according KU Athletics) Traylor had 20pts., 12 rebounds and 3 blocks his senior year at IMG. That makes me think he has a fairly complete game, including being a pretty good scorer in the paint.

Nobody seems to mention Lucas much... I think he'll get major minutes,--around 15mpg--quite a few more than Peters and Wesley.


REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Tractor Traylor>WHEELS. I wonder what his moniker was back in Chicago.


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm not suggesting that we compare him at all with Tractor Traylor, but with a dude who's built like a truck and has the name Traylor, you'd have to be burnt toast to come up with something like Jam or Jelly.


Chris1955 1 year, 9 months ago

How about Jam Jam (with apologies to the Flintstones) and Jelly (when KYis in the game at the same time)?


William Blake 1 year, 9 months ago

What nickname best suits Jamari?

How about "Jam?"




Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

Traylor is really growing and is now up to 6'8. By the time conference play begins, he will be up to 6'10 and 240 pounds.


jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

• Good to see Traylor grow a KU inch already.

• Keegs not even mentioning Justin suggests he is farther out of the picture than I expected.

• I wish board rats would stop with the "Perry's Soft" stuff. It betrays insecurity among KU fans. If Perry had gone to UK or UNC, there would be talk about why can't KU attract his kind of player. But Perry man's up and comes to KU and gets labeled soft before he plays a game? Cut it out!

• Jeff IS going to need a stud at PF. Or a committee of three with 15 fouls to give. I figure the latter is how it will go.

• While Traylor, Ellis and Peters seem to have the raw materials for the 4 handled, don't count Kevin and Justin out at the 4 and 5 either. We are apt to see quite a bit of Traylor, Ellis and Peters early, as Self tries to see what each can do at D1 speeds, but very soon KY and Justin are going to enter the mix.

• KY proved he can play at the highest level last season down the stretch. He ought to be much, much better this season. Skinny though he is, he is the best, most experienced guy we have at the 4. He will at least play 20 mpg this season.

• Justin is another guy that looks like odd man out, until the recruits start playing like freshmen. Justin was foulamatic last year, but he is also at the phase of his career where he will make a big improvement. And when he wasn't fouling, he could guard and mix it up. Physically and Athletically, he has what the team needs. His deficit is mental. The freshman bigs will be foul prone this year. If he quits fouling, and protects, he will get a few looks early, but his shot to break through will come when Saturday/Monday conference games start and certain of the freshmen have proven they cannot yet guard and protect at D1 speeds.

• I still think it makes sense to go with KY, or Perry, as 10 mpg backups for Trav at the 3, while also playing the 4. Big 3s are trouble for opponents. It would get two of our best 7 players on the floor more. And it would ease the log jam at the 4/5.


bennybob 1 year, 9 months ago


Between the Mcdonalds All American and the athletic freak out of KC, Traylor is somehow the most crucial newbie?


Alohahawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Until the East Coast biased media took over and took it away from Robinson, TRob had a commanding lead and was everyone's #1 player. Some will argue the fact, but I still think Thomas was more impressive in the championship game than the Kenstinky player (And, believe it or not, I'm drawing a blank on his name.) It's interesting that he was cut from the Olympic team (due to being injured, or so it's been said.) Lame, no pun intended, excuse if you ask me. He just wasn't good enough to compete against the big boys.

As the above article leads us to believe, Jamari Traylor is going to earn minutes on the court due to his sheer strength and tenacity. And JT does have the advantage of 1 semester of Self-ball under his belt. Get the pads out guys, because there's going to be a war fought in the trenches for court time this coming season. And if Perry Ellis is as soft as some have said, going up against JT, LL and ZP down low may help him develop that so-called missing tenacity. They may have said, "You aren't in Kansas anymore, in the "Wizard of Oz", but in this instance I'd say it in reverse. "You're in Kansas (meaning in a KU uniform) now."


KULA 1 year, 9 months ago

Just as a matter of opinion, I would also take issue with the label "the second-best college basketball player in the nation."


roosey 1 year, 9 months ago

"Thomas Robinson doesn’t become the nation’s only first-team All-American and finish second in the Player of the Year voting without having the perfect complement to him doing all the things that brought out the best in him."

Aside from being kind of difficult to understand, there's a problem with this sentence. T-Rob isn't the nation's only first-team All-American. He's the nation's only UNANIMOUS first-team All-American. Hope you guys can get this corrected before print. :-)


Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't see Lucas competing for minutes with Traylor. I think Lucas will go in for relief for Withey more than anything. He seems to be the second option for playing Center, and we have more PF options.

Will Traylor be closer to T-Rob or Wesley? Or right in the middle?

Ellis, Traylor and Young (probably the first three PF options) all seem to have very different types of game. HCBS should be able to mix n' match to find the best match-ups; I don't think any of them will be able to dominate this coming year, so having numbers and versatility will have to make up for the difference.

Just saw the Celebrity Softball Game...Self seemed to have a blast. It was great seeing the stadium on TV (for once) and nice that it was practically sold out, as was the Home Run Derby.


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