Friday, June 22, 2012

Unidentical twins: Rajon Rondo, Tyshawn Taylor have alliterative names, different games

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor comes away with a steal from North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller during the first half on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor comes away with a steal from North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller during the first half on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.


In November of 2010, Kansas University’s then-junior point guard, Tyshawn Taylor, sat in the media room of Allen Fieldhouse and offered a self-evaluation.

During KU’s 113-75 victory over Longwood, Taylor totalled 17 points, 10 assists and three steals in a team-high 28 minutes. In many ways, the stat line resembled the nightly output of Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo, and Taylor was happy to take the compliment.

“I think Rondo is the man,” Taylor said at the time. “He’s definitely one of the guys that I watch a lot, and I take stuff from his game. I’m kind of a similar player to him. But I think I have a long way to go before I compare myself to him.”


Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor comes away with a steal from North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller during the first half on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.


Associated Press

Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo (9) during the first half of Game 7 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, Saturday, June 9, 2012, in Miami.

Long, lean, lightning-quick and passionate on every play: Those are the ways the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Taylor and Rondo, 6-1, 185, are alike. But in that runaway victory over Longwood, one very un-Rondo-like element of Taylor’s game also showed up — six turnovers.

While many look at the builds and abilities of these two and see similar players, one NBA assistant coach contacted for this story said most guys at the pro level see Taylor in a completely different light than Rondo.

“I don’t think anybody in the NBA thinks he’s a point guard by any stretch,” the coach said of Taylor. “His decision-making is just not a strength. With your point guard having to be such a good decision-maker because it’s the most important position in the NBA these days, I think people are seeing him more as a spark plug, combo guard off the bench who can give you some scoring punch and get the pace of the game going up and down.”

Rondo, who this postseason emerged as one of the league’s top players and the unquestioned leader of the Celtics, has restored an element of glory to the pass-first point guard. Even while putting up incredible point totals and amazing all-around stat lines, the former Kentucky guard has looked first to get others involved.

“Rondo is so frickin’ highly regarded in the league as far as his decision-making, the way he can get in there and create and the way that he can still orchestrate an offense and run it even though people don’t guard him outside of the paint,” the coach said. “His arms are so long, his hands are so big, and he’s got so much action with the ball that he’s pretty dynamic. There aren’t a whole lot of guys like him.”

One other trait that the coach said made Rondo different from Taylor was his moxie.

“To an extent, he got thrown to the fire,” he said. “They didn’t have a point guard, and they threw him right into the mix, and he’s an alpha for sure. That’s one of the things that they’ve credited their years of success to. Here’s this young kid who’s got (Kevin Garnett), Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and he’s not afraid to stand up to them. Never has been.”

While Taylor may never be an all-star like Rondo, the NBA assistant said the former KU guard could play meaningful NBA minutes if he opted to make fundamentals his top priority.

“The talent is obviously there,” the coach said. “He reminds me of (New York Knicks guard) J.R. Smith. He’s really talented, and he can do all these things, but instead of just doing the simple stuff, he tries to do all this flashy stuff all the time, and it ends up hurting you.”

Smith, who has bounced around the league and been a part of some highly publicized confrontations with coaches, is a world-class shooter capable of hitting seven or eight three-pointers in any game. His sweet stroke is the reason he keeps getting opportunities. Taylor doesn’t have that. But the assistant coach said the skills Taylor does have could make him an asset to any pro team.

“Tyshawn’s piece at this level is his ability to get into the paint,” he said. “If he gets to be a little more of a consistent outside shooter, his first step and his ability to blow by guys who run out at him and then his athleticism, length, ability to knock down floaters and finish when he gets to the rim is what I think gets him into an NBA game.

“I was skeptical of him being a guy who would actually stick on an NBA team until I saw what he did this year. I was amazed.”

Although he made sure to point out that the final decision for his team’s drafting did not rest with him, the coach said he had not heard much talk about Taylor being a first-round selection in this month’s draft.

“It only takes one (team), and I suppose there’s a chance he could go in those last five or six picks of the first round, if someone really likes him,” he said. “But it seems more likely that he’s a second-rounder.”

This year’s NBA Draft is scheduled for June 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Barber likes KU, Bama: Anthony Barber, a 6-2 senior basketball point guard from Hampton (Va.) High, tells the Hampton Daily Press that Kansas University and Alabama are his leaders in recruiting. Barber made an unofficial visit to Alabama’s campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Barber also is considering Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Baylor, Florida State and Syracuse. Barber is ranked No. 13 nationally by

Venting: Former KU guard Russell Robinson has a theory on why the Miami Heat players such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been seen on camera barking at ex-Jayhawk Mario Chalmers during games.

“My opinion is they can’t yell at each other,” Robinson said of James and Wade. “He falls victim to the venting. That’s all it is. It’s all in good spirit. They are all good teammates. Mario is a tough guy.”


ukanjhox 8 years, 8 months ago

"Anthony Barber, a 6-2 senior basketball point guard from Hampton (Va.) High, tells the Hampton Daily Press that Kansas University and Alabama are his leaders in recruiting."

Beating a dead horse, yada yada yada. But if this company insists on using Kansas University, why don't they say Alabama University? If you're going to be wrong, at least be consistently wrong. Don't make it a point to ONLY be wrong about our school. Just say "Kansas" and drop "University" altogether.

Jay Dogger 8 years, 8 months ago

Good point. And as someone else pointed out via a KU link, the schools official style guide calls it the University of Kansas.

I really believe LJW will eventually change this weirdo policy. I didn't actually care at first but it now bugs me more than ever and I hope it changes, not that I have a subscription to cancel or anything (I live out of state). I love this site, though.

Eybea Opiner 8 years, 8 months ago

Go complain to the "Kansas University Endowment Association." Check out their sign on West Campus.

Joel Hood 8 years, 8 months ago

KUEA, KAI, Kansas Unions, etc., are all separate legal entities and can call themself whatever they want.

David Leathers 8 years, 8 months ago

How about you attend the University of Shut the Hell UP! This is getting plenty annoying. Tate gave us all a legitimate reason as to why they call it Kansas University and the last time I checked my hat that I wear on an almost daily basis says "KU". This is most likely a reference to Kansas University and also a reference that the University of Kansas has approved. Quit whining and please let it be.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 8 months ago

I love the UoStHU or is it StHUU? They're the fightin' Devils, right?

Kevin Studer 8 years, 8 months ago

You are absolutely correct: you are beating a dead horse.

Brak 8 years, 8 months ago

You are absolutely wrong and maybe things have changed since you were at KU but according to the school's style guideline it reads:

University of Kansas It's the University of Kansas, then the University. Never use Kansas University. If University is used as a second reference, capitalize it. Do not capitalize university in second reference to other universities.

Also the point is that they refer to MU as the University of Missouri, if they want to make stuff up at least be consistent about it. I guess they have more respect for Mizzou than they have for KU.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 8 months ago

My biggest gripe isn't that they use Kansas University, although that is without question, 100%, not the name of the school. My problem is that they are not consistent and use the proper names for all of the other schools. I know the explanation "Tate" gave, but if you read it closely, I don't think he agrees with it either. He does it because that's what his bosses tell him to do. From now on, I expect the JWL to call MU the Missouri University, OU the Oklahoma University, NU the Nebraska University, etc.

RJ King 8 years, 8 months ago

The horse is starting to smell already. If you must obsess with this, then please - in the name of consistency and righteousness - insist that our spirit squad use the correctly phrased version:

Rock Chalk Jayhawk. Go UK!

joeloveshawks 8 years, 8 months ago

I honestly think I am more tired of people complaining about the "Kansas University" issue than the fact that it is a mistake by the writer. I grew up in Kansas as did my entire family and we are all graduates of The University of Kansas but the incorrect usage of "Kansas University" does not bother me at all.

kellerman411 8 years, 8 months ago

I'd take Tyshawn.

The NBA is moving away from traditional teams with big lumbering centers to teams with 5 versatile hybrid guys. Tyshawn is incredibly versatile. What is a real weakness of his? He can score in the paint off the glass, floaters and all the way to the rim. He has good elevation on a jump shot that is usually pretty good and like all Bill Self guards, he defends well. He made some bad decisions in college but it wasn't like he was throwing inaccurate passes, he just was throwing dumb passes. That can be corrected.

Look for Tyshawn's NBA career to surprise a lot of people. I think he's a starter in 3 years. Mainly because his first step is so very good that he's going to create spacing problems for NBA defenses. When you blow by the first defender, defenses shrink and that creates opportunities for elite perimeter shooters.

Jeremy Caudle 8 years, 8 months ago

I would take TT anyday on my team! He has always reminded me of Rondo. I never thought highly of Rondo until I seen him play in the NBA and I think Tyshawn will have the same success. He will probably be a late first rounder and whoever does pick him up will be happy!

RJ King 8 years, 8 months ago

I haven't followed TT's every last word, but I see him as thoughtful, articulate, and reasonably humble, leading me to think he is uncertain whether he will start on an NBA team. Over the last four years, TT seems to have learned not to count on anything, adjust to your role, and prove yourself by just giving it your best.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 8 months ago

TT got those numbers against Longwood, but Rondo gets his against stiffer competition.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 8 months ago

And if I get the "safari cannot connect to server" pop up one more time on this site I'm going to go crazy!

Ron Prichard 8 years, 8 months ago

That's got to be a short trip. Ha! All in fun...

Alohahawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Tharpe update, for those who weren't able to attend the recent camp scrimmages: has a nice write-up on Tharpe, on their college basketball headline opening page. Spotlights his play, including an interview, during the recent camp scrimmages against recent Jayhawks - pro's and grad's. Very positive article.

Alohahawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Note: From the same headline section, also has an article on Doyle, but I'm not a subscriber so I don't know what they wrote about him.

april28 8 years, 8 months ago

Tyshawn will definitely go first-round. He gets to the paint better than anyone in the country and that will be the basis for his success in the league. As Matt points out, the guy plays intense basketball on every play and his size allows him to guard a lot of people.

How about TT to the Thunder? They seem to like Jayhawks!

jhox 8 years, 8 months ago

A better comparison for Taylor may be Russell Westbrook. Westbrook makes more than his share of bad decisions but the athleticism and ability to get into the lane, and score in there, makes up for the decision making deficiencies.

I do think Tyshawn can play point in the league, but won't be the scorer Westbrook is. I've never seen anyone get to the rack like Westbrook can, but Tyshawn is at least somewhat close. The other thing I would add is that the scouts appraisal of his decision making isn't totally fair. He made huge strides in that regard the second half of last season.

cklarock 8 years, 8 months ago

“My opinion is they can’t yell at each other,” Robinson said of James and Wade. “He falls victim to the venting. That’s all it is. It’s all in good spirit. They are all good teammates. Mario is a tough guy.”

It's pathetic that two grown men have such overblown and fragile egos that they need to vent at a third party because neither can handle any direct criticism from the other. Good at basketball, bad at living.

I am glad Mario got another ring, tho. An NCAA and NBA championship for one of my favorite Jayhawks of all time? Nice.

Robert Brock 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm not certain that Taylor can play in The League. Hope he likes baklava...

Chris Shaw 8 years, 8 months ago

Miss me some KU hoops! Hope TT can get a first round guarantee.

WilburNether 8 years, 8 months ago

“His decision-making is just not a strength."

That has to be the understatement of the year.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 8 months ago

1] I am happy the Kansas University/University of Kansas controversy is alive and gives some posters a chance to let off some steam and not take out their anguish on their cats or dogs.

2] When's the last time we saw the word 'alliterative" in a LJW headline? Famous Allit's - Ronald Reagan, Marilyn Monroe/Manson, Marsha Mason, Mike Myers, Jerry Jones, Bjorn Borg......etc.

3] LeBron and Dwayne yell at Mario because he has something they never will NCAA Championship!!

4] Tyshawn would not be by far the most outrageous first round gamble ever taken by an NBA general manager. I think he's worth a shot.

5] With Tharpe, Doyle, Frankamp, BenMac, Adams, etc most likely here for 2013, what pray tell makes anyone think Mr. Barber is going to leave his home state? I predict we lose another hat dance!!

Kevin Holt 8 years, 8 months ago

Why compare Tyshawn as a 22 year old pre-draftee to a now veteran Rondo? Anyone can do that. It seems to me that projecting what a player can be under the right circumstances is where the focus should be. Tyshawn to Rondo when he was at Kentucky and its fan base wanted to get rid of him. They thought he made too many turnovers and tried to make too many flashy plays...they joked about cutting off his fingers b/c they were so long that it caused him to shoot poorly.

Wouldn't it be nice to be an NBA exec and make loads of cash for guessing about players?!

NJHAWK 8 years, 8 months ago

Best post of the day!! I guess a lot of readers missed that (while discussing UofStHU).

jayhawkinnc 8 years, 8 months ago

If you look at our men's basketball jerseys from the 1988-89 season, you'll notice on the front they say "Kansas University". I guess even the school likes to get it wrong too.

jhox 8 years, 8 months ago

It's Rock chalk Jayhawk, KU. It's not Rock chalk Jayhawk, U of K.

Calling the school by either name (University of Kansas or Kansas University) is appropriate because, either way, people know what school you're talking about.

If it makes you feel more self important by saying you graduated from the University of Kansas, then knock yourself out, but don't attempt to force your beliefs on the rest of us. You "University of Kansas" drum beaters remind me of the Westboro Baptist cult members. You try to force your beliefs on the majority who either disagree with you or who really don't give a care. Enough already. Let's use this board to talk sports, not semantics.

Jeeveshawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Anthony Barber is also considering Southern Methodist it would appear:

With the list that he has it looks like he really wants to stay in the South.

Jeeveshawk 8 years, 8 months ago

what im saying is that he will go to Bama because it is in the south

Dirk Medema 8 years, 8 months ago

Wonder if SMU has to do with Larry Brown landing there? Not a bad mentor and prep for the league.

Gregor Southard 8 years, 8 months ago

It's a great day to be a Kansas University Jayhawk! 100 percent great!

HawkKlaw 8 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. TT is not as good a decision-maker as Rondo, and Rondo is not nearly the mid to long-range shooter that TT is (TT actually has this thing called "shooting form"). When TT turns pro, he won't be asked to play to his weaknesses (i.e. - being the #1 desicion-maker on the team), just like Rondo isn't asked to go out there and drain 3 pointers.

HawkKlaw 8 years, 8 months ago

Heh, everyone has to go through his dad in order to talk to him.

Let the bidding begin.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 8 months ago

Is it just me but what happpened to tge "edit" part of the postng prosess.....typeing it prefect the first time is just killling me!!!

DanR 8 years, 8 months ago

LOL. I usually just messed stuff up worse at that stage anyway.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Oak .. note the edit function after you post. If screw something up, you can fix it.

Joel Hood 8 years, 8 months ago

So then Kevin Young and Justin Wesley will be riding the pine all next year?

AsadZ 8 years, 8 months ago

We have come out well in size for some Xtreme Muscle Ball

Jack Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Reminder: Tharpe is 6' .. he'll be ahead of Adams and .. I know this is shocking .. Doyle.

And I think KY will start over Ellis to begin the season.

Your point is well taken. But don't forget either of those guys.

Brak 8 years, 8 months ago

Not sure I even understand the point of writing an article comparing two unrelated players with different games, maybe Matt will turn it into a series and his next one will be, Unidentical Twins: Thomas Robinson and Dirk Nowitski and then he will branch off and do an Unidentical Twins: Gerbils and Parakeets. I can't wait!

Matt Tait 8 years, 8 months ago

The point was this: I've heard dozens of people say that Tyshawn was a Rondo-type player. Even Tyshawn himself has said that. Thought I'd check it out by talking to an NBA coach to get the straight scoop. Obviously, they're not the same player and won't be asked to be. If you already knew that, good for you. But, believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there who didn't.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 8 months ago

Maybe you need to leave a little early for happy hour....relax!!

RJ King 8 years, 8 months ago

wait . . . is it Happy Hour, or Hour of Happy?

Jack Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Two interesting topics:

  1. Taylor - Night and day. Taylor from his freshman year through Dec. 31, 2011 (except of about a 10 game stretch pre-Selby/USC game in 2010), not an NBA player. Jan. 1, 2012 and beyond, clearly an NBA player. And a guy with clear upside. I like the fit some have mentioned in the media in Chicago. He is clearly worthy of a 1st round pick, and an absolute steal .. like Chalmers .. in the early 2nd. I am a happy to be genuinely optimistic about his chances. I have certainly had multiple days cut off my life due to blood pressure, etc., related to Mr. Taylor. But we also have a wonderful Final Four banner in large part thanks to him.

  2. Anthony Barber: Here is the great thing. Tharpe has potential to improve. But Tharpe is the only roadblock. Adams/Doyle are combo guys. They aren't road blocks, and aren't "lock" starters. And Tharpe is nowhere near a lock starter after EJ graduates. Self can accurately sell Barber on the fact that he'll come in, compete with Tharpe, that he will likely beat out Tharpe his freshman season, and in 2 - 3 seasons, pave a path to the NBA. Further, accurately, Self can sell Barber on the fact that Frankamp will need time to develop. We know this .. if the kid has a brain in his head, or has a family that provides proper guidance, KU is a life-changing decision for the kid. Go to 'Bama, and the path is much less paved. I had thought UConn was in the mix, but I'm guessing the academic peril (no 2013 tourney and that risk going forward may have been an issue, as well as whether Calhoun will be around). I seriously like our chances here. Is Tharpe a bigger roadblock than Trevor Releford at 'Bama? About the only negative is Self's lack of inclination to give/promise freshman big roles. If he has any hint at being a OAD, or wanting to be a OAD, though, I would pass.

The one thing that having lower ranked guys in is that top recruits will correctly understand that they are likely better players, and can beat guys out. I doubt any top big guy will think Lucas/Peters/Traylor will present a major impediment, nor should any top guard think that Tharpe/Adams/Doyle will.

As some have mentioned, 2013 could be a talented class. That will provide an excellent meld with the survivors from the recent classes -- survival of the fittest, and best, players.

mikehawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Ultimately, whether TT can play in The League has to do if he can hit the NBA three with consistency. He is not a great shooter, but he can shoot and hit when his confidence is high. His ability to blow by and get to the rack with amazing strength, and those floaters, give him a shot. I think the comparison to Westbrook is reasonable, but RW is a much better shooter than TT. He can add things like ball handling improvement which also greatly helps, and his decision making has gotten better. He has to also grow up and make the right decisions off the court, workouts, nutrition, women, guys he hangs with, other misc. behaviors, without Coach Self et al. staying all over his butt. I'd love to see him in the 1st round, but probably he is a 2nd. More important is who drafts him. See Markieff, and Marcus. Hopefully he is drafted by a team who really cares about his development. Some time in the D-League isn't bad if it is a team who want you to develop. Cole got to do that his rookie season, but he has spent a lot of time on the bench this year and that can't be good. Maybe someone wants to trade for Cole. He needs game time reps, not just mop up.

Eric Schneider 8 years, 8 months ago

Stick with college Tait. Because you clearly don't pay attention to the NBA. Rondo gets turnover happy. In fact it's eerily familiar listening to Doc Rivers talk about it's something you just have to live with. Look at Rondo when he came out of Kentucky and Tyshawn now. They're similar. Rondo wasn't a great passer right away. It's grown out of his unique unpredictability. I'm not saying that Taylor will ever get there. But you can see the possibility.

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