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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Elijah Johnson over ’due: Guard knows all about Boilermakers

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson responds to questions from media members in the team locker room before practice, Saturday, March 17, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson responds to questions from media members in the team locker room before practice, Saturday, March 17, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

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— Elijah Johnson, who was born and raised in Gary, Ind., moved to Las Vegas when he was in the eighth grade.

As part Hoosier/part Sin Citian, he knows all about Purdue — the Big Ten school that will take on Kansas University in an NCAA Tournament game at 7:40 p.m. today in CenturyLink Center.

“I am from Indiana. I know the history. I know what kind of program it is and everything,” said Johnson, a 6-foot-4 junior guard who had 15 points, four rebounds, two turnovers and three assists in Friday’s 65-50 opening-round victory over Detroit.

“I know they’ve got motion offense. I know they’ve got a tough player in Hummel (Robbie, 6-8 senior, 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg) who came back from two (ACL) injuries. I respect him so much for that.

“I know they’ve got a point guard who loves to get to the paint (5-9 senior Lewis Jackson, 143 assists, 58 turnovers). They’ve got a shooter who shoots lights out who has taken over 200 threes (6-3 senior Ryne Smith, 88 of 204 from beyond arc). I know a lot about ’em.

I’m not done learning. I’ll do my homework tonight,” Johnson added.

Johnson, who was not recruited by Purdue — “I had already gone to the West Coast. They didn’t even know I was from there when I was getting recruited,” he said — learned how to play the game with the help of a Boilermaker.

That person would be Glenn Robinson, who played on the 1994 Purdue team that knocked KU out of the 1994 NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16.

“He came from Roosevelt High School, the same high school I was going to go to,” Johnson said. “I went to his camps in the summer as a little kid.”

Johnson’s dad, Marcus, and Indiana youth coaches also drilled him on fundamentals.

“My game ... I think when people hear I am from Vegas, they are kind of confused about that. Then I tell them I’m really from Indiana, it kind of makes sense,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a feel for the game. I enjoy the game more than the average person. You can tell by the way I see things, by the way I don’t care about scoring (9.8 ppg, 126 assists, 61 turnovers), by the way I enjoy how basketball is supposed to be played. Because in Indiana they don’t just play basketball, they teach you how to play basketball. It’s not just about going one-on-one — can you score 40? — and not play defense. It’s about the whole court. I learned that in Indiana.”

Johnson seems to have taken on more lead-guard responsibilities lately, especially in the second half of Friday’s game when Tyshawn Taylor was out with leg cramps.

Taylor grinned when asked how it’s determined who brings the ball up court when both are in the game together.

“If I get tired, I tell Elijah to bring it up,” Taylor said. “One time Elijah was on the bench with two fouls. I said, ‘I need you on the court. When you are not in the game I have to bring it up every time. I’m tired. You HAVE to be out there.’

“I love playing with him; it reminds me when I played with Sherron (Collins): Get it and go. I know how to run the 1 and the 2; he knows how to run the 1 and the 2 ... perfect.”

Johnson is the obvious candidate to take over as lead guard next season — his senior year. Current freshman Naadir Tharpe will be the only other point-guard candidate on the current roster.

“I’ve learned a lot from Tyshawn, being hungry, realizing we’re lucky to be at Kansas,” Johnson said. “I was born to do this. This is my time. I’d be a fool if I said I wasn’t ready. Who would say that?

“I’m a natural leader. A lot of people might not see it. My teammates know. I won’t tell you to do something I won’t do. It’s good enough right there.”

He’s not looking far ahead. A victory today would mean a spot in Friday’s Sweet 16 game against either North Carolina State or Georgetown in St. Louis. A loss and the season is over.

“I’m ready to win this next game. I can’t think that far ahead or I won’t survive tomorrow,” he said.

And to beat Purdue, a team that enters with a 22-12 record compared to KU’s 28-6 mark?

“Play hard,” he said. “We know they have a good team. We see them play on TV. It’s a name we are familiar with. We feel we know them because their record is on TV all the time, the conference they play in, what kind of offense they run, the style of play in that conference (Big Ten). We’re adjusting to it now. We have to be in tune because they have no set plays. They do anything they want to. We have to be ready for anything.”

Comments

Ron Prichard 2 years, 4 months ago

For the guards-and the entire team, really-it's all about defensive intensity. Bring maximum effort on the defensive end and I think Purdue will have a lot of trouble scoring. They don't seem quite as athletic as us (the figurative "us," because I'm quite sure they're more athletic than I am) so I think if we can pressure them into difficult shots and turn them over some, we should be okay.

Rock Chalk!

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hawk316 2 years, 4 months ago

I have been so impressed with Elijah's growth this season. He has really come into his own. He has worked hard, remained coachable, maintained an outstanding attitude and waited his turn. His time has come.

This will be EJ's team next year, and I believe he's ready for it.

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DDDHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for that awesome article!!!

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LAJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

"This may not be Self's Mona Lisa — he did win a national championship, after all — but this is the year he turned finger paints into a masterpiece."

Great piece. Thanks for posting.

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LAJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and hawk316, I love that in that piece it talks about Dickie V trying to talk Self into staying at Illinois. That's really the last piece of evidence one would need to remove whatever tiny thought might remain that Vitale has any idea WTF he is talking about.........

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 4 months ago

" they have no set plays. They do anything they want to. We have to be ready for anything.” Really? This should be a good game then, if for no other reason than to see how EJ and the rest of the Hawks deal with this anything-goes offense...

Just keep them in front of you and keep your feet moving guys, survive and advance!!

Happy Saint Pats, too!

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rodriguez33 2 years, 4 months ago

I think both as a fan and as a player it's easy to look at a bracket and to look ahead and say, "we're going to play this team in the Sweet Sixteen, that team in the Final Four, &c." That's the type of attitude that gets you sent home early. For whatever reason, I don't get that vibe from this team. This season feels different. I don't think they are taking this opportunity for granted and hopefully this leads to an even more successful season than it already is.

It's pretty cliche to say, "take it one game at a time," but that's exactly what needs to happen and I think that's what we are doing. You all know exactly what to do. Just go out there and play your hearts out tonight and leave it all on the court. The rest will take care of itself.

Rock Chalk.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

+1 I know I've said it numerous times, "One game at a time.", but that's what a team has to do in a single elimination tournament. Imagine all the lower seeded teams who were looking ahead, dreading having to play Duke or Mizzery. Do they have to worry about them anymore?

And love EJ's attitude. As he said, he just needs to do whatever helps the team: Whether it's defensive pressure, assists, taking care of the ball, or cheering his team-mates on from the sidelines. He fits a point guard's mentality because he wants to run the offense and create scoring opportunities. Scoring is only one of many roles. And if he averaged 10+ assists and only 4 points a game, I bet HCBS would be ecstatic.

It's still the current season, and I love this year's edition, but because of his attitude I'll look forward to EJ running the team next season. I think the Jayhawks will be in very good hands.

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Cole Hogan 2 years, 4 months ago

im sorry, but it still bothers me that the LJW feels the need to say Kansas University. ITS NOT KANSAS UNIVERSITY!

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Rock Chalk 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree. If they want to save "ink" and not write University of Kansas, save even more ink and type two letters: KU. Much better than Kansas University. It is disruptive while reading and "flagged" as an error in one's mind. There is no reason for it, other than they may think they can change the name, and why would they do that?!? It's not going to happen. They really need to stop writing it! The sooner the better, IMHO.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

let it go...just let it go little guy... we have fought that good fight for YEARS. It won't change until the old farts that are in charge are gone.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't get the obsession with Kansas University vs University of Kansas. Did the word come down from on high some time when I wasn't paying attention that says "thou shalt not utter Kansas University when intending the University of Kansas!!!" Or are we just trying to achieve a level of pretentiousness like THE Ohio State University?

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Dan Harris 2 years, 4 months ago

  • One Billion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Keith Hummel 2 years, 4 months ago

I really don't get why this bugs some people so much. I agree it's annoying, but is it really that big a deal? No one refers to the University of Maryland as "Maryland University", for example, but by the same token no one refers to them as "MU" either? However, people do refer to the University of Kansas as "KU", thus the confusion. Please just let it go.

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Jeffery Barrett 2 years, 4 months ago

You just proved your point. No one says the University of Maryland, thus, no one should say Kansas University.

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps - but the point I was trying to make is that no one refers to Maryland as MU, but people do refer to Kansas as KU. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that is partly (or mostly) what causes this confusion. Or maybe I just don't get it (always a possibility).

Regardless, good luck to the team tonight. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

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cklarock 2 years, 4 months ago

In speech, we say "KU", which is an abbreviation of Kansas University. Nobody says UofK. The Jayhawk has KU on his chest. So which is more correct? This is just an example of what happens when tradition, marketing and colloquial use collide.

As a life-long Kansas fan and KU alum, I'm fine with Kansas University. If we need it to be consistent, then I believe that is the more correct spelling in any case because it squares with how we speak, despite what the brand guidelines say. Colloquial > Formal.

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. You provided a much better explanation than I did.

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RJ King 2 years, 4 months ago

Really Cole? On the Eve of a Tournament Game??? At 2:09 a.m. on a Saturday night, you should be organizing the clothes in your closet by color. After that, alphabetize the entire contents of your pantry, clean the garage starting with sorting and classifying your screw jar, and then memorize the phone book! Oh wait, you did that the night before last . . .

Could you at least nit pick the LJW in the off season?

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RJ King 2 years, 4 months ago

PS - Ever heard the phrase: "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU"??? I know . . . let's all start yelling: "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, University of Kansas," instead.

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Dan Harris 2 years, 4 months ago

Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University KansasKansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas UniverKansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University sity Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University Kansas University

Get over it its not that BIG of a deal!

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jhox 2 years, 4 months ago

I think UK...oh, wait, that's that other school in that other state...I think KU (Kansas University) needs to play great defense in every game, from here forward, or we go home. It's as simple as that. When this team plays well, they set the tone on the defensive end of the floor. We don't have a consistent 3 point specialist (Tyshawn has been fairly consistent with his 3's, but he's not a 3 point specialist) so we have to do a great job of defending the perimeter.

In the NCAA it is tough to trade 2's for 3's and win. Upsets usually happen when the lower seed gets hot from the 3 point line. It is imperative that we defend the 3 point shots. The other key is to keep Withey and Robinson out of foul trouble. We can't afford to have those guys sitting 15 or 20 minutes on the bench. If we do those things, we can beat anyone in our region. If we come out and defend like we did against Baylor in KC, we will lose.

On another topic, I'm not big on blaming refs for losses, but I have to say the level of officiating this season, and in this tournament, has reached an all time low. Iowa State got jobbed last night. I don't believe it would have made a difference in the outcome, but if they had gotten a fair shake, they may have hung in there a little longer and when it is tight, the advantage often goes to the underdog as the noose tightens around the favorite's neck. Iowa State was getting touch fouls, while Kentucky was hammering guys on every shot ISU took in the paint, and the refs swallowed their whistles.

My other pet peeve is the charge / block call. I've seen more guys sliding under offensive players, or throwing a hip at the last second and winning charging calls this season than I can ever remember. It's like too many of these officials want to be the show, rather than managing the chaos, which is really what they're there for. It is like they want to show off their artistic and animated charge calls that they've been working on the mirror, rather than getting the calls right

I'm also sick of seeing guys go over other guy's backs for rebounds, and knock the ball out of bounds, only to have the ball awarded to their team. The guy with inside rebounding position should get that call every time unless they clearly make contact with the ball a second time as it is going out of bounds or unless their momentum clearly carries the ball out. Instead of rewarding the guy for doing his job and blocking out, he's being punished for being closer to the out of bounds line. It's pretty clear to me that many of these officials didn't play the game beyond Junior High School. They have no concept of rewarding things done right.

I officiated for several years.. I know it is a tough job. It is not possible to call a perfect game given how physical the game has gotten, but coaches and players have a right to having an unbiased, consistently called game, and they should be rewarded for doing things the right way..

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Bob Thompson 2 years, 4 months ago

You can add to that the moving screens. After the player is set for the screen, how many time have you seen them throw out a hip to knock the defense off balance.

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree about the refs. I thought Syracuse had used all of its "gift" cards from the refs, but I guess they got a new batch for the KSU game. Also, I believe that the circle under the basket is responsible for all the bad block/charge calls. The refs are just looking at where the player's feet are and not playing attention when the defensive players slides under the offensive player. The NCAA should have a serious crash course for the refs on how to call this foul,correctly, preferably before sweet 16.

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jhox 2 years, 4 months ago

That's a very good point about the circle and maybe refs being focused on the location of the feet. You may be on to something there. Having officiated, I can definitely respect how difficult it would be to focus on all of those things simultaneously. Whatever it is, they're blowing the call more and more often. But I do think a lot of guys just enjoy their own theatrics of making the charge call. It's a lot less boring looking than raising their fist for a defensive foul. But an official should never consider himself part of the show. If he does, then he's not going to be a good official. The best officials can become almost invisible.

One good thing may come out of it though. Players may once again have to develop the ability to hit a pull up jumper in the lane. I've never understood why offensive players feel the need to lean in on those shots or passes. They're obviously trying to draw the foul and get to the line, but it rarely works in their favor. Tyshawn has done a good job of adjusting to that with his running floaters and pull up floaters. He's done a really nice job of avoiding charges this season, for the most part (a notable exception being the one on the pass to TRob on Friday night.)

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texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

With regards to the circle, the NBA refs took about a season or so to get adjusted to having the circle, but they generally do a good job with it now. I think college refs will get better about the block-charge once they learn how to handle those plays next year and beyond because it does take time to get used to a rule change that big.

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smelliott 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree about the charge calls this year. I wonder if the officials are focusing too much on whether or not the defender's feet are outside of the restricted area rather than whether they are actually set before the offensive player is in the air.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for coming to KU Elijah Johnson. This is one of the few times where a Five Star Recruit wanted to come to college, get an education, and work on improving every aspect of his game. Thanks again for not being selfish. You are one of my all-time favorites. I believe you will be on the "All-America" team next year. You will be rewarded, not just through the game of basketball, but also in the game of life.

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cmm889 2 years, 4 months ago

+1,000,000

This is what College Basketball is all about.

and at KU especially. He was meant to be a Jayhawk

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks! "Meant to be a Jayhawk" = Priceless! Great post!

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Ryan Michael 2 years, 4 months ago

Couldn't agree more... Through his attitude, his demeanor, his patience... Not even considering his game (but i love that too)...

This kid is Jayhawk through and through. I cannot wait for him to get his spotlight next year. He's going to step right into Taylors role and dominate.

For the rest of this season, I just hope he keeps turning up the D and finding his shot... If he does, I say we got a solid shot at the title.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree that next year he will step right into Taylor's role and dominate. I enjoyed reading your excellent reply. Thanks!

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

"How to Beat KU?"

Painter is a smart coach without match up advatages in this game. How might a smart coach without key match up advantages try to win?

MU proved one way. Make KU play a 4 guard game and get it into a foul shooting contest. It only worked 1of 2 times, almost twice.

Purdue lacks 4 guards.

What else?

Give Thomas Robinson looks, or rebounds, but not both.

The way to beat any team with a great double double guy is to both foul the heck out of him and take away his rebounding by forcing him to score all the time by jump shots of the blocks. Push him out when possible but always encourage the pass into him.

Over guard the other four to force the ball to Thomas. Never front him. Always keep Hummel between him and the basket. Hummel gives him every j, and only denies him the drive. Any spin and dunk is fouled hard. Turn Self's take what is given training on itself. Control the rebounding. Deny KU its balanced scoring. Encourage KU to stand around and let Thomas do the work. Any KU player that penetrates is fouled hard. Give KU the trey all game. Deny penetration.

Doing this would beat KU any time Thomas had an average shooting game of .45. No one has done this yet.

Some one will.

There is always a counter, but it will be tough for KU to recognize the first time.

Here is hoping Painter doesn't do this, but I suspect he will.

This makes sure Thomas does not rebound.

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

The theory would be to double him with a guy behind pushing him out hard, and sag to deny the entry pass and encourage KU to take the three, or reverse for the easy feed to Thomas.

But yes, if you do not push Withey out and sag, he would undo this strategy. But most teams have been able to push Jeff out, so only the refs calling fouls could stop this strategy. And they tend not to.

Regarding the Redding for this Madness, the approach seems clear. Call several fouls the first five minutes, enough to put the brawny ones on the bench, then swallow. And they will do this on the first game of each weekend, then maybe swallow the entire second game each weekend.

The early foul calling seemed responsible for most of the upsets so far.

Coaching counter: obvious. Wait 5 minutes in to start XTReme Muscle.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

When I look at Elijah Johnson, I realize what an incredible challenge Coach Self has every season, as far as recruiting. I believe Coach Self is interested in recruiting the "Student Athlete". Of course, he wants to recruit the most talented players as well. Unfortunately, some of the most talented players have zero interest in staying in school and earning a degree.

I guess every now and then, Coach Self comes across a talented Student Athlete that wants to stay, such as EJ and Tyshawn. Good luck to Coach Self, that has to be a difficult challenge finding the right mix of talent to build upon.

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Comet,

What makes players like EJ and Tyshawn and Sherron and Tyrel and Brady stay four years?

Are they ready to go pro after one, or two, but just are devoted to KU and Self? Is that what you are suggesting?

Or are they players that develop deliberately and need to use their full four years to get themselves in positions of psycho-physical maturity, plus skills development, to be ready for their best shot at pro ball?

In Sherron's case, it seemed he was plenty developed physically almost from the beginning, but it took him the full four seasons to prove himself and prove his leadership ability (at least his first starting season), because he apparently did not have quite the right eye test package for an NBA point guard. Sherron washed out in the NBA, more because of inadequate self discipline that lack of talent, and if I recall he's perhaps overseas now.

In Tyrel's and Brady's case, I always thought they developed deliberately physically and skills wise, and were not ready for pro ball, until after their fourth seasons. Tyrel and Brady played over seas briefly and then I think both of them cashed that in. Brady decided to play in an NBA D-league, where he continues to perform well, I read.

What about Tyshawn and EJ? Are they more like Sherron, Tyrel and Brady, or are you trying to suggest they are exceptional players that could have gone pro a couple of seasons ago, and just stuck around for the college experience?

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

My hunch is that in Tyshawn's case he thought if he mastered Point Guard, he could make more money and perhaps have a better shot at the NBA, if he took the whole four seasons to develop.

In EJ's case, I am less clear.

I know Sherron did not start his first season, but he was an important rotation player, something EJ was not his first season and really not his second season either. And Sherron had a seasoned upperclassmen in Russell and Mario ahead of him.

When I look at Brady, I recall that Brady was pretty much plug and play after a redshirt season and was in the rotation on a 26 win team and two 30 win teams steadily despite the coming and going of two OADs that made him a sixth man at times. But after four years he went pro and as I said is doing decently in the NBA D-League.

When I look at EJ, I know Tyshawn, Tyrel, Brady, were farther along, shot higher trey percentages, protected better and defended better, and that Josh, and Xavier were so good that they were able to push Brady back to sixth man, but I am just not sure what you think about EJ.

Until your post, I had always assumed it was pretty simple. EJ developed deliberately like most of the players mentioned and so it was in his interest to take the full four years at KU before trying to turn pro.

But now your post suggests maybe that he could have gone pro earlier, but instead just wanted to sit behind some guys he was better than for two seasons before getting his shot. That seems a pretty strange POV.

Anything you can do to clarify this would be appreciated.

Are you saying it would have made sense for EJ and Tyshawn, for that matter, to have turned pro after last season?

Surely that's not what you meant.

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Dillweed 2 years, 4 months ago

One of Withey's teammates needs to punch him in the chest before the game and get him mad. When he plays a little pissed off he focuses more. Its been cool watching different Jayhawks have their stretches besides TRob and Tyshawn. Releford had 3 great games in a row - Player of the Week. Withey, Johnson as well. As much as I like the kid for what he has accomplished, Teahan has to hit some shots and quit turning the ball over. He hustles and has a great attitude but his average skills make him a liability when he can't hit the three. If the team listens to Self and cranks up the defense-first mentality, they will win.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

Great post! Withey is more than capable, especially when he is fired up. Conner needs to bring it. If his shots aren't falling, then just play good defense and help us steal a few minutes when our starters are on the bench. I agree, when his shots are not falling, he is a liability and we look like 4 on5 out there. Hopefully, we can get to the Sweet Sixteen tonight. Go Jayhawks!

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Conner stole 29 minutes last game. :-)

Conner has stolen 722 minutes in 34 games so far.

That means he steals an average of 21 minutes per game.

That is one heck of a lot of stealing, Comet.

Wait, maybe Conner's actually better than you think.

Maybe Self is not some sort of bizarre weirdo that likes to play guys who can't play just to irritate certain fans.

No way, that's not possible.

That can't be.

What was it the rubes used to say about Brady? They came up with the real reason Brady played.

Brady only got to play, because his father gave a lot of money to the program.

Hey! Maybe Conner only gets to play because his father gives a lot of money to the program.

There are just certain players that get to play because of reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities to play.

It used to be a Communist Conspiracy.

Now it is probably the Illuminati. :-)

Just having some fun with this one.

I was endlessly amused during Sherron's career, when he didn't pass the eye test.

I got a lot of chuckles about Tyrel and Brady not passing the eye test.

I got an utter hoot, when even Tyshawn could not pass the eye test as a point guard for awhile!

Now I am getting still more chuckles about Conner not passing the eye test.

Man, does this world need more opthamologists, or what?

:-)

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

P.S.: Conner steals 21 minutes per game on a team that wound up ranked some where 5th in the country. Dang good stealing, Conner, dang good stealing.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

You made the joke of a comment that Conner Teahan was the 3rd option on this team, live with it.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

1] I truly hope Hummel is assigned to TRob. With those knees , there is no way he will match up with him, he will risk foul trouble and fatigue from his defensive efforts will effect his shooting.

2] Our guards need to push the ball up against a markably less athletic backline.

3] Contine the intense pressure at the three point line. It worked against Detroit and it is our best option against this much better shooting team.

4] Never forget Black Friday's Massacre. It's the NCAA...every team is dangerous at this stage.

5] You bench guys...hit 'em with your best shot!!!

6] Jayhawks, relax...I don't have tickets in St.Louis this year so there is no need to break my heart like the last several times!!!

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ParisHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Call me grammar police or whatever, but one thing I have read more and more in the last several years is "effect" for "affect" and vice versa. These are two different words, people!

"To affect" is to influence, often negatively.

"To effect" is to make or make happen.

Hummel's defensive efforts will not cause his shooting to happen.

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ParisHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

OakvilleJHawk, I should add I like you posts. Please don't think I'm picking on you, this was simply the last straw.

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

I suspect Hummel betrayed how Purdue is going to play Thomas. As I said above, they are probably going to give Thomas as many touches as he wants and try to over guard the other four. Hummel's job will be simply to stay between Thomas and the basket, and whenever possible to knee him out a foot or two off the blocks.

Painter is supposed to be a very sharp defensive coach.

Painter has to see Thomas FG percentage is 53%. And he has to know that a lot of that is coming off dunks and spin moves going to the glass and lobs.

He also has to see his FT shooting is 68%

Painter has to see Thomas is at 11.8 rpg, with a third of those coming off the offensive glass, and that Thomas grabs double what anyone else on the team grabs in rebounding.

Painter has to see that Purdue has no one that can keep Thomas off the defensive glass.

Painter has to see he really has no one that can stop Thomas even doubling, or tripling.

But Thomas' jump shooting comes and goes. And if you take away the dunks and lobs and slicing drives that come from teams trying to front him, or from forcing him away from the basket with double and triple teams inside, his face to the basket contested jump shooting numbers are probably no better than 45-46%, because his few number of wide open trey shooting attempts have yielded a 46%.

Conclusion: Thomas has to be a bout a 40-45% contested jump shooter on average.

That percentage, 40-45%, if you get him to take enough looks, say 15-20, by making it easy to feed him, and by over guarding the rest of KU, from the trey line in, and by giving KU the trey, is beatable.

It requires that KU not be hot from the trey stripe.

It requires the Purdue can guard KU's other four guys.

It requires that Purdue double down with a wing on Withey and really shove him out every chance.

It is a long shot, but it seems Purdue's best shot to me.

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WilburNether 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, well, 11 minutes into the game, Robinson is stinking it up horribly on both ends of the floor. He'd better get it in gear soon, or we're going to have yet another much-too-early exit.

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tical523 2 years, 4 months ago

I love EJ, definately a respectable dude. I hope he has a great run this tourney that sprignboards him into a special senior year. I want to see him aggressive and score next year because it will not only help the team but help his NBA stock and he deserves a bright future. To be honest though, with or without basketball, he will have a bright future because of that great attitude.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

To the poster Jaybate. I only get on this website to post my opinions, frustrations and chat a little hoops with fellow Jayhawk fans. I believe in being polite to everyone on this site. I usually respond to all replies , and if I disagree with opinions, then I try to express that the best I can. You, on the other hand, try to force your opinion down the throats of everyone on this site. Some like you on this site, others clearly don't. As for me, I really don't have an opinion, except for you let you know, "It does not take an hour and a half, to watch 60 minutes", think about it, and keep it moving.

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kuae99 2 years, 4 months ago

Prescient piece, this. Nice job, Gary.

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