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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Naadir Tharpe’s nadir: Freshman not sulking over lack of court time

Kansas freshman guard Naadir Tharpe.

Kansas freshman guard Naadir Tharpe.

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Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe pumps his fist after converting a bucket after being fouled by a Fort Hays State defender during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. Pictured are teammates Kevin Young, left, Niko Roberts and Merv Lindsay.

— When Kansas University freshman point guard Naadir Tharpe is having a bad day, it usually doesn’t last long.

He has been through too much in his life and is too mature to let any type of funk linger. Besides, even when he does sulk and stew, he has a support system — both in Lawrence and back home in Worcester, Mass. — that makes sure he doesn’t stay down too long.

That group and Tharpe’s maturity have been put to the test this year like never before. Highly touted out of Brewster (N.H.) Academy, the 5-foot-11 point guard came to Kansas with visions of playing big minutes and hitting key buckets. That hasn’t happened. After busting out of the gate with a combined 31 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in KU’s two exhibition games, Tharpe has spent most of the season sitting on the bench.

“This year’s been a huge adjustment for me,” Tharpe said. “I played a lot in the past, but we have great point guards here, in Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson), who’ve been here and put the time in and worked to be where they’re at right now. It’s tough, you know. But nothing’s more important to me than winning, and that’s what we’ve been doing — a lot.”

Tharpe has played in 32 of 35 games, barely. He averages just 5.5 minutes, watched all 40 minutes in two Big 12 games, and played three minutes or less 13 of the 32 times he did crack the lineup.

Tharpe and his family have too much pride to allow bitterness to take root.

“He’s never had to sit the bench since he was 11 years old,” said Tharpe’s brother, Tishaun Jenkins, 33, of Worcester, Mass. “He’s gotta find that fine line between being humble and being hungry. I think what he understands now that he didn’t understand three months ago is that he has to allow the process to play out but also not just accept the process without giving your all.”

By all accounts, that has not been a problem for Tharpe. He’s well-liked by teammates, has a special bond with All-American Thomas Robinson, with whom he played one season at Brewster, and can be seen jumping off the bench ready to offer a helpful hint to anyone who will listen.

“I can contribute a lot,” Tharpe said last week in Omaha, Neb. “Being on the bench, I see everything that’s going on. After coach says what he has to say, I talk to Tyshawn, I talk to Elijah, I talk to Thomas. What I really like about it is, even though they’re older than me, they don’t just wave me away. They actually listen to what I’m saying, and I listen to them, too. It’s a team thing, and for us to be here and me to be here, it’s just really exciting, and I’m just enjoying the ride.”

Added Robinson: “We respect Naadir as a player and as a person. When he says something, people listen because he knows how to play the game. There’s something about him. He knows how to play. Soon the world will get to see how good of a player he is.”

Jenkins believes the same is true. Because he’s nearly twice his age and has four years of Div. III college basketball at Salem (Mass.) State College behind him, Jenkins sounds a lot like a father when he talks about Tharpe’s first season at KU. Although not biologically related, the two were raised by the same parents — Tharpe from birth and Jenkins beginning at age 5 — and they were there for each other when Tharpe’s biological father, Ronald Tharpe, died in 2006 after a battle with lung cancer. Jenkins said Tharpe always had been thought of as mature before his father passed. But losing him at such a young age made that even more obvious.

“He had a couple difficult years in there, maybe 14 to 16 (years old),” Jenkins remembered. “Loving the game again, loving anything again, when you lose your dad is hard. But he came up out of that really tough, and he showed a greater appreciation for life after that happened.”

That’s what Jenkins believes is happening here. Of course, he would love to see his baby brother play more, but he gets it. The whole family does. And they’re thankful for the education — basketball and otherwise — that Tharpe is getting at Kansas.

“I don’t question coach (Bill) Self at all,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s very psychological what he’s doing with Naadir, to toughen him up. And I like to see him at the bottom because life is better appreciated when you have to struggle to get to a point where you feel you’re supposed to be.”

It’s not that Tharpe does not have bad days, but leaning on Jenkins and Robinson helps him pull through. The advice they give him is scary in its similarity and usually includes words such as “patience,” “hard work,” and “compete.”

Check, check and check.

“This is not the first time something like this has happened to me,” Tharpe said. “Back home, I played with an all-star team, and I was the youngest on the team, and there were older guys above me. I was probably 10 years old, but that’s something I don’t forget. After that, I made sure I worked hard, and the next year I was starting. I’m gonna try to do the same thing here.”

By here, he means Kansas. Many have wondered if Tharpe’s limited minutes might encourage him to take a look at other options. Jenkins said he and Tharpe had not even discussed transferring.

“This whole season has been humbling for him as a player,” Jenkins said. “And it’s made him understand that he’s not the man, and that he’s gotta work hard and improve and be tough as nails if he wants to be the point guard for Kansas University. I mean, it’s KU.”

Asked if he ever wished he went somewhere else, Tharpe fired his answer before the question was even finished.

“Never that,” he said. “Never that. I never have regrets, and I never will. This is where I wanted to go, this is where I’m at, and this is where I’m gonna be.”

Jenkins doesn’t have to hear those words to know that’s the way Tharpe feels.

“The kid is a barrier-breaker, so I’m not really worried about anything,” Jenkins said. “Ever since he was 15 years old, with any issue presented to him, he takes it and evolves with it.”

Comments

KULA 2 years, 5 months ago

So glad to see that Naadir is a PLAYAH! and his confidence hasn't been shaken by Bill's quick hook. He showed some real guts in not hesitating to fire up that three when we needed it so bad against Purdue.

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Hurinfan 2 years, 5 months ago

I love Naadir and have great respect for him. I love character pieces and learning about player backgrounds. Keep it up.

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hawk316 2 years, 5 months ago

Good article, Matt.

I'm impressed with Naadir. He seems to have "the right stuff."

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Ethan Berger 2 years, 5 months ago

Tharpe has a very high roof. He is better at getting into the lane then EJ. If he has a strong summer don't be shocked if he is our starting PG. But that will have to be a really really strong summer.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 5 months ago

Next year will be EJ (& Withey's) team - sliding in in place of TT & TRob. This year, EJ has given relief from handling the ball all the time for TT. I'd expect the same next year with Naadir and EJ.

The difference next year might be the extra depth with the double class ('11 & '12) of first year players. Naadir could become more of a RussRob with another year in waiting for the real supporting role as a starter. Hmmm, sounds a lot like TRob also, and not terribly unlike Travis. So nice to have so many examples of working hard to develop personally and as a team.

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addlime 2 years, 5 months ago

Immediately thought of Russ Rob when I read this as well. He actually did consider transferring but we all know what he ended up accomplishing. I'm sure tharpe has heard the story.

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trustyourSelf 2 years, 5 months ago

It's really good to hear he isn't considering transferring. He'll get minutes for sure next year.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 5 months ago

For obvious reasons all of us hope that every new recruit will, sooner rather than later, produce and succeed. I'm only guessing but I imagine there have been a lot of Jayhawk fans who have questioned whether Tharpe would survive at KU. I admit, I have been one of those fans.

As the season winds down, Naadir has barely cleared the hurdles set before him, both by Coach Self and during game situations. However, I've always felt that Tharpe has been a Jayhawk at heart from day one. I can't say exactly why, but I've always had that impression. For that reason alone, I've hoped he would succeed. And it's not just because KU needs a dependable backup PG next season. After reading the above, I think I now understand why.

Nice human interest story, Matt. Mahalo.

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 5 months ago

i never doubt this kid's ability. he's such a good passer. he sees the court like eagle's eyes. a pure PG, who can criss cross & dish dash in a flash. trust me. it takes time to adjust & play together. like TRob said "Soon the world will get to see how good of a player he is.”

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saad007 2 years, 5 months ago

Amen brother! Naadir is the next Aaron Miles! I'm excited to see him next year.

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ancient_hawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Want to know why we're KU, and you're not?

Bill doesn't go get the hyper-athletic but prima donna one-and-done kids. He doesn't have to promise them playing time, face time, and whatever else Faustian deals certain ahem coaches have to make with Lucifer. He doesn't have to kiss their asses.

Instead, he finds the best athletes he can with CHARACTER, and promises nothing more than this: I, and your upperclassmen will beat you like a rented mule until you get it that you're just a teenager with talent, and I'm a Grand-Dragon. In return, you will leave here a complete player with a deep understanding of team basketball, and not least....a MAN.

We don't rebuild, we reload. Next year's star players are already on the bench, patiently waiting their turn to shine.

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RJ King 2 years, 5 months ago

"This is where I wanted to go, this is where I’m at, and this is where I’m gonna be.”

And, Naadir - this is where WE want you to be! If you watch Tharpe on the bench, he's usually right next to Self, listening, talking, and generally conducting himself like an assistant coach. You'd never know he hadn't even come into the game yet, or might have just been yanked after a turnover or bad decision.

He absolutely doesn't sulk, and shows huge potential for owning this team when his time comes. I love his seeming intelligence, resiliency, and commitment.

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Curtis Stutz 2 years, 5 months ago

We all know Tharpe has the tools (quickness, shooting ability, ball handling), he just needs to keep working on composure and decision making and he's going to be a starting PG at the University of Kansas

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Bob Thompson 2 years, 5 months ago

Some of the same things said about T-Rob (quickness, shooting ability, ball handling)..... He will get a lot better when the game slows down for him. When he can do without thinking. As we have seen with T-Rob, it just takes some time.

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jhox 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir struggled the first preseason game for most of the first half, but then the second half of that game and all of the next preseason game he got comfortable, and played really well. I've always said it is difficult for a guy who doesn't get a lot of minutes to come into a game, only play one or two minutes, and get yanked. When that happens you never get into the flow of the game. Withey is a perfect example of that. Withey is still a guy who seems to get better the more minutes he plays, and he's playing a lot of minutes, so imagine how tough it is for a guy who plays 2 or 3 minutes a game.

I honestly don't know what we have in Naadir. It is concerning that he seems to regularly come in and have two turnovers in a couple of minutes of playing time. I would think, given that he knows how short of a leash he's on, that he would be a little more cautious with the ball. On the other hand, he did play well against the D2 teams in exhibition games when he had a chance to settle down and get in the flow of the game. Ultimately, I think he'll turn into a good player for us, but it's not likely that will happen overnight. Unless Self lands a stud juco point guard before next season, Naadir will be thrown into the fire next year. It's pretty clear that Elijah is the heir apparent at the point next season, unless we land a juco guy, but there is still going to be a lot of available minutes for Naadir.

The good thing is that it sounds as though he's kept a good attitude through this humbling experience. It has to be frustrating for him.

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STLrockCHALK 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir reminds me a lot of our starting point guard when we won the title in 08, Russel Robinson. Robinson certainly took a couple of years to develop into a starter. Nadir is probably a more natural scorer and shooter, and if he can become the type of defender that Robinson was, it wouldn't be surprising to see him grow into the same type of player with the same type of role that RR had.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree, naadir has more natural talent than Russell. We know Self will yank you if you get beat on a defensive assignments. He'll be a lot better next year.

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jhox 2 years, 5 months ago

The only thing is, Russell was significantly taller than Naadir. Naadir definitely has better scoring skills, but Russell's strenght was always defense. I think Naadir does a reasonably good job defending for a freshman, but you can't coach height, and 5'11" is a detriment defensively unless you're ultra quick.

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benshawks08 2 years, 5 months ago

Not to mention hops and hands. I can't even count the number of times there were 3 on 1 breaks or even 1 on none and Russell would break it up with either a steal or a block from nowhere. Love that guy.

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 5 months ago

RussRob was a big scorer in High School. KU had too many scorers and he was asked to run the point and play defense and he did that admirably. He was the ultimate team player and a favorite of KU fans.

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Joel Thomas 2 years, 5 months ago

Crazy RussRob was a 5-star recruit, one of the best in the nation. I remember hoping he'd be a scorer. Maybe that 5-star rating case unjust expectations, but hopes dashed... rather one door opens, another one...

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REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps Naadir's closest ally on this squad is Thomas Robinson, a junior All American who logged 14+ minutes as a sophomore. Thomas paid his dues, kept himself in steady upward flight, and now soars with the best of power forwards in the nation. Naadir will do well to follow in Thomas' footsteps, extracting the most from what Andrea Hudy, Bill Self and Co., and the university at large have to offer. He is a quick and gutsy guard who eventually will dance circles around the tall trees which proliferate his space. I see him as that 14+ minute player who will back up Elijah next season as an integral figure on a Jayhawk squad teeming with newcomers undergoing the same test by fire which Naadir has experienced this season. If he stays focused and on target, eventually he will see action as the Jayhawk starting point guard, one of the most coveted positions in the world of NCAA Hoops. If Naadir Tharpe's heart throbs with the blood of a champion, someday he and his family might gaze upward to admire his All American banner hanging from the sacred framework of The Phog.

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KansasComet 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir, like Elijah has no fear and that is a strong asset to have in March. He will be just fine. With the way he easily gets into the paint and can distribute, great times are ahead for him and for the Jayhawk Nation, once he gets all the kinks worked out.

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

Every player on this team knows fear. Every player on this team has looked as pitiful as Naadir has looked either this season, or in previous ones. Fear is a constant among the great and not . The key is can you play through the fear and get enough better to do your job under fire. Different players have different obstacles to overcome. Some take longer than others, but they are all playing through fear. And until they know they are afraid, they tend not to learn how to get better. Essentially Self introduces them all to fear, wakes them up to it, and helps them learn to play through it. That's what everything from Boot Camp to the toughening box are about. Players that know no fear lack urgency of purpose and commitment to save themselves, or their team from disaster. Scared men driven to overcome their fears and do their jobs are the kind that move mountains, win championships and win wars...with the right leadership.

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JD Roth 2 years, 5 months ago

You knocked it out of the park with that post!!

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Kurt Eskilson 2 years, 5 months ago

And with a remarkably short swing! (No malice!)

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HawksWin 2 years, 5 months ago

Precisely! It is that fear you speak of will embrace Kentucky players against Kansas! In their 34-2 season to date, they have not experienced or had to face the fear factor - and Kansas will be happy to deliver on the silver platter. Through experience and maturity a player overcomes his own fear (his own demon), and talent alone can't overcome it. No matter what coach tells a player, ultimately, he has to overcome it on his own. Afterwards, that confidence begins to blossom ie Elijah, earlier was Taylor. That's what happend to us against VCU during that extreme conditioning of game, the fear reared its ugly face, it wrapped and paralyzed our players. It is that mental game in March that comes to test each player - what are you made of, it asks! Those who saw it, felt it, but conquered it - will survive and see that basketball heaven or hell in March. Mizzou saw hell.

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. Wooden said one of the foundations of excellence in basketball was to be better conditioned that other teams.

During the XTReme Muscle Era, we started to think that conditioning was a trade-off between muscle mass and card-vascular endurance. Referees not calling whistles let the big lugs neutralize the athleticism of a lot of well conditioned athletes, so for a while, it seemed to make sense to trade off endurance for muscle. But as always happens in any game, a good coach comes along who goes back to basic principles of the game and says, "Why can't we have peak cardio-vascular conditioning and muscle mass?" Shaka Smart was that guy; that is why I am always talking him up. I have no idea if he is there greatest young coach in the world, but I know the he was responsible for yet another turning point in the game last season. He proved that muscle mass can be put in much better cardio vascular condition the previously assumed. And by making this breakthrough, he has restored some of the essence of the game--running up and down the floor whistle to whistle--even in this era when bang ball reigns.

Why am I going on about this?

Because fatigue makes cowards of us all, and cowardice is just being overwhelmed by the same fear that we must all deal with successfully do our jobs in any endeavor.

XTReme condition is vital to any team being able to deal with its fear.

XTReme muscle is too, now that bang ball is unofficially institutionalized in the game.

A champion has hand its fear of fatigue, and of smash mouth, to keep playing its game and executing its offensive and defensive schemes, regardless of the philosophy driving them.

Finally, Self indicates there is one more fear that must be overcome by a champion. A champion must play through injuries. The game is so rough that it is not realistic to think that most of the players will avoid serious injury over the course of a season. Hence, champions must play through meniscus surgeries, play through hyperextentions of both elbows, play through stress reactions, play through knee injuries, play through broken fingers, play through split lips, play through concussions, play through diseases, and god only knows what else these guys are playing through.

I could get in condition. I could build up the muscles. I could develop the skills. But I could never play through the injuries these guys play through today. Not now. Not when I was young. Never.

I wish the game were called in a way that they did not have to play through these injuries, but the reality of the game today is that they must, or players that can will beat them.

Strength.

Endurance.

Play through pain.

Execute.

Believe.

Win.

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KansasComet 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir never looked pitiful this season. What was pitiful was watching a fifth year senior clank one off the side of the backboard when we needed him, now that was pitiful. Naadir Tharpe is a freshman with a great attitude and does not deserve to be called pitiful. That remark is pitiful in itself.

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jchief40 2 years, 5 months ago

I've read lots of comments on here doubting Tharpe's role on this team. This guy is very very good. Just like how last year people were doubting Withey when the potential was obvious the same is true of Tharpe. Next year he will be a big part of this team regardless if we land Shabazz or not to go along with McLemore and Johnson. Tharpe is a smart player who is an incredible passer and great shooter. The epitome of a team player. His time is coming.

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Steve Reigle 2 years, 5 months ago

Another fine example of what being a Jayhawk is all about. I look for some great things from Naadir Tharpe in future seasons. What a classy guy.

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Dan Harris 2 years, 5 months ago

you look like you enjoy putting long round things in your mouth eh?

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Dan Harris 2 years, 5 months ago

you look like you enjoy putting long round things in your mouth eh?

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Vernon Riggs 2 years, 5 months ago

"...he’s gotta work hard and improve and be tough as nails if he wants to be the point guard for Kansas University. I mean, it’s KU.”

He has the right mind set. He has the right skills. Naadir will make us proud. His ability to drive the ball inside will set up 3-Point shooters like EJ, BenMac, Frankamp, White, Greene for years to come. Rock Chalk Naadir!

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Jayhawk444 2 years, 5 months ago

I really like Naadir. Such a classy kid - he represents what college basketball should be all about. Here's hoping he's able to realize his dreams at KU.

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Mel Clare 2 years, 5 months ago

This kid reminds me of Collins. Small package with alot of heart and fight in him. I think it is he and not EJ, Withey, Travis or Young who will be the leader next year. All the others are seniors but this kid has the maturity and knowledge of the game to lead. He has experienced the ups and downs, the learning curve and got some experience on the court this year. That is more than McClemore or Traylor can say. Kid has guts in a small package!

We have had a very thin bench this year. The team has suffered somewhat because of it. Next year and the couple of years after will look like 8-9 man rotations possibly with still more help if needed! You have McClemore and Traylor getting thier eligibility back..........Ellis, Lucas, Peters, Adams and White coming in and will all contribute next season. And then with Frankamp and Greene the following year. Great mix of bigs and wings and shooters!

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

EJ will be the leader of this team next year.

EJ is going to go through some early season ups and downs as the leader, just as Tyshawn did early, but EJ has a rare combination of great athletic gifts and sharp intelligence that I believe will distinguish him. High intelligence is always a problem early in any effort, especially in school. It is bored easily. It tries to make things more complicated than they need to be in the beginning, because it handles complexity effortlessly. It struggles with pairing things down to essence for awhile, but once it gets it, once it knows when to be simply elegant, and when to be elegantly complicated, intelligence becomes one of the most formidable weapons extant.

As an outsider, early on it was hard to be sure whether EJ was struggling, because he had too many brains, or not enough. Over time, through a series of interviews, and through watching some of his actions on the court when the game has broken for a time out, or a free throw, it has become apparent that he is a bright person and that he was having trouble growing into a new style of play, with a new body (he grew from 6-2 to 6-4 his freshman year), and that what we really had here was a potential Oscar Robertson type point guard still in the chrysalis. By this I mean a tall, slender guy with a wheel barrow full of brains. Oscar got lucky, because he developed greater powers of concentration and self discipline sooner than EJ. This is somewhat luck of the draw stuff--the way your genetic program plays out, at what rate and time. Oscar was a long point guard from the moment he started down the birth canal as nearly as I can recall. EJ was Mr. 6-2 Bouncey guy, much closer to Tyshawn and Mario in physique and skill set than Oscar. So genetics threw EJ a loop. They made him grow into an Oscar physique in the middle of trying to learn to play D1 ball like Mario, Tyshawn, etc. It has taken EJ a long time to make what amounted to a metamorphosis in his style of play. Self clearly saw what was possible with Ej at 6'4" that had not been possible at 6-2. Self saw a future unstoppable player--a potential Number 1 draft choice, if he could ever unlearn everything and relearn in time.

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

I think EJ is going to go insane next season, maybe even more so than Tyshawn went this season, and Tyshawn has become one of KU's five finest guards in KU history this season when evaluated in terms of how good he was at his peak of development.

EJ has greatness in his sights. It will be a tough final few steps, but few other players can even talk about trying for those final few steps.

EJ's biggest hurdle will be melding with Travis, so that the leadership role does not get over concentrated in EJ's hands.

One of the beautiful things about this season is that Tyshawn has this vast, expansive heart for his teammates that has emerged and it has allowed him to have the skill and presence of mind to let his teammates grow in their responsibilities, rather than becoming increasingly dependent on Tyshawn. This is Tyshawn's greatest gift that no one has yet praised him for to my knowledge. If EJ can learn one thing from Tyshawn, it would be to lead when by doing when they need it, and lead by encouraging them to lead when they can do it themselves.

We also have to hope that a 2 guard emerges for EJ that can give him the kind of often selfless support that EJ has given Tyshawn.

Whatever happens tomorrow, Tyshawn and EJ have blossomed into a marvelous tandem, and I would add Travis to this also, and say a marvelous trio of perimeter players.

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 5 months ago

sniper60: I think it is inappropriate for you to comment on Tharpe's package. Also, don't bet the farm on all those guys contributing in your 8-9 man rotation. The math, including Withey, Releford, and EJ, puts you at 10. Self has a habit of treating freshmen like .. well .. Tharpe.

JB: Oscar Robertson comparisons. You have set the bar high. But you're right. He's our leader next season. Nice write up on the future 1st rounder. It's amazing how even before this season ends I'm looking forward to Christmas morning vs. Fort Hays St, or whoever, in early November.

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Page Butler 2 years, 5 months ago

Somtimes this year he has looked like Naadir in the headlights. lol

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Page Butler 2 years, 5 months ago

I am joking of course. He had no fear when he took that huge 3 pointer against Purdue. He had no fear at all taking that shot. I know everyone is talking about his role next year, but we might not still be playing this year without that shot.

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JS82 2 years, 5 months ago

What I love about KU is basketball is that you get to see these guys develop if they stay for 3 or 4 years. I think about Cole Aldrich and how he looked in his first year versus later. Elijah Johnson has come a long way. If a player can wait to get on the floor, the coaching and practice will elevate their game. The one-and-done's miss out on what is great about college basketball.

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jchief40 2 years, 5 months ago

"What I love about KU is basketball is that you get to see these guys develop if they stay for 3 or 4 years." Exactly. Self and his staff (Andrea Hudey deserves a mention here) know how to turn these boys into men don't they? I mean Robinson, Jackson, Morris twins, Kahn, Taylor, Withey on and on. Kansas fan or not how could one not be impressed when they consider we have no All Americans on this squad. Tangent time! ... This team really "gets after it" when they want to though and it's mostly a credit to coaching we are so tough to beat. And many times we just appear physically stronger than our opponents. Sometimes we even play a bit dirty. I've seen some cheap shots go uncalled and the Morris twins used to do that, Robinson seemed to catch that bug at one point, but I guess my point is Kansas doesn't back down. Oh well it goes both ways but I just say let the play do the talking. And it's not surprising that this team has made those late come backs. They are playing confident and hopefully are going to peak at the right time. 1 seeds are banged up - stage is set eh? Self could make history! Yet they've exceeded my expectations already. And after that Purdue game I've concluded we're going to punch NC State in the mouth this weekend and play lock down D like they've never seen before!! Then punk Roy Williams' team again. Those softies are gonna hate playing against our D. Either way this season has exceeded my expectations. Rock Chalk

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brooksmd 2 years, 5 months ago

You mean the freshman Cole Aldrich who put what's his name from UNC on his can in the 2008 Final Four?

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REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

This is the time of year and the very weekend to call up that marvelous Cole Aldrich freshman piece of work, shutting down Hansbrough and Roy's hopes for a title game. NC State probably hopes we do have to rely on Naadir Tharpe. But the Purdue folks might testify to the fact that they had best beware. Bill Self saw cause to give the yank quickly to Naadir's short leash last weekend, but not before his freshman created a much needed imprint on that Purdue game. The kid shows more than brief glimmers of a talent which someday will blaze toward a roaring crescendo.

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FoCoCoHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly! Why the big rush to leave Lawrence? Abandoning your education to ride the pine between bus rides to airports surrounded by millionaire prima donas, throwing away the comraderie of team for hangers-on, never having quality time for family, struggling to hone your professional skills with coaches who are NOT Bill Self.

Are you listening TRob?

(Just kidding...we're with you no matter what.)

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jaycon11 2 years, 5 months ago

by now, tharpe understands that his limited playing time is due to his (mostly defensive) liabilities on the court. he's showing great improvement in his defense, and maturity in his outlook and next year, he will be rewarded--hell, the fans will be rewarded getting to see what he can do.

i can't wait to see him in his senior year, with frankamp and ellis also starting. that's a nucleus of a final four squad.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 5 months ago

I seriously doubt we will have Perry for the full four years...three,, perhaps but not four.

He will be just that good!!!

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

I am starting a "Perry for the Point" club. :-)

Screw this debate about whether Perry will play 3, as Self suggested, or 4, as most board rats expect.

Let's get basketball back on track, where the tall point guard train tragically derailed after Magic, because of Larry's little-man stubbornness about winning a ring with Danny at the post.

Let's put Perry at the point!

Let's prove once and for all that Magic was not a fluke. He was the future deferred.

Perry for Point!

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Phoggie_Thinking 2 years, 5 months ago

Sunday's game I thought he looked good. I remember the three he took and made and thinking when did he get in the game? I'm glad he was.

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1PhogFan 2 years, 5 months ago

Good Stuff Naadir, Stay humble, Stay hungry, and stay out of the basement of the Oread after midnight and you're going to have a GREAT career and a college experience that you can look back on and remain regret-less. Your three against Purdue was a game changer and your future is nothing but blue sky. Glad you're here!

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HawkKlaw 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir's time is coming. You can see him get a little too excited when he comes into games right now, which is natural for a guy that doesn't get a lot of minutes. Next year he will be backing up Elijah at PG (most likely) and he'll be the general his Junior year. I'm excited to see him progress into a better defender. He just needs to work on his footwork and he'll be solid.

Bill Self usually goes after combo guards as opposed to pure PG's, but I really enjoy PG's like Jacque Vaughn and Aaron Miles who pass first and make their teammates better. I feel like Naadir's game will ultimately be pretty similar to those guys. Plus, the kid can shoot! I think by his Junior year he'll be a huge factor for KU.

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oldalum 2 years, 5 months ago

Self said at the time Naadir signed that he reminded him of Aaron.

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Chad Dexter 2 years, 5 months ago

I really like this kid's attitude. I think he will be successful at KU starting next year. I also like his play. But it's frustrating at times. He makes a good/great play or two and then makes a mistake. When I see that I just chalk it up to being a freshman. He will learn.

From what little I've seen of his play, he's more of a traditional PG in the way he seems to think pass first. I know BS tends to recruit combo guards and that works for the most part. But it also takes time in other cases (see Tyshawn Taylor). I can see Tharpe making the KU offense flow well next year. I don't think there will be much of a drop off.

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KansasComet 2 years, 5 months ago

That was enjoyable to read, thanks!

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jaybate 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir needs to get with Tyrel Reed and Sherron and Hudy this off season to develop his defensive footwork. Sherron always struggled with short leg syndrome, but worked at it and finally learned to be an adequate defender by stretching out his drop step and learning when to get up and under quickly, and when to lay off an extra step, and how to alternate both to keep the offender on his heels a bit. Short leg syndrome is curable and Naadir will cure it.

Next, Naadir's got to talk to Tyrel. Tyrel was the fastest sprinter, had long legs, but not enough leg strength for lateral quickness. Jumping muscles and running muscles differ from sliding muscles. Tyrel learned to slide and went from a poor defender, like Naadir, to a sound defender, then added upper body strength and became a fine defender capable of both keeping up, and muscling his opponent. Naadir can do this too.

Naadir will be a rotation guy next season and very good point guard the following year.

Soon I will write: Nothing runs like a Naadir!

Thomas has cred about who can get better. Thomas got massively better.

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Joe Baker 2 years, 5 months ago

The attitude of a baller and an individual that has matured beyond his years. I like Tharpe's bball IQ on and off the court. His skills will improve with his shot. His attitude will take him a long way in all that he does, whether on the court or off.

Rock Chalk Naadir - Nothng but respect.

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vd 2 years, 5 months ago

He should transfer. His brother called it "Kansas University" rather then "University of Kansas." Shouldn't he be expelled?

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HawkKlaw 2 years, 5 months ago

The LJWorld calls in Kansas University in every article. Shouldn't you have noticed this by now? I wouldn't be surprised if he actually said "University of Kansas" and LJWorld changed it just to flow with their baffling standards.

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brooksmd 2 years, 5 months ago

How many people were down on the Morri during their freshmen year what with all the fouls and missed shots? How many people were down on TRob his freshman year? If the comments from Nadir and his family are true and he sticks with it, works and competes and is not in a hurry to get to the next level, he will lead a KU team.

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REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Quite probably will lead 2 Jayhawk teams.

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RJ King 2 years, 5 months ago

I actually LOVED the glimpses of TRob his freshman year! He looked like a stud yearling who might win the Derby as a 3-yr-old. However, I was never enamored with the twins. Yes, their draft pick status brought additional credibility for Kansas player development. But, "It's time for you to go home," set the tone for last year's VCU meltdown. Their behavior was clownish and eventually slightly tarnished our program.

Vaughn, Miles, and RussRobb all exemplify the kind of attitude that finds its way into a Final Four. I'll be wishing this for Naadir - as both a Hawk fan, and in support of his character.

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AverageCitizen 2 years, 5 months ago

These OAD kids that are so quick to want to play and be a star instantly without paying their dues aren't the only ones. Us fans fall into that same trap and are disappointed when our freshman aren't great players right off the bat. I am sure Naadir will improve every year and soon we will have all forgotten he struggled his first year. It's worth it Naadir. You will look back on your time at KU with great sentiment!

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BPSkelly 2 years, 5 months ago

It's hard not to see Tharpe and E.J. as great back court next year. E.J. will clearly be the "combo guard" Self loves to have, but having another ball handler and court leader will be great to see.

Much of this has to do with E.J.'s natural progression (which has clearly started) and Tharpe's which my guess is we'll see in earnest next year.

All those newbie freshman coming in will push for playing time though, and my guess is that Tharpe will be ready to "get his".

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ku_foaf 2 years, 5 months ago

I have no doubt Tharpe will be a great one.

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Blake Brown 2 years, 5 months ago

It`s nice to see other sides and insights of Nasdir as stated in the article.

The fact remains, he has not performed well over the entire season. For every good think he does, he negates them with bad decisions on both ends of the court. Bad shot selection, passes that put others in a tough spot and out of their normal rhythm, defensive breakdowns, reach in fouls and turnovers that kill. His crossover dribble places the ball directly in front of the defense and how many times has it been swiped away?

After seeing the immense improvement of many players this year over last year, it is quite possible Tharpe will grow and contribute in a big way next year. He seems to posses the skills and certainly has the quickness and speed to be a factor.

Bottom line: we need him to mature, play smart and make his teammates better when he is on the court as well as off the court.

Rock Chalk!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 5 months ago

There's one thing which has gone unmentioned. And I'm only assuming this since I've never attended any of KU's practices. Tharpe hasn't been starting, so he most likely practices with the 2nd team, or at least practices a lot less with the starters. It's much easier to get into the flow, to gel with the starters when you are used to playing with them. You start recognizing what each other can, or can not do. What each player has in their repertoire. A nod of the head, or a hand signal the regular starter is familiar with, but the sub is not. When traded, even an NBA star player has to practice with their new team before they become comfortable and recognize their role amongst their new teammates. (This relates directly to the N.Carolina situation. A non-starter is forced to gel with starters who he's not quite familiar with.) > Therefore, the more Tharpe practices with the starters, the better he should perform. Of course, this can relate back to those who argue that Tharpe should have had more game time experience. Which I agree with, up to a point. The point being, do you sacrifice by chancing a loss during a game that should be won? > From which part of the apple do you take a bite? The side which might kill you, or make you ill? Or that which is guaranteed not to contain the poison? Bill Self (Snow White) must make that decision each time the situation presents itself.

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FoCoCoHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Now I know how HCBS should dress for next fall's Late Night!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 5 months ago

LOL Well, I didn't quite mean it that way. :>)

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Jeeveshawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Naadir will be out back up gaurd next to White next year and he should start as a junior and a senior!

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REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Whoa! White will start as point guard next year? One and done point guard?

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Jeeveshawk 2 years, 5 months ago

read my post, I said he would be back up next to white

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Jeeveshawk 2 years, 5 months ago

read my post, I said he would be back up next to white

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WilburNether 2 years, 5 months ago

The problem is that while his bad days may not last long, they seem to have lasted as long as our team is on the court playing a basketball game.

Let's hope he works hard this summer, and makes a huge leap forward next season. Some players seem to make the adjustment to the next level quickly and easily, while with others, it just seems to take more time. Some will never make it, and we have to hope he's not one of those.

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