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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keegan

Tyshawn Taylor’s career shouldn’t, won’t be defined by UNC game

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor laughs between teammates Thomas Robinson, front, and Jeff Withey after it was brought to his attention by a media member that he is yet to make a three-pointer in the NCAA tournament when playing in a dome, Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor laughs between teammates Thomas Robinson, front, and Jeff Withey after it was brought to his attention by a media member that he is yet to make a three-pointer in the NCAA tournament when playing in a dome, Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

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— Shielded more from the media during the season, when the locker rooms are off limits to reporters, Kansas University basketball players get questions fired at them on a far more regular basis during the NCAA Tournament.

It can add to the pressure they feel when the questions zero in on the enormity of the upcoming game.

Could this (Sunday’s Elite Eight game against North Carolina), somebody asked on Saturday of KU senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, be the “defining game of your career?”

How much pressure can one tire take, for crying out loud.

“I think it could be because offensively I haven’t been playing too well,” Taylor said. “I don’t want to put extra pressure on myself, but I just know I can’t play too much worse offensively. I’m actually looking forward to playing.”

Somebody else wanted to know: “Do you think much about your legacy at Kansas?”

Responded Taylor: “I think it crosses my mind, time to time, because I’ve been one of those players who have been criticized a lot. Fans love me, they hate me. I think about it time to time, you know, being in a position where you come behind so many great players who people were embracing and showed so much love to. You want to be one of those guys.”

Another question thrown his way Saturday: “Tyshawn, I was looking back through past tournaments today and in a dome you’ve never hit a three-pointer. Is there anything to that?”

Taylor: “Honestly, I haven’t noticed that, so thank you for putting that in my head. I appreciate that. I don’t know what it is, man. I don’t know what it is. I’m going to keep shooting it confidently. I feel like they’re good when they leave my hand, and so I’m going to keep shooting it.”

Sunday’s game is in the Edward Jones Dome, where he misfired on all six three-point attempts in Friday’s three-point victory against North Carolina State, but it appears the NCAA Tournament atmosphere, not the dome background, has been the issue throughout his career. In 12 NCAA Tournament games, Taylor has made just 3 of 32 three-point shots, which makes him a 9-percent three-point shooter. In the other 131 games, he has been a 41-percent long-distance shooter. It’s true he hasn’t made one in a dome in 12 attempts in three different domes, which makes him 3 for 20 (15 percent elsewhere).

Nobody can question his effort. He brings that every game. It’s evident he badly wants to win, sometimes too badly. He hasn’t looked loose shooting three-pointers and is 0 for 12 in the three NCAA Tournament games. It’s not a new development.

If Taylor’s thinking about legacy and the 144th game of his career defining that career and that other vague nonsense, his head’s in the wrong place.

“I think as far as my work on the court, I think I could possibly be one of those guys,” Taylor said when asked the legacy question. “(Today’s) game is a step in the right direction, but it’s not something I’m driving myself crazy thinking about because I think my teammates, the teams I played on, my coaching staff, I think they all understand what I’ve done to help us be an elite team the past four years. I’ve been a big part of all four of those teams.”

One game, regardless of his performance, can’t change that.

“I think they all understand that whether I get the love of a Jacque Vaughn or Kirk Hinrich or not, I think the people who matter the most understand,” Taylor said.

That’s the mindset Taylor needs to take into this game: The people he cares about most won’t change their opinion of him no matter how his shots fly today.

Taylor shot so poorly Friday, the pressure mounting with each miss, that it’s possible the tire took on so much pressure it blew up and now he can start over with a fresh one.

“It can’t get any worse,” Taylor said. “It can only go up from here.”

Taylor is averaging 8.7 points, 3.3 assists and 3.3 turnovers this tourney.

“It’s hard not to get down when you’re getting good shots, wide open, and they don’t go down,” Taylor said. “Once you miss it, you can’t think about it. It’s over. You’ve got to think next play. I’ve had games where I’ve scored three points in the first half and I’ve come in at halftime and said, ‘Yo, I suck right now,’ and then came out and scored 20 in the second half. It’s a long game. You can’t get down on yourself.”

So easy to say.

“I think for a second there (Friday) night, I did, but when it came down to crunch time and we needed to get stops and make big plays, I just forgot about it. It didn’t even cross my mind until I got in the locker room after the game. I was like, ‘Yo, I played pretty bad.’ It’s definitely hard, but you’ve just got to think next play.”

Comments

ajhk 2 years ago

Tyshawn- I think the thick of Jayhawk nation loves you.

Some were very frustrated with your play as I'm sure you were at one time. It wasn't because they didn't like you. Rather, I think many saw the extraordinary talent and superhuman physical gifts and wanted and needed better from you. I'm sure you felt the same.

I feel like your head has finally caught up to your lightning quick body. We do love you Tyshawn!

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dtdjayhawk 2 years ago

Tyshawn is one of my favorite Jayhawks without question. He needs to get back to playing his game which was exceeding all of our expectations. Drive the basket, take your defender to the whole, sink your floaters in the lane, play with composure and you will get back to your 18+ points per game. All of Jayhawk Nation is behind you Tyshawn, at least those that are truly Jayhawks. We want nothing more then to keep watching you play and we believe in this team. I'm so pumped up for this game I can't type anymore.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!!

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REHawk 2 years ago

Lace 'em up for lightening this afternoon, Tyshawn. Show this nation that you can compete successfully with a team overflowing with surplus McDonald's All Americans. One more tally in the win column for your determined growth and body of work as one of the most memorable point guards in the long storied history of Jayhawk Basketball.

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iamakufan 2 years ago

I continue to be dismayed when the media proclaims that Taylor had a bad game. For crying out loud, he had 10 rebounds and 5 assists! That's not a bad game. Bad offensively, sure. But look at what else he did to help the team win the game. The media can sometimes be so short-sighted. Anything for a headline.

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William Blake 2 years ago

Sure... I'd like to see our offense hitting on all cylinders...

however...

I just want to see this team win. And if winning requires ugly, grind-em-out games, so be it!

If we keep going like this, we'll be the only team in NCAA history to win it all while only shooting 30% from the field! A feat which will never happen again. This team will be immortalized!

Basketball is both a simple and complex game. Maybe we lose when our offense comes around because then our defense goes south.

We are all familiar with this statement:

Offense wins games... defense wins championships!

So be it. We are testing this concept to the nth degree!

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Kevin Crook 2 years ago

I love TT's effort, but there are simply times in too many games where I ask myself if we are experiencing a "BlueChips" moment and watching TT on the take, shaving points. I can't believe how bad he can play at times. I am physically aching for him to have a good game. You watch these kids grow up for four years, and TT has come a long way. I was so happy for him at the end of the Mizz game because he came through on the free throw line. I hope so badly for him that no matter what the outcome is today, he plays lights out like he did so many time this season in conference. I will admit that he has been very tough to watch at times over these four years. I really hope he can decide today that if he's going down, he's going down with guns blazing.RCJH!

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Kent Kossoy 2 years ago

Both Ty and TROB need a good game. They get it and KU wins. They don't and we go home. It's that simple.

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Vittorio1224 2 years ago

Dear "Ty" (as all authentic non-fair weather KU apologists know you):

My late mother -- who raised 3 kids who all went to KU and proudly watched all the tourney games with us while we raised the banner of the Crimson & Blue in Lawrence -- used to say, "It's not the number of times you fall down in life, but the number of times you get back up."

Thank you for not staying DOWN, and not listening to all the naysayers pontificate about how you have no leadership abilities, and can't drive to the hoop and dish the rock and create opportunities for your teammates. You've given everything you have for four years, and we PROUD Jayhawk fans THANK YOU from the depths of our soul, and all that is the history, tradition, folklore and richness of KANSAS JAYHAWK basketball!

Rock Chalk and the Big Easy isn't a bad place to spend a weekend....let's give it a try! ;)

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jaybate 2 years ago

Tyshawn Taylor,

Listen up. You are loved. You are respected. People who understand basketball think you are an amazing player. And what you have done this year ranks among the finest point guard performances of all time at Kansas.

You've only played two years at the point. No other great point guard started playing the point so late in his KU career. You have come farther in a single season than any point guard ever. Had you not had to play with broken digits last season, you almost certainly would have cured your TO and concentration problems last season, rather than having to cure both this season.

"Poem for Tyshawn Taylor"

You are beauty with a ball, You are lightening in laces. You are star dust at the rim, You are golden at the goal. You are magnetic on the ball, You are omnipresent off. You are Quantum T-- The fastest guard there ever was The fastest there will be."

Now go get 'em Tyshawn.

You leadeth not just a team, but a nation.

It doesn't matter whether your shot is on, or off.

You were born a difference maker.

And you made yourself our point.

Where you lead, we follow.

You da man.

We're not gonna love you less, win or lose.

Defend.

Protect.

Feed the post.

Go to iron.

Pull the trigger.

At your best when you need your best.

Competitive greatness.

Heroism is enduring a moment longer.

Believe.

You are the Lawrence Airmen.

Fly the plane.

The W's will take care of themselves.

Rock Chalk!!

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aadhawk 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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lucentbuffalo 2 years ago

Dear highelitemajor...perhaps you should reread your comment then go look in The mirror and ask yourself (and you should probably be REALLY honest) 1. Am I actually a ku fan, perhaps I prefer missouri? 2. Am I a D-bag?

Good luck on your journey of self-discovery!

Ps Tyshawn is the heart of this team!

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MimiHawk 2 years ago

I will ALWAYS remember this team for beating Mizzou the last time we ever had to have them cross the threshold of AFH.

And I really like the fact that they came from 19 down to do it, because Mizzou was just that much more devastated after the loss.

I've heard people compare Tyshawn to a greyhound because of his speed, but if I had to pick a breed I'd compare him to a rhodesian ridgeback... they were bred to hunt lions, and are known for their bravery as well as their speed.

Tyshawn Taylor, point guard for K A N S A S.

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FLJHK 2 years ago

As far as I, and the vast majority of Jayhawk nation, am concerned, TT's legacy is alreadiy secure. He's among the all-time greats. He has been in the starting line-up through one of the greatest stretches in Kansas basketball history. Being in the starting line-up is no accident; it's based on Coach Self's determination that he deserves to be there. It is a statement that he has been the best we have at his position as it has evolved over the years. He has nothing left to prove. Consistency is largely an illusion as it relates to tangible measures. Everyone has good and bad games statistically. But never is there a question of TT's effort; it is 100% every game.

All that being said, I look for TT to have a break-out offensive game tomorrow, and lead the Jayhawks to the Final Four.

Rock Chalk.

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cwpeffer 2 years ago

The question was obviously from the ESPN St Louis clown who is an MU alum... Same guy who asked about "happenstance" (read luck) is Self's interview last night. TT handled the question well... he makes plays that Hunter, Pritchard, Jordan, Hinrich, Miles, Chalmers and Collins have never been able to make... Good luck tomorrow, Tyshawn

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KU_Phogified 2 years ago

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I'm quite proud of our players and coaches for an outstanding season.

Best of luck fellas - let those jumpers fly!!

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sundancewierdo 2 years ago

4 Big 12 Conference titles, yeah we appreciate Tyshawn Taylor! No matter what happens tomorrow, a win would be phenomenal, but a loss can't take away all the hard work you've put in and it can't take away your college degree. I am proud of this team. You've worked hard and you deserve nothing but praise and encouragement. You've all been great role models and we appreciate it.

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irvan moore 2 years ago

good kid, smart kid, i like him

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jaywalkinhawk 2 years ago

Tyshawn, my favorite part of your game is watching you make everyone on the floor look like they are standing still as you blow by them. For me you will be remembered as one of the fastest point guards Kansas has ever had. In this last year you have picked up your game and it shows. Amazing to watch you take the ball end to end and score.

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packywacky88 2 years ago

Just picked up a cheap ticket for tomorrow. I'm headed to St. Louis BABY !!!!!!

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Steve Gantz 2 years ago

TT's career will always be remembered by me as a disappointment. Yes he's been amazing this year, but he could have been the last several years as well. Immaturity cost him some productive years, but that's what college does for a lot of us. So let's continue this tomorrow!

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Jack Wilson 2 years ago

Should TT's career be defined by his first 3 1/2 seasons, or his last 1/2 season?

Should he be defined by the lack final fours in his first 3 season, or the result of this season?

Should a coach be defined by his success in March, or the regular season?

The fact is, if we do not in tomorrow, there is no way that TT is ever considered in the same breath as those that have been to the Final Four.

The same fate is Jacque Vaughn's. However, Jacque Vaughn provided four years of more consistent play.

If TT flops tomorrow and we lose, the last two months of excellent play become the exception not the rule. Not an ascent, but hot stretch that saw him brought hard back to reality. If we win, then his play doesn't matter.

Hinrich, Collins, Chalmers, Miles, Prichard, etc. Final Fours define. It is the way it is. We don't specifically remember exactly how each played. We just recall the results.

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ejlumus 2 years ago

This team is probably my favorite and I have watching KU basketball since 1965-66 season. Lots of grit, tough, tough team, no ounce of quit. TT & Trob leaders .... Sunday will be their day! Big games for both.

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Justin Kruse 2 years ago

Tyshawn's KU career shouldn't be defined by the UNC game, but wouldn't it be awesome if it was!?! Kind of like Mario's defining KU moment was The Shot against Memphis. I hope he takes this game over. Be aggressive, drive to the hole, get some easy lay-ups, and build confidence, then hopefully the 3's will start falling. Rock Chalk Tyshawn

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thmdmph 2 years ago

Ty and Robinson are great players. As well as Withey. Remember during regular season when they were just playing and not be distracted with all of the tourney pressures? They were amazing and seemed unstoppable. Not so much with Withey nor Robinson, but Ty are so overly concerned with legacy and how he is perceived.

Ty, legacy will work out on it's own, just play your game and things will work out on it's own. Don't let things get into your head like the first three years and this tourney, so far. Just play like you've played all your life. Remember what it felt like during the regular season? Just let it go and play BB and have fun. You owe it to yourself, for all we know, this may be your last college game.

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Jeffhawk 2 years ago

Tyshawn,

It is far from over, but I wanted to thank you for all you have done for KU. I am a believer in your skillis and ability to find a way to win. Your comment "thanks for putting that in my head" made me laugh. Writers write....but you play ball. As my dear old mom and dad used to say...."bring home a winner". You are a special player.

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gojhawx 2 years ago

Tyshawn, I and many others love you for all you've done for KU. And, yes even if your next game you go o-fer. Win or lose, you're the best. Thanks for everything. Rock Chalk!

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pizzashuttle 2 years ago

Ty now's not the time to lose your confidence. Step up and hit some shots.

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Janet Scott 2 years ago

TT will always be one of the great players to play at KU. He is a winner, as evidenced by the many KU wins over the years TT has played significant minutes.

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Kevin Studer 2 years ago

We would not be sitting in the Elite 8 with 30 wins if Taylor wasn't a great player this year. Period.

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Kevin Studer 2 years ago

We would not be sitting in the Elite 8 with 30 wins if Taylor wasn't a great player this year. Period.

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Kevin Studer 2 years ago

We would not be sitting in the Elite 8 with 30 wins if Taylor wasn't a great player this year. Period.

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DDDHawk 2 years ago

Tyshawn- You have tons of fans behind you. You have made so much progress, worked so hard, and are so exciting to watch, we won't ever forget you! It has been a joy to watch you develop as a player and a man. Congratulations!

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mojayhawk 2 years ago

Message to Tyshawn. "Winning!"

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Krohnutz 2 years ago

Man, I hope our shooting rights itself real fast.

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