Thursday, March 29, 2012


’Mates respect Tyshawn Taylor


— When Kansas University senior Conner Teahan reflects on the season that led the Jayhawks to the Final Four, he finds himself in the Kansas locker room in the Lahaina Civic Center, site of the Maui Invitational. KU had just lost to Duke, 68-61, to drop its record to 3-2.

Teahan’s memory sees Tyshawn Taylor, who had just totaled 17 points and four assists, in tears, blaming himself for the loss because of his 11 turnovers.

That passion meant a lot to Teahan and made last Sunday’s Final Four celebration in the locker room of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis even more meaningful.

“I don’t know if I could be more proud of a player, ever,” Teahan said of Taylor. “He’s done so well for us. And regardless of him making bad plays, he makes so many great plays for us. It’s really ridiculous how important he is to our team. We wouldn’t be anywhere without him.”

That’s true. Even with Taylor shooting 0-for-17 from three-point range so far in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas couldn’t have reached the Final Four without the extroverted native of Hoboken, N.J., forcing turnovers at one end, breaking down defenses at the other.

Teammates seemed every bit as elated that Taylor reached the Final Four as they were for themselves.

“It definitely makes it sweeter,” reserve guard Niko Roberts said. “I’ve really never seen him so happy.”

Added freshman Naadir Tharpe, who has taken notes on everything, good and bad, that Taylor has done: “He just had a huge smile, and he came in and told everybody that he loves us, and he wouldn’t rather do this with any other team. To hear that is just exciting, and it shows how much love he has for this team and how much love he has for Kansas.”

There’s a reason Taylor’s teammates love him, and it’s not the same one that inspired the initially reluctant fans finally to stand in his corner. Winning means a lot, but these guys respect Taylor’s struggle. Good games and bad. Suspensions and senior nights. Off-the-court trouble and on-the-court greatness. Taylor has experienced it all.

KU junior Kevin Young, a transfer from Loyola Marymount, is one of the few players on the roster who knew Taylor before teaming with him. Young, who played for Puerto Rico in the FIBA U19 World Championships in 2009 in New Zealand, said he remembered facing Taylor and Team USA in the championships and remembered thinking he was amazing. He also knew about Taylor’s troubles.

“Before I got here, I heard about all this stuff going on with him and his suspensions and all that,” Young recalled. “He’s been through so much. I’m just so happy he made it this far. He’s our leader. And he’s an extension of coach (Bill Self), and that’s what makes him such a good player.”

Roberts said he always sensed Taylor used all the negativity as motivation.

“And he had a lot of motivation,” Roberts said. “The way he’s played, he’s just been carrying us and leading us. I can’t say enough about him. And I can’t say how happy I am for him because he really deserves this. A lot of people would’ve buckled. But that’s not the type of person he is. This type of success just shows his true character.”

Added reserve freshman, Merv Lindsay: “Seeing Tyshawn get this means everything because everybody was saying he couldn’t lead the team and all that. But he proved it. What he’s doing now is showing everybody that you can’t compound mistakes with other mistakes. You gotta move on. That’s what he did, and he led us on the road to the Final Four.”


KULA 9 years ago

Everyone should respect Tyshawn, not just his teammates. Who's the last 4 year starter we've had. If you can't respect Tyshawn, at least respect the coach's decision. Posters complained about his turnovers like he cost us a dozen games a year. On a team that lost about 5 games a year with him at the helm. But that wasn't good enough for some. Could've been even better, right? He certainly wouldn't have been here 4 years and leading us into the Final Four now if he'd have been any better the last couple years.

Tyshawn's gonna be an even better pro because he's going to be playing a more up tempo game with players who can play at his speed. He's a thoroughbred who was made to run, and his talents will really shine when he gets into a faster pro game instead of the slow methodical game that Kansas had to run with Cole and the twins.

As for his "maturity" issues, don't judge until you walk a mile in his shoes, all you posters out there who grew up with fathers.

Jayhawk_4_Life 9 years ago

yeah, that's exactly what he said...don't be so ignorant. go be a K State fan

bbeckum 9 years ago

Hi ho the dairy-o, a trolling we will go.

ironhead80 9 years ago

Tyshawn has grown up alot and KU fans love him even the ones who critisize him like me. he has so much talent and people knew it, they just wanted him to play his best and mature as a player and a person because we needed him and wanted him to succeed. Like I said at the beginning of the bball year we will win or lose with Tyshawn period. This team has evolved into something special. They truely understand in coach selfs beliefs in how to play effective basketball at a high level. One of the essence of coach Selfs belief is defense and become physically and mentally tough. Right now I believe there isn't any team like KU that has the mental and physical wear with all to win like KANSAS will in the final 4, They will win this years ncaa I KNOW !!!!!

jaybate 9 years ago

The last 4 yr pg was Sherron, a great college player.

Tyshawn is a great college player.

Tyshawn has a creative artist personality, something you almost never see in basketball at the point. Artists are fabuously inventive. They are smart, but often nonlinear learners. They are so talented they can do almost anything, but they are only really comfortable improvising their way at something they "feel" and love. We all have a bit of the artist personality, but artists are mostly artist temperment. Throw in a little attention deficit and maturation phasing and Self asking him to start in 3 different roles in four years, and Tyshawn is not a mystery at all. The mystery is why anyone ever doubted that this phenomenal athlete would in time perform superbly.

Tyshawn is like a painter,or musician, or ballet dancer who became a basketball player. The world is never easy on artists, because they are the hardest human type to understand. And they change our awareness of what can happen, something many often struggle with. But we love them afterwards for what they add to our world.

Tyshawn is out there doing some beautiful things. His decision criteria for action is often aesthetics, not mechanics. He is therefore often surprising.

Their failures of creativity are often as inexplicable as theeir successes, unless you understand aesthetics as decision criteria. Young artists often don't even know they are artists.

But when an artist of any age gets on a roll, watch out. Things change!

Go, Tyshawn, go!

KULA 9 years ago

Sometimes artists are not appreciated right off because they are ahead of the curve. They see and do things before before everyone else sees and does them. That's what makes them artists. Later, when the general public's aesthetic sense catches up with the artist's, the artist is recognized and appreciated for his "artistry." Art raises consciousness, and it is the artist's charge to act as the guide, or medium, or shaman, through which consciousness is raised for others, even if they think he's a nut at the time.

If you want to strain the metaphor, you could point out that a lot of Tyshawn's turnovers come from teammates being a step behind. He sees an opening and makes the pass, expecting his teammate to have seen it too and made the cut. But if they don't see it and make the cut, it ends up being a pass to the grandstand. Or he sees an opening to the bucket and drives, but no one else cuts to the bucket (which should be a given) and he ends up hung up alone with no place to go. Ever notice what a thing of beauty it is when someone does cut to the bucket and Tyshawn lays it up on the rim for them to slam? C'mon guys, keep up, lol.

If he makes it to the next level, he'll be playing with guys who can keep up. Should be quite artistic.

chriz 9 years ago

The question was who was the last four-year starter.

HawksWin 9 years ago

Jaybate, A great article on the FF guards, and a revealing part is what Taylor said about his play making decisions - "Taylor and first-team All-American power forward Thomas Robinson discussed the freedom available to them because the Jayhawks lacked experience and depth.

“We’ve got to be aggressive, because he probably won’t take us out that much,” Taylor said. “When I’m not thinking too much on the court, I’m really effective. That’s something that’s gotten in my way the last three years: Being nervous to go out there and make plays. I understood if I made the wrong play, I could be sitting on the bench.”

Ty being the artist as you pointed out, Self's rope may have been too short or too tight for the kind of player that he is. Don't get me wrong because I l-o-v-e Self, but some players like Ty, one has to give him a blank canvass - without the rope, so to speak (he wanted to transfer in soph year?) Fear is crippling on the court. Afraid to make mistakes takes away a player's confidence and his ability to figure out - that are a must in overcoming deficit games. Luckily, Self had no choice this year, and gave Ty the blank canvass he wanted to create beautiful art we've enjoyed thus far. Self realized this himself - he had to trust and once he learned to trust Ty et el, Self saw the artist at work. I'll be watching for two master pieces in the making by our Taylor.

RJ King 9 years ago

Great points. It's not often, but sometimes you hear a teacher, coach, or mentor say something along the lines of, "it's not what I taught you, but what I learned from you." The great thing about Self is that he is smart, humble, and honest enough to see this, and acknowledge it. The cool thing about this team is that it seems like they all just "get it."

RJ King 9 years ago

I've always had an unexplained affinity for Ty. Wanted to defend him, but didn't understand why. My own strength lies in art, photography, dance, music. I never made the connection to basketball, other than the pure athletic, balletic observations. You hit the nail with a sledgehammer. Thanks for the artistry insight. I totally get it now. One of your best posts + KULA's comments.

Ben Kane 9 years ago

TT the fans love you too and the reason is because you've overcome it all (even the self-inflicted stuff).

Your Jayhawk career isn't over yet, make the most of it, but enjoy it at the same time.

Stan Unruh 9 years ago

Helping lead KU to the final 4 and (more to come) but those free throws in the final seconds to help beat Mizzou on Feb. 25 will always be my favorite Tyshawn memory.

kufaninmo 9 years ago

I admit it, I'm guilty of my share of bashing TT's turnovers...but the kid has shown so much heart the second half of this season that one can't help but to not only accept his shortcomings but fully embrace him as a player and a person. No matter how mad I was after the Duke loss no way I was as mad as he was at himself, and I respect that. Thank u Bill for believing in him so much when a lot of us didn't. Best wishes Ty!! You'll be greatly missed after this season!

bbeckum 9 years ago

If even half the stupid/illegal crap I did while a student at KU became public knowledge I would: -still be in jail -been kicked out of school and never graduated -be living in a cardboard box under a bridge

I doubt I'm alone in this

I'm pretty sure I can forgive TT for turning over the basketball, stupid tweets and beating up the football team.

2010jayhawk 9 years ago

+1 and "beating up the football team" Thats pretty funny.

bbeckum 9 years ago

When HCBS "patted" TT on the cheek on senior night and again after the unc game, it was a glimpse into the bond they share. Loved those moments.

Tom Longhofer 9 years ago

I was down on Taylor when the season started, but I alway thought he would be our most important player this year.

I loved the way he played hurt against Ohio State and now he's cut down on his trademark turnovers and practically eliminated his charging fouls while continuing to make the brilliant plays he's always made - he's completely won me over as year has gone on.

He's going up on my wall with Al Lopes, John Douglas, and Brandon Rush.

KansasComet 9 years ago

Tyshawn Taylor has hung in there for four years and now is being rewarded for his efforts. I look forward to watching him play on Saturday. I just hope Craft doesn't get away with all the fouls that he normally gets away with. Between Tyshawn and Elijah, I think we are in good hands as far as running the offense.

Scott Oswalt 9 years ago

Eyes on the prize, Tyshawn! You're almost there!

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years ago

Yeah...I never thought I'd be eating this much crow this season. I was a TT basher early on. I even made comments about how ready I was for him to graduate. This guy has really tranformed into one of the premier guards in the country throughout the course of the season. I wish it wouldn't have taken four years, but he has finally made it there..and what a great time to do so. Best of luck to you, Mr. Taylor in the final game(s) of your senior season. RCJH..let's win this thing.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

I never once criticized Tyshawn and always thought he would be great......yeah, and monkeys are flying out of my butt at this very moment!!!!

TT, thanks for making me look like an idiot...and I truly mean it!! :)

9 years ago

TT to Oakville: "Just have your neon KU sign lit Saturday night and it's all good." :^)

Terry Sexton 9 years ago

stinkin' monkeys. hate it when that happens.

packywacky88 9 years ago

I don't mind the monkey's flying out, but when you insist on re-inserting them, I find that somewhat disturbing.

Justin Kruse 9 years ago

I love how the rest of the guys and Coach talk about Tyshawn, respect him, and are so happy for him; that says a lot about the kind of kid he is. Have a HUGE Final Four, Tyshawn. Be aggressive, attack the basket, and have FUN. Rock Chalk Forever!

Armen Kurdian 9 years ago

It's great to see a player develop over time and improve. Xavier Henry & Josh Selby take note. Future AAs take note as well.

I was a TT naysayer as well. Guy still makes boneheaded plays...I guess his seem to be most visible, maybe because I'm just waiting for it. But the hustle in that guy and what he's done this year...can honestly say I did not expecte anything near that.

KGphoto 9 years ago

Hello, my name is KGphoto and I'm a Tyshawn basher.

It's been 70 days since I last bashed Tyshawn. His 28 point outburst against Iowa St., equaled in a victory over Baylor two days later opened my eyes, and I haven't looked back since. (clapping)

I used to call Tyshawn, TT11. I was weak then. I was only thinking of myself and not the team. It was wrong and hurtful, and I apologize to TT for that.

I realize now that I was not only hurting myself but those who love me. So I apologize to all of you too.

Thanks TT for inspiring me not to bash you.

Allright. I Can't wait to get drunk and cheer you on Saturday!

Oh, here's a nice piece from espn.

Ben Kane 9 years ago

kendall marshall just won the cousy award. TT go show them how wrong they are!

FL_Jhawk 9 years ago

I graduated back in 1978 and had not been back to see a game, but this year I finally decided to come home, bringing the kids with me, for Senior Night. The main thing that prompted me to get off my butt and get back to Lawrence was I wanted to be able to go up to TT and tell him that he was my favorite player of all time. If I didn't do it then, I would never do it and I realized I would regret it. I got my chance after the game, and he laughed and said thank you. Nice, friendly guy who loves his fans and I wish him all the success in the world.

nwhawkfan 9 years ago

This story, and Jaybate's post, made me finally "get it" about TT.

Until recently I couldn't figure out why Tyshawn was so wildly mercurial on and off the court. But the picture of him as a creative artist makes perfect sense.

Through the years I've known a lot of people in the performing arts whose attitudes and emotions are a mirror image of TT's. And unlike most of them, he stands to profit financially from his talents.

Besides my hopes for a successful Final Four, I hope he doesn't waste his God-given talents in the future (the Association and beyond).

true_fan 9 years ago

This is the best time of year to be a sports fan in general and a Jayhawk fan in particular. March Madness never gets old, but maybe its because we're spoiled by being there EVERY YEAR.... Thank you, once again, to the miraculous coaching staff and the best head coach in the nation for another exciting and enjoyable 6 months... for taking a "rag-tag" bunch of "leftovers" and proving that it is the TEAM that counts... the sum being greater than the parts which can achieve greatness.

Congratulations to all the TEAM members for your contributions and accomplishments. You embody those things that are good and right in college athletics. For T-Rob: we have watched you grow, and shared your joys & sorrows. You are living proof of the strength of the KU family. I wish you only success in all your future endeavors. I wish I could watch you dominate the Big XII one more year, but will understand your departure to provide for your family. You have become a man. To Conner and Jordan: You have achieved and lived the dream of many a young man, and have made the most of it. To Tyshawn: it took longer than we had hoped, but the maturity we were hoping for has finally shown itself. You have remembered the lessons life has given you the opportunity learn.

Now, be tough, finish strong and may the best TEAM bring home another championship trophy to the Fieldhouse! Rock Chalk, Jayhawk - GO KU!!!

Sally Presson 9 years ago

tyshawn is amazing and has matured this year 100%. I hate to see any poster give any of our players a fit, here we sit at home armchair coaching, but have no idea what these boys go through on a daily basis. My only complaint about Tyshawn was his attitude, when he was interviewed after a good game and he told the media he didn't know if the good Tyshawn was going to show or the bad Tyshawn. The good Tyshawn has done a masterful job this season and boy are we going to miss him. I just appreciate the entire team's attitude and drive. wish I could give all you boys a big hug. Good luck on Saturday!!!

machinegun 9 years ago

What a joy it has been to cheer for these guys throughout the season! They deserve to play for the National Championship!

Tyshawn is faster and more talented than Craft. T-Rob is stronger and more determined than Sullinger ever will be. Elijah is on the verge of dropping 25 on somebody, he is so talented. Jeff can block anybody on the court (again and again). Slam dunk that ball man! Our other guys are playing their hearts out on both ends of the court. For example, Travis took the ball to the basket against 3 NC State players and scored. Our guys just need to go for it and let it all hang out!

Coach Self is a much better coach than Thad Motta! Not sure why ESPN is sold on Ohio State winning the game but then I also was surprised they were sold on Purdue, NC State, and North Carolina.

One strategy that really amazed me was running with North Carolina in the first half, tied 47-47. Will Coach Self give the green light again if he sees Ohio State dogging it up and down the court? Oh man, my heart would pop if that happened. Run them right out of the Superdome!

RJ King 9 years ago

green light - I like - we have the talent to do it. could be north carolina all over again. we have the horses. ohhh man, time is in slo mo right now . . .

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