Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tharpe shooter: Self, Jayhawks counting on sophomore guard for offense

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe signals "three" after hitting a three-pointer against Emporia State during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe signals "three" after hitting a three-pointer against Emporia State during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Naadir Tharpe knows if he’s open he better shoot the basketball.

Or else ...

“Coach tells me that a lot in practice. There’s certain times I won’t (shoot). He gets mad at me and tells me to go run a sprint,” Tharpe, Kansas University’s 5-foot-11 sophomore point guard from Worcester, Mass., said, smiling, after scoring eight points in an 88-54 exhibition victory over Emporia State on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

He went 3-of-3 from the field and also drained a pair of three-pointers while dishing four assists against one turnover in 17 minutes.

“The teams I’ve been on ... the coaches have always wanted me to shoot the ball,” Tharpe added.

He didn’t exhibit an accurate shooting touch in limited duty his freshman year at KU. Tharpe cashed 11 of 38 shots for 28.9 percent while totaling 175 minutes in 32 games. He made six of 22 threes for 27.3 percent.

“One thing about Naadir ... what he does better than anything — and we didn’t see it last year statistically — is he can shoot the ball,” Self said. “He is really a 2 (shooting guard) as much as anything. He’s working hard trying to be a good backup to Elijah (Johnson). I think Naadir is going to have a big year for us, I do. We’re going to need him in the game for offense.”

Tharpe, who acknowledges “my game has come pretty far this year,” is a bit too small to be a prototypical 2-guard.

“That’s kind of funny coach said that,” Tharpe said. “I feel like I’m a point guard and just can shoot the ball pretty well. There’s a lot of great point guards who can shoot the ball well. It’s just one thing I feel I can do.”

Another is his ability to communicate effectively.

“Every day, I try to get everybody to go into practice excited,” Tharpe said. “We are going into practice to get better. If we work hard, we’ll get better and the team gets better.

“Coach wants everybody to be aggressive. It’s what he always says. It’s what he wants everybody to be when they step on the court. I try to do that and get others excited, too.”

Tharpe started Tuesday’s opener in place of Johnson, who was late for a class earlier in the day. A year ago, Tharpe also started on opening night with both Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor facing suspensions during the exhibition season.

Tharpe scored 12 points off 4-of-9 shooting with eight assists against nine turnovers a year ago against Pittsburg State. He much prefers Tuesday’s line of four assists against just one turnover.

“Last year I was a freshman,” Tharpe said. “It wasn’t the same last year as it is this year, as you could see.”

Taylor’s condo complex flooded: Former KU point guard Taylor missed Wednesday’s Brooklyn Nets practice. He was stuck in his Hoboken, N.J., condo because of severe flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“Made it out safe ... In the Telly in Brooklyn,” Taylor reported on Twitter on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday he had Tweeted, “My building is literally an island, flooded by water on all sides!” He also Tweeted, “I ain’t going nowhere unless I’m swimming there.”

Taylor was scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight against the New York Knicks, but that game was postponed Wednesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Instead, Taylor and the Nets will open the season on Saturday against Toronto.

Jayhawks in NBA: KU has 14 players on opening day NBA rosters, which ranks fourth of all colleges nationally. Kentucky has 21 players, followed by Duke (18), North Carolina (15), KU (14), UCLA and UConn (12), Texas (11), Florida (10), Arizona (9). KU’s NBA players are: Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets), Darrell Arthur, Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies), Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat), Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder), Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks), Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), Thomas Robinson (Sacramento Kings), Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors), Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets).

This, that: KU coach Bill Self on Wednesday made the trip to Huntington Prep School in Huntington, W.Va., to visit Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7, 190-pound senior small forward, who is now rated No. 1 in the Recruiting Class of 2013. ... Self today will host “A Courtside View” at Crown Toyota Pavilion in Lawrence. Social hour begins at 6 p.m., with a panel discussion of issues in college athletics with ESPN’s Jay Bilas and others running from 7 p.m. until 8:30. Information is available at

Award candidates: KU’s Jeff Withey and Angel Goodrich have been selected as candidates for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate basketball. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in areas of community, classroom, character and competition. There are 30 candidates in the men’s and women’s categories.


Andy Tweedy 1 year, 5 months ago

I would swear on my life (well, maybe not on my life, but swear nonetheless) that Tharpe was billed as a true pass first point guard coming out of high school. So is this just another miscalculation by the "experts" or is this just a case of a player learning his real strengths under a coach like Self? Or do I just remember the recruiting all wrong? Either way, I hate that so many seem to have written this dude off. Russell wasn't much of a player his freshman year, and even Super Mario struggle for a while cutting his teeth on D1 defenders.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor in current Sports Illustrated (with Nash and Howard on cover): Page 87 pix (in background).


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Speaking just from an emotional angle, I really really want Tharpe to succeed and play well this season. Concurrently, I really really want to see more of Rio Adams. While I am jacked with superlatives, I must add that I really really enjoyed watching them both Tuesday night! I really really hope that they both remain patient to become vital pieces of the winning Jayhawk puzzle.


bradynsdad 1 year, 5 months ago

We know calipari can do a decent job of managing egos of 5 to 7 players but seriously what would self do if bmac decided to stay and we landed randle? Talk about alot of players on one roster.


Gil Ek 1 year, 5 months ago

I dream about McLemore and Seldon playing together next year. Somebody get Ben M. a few Wang Burgers! He may stay then to get a diploma. I think HCBS's next few years may be his best yet.....


Joe Baker 1 year, 5 months ago

Tharpe looks like a TRob mini-me


Adam Gerval 1 year, 5 months ago

There's an article on ESPN discussing the impact of Roberson's commitment. It says that if Roberson commits to Nova, that will create opportunities for Jermaine Lawrence and Noah Vonleh to come to other programs, and it listed KU as one of them. I was wondering what people thought about how it would play out if Roberson doesn't commit to KU, and I'd be surprised if he did.Thoughts?


HawkKlaw 1 year, 5 months ago

I keyed in on Tharpe's great 3-pt shooting when I watched his High School highlights on youtube before he came to KU. I've been expecting to see him drain some shots this year and contribute a lot to the offense.

Another thing we didn't see last year (and didn't see much of last game either) was his ability to drive and dish. That will be key this year when Elijah is on the bench and we need someone to take over as facilitator. Obviously, that person shouldn't be BMac. And Rio may be a little too green for that at this point. It will be Tharpe's job to lose.

As a side note: The potential combinations of guards we could have on the court with Elijah, Travis, BMac, White, Rio and Tharpe is just scary. They all just complement each other so well. A couple really great scorers, a few really great defenders, and some with a great combination of both. Big high fives to Bill Self for getting all these guys to come play at Kansas.


Benjamin Piehler 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm probably alone here as everyone seems infatuated with Withey; but I see him as one of the weak links of the team. Asides from blocks, he's pretty inconsistent. I'm liking how Traylor and the other youngsters looked the other night. Very excited to see how they develop.


Steve Gantz 1 year, 5 months ago

I stand corrected. A few years back someone mentioned the letters NBA with TT and I was ROTFL. I saw the talent, but I just thought there was too much negative stuff going on in his head to really mature into a draft pick someday. I'm glad I was wrong. I'm not going to predict how his NBA career will turn out seeing as how my first prediction involving him turned out, but I wish him well.


Chris Bruning 1 year, 5 months ago

Rio isn't going anywhere, he will leave KU one of the best defenders we've seen!!!!


Chris Shaw 1 year, 5 months ago

I am going to elaborate a little more about this Tharpe/Rio#2 situation, but before I do.............well said above HEM. "Timing" and "Opportunities" are everything and in regards to those Barber, Jackson, Jones, Peters misses, you may very well be right HEM.

With that said, I have a feeling even though it may be on a smaller scale to the Morningstar/Reed and Selby/EJ debates................. I think the Tharpe and Rio#2 debates could get pretty exciting this year.

What do we know:

Tharpe: As HEM stated above, I think as long as Tharpe can control the offense, not make mistakes, limit turnovers (Has to work on those entry passes), and hit some shots I think that is what you want out of Tharpe.

I will admit, we didn't get to watch much of Tharpe last year and we have only seen one exhibition game this year..........I expected Tharpe to be quicker then what he has displayed thus far on the court. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but one thing noticeable that is lacking in Tharpe's game is his defensive mindsight. He really doesn't have one at the moment, which is something he hopefully focuses on as the season progresses. If he doesn't then that may lead to more time for Rio#2 which no gives me a good segway.

Rio#2: As we all know, it takes a lot for Self to play Freshman and for him to put trust in them to get PT down the stretch when the games really matter. With that said, Rio#2 is much quicker and more athletic than I ever imagained and that was having watched many youtube videos of him.

The question mark for Rio#2 is 1) Can he run a team 2) Can he limit his mistakes and turnovers 3) Can he play PG and get his Kansas teammates in the right spots.

I think Rio#2 and Tharpe in just one exhbition game have already shown that they are two completely different players. That is probably good/bad depending on how you look at it, but for Self it at least gives him some options between the two.

The thing I love about Rio#2 thus far (I know it's just one exhibition game) is his desire to compete and play on the defensive side of the ball. I am sure Self loves that already about him.

For me, this is going to be one of the most fun, intriguing, and most debated topics as this season progresses IMO. Do you go with the offensive minded, control your team PG in Tharpe or do you go with the semi-wildcard Anrio "The Gnat" Adams Defensive minded combo guard?

All I know is that I like both players and it would seem that down the stretch or once conference play begins, somebody is going to be the odd man out. I wonder who it is going to be? Definitely going to be an exciting storyline and I can't wait to follow it.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

Good luck, Tyshawn!

I'm excited for Naadir. Opportunity is right in front of him and I hope he capitalizes on it.


stinkybulldog 1 year, 5 months ago

I've been watching All Access Kentucky on ESPN recently. Why didn't KU recruit Willie Cauley? That dude is going to be really good!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

Happy All-Saints Day to all you Sinners [me included :) ]

1] Two solutions to less than stellar ball-handling.....get out fast on the break before a defense can close in or drop back an extra emergency outlet teammate to relieve any pressure. My guess is that Kansas will do a lot of both. It remains to be seen, outside of the Prophet, if KU will have the guard play to break down a defense by a single dribbler.

2] My prediction for Kentucky is that they will continue to dominate until the NCAA decides it is bad for business, then the NCAA will strike with every conceivable accusation both true and false, and level the competitive table. This still may take several seasons.

3] My prediction for Calipari is he will jump ship just before the U.S.S. Kentucky is torpedoed and end up coaching in Brooklyn.

4] My prediction for Kansas is Bill will coach for ten more seasons, win another 300 + games and at least 2 more N.C...doing it the right way!!


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

Tharpe does have a pretty set role right in front of him. Play 15-18 minutes, or a bit more. Handle the ball. Knock down an open shot. Don't turn the ball over. It's just a matter of whether anyone is around that can do that better than he does. Tharpe is just one of those guys that, if he can get better each season, may end up being a starter. It looks like the Barber/Jones/Jackson/Peters misses has paved a nice path for Tharpe to start as a junior (unless Frankamp is true point guard material). We need Tharpe to be good this season.


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Looks as though Wild Bill is maintaining a powerpacked schedule.


Jayhawk470 1 year, 5 months ago

My condolences to Tyshawn and to everyone on the Eastern Seaboard who have suffered from the effects of Sandy.


swunruhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes indeed, Naadir has been spending quality time in the weight room.


Katy Shaflestad 1 year, 5 months ago

I wonder how the visit with Wiggins went?


Dee Shaw 1 year, 5 months ago

Hate to be negative Coach Self but don't even waste your time on Wiggins. Here is my shocker prediction. Decision day for Wiggins. ESPN is at his school gym for the BIG announcement and he has all the schools hats in front of him on the table and he grabs the Kentucky Wildcats hat. If Kentucky is involved they will get him. Amazing how Kentucky seems like they get anyone they want. Very frustrating. Spend your time on Julius Randle the #2 or #3 player in the country. Depending upon who you trust with rankings. Oh wait he will most likely pick Kentucky.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Self committed to Tyshawn Taylor as a point guard to get the ball in the hands of someone with blinding speed. Self ate a year and a half of 5-10 turnovers per game before getting that every night MUA of speed and the combination of point defense and get to the rim scoring it could give. It was horrible to watch develop, but it was beautiful when it did. It was a gamble to make the team the best it could be. Self, the coach that loved protection only a little less than he loved his wife and Self Defense, endured what then seemed his worst nightmare: a pop tart chef growing into a point guard.

But that was before Self realized the team needed 2 guard offense from defense-challenged point guard Naadir Tharpe not just this year, but next.

The insight probably came to Self in a nightmare shortly after Cat Barber made Self say no to sticky fingers, Milton Doyle took a powder, Anrio Adams got approved, and Conner Frankamp became to good not to offer.

Cat Barber was the point guard that could have started next season. Gone.

Doyle was the long shot that might have come true. Gone.

Adams has the blinding speed and D to start at PG next year. Maybe.

And Frankamp has the same short point guard that's really a shooting 2 quality that Naadir has now. And Frankamp will be a step slow on defense the same as Naadir is now.

Self has to play Naadir this year for backup offense. Period. He's going to have to backup the 1, and maybe the 2, because he can shoot, and because his weak defense is less weak than anyone else that can shoot.

And Self has to play Naadir next year, because he will create a guard role at 1 and 2 that Frankamp can backup.

Self has to go with Naadir for continuity, because if Naadir can learn to guard adequately, it makes the team the best it can be offensively this year and again next. Going with Naadir also means Self can use the last scholie for a big, maybe even two. And bigs are pre requisites to Self Ball.

So now Mr. Self Defense has to accept and scheme around blow-by's the way he once accepted and schemed around pop tarts.

Its going to cost Self more hair, more sullen nights at the dinner table, more cold sweats in the middle of the night, more forced smiles at defensive lapses that would disappear other players for entire seasons.

But if Self gambles right again, its more 30 win seasons, more titles, and more shots at rings.

And he coaches to win.


nwhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I bet the ladies love Naadir! (Nice pic, Nick!)


Commenting has been disabled for this item.