Thursday, January 30, 2014


Column: Naadir Tharpe steering ever-improving Jayhawks

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe swoops to the bucket around Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe swoops to the bucket around Iowa State forward Georges Niang during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self discusses KU's home win over Iowa State

Bill Self discusses KU's home win over Iowa State

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Andrew Wiggins, Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis discuss home win vs. ISU

Andrew Wiggins, Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis discuss home win vs. ISU

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Iowa State's Georges Niang, DeAndre Kane and Fred Hoiberg credit KU for strong showing in 92-81 win

Iowa State's Georges Niang, DeAndre Kane and Fred Hoiberg credit KU for strong showing in 92-81 win.

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Wiggins tops ratings again

Kansas 92, Iowa State 81

Box score

No matter how hot your primary scorer might sizzle — and make no mistake, Andrew Wiggins played a terrific game Wednesday night versus Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse — you don’t consistently win tough games without a tough point guard steering it to the finish line.

Junior Naadir Tharpe, Kansas University’s first-year starter, has blossomed into just that — a tough point guard who loves running a show that rightly has younger, louder names screaming from the marquee.

Yet, Tharpe’s was the first name to come out of the mouth of Wiggins when asked about setting a career-scoring high for the second game in a row.

“My teammates were looking for me, like Naadir had 12 assists,” Wiggins said after KU’s 92-81 victory. “He was looking for the whole team and that’s what it’s all about.”

Tharpe fell four rebounds short of a triple-double, producing a dozen points and assists and a half-dozen rebounds. He had the ball in his hands a great deal in 36 minutes and had just one turnover.

All night, he knew right where to go with the ball and very often that was to KU’s two leading scorers. He was credited with an assist on five Perry Ellis (20 points) buckets and four Wiggins (29) field goals, the last coming when Tharpe stole the ball at Iowa State’s end of the floor and pitched ahead to Wiggins for a dunk.

A point guard, more than anybody, has to make his free throws at the end of games because he’s the one who will be fouled more than anybody else. Tharpe went 4 for 4 from the line, all in the final 1:07.

“I knew I had to get dudes involved, get them going,” Tharpe said after tying a career high for assists. “I was just trying to draw defenders and just find the open man and they were just knocking down shots. A couple of interior passes to the bigs and they would just finish it. That’s what we needed.”

A point guard’s primary offensive job is to make sure a good shot is taken. Kansas shot .516 from the field and .455 from three. The junior point guard with the mushrooming confidence was largely responsible for that. In his past three games, he has 17 assists and one turnover.

“Naadir played great,” KU coach Bill Self said before throwing the inevitable stiff-arm to the threat of complacency. “To me, I thought he got off to a rough start, cost us a couple possessions in the first minute. But I thought his shot selection was good. We all know he can shoot it and of course his ability to get the ball to guys where they can score is getting better all the time.”

He’s improving in other ways as well.

“He has always been a good leader,” Wiggins said. “His leadership role is going through the roof. Whenever I have a question on the court, or second-guess something, I always go to him for advice. He is getting us all involved, and that is what we need from our point guard.”

Tharpe consistently is giving the team what it needs.


Dirk Medema 5 years ago

So nice to see all the 'Hawks making there FT's - only 3 misses!

And who cares if Naadir scores at all if he can dish. Isn't that basically what he did in HS with a loaded team, or maybe that was TT.

Marilyn Robertson 5 years ago

I was shocked to see how angry Coach Self was at Nadiir early in the game and thst he gave him a really hard swat on the rear end. Did anyone else notice that or did I see it wrong?

Daniel Kennamore 5 years ago

I actually had to check the replay because it looked like he flipped him off as well.

Erich Hartmann 5 years ago

On the replay, Self is holding up a hand signal to Naa: 3rd+4th+5th fingers (yes initially it looked like "angry bird", but it wasnt--notice the other 2 fingers. Self is better than that, come on, folks. I dont mind the 'man's game/locker-room language, as many old-ball fire/brimstone coaches do that, but high-school hand gestures is not Bill Self, nor did he do that. He was simply telling Naa "thats 3 plays in a row".). Ive never seen any Div1 coach flip someone off during a game. Ever. Has anyone else??

Benz Junque 5 years ago

It definitely looked initially like Self flipped him off and my stomach dropped through the floor when I saw it. "Please tell me he didn't just do that" went through my head. Then they replayed the exchange and you could clearly see the three fingers up. Phew.....

It was just the camera angle and the speed of it, not to mention the flanmes shootinmg out of his nostrils at the time...

Brianna Zaleski 5 years ago

Daniel, That is so funny! My wife thought the same thing. She was INSISTENT that he had flipped Tharpe off. He was holding up 3 fingers and telling him that he had screwed up 3 possessions in a row... It did look like he flipped him off tho

Len Shaffer 5 years ago

That's funny; I had to go back and look at it as well.

Suzi Marshall 5 years ago

Besides not taking care not to lose the ball, his biggest mistake was doing it right in front of Self. Self actually caught the ball when it went OB. The swat on the butt was a firm encouragement to "tigten it up."

Tharpe more than meets Self's idea of a PG, i.e. make the others/team better. To make others and the team better, he's got to take (and hopefull drop) shots, otherwise opponents would clogg the passing lanes, especially into the post.

I'm over the moon about Tharpe's O management of the team. For the first time during last night's game when it got close late in the game, I had total confidence the Hawks would pull it out. The team, led by Tharpe, is playing with alot of composure and confidence.

Steve Zimmerman 5 years ago

All is good with Naad. He'll rain those 3s if need be; for those who wonder why he didn't shoot that much of 3s (he's a sharp-shooter).

However.... those over-the-back bounce passes from Naad & Mason; they're too easy to intercept - too weak. I hope they learn not to do that too much.

Scott MacWilliams 5 years ago

Great Job, Naadir!! You have really stepped it up, a few brainf#*ts notwithstanding...

FYI, there is photographic proof of a prone ISU player tripping Joel Embiid in the photo gallery. Remember that acrobatic shot where Joel was falling down under the basket?? He had some help, and the refs completely missed it.

Way to show them up Joel!! Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!

On to Awe-Stun.

Jonathan Allison 5 years ago

Looks like Dustin Hogue based on the red shoes and red socks. It didn't look intentional at live speed but in the photo looks like he lifted the left leg to hook Embiid's feet.

Benz Junque 5 years ago

Photos only show a frozen moment. Odds are the guy was rolling and in motion and the camera just caught it in the middle of that motion. No biggie.

Benz Junque 5 years ago


Tharpe: 9.15ppg, 123.7 off. rating, 49.1 FG%, 80% FT%, 43.8 3pt FG%, 64.4 eFG%, 2.5 rpg, 5.37 apg, 2.8 A/TO ratio

Smart (OSU): 17.3ppg, 110.7 off. rating, 43.0 FG%, 71.6 FT%, 30.5 3pt FG%, 49.5 eFG%, 5.6 rpg, 4.35 apg, 1.7 A/TO ratio

Smart scores more but at a much lower effectiveness level and gets more rebounds but that's about it. I think at this point I think Tharpe is playing as well as could be hoped for offensively. He is really controlling the show and running KU at a high efficiency level. It's amazing that Kansas has the most efficient offense in the conference right now and also the highest turnover percentage. That means when we DON'T turn it over our offensive efficiency numbers are off the charts.

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