10 ways KU could benefit from Tyshawn Taylor's suspension

Responding to a question about all the drama surrounding Kansas State’s basketball program this season, Kansas University junior guard Tyshawn Taylor chose not to throw stones, remembering his troubled past.

“My name scrolled across the bottom of ESPN a couple times, too, so I mean, they’ll be fine,” Taylor said nine days ago.

K-State, spurred by its victory against KU in Manhattan, is fine for the moment. Taylor isn’t.

His name is crawling on ESPN again. Taylor’s indefinite suspension for violating team rules comes as a blow to a team that has had trouble with consistency at the point guard position and it’s a personal setback for Taylor, who forever hints at making strides in the maturity department, only to stumble backward repeatedly.

Here’s a look at 10 ways Kansas can, strange as it may sound, benefit from Taylor’s suspension:

1. KU’s ceiling is highest with hyped freshman Josh Selby at his best, making the team better with him than without him. Now, with Taylor out, Selby has a chance to show he can play the point, get to the paint consistently and dish to teammates for easy buckets. He’ll have a chance to play through more mistakes this way and with such a great opportunity in front of him, might be able to push the residual pain his foot still causes him into the background. Maybe the confidence of knowing he can play through mistakes will make him tighten up his ballhandling and make fewer careless turnovers.

2. The embarrassment of seeing his name crawling on ESPN for his role in a fight with the football team and for his Facebook postings, both coming during his sophomore year, didn’t make Taylor realize that he needs to block out all voices other than his coach’s in order to get the most out of his college basketball experience. Maybe this will shock him into growing up.

3. Reserve sophomore guard Elijah Johnson has the chance to get more prolonged stretches of playing time and prove that he’s a better player than he has shown so far. He won’t do that by clanking three-pointers, rather by driving and dishing.

4. This is yet another opportunity for the Jayhawks to show they can overcome whatever adversity is thrown their way. Kansas ranks third in the nation, despite players losing 17 games and counting to suspensions (Selby nine, Mario Little six, Johnson two, plus however many Taylor misses), 11 games to injury (Travis Releford five, Selby three and Thomas Robinson three) and two games because of family tragedies (Robinson), a total of 30 games. Having so many different players in and out of the lineup presents an even greater challenge than if one player had missed all the games.

5. Having one less guard in the rotation could lead to more combinations in which KU has three bigs on floor together. There likely will be teams Kansas faces in the tournament that can best be exploited by using three front-court players. The more experience such a lineup has playing, the better they’ll perform.

6. One less guard in the rotation means more minutes for Travis Releford, who was coming on before suffering a sprained ankle that still nags him. His ankle is more the issue than anything as to why he’s not getting big minutes now, but Taylor’s suspension also will be a factor too in his playing time.

7. Sends the message to the entire team that coach Bill Self doesn’t care how important the player or what the calendar says in terms of vital timing, you break a serious team rule, you get suspended.

8. This gives both Selby and Johnson a chance to show they can handle the assignment of guarding the opposing point guard and can stay in front of him, prevent him from whipping around them easily. It’s a stretch to believe either player has it in him to do so, but if either does, this opportunity will bring it out in him. Johnson, remember, did a far better job than anyone else of slowing down Jacob Pullen in Manhattan, which might not be saying a great deal considering Pullen scoring 38 points, but still, it’s something.

9. This team showed how well it deals with prosperity — not very well, having lost the day it was ranked No. 1 — and this latest news will solidify the national perception this just isn’t KU’s year. Most of the talk will center on the other five teams that received at least one No. 1 vote in the poll released today.

10. It gives the coaching staff a chance to see what the team would look like with Selby initiating the offense instead of Taylor and leaves open the possibility of handing the keys to the freshman, even upon Taylor’s return. Selby’s looked so raw at both ends, has missed so many games, and Kansas is 25-2, so it seems a huge stretch, but it’s at least worth discussing. North Carolina, for one, has improved making an in-season change at the point. In the first game after junior Larry Drew II quit the team, freshman Kendall Marshall responded with nine points and 16 assists. Things would get most interesting if Selby put up that sort of night tonight.



jayhawktalk 3 years, 2 months ago

Fun seeing authors' dialogue with the fan base / readership. +1, Tom (and Jesse, who also participates, hence the plural)! While I am certain there is a fine line to walk while doing it, the interactivity makes for a fantastic read. Love it.


Max Ledom 3 years, 2 months ago

12steps, You really sound dumb right now. You sound like an ass and a guy who's just sayin crap off the top of his head. Just sayin


William Blake 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow, Tom... I'm impressed! I'm not sure what kind of message this is for TT when someone lists 10 potential benefits from his absence...

I believe, foremost, that CS likes to challenge this team in order to push them to come close to their potential. I believe no one is more frustrated with this team than CS, primarily because he knows they can play much better than they have all year. We are approaching crunch time and CS is not seeing what he wants to see.

TT wasn't leading this team beyond the basic leadership of running point. I'm starting to wonder, like many have in here before me, if we can improve without him at point. I'll believe it when I see it, and I guess I'll see it in about 25 minutes from now. I like the idea of seeing Brady at point with EJ sharing in the minutes.

And, of course, TT may return soon and perhaps will be ready to play championship-level basketball.

Good effort, Tom!


Sagecasey 3 years, 2 months ago

Good article Tom, but I have to argue #9. KU was only ranked number one because Ohio State lost. Can we really call this "dealing with prosperity" due to so many other factors involved? If Ohio State lost the previous 3 weeks, are you saying we would have lost to Nebraska, Mizzou, or Iowa State after being ranked number one? I think the prosperity aspect is weak considering playing a rival on their home court after we beat them heartily on our home court. KU is a target and Pullen's career/season performance dictates just that. We got outplayed that game. I think it hardly had anything to do with our ranking in KU's mind, but had a lot to do with K-State's knowing we were ranked number one.


KGphoto 3 years, 2 months ago

"...a team that has had trouble with consistency at the point guard position..."

Yeah, well, mainly because TTT has been running that position.

Personally I've been looking forward to a lot more of Bstar's 7:1 A/T ratio.


kansasexplorer3128 3 years, 2 months ago

Pretty much in agreement, Tom. In fact, I've been wondering lately why a) BSelf recruited him in the first place; b) why TT hasn't just bailed out and transferred to a school where he can be a bonehead and still fit in.


Ian Legler 3 years, 2 months ago

Tom I think you should change your "Keegan Ratings" Icon, seems to me it's looking more like the stock market as of late. Give yourself a little credit.

On another note I could not agree more with the insight. We all know what this team is capable of with Tyshawn at point. Time for us to see what we can do with him riding the pine.


Greg Lux 3 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes a little adversity brings out the best in others. Josh and EJ have the "Ball in their court" It's not the best way to make a move like this but maybe it's the only way it was going to happen successfully For both Josh and EJ looking over their shoulders knowing if they made mistakes the hook was out with TT in the wings. Now they know they will be able to play through some mistakes and that maybe the incentive they need to excel. I hate to see that TT has still not gotten his life straightened up. But we need to remember that many of these players come from very tough backgrounds with little discipline. We put them in a hero setting and expect them not to take advantage of the temptations out there in front of them. Most adjust.. Some never do .. It appears TT is in the some group. If not for the caring nature of HCBS TT could be off the team looking for another chance someplace else. But not the case here because Coach cares about the kids first and knows their best chance for a future is in basketball. This suspension is sad but necessary and I pray he gets his head on straight sooner because later is fast approaching.


Jack Wilson 3 years, 2 months ago

Tom: Could not have stated it better ..

But will Coach Self be a bit of a risk-taker and play Selby at the 1, or EJ;

Or will Coach Self play it conservatively and play Morningstar or Reed at the point?

Roll the dice, coach .. start Selby at the 1.


mikehawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Some of us are old enough to remember in 1988 when Larry Brown moved Kevin Pritchard to the point. Not quick enough and more of a two than a one. Turnovers decreased, with less flash and better fundamentals, while wins and confidence mounted. The player on the current team most memorable of Pritchard...Brady Morningstar. Still, I think HCBS can't help himself from giving Josh Selby a look see. And, don't forget, the suspension may or may not be of long duration. Should make for a very interesting Big Monday game. Lots of buzz in the Fieldhouse tonight.


Truth 3 years, 2 months ago

Morningstar will play the point guard slot, not Selby. That's the Truth.


Steve Corder 3 years, 2 months ago

This isn't KU's year? 25-2 is a terrible year! Replace Self with Eddie Sutton and let's correct this mess.


12steps 3 years, 2 months ago

what's needed is less of the Bill Self pampering, and more of the Bobby Knight type of player "developement" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


REHawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Bill Self has done a patient admirable job in attempting to nurse TT to become a focused competitor who best utilizes the superior physical and learning skills which have befallen him. Most dedicated supportive Jayhawk fans have shown remarkable resiliency in coping with TT's frequent intermittent slip-ups. Will there ever be an end to such offcourt "highlights" and gametime regressions? Weird season for Jayhawk coaching staff? Understatement.


Danny Hernandez 3 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe how many games players have missed for whatever reason and we're 25-2! 25-2!! Tom, what is that a result of? This team lost 3 starters from last year and still, the team is right up there again....Coach Self and staff are unbelievable, maybe the best in the conference and country.....08, we lose all 5 starters and go out and win the Big12. 10, we lost 3 starters and are 25-2, one game behind UT for the conference, talking about a possible 1 seed. I wonder how we would do if we could go 2 years without losing any players, either to graduation or the league? And we could we play healthy for a season?


midhawktx 3 years, 2 months ago

Tom...I give you major props for getting on the message boards. Here is my question to you about TT: How many suspensions/chances does this guy get? Is he still here next year? Thoughts?


RockCaCO3 3 years, 2 months ago

+1 (on points 1, 3, 7, 8, and 10.)


jbrandt3 3 years, 2 months ago

I really hope the guys stepping in for Taylor play very well tonight. Maybe create a feeling of uneasiness in TT that maybe he doesn't need to be on the court for the team to play well. He needs to grow up and keep his mind on playing basketball. I think my three year old has better focus then he does.


MinnesotaJay 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe more Morningstar and Reed minutes will result in a more mature product on the floor. Of course, maybe that's not where the minutes land. Regardless, I think Taylor's minutes are bound to wind up in the hands of players who will appreciate them more.


12steps 3 years, 2 months ago

TK, do you get your talking point directly from Mr BS, the KU PR guy, or someone else?

Also, if you did happen to stumble across the reason that TT was suspended, do you think it would be your duty to share it with your readership?


Tom Keegan 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I don't read comments and then write. Until recently, I didn't read comments at all. I just now have started sometimes reading them below my stories and so far it hasn't been as self-defeating as I might have thought, given that the anonymity of the Internet means there are no consequences to uttering gratuitously mean comments designed at making the person making them feel better about himself by making someone else feel worse about himself. ... As for the intelligence of the fan base, I can think of a much better example: Markieff grabbed a rebound in traffic midway through the second half of Saturday's game. His elbows were out, players started stabbing at the ball, and his reflexes told him to start swinging his elbows, but his quick thinking told him to tuck the elbows and cover up the ball, an impressive sign of progress. Immediately, the fans erupted, applauding him for the decision. My question is this: How many fan bases would have been that in tune with what's going on with one of its players for nearly everyone in the house to pick up on that and reinforce his good behavior with applause? Not many. The Allen Fieldhouse crowd reminds me of the baseball crowds at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in that regard. Language, thankfully, isn't as salty though.


irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Keegan please remember i am a fan of yours but take that nasty thing out of your mouth! smoking is bad for you and it is a very poor example to be setting for all the youth in our city who look to you as a role model.


Clarence Haynes 3 years, 2 months ago

What is going on in the heads of KU players after reading this.


dynamitehawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Good work Keegs. Time to grow up. Point Plankin'


hawksfan08 3 years, 2 months ago

Love point #5 but I worry we won't get to see that effect due to the Robinson injury. Of course if the suspension lasts more than a game or two we might.


Tom Keegan 3 years, 2 months ago

12steps -- do you have a real name, by the way, I feel funny calling you 12steps -- are you saying Taylor didn't play a great game against Iowa State? Time for you to look back at the tape. Garrett was Cyclones only shot at making it a game and Taylor shut him down. I'm not saying this makes them better, I"m saying these are ways to try to benefit from it. ... LAJayhawk, You don't really believe I read comments to determine what to write, do you? That was a joke, right? For the record, I do have a mind of my own. Why wouldn't there be overlap? Not to rip myself, but were any of the 10 reasons terribly insightful? AS for 1 and 10 being repetitive, I'll give you that one.


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 2 months ago

Late last year. ..

That is when Tom had some kind of epiphany. His writing has been great since.

Great comments.

We don't know who Selby is yet other than that he has a tremendous upside. It is too early to give him the reins, but he has to step up to the challenge. He has a lot of freshman issues but we will need him to grow up quickly. What can be fixed quickly is our transition offense and our fast break. Selby can fix that problem very quickly.

Luckily, Tyrell and Brady are awesome. Enough said.

It is time to give the sword to Releford. He has earned it. Let the man play.

Mario needs to stop trying to prove he belongs. He sold me a long time ago. Cut down on the fouls. Stop trying to do too much.

The Morris twins already proved they have the right stuff. They are going to be there along with Robinson.

The K-State game was an NCAA tournament kind of game. They were perfect for one game and they beat us because we were not perfect. To win in the NCAAs you have to be perfect every game.

We don't have much time left to screw around with maturity issues.


pizzaboy225 3 years, 2 months ago

not always a fan of your work, but i do appreciate your above average critical eye of the team more than most of the active posters. #'s 5,7, and 8 were especially insightful in my opinion


LAJayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Interesting post, although this sort of seems like a recap of the comment board on the Taylor suspension article. :-)

Number 1 and 10 seem a little bit repetitive, but all and all an interesting thing to think about. Also appreciate the fact that you are saying this is how KU could benefit, not that they are better off as some posters have stated. They are not better off -- that is just silly to think so -- but there is a possibility it could help in the long run.


12steps 3 years, 2 months ago

Tom, so you're saying if they lose a twin next, things will REALLY be looking up? Take off the phoggy glasses.

Well-rounded effort gives Tyshawn Taylor top honor 1. Tyshawn Taylor: Played strong defense on Diante Garrett, turning him into a complete non-factor by not letting him penetrate. Taylor also took his time shooting floaters and ran the offense in tidy fashion for an all-around productive day that included 14 points, six assists and just one turnover.


tulsahawkfan 3 years, 2 months ago

I actually agree with many of these. But I'm more of a glass-full type of guy. Still loaded with talent and this does open up the door for others. Positive attitudes play a big role in success this time of year.


Tom Keegan 3 years, 2 months ago

No spin, 12steps. They have no choice but to try to get better without a player whose poor judgment put them in a bad spot. Would you rather they try to get worse from it?


d_prowess 3 years, 2 months ago

Great blog in response to this recent development! Good breakdown of what it could mean.


12steps 3 years, 2 months ago

SPIN IT Tom, SPIN IT.............................

how about instituting a minimum IQ rule, and perhaps a maximim tattoo rule.

Did ku make history by suspending male and female inmate the same day?


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