As any good KU basketball did at some point today they realized today is the first day of October. What is insignificant to most humans is significant to the die hard KU basketball fans. Basketball is near. It all begins with one of the most fun and unique nights of October, Late night in the Phog. The night where optimism reigns supreme and a scrimmage never means more is just a mere 12 days, including today, away. So to start off the countdown I am going to do a series that previews one player and recaps one memory of last season.
The player: Rio Adams
It's a bold move to start with the most unknown player on this roster. But making a blog is a bold right? Back to Rio Adams. Let's start with the basics. The 6'3'' combo guard from Seattle Washington has been a kid Bill Self has wanted for some time. Recruiting Rio was not the problem getting Rio eligible was the problem. Regardless of his academic issues they appear to be resolved. Rio did play in KU's European tour this summer. He averaged 21.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, and 5.0 rpg in high school. If I had to describe him in one word it would be explosive for many reasons. He is very quick and he is very fast. They are different things if you are wondering. Usain Bolt is fast Magic Johnson is quick. He is also explosive because the kid can dunk! He is very good at driving in the lane. A trait that is vital for any guard who wants to score in college.
Where is he best: Rio looks like a typical point guard in a Bill Self offense. That where I think he will spend the majority of the time on the court. He is extremely athletic and can get to the rim. Having a guard that can do that is so helpful in the motion offense KU runs. He seems to handle the ball fairly well so he may find himself in some crunch time minutes if Elijah cannot play or if Naadir Tharpe can't fix his turnover problem.
Where he can improve: Well I don't know about you but I haven't found too many highlights where he shot the ball. So either it was just to easy to get into the lane for him or he can't shoot. I fear the latter may be true. He even admits in the press conference that he needs to improve his jump shot range. Lucky for him I doubt he will need to shoot too much his first year at KU.
Who he reminds me of: The lazy answer is Tyshawn Taylor. Though that may be the best comparison because of what Rio does well and doesn't do well. Rio Adams can get to the lane and make layups or dunks. Tyshawn Taylor could get to the rim with the best of them. Both are extremely athletic, can make great passes and make the worst passes you'll ever see. Though they do separate. Tyshawn ended his career being a great three point shooter. Rio may get there but right now that's hard to see.
What to expect: Rio will not play all that many minutes for KU. I expect Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe to dominate the minutes at point guard. Though when Rio gets in I expect him to be exciting. Kind of like a lightning in the bottle player for KU. I doubt he will spend a lot of time as the only point guard in the game so his role this year will be more of a combo guard but when he finally leaves KU I feel that he will be known as a point guard.
2012 Moment to remember: Kansas 61 Duke 68 Maui Final: Is it bad taste to have the first moment to remember a loss when the season had so many winning memories? Here's why it's a moment to remember. Going into Maui KU had been beaten pretty badly by Kentucky. Though no one knew what Kentucky would become they knew they were good. KU was still trying to find what kind of team they would be and who would play the most minutes. If you remember in this game Justin Wesley was the first big man off the bench. It may have been the last time he was the first big man off the bench too. Everyone thought Duke was a lot better team than Kansas. Yet the boys of rock chalk nation played very well. They not only hung in the game but they were winning most of the second half. If it wasn't for not one but two miracle three pointers for Duke Kansas would have won. From that game forward KU knew they could beat any team on their schedule. Because of that game the whole season took a different turn. A turn that would lead them to the final game of the season.
Follow me on Twitter: @blake_mcfarland Special edition follow Rio Adams on twitter: @tharealrio2ku Follow my blog at http://1man1blog1school.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-countdown-to-madness.html