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Jamari Traylor earns top honors against Michigan State

1. Jamari Traylor: Had the highlight of the night — a vicious, stickback dunk in the first half — and provided consistent play the rest of the time. He flew high for a second-half, fast-break block against the backboard, showed some good post moves and earned KU a couple extra possessions by winning 50-50 balls. He finished with six points on 3-for-5 shooting with four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and just one turnover in 25 minutes off the bench.

2. Ben McLemore: Once again, perhaps his only fault was not being more aggressive. McLemore scored an efficient 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting, adding in three rebounds and three assists to go with three turnovers. Afterwards, KU coach Bill Self said he would have liked to have seen the freshman drive more late in the game.

3. Elijah Johnson: Solid game for Johnson, who penetrated more and had a better shooting night than in the opener. He posted a team-high 14 points on 6-for-15 shooting (2-for-5 from three) and tied for second on the team with four rebounds. He added three steals but had just two assists to go with four turnovers.

4. Jeff Withey: Limited because of foul trouble in the first half, Withey actually had a pretty good second half. He finished with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting, putting in a couple of hooks while going across the lane. He led KU with seven rebounds, and it seemed like the official scorer might have skimped him on blocks (two) while blaming him for a turnover or two that weren't his (four).

5. Travis Releford: He had a chance to be at the top of the ratings before making a couple of poor plays that resulted in turnovers in crunch time. He finished with eight points on 2-for-6 shooting to go with three assists and two giveaways. The senior added four steals, but he also was beaten off the dribble a few times by MSU freshman Gary Harris.

6. Naadir Tharpe: Confidently stepped into a three and made both of his free throws to finish with five points in 13 minutes while posting only one turnover.

7. Justin Wesley: Played well in his limited time, showing nice touch in the lane to make his only field goal. He finished with two points and one rebound in seven minutes.

8. Perry Ellis: The freshman struggled against length, and after getting blocked, he seemed hesitant with his decision-making. Ellis posted four points on 2-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and one turnover in 17 miuntes. Twice in the second half, after poor plays, he was substituted out by Self for Traylor.

9. Kevin Young: Looked rusty defensively in his first game back. He had one point in three minutes, though he did come away with a crucial loose ball with 56 seconds left that led to a three-point play for McLemore.

KUsports.com Season Standings
T1. Jeff Withey (17 points)
T1. Ben McLemore (17 points)
3. Jamari Traylor (16 points)
4. Perry Ellis (12 points)
T5. Naadir Tharpe (12 points)
T5. Elijah Johnson (12 points)
7. Travis Releford (11 points)
8. Justin Wesley (5 points)
9. Rio Adams (3 points)
T10. Andrew White III (2 points)
T10. Kevin Young (2 points)

— Compiled by Jesse Newell and Tom Keegan. Written by Jesse Newell.

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Comments

Scott Smetana 1 year, 9 months ago

Good Rankings Jesse. I thought Traylor is our only real presence down low on offense. Until Ellis gets stronger, it's our weakness this year. We'll be fine down low on defense due to Withey. I think Tharpe is going to play a major role this year on offense, especially if Releford can't find his game.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds like Tharpe will play a major role on offense this year if he finds His game.

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Phil Leister 1 year, 9 months ago

Hmm, the KUSports.com rankings, rather than the Keegan Rankings.

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ParisHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Keegan's the boss. He's giving Jesse a bit more limelight, which is well deserved.

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Phil Leister 1 year, 9 months ago

Something's wrong in a world where Keegan oversees great journalists like Jesse and Tait.

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JayhawkNNE 1 year, 9 months ago

This is the first time I've had an opportunity to watch the Jayhawks this year. I honestly was concerned that we would get blown out and I'm highly impressed. This team doesn't have a floor general yet, like we've had with Collins, or TT but EJ has done a very good job. The comparison of BMac to Rush are close, but I think BMac is a lot better ball handler as a freshman than Rush. The athletes we have on this team is extremely impressive. I'm not sure we've seen this type of pure athlete since 2008. We've got a long way to go as far as being compared to 2008 but I really like the way the guys played last night

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 9 months ago

I felt really good about our guys in the loss. I feel like every one showed flashes of greatness, we arent there yet but will get there. Was encouraging the way the defense played (sometimes for 30 secs then a lapse which lead to an easy bucket)

We are not the team we will be in march, and i like that we will probably drop into the 12-20 range in the rankings. Coach will get them to where they need to be over the next month or so.

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Rock_Chalk_NYC 1 year, 9 months ago

Perfectly ranked.

These rankings give me a lot of optimism as well. The seniors played ok to poor. Time to step up.

Rock Chalk

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John Randall 1 year, 9 months ago

The reason for the ranking is Traylor did the best job at what was needed in standing up to MSU's relentless muscle ball. Every one else fell short of the physical play that was needed. Not far short, but enough to lose a game they led nearly the whole way.

Good learning experience for the team and each of the players. Lots of things are looking up, week-to-week and month-to-month with the great attitudes this bunch has.

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Ryan Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

Am I the only one thinking Releford and Johnson and even Withey look rustier than the freshmen?

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Ben Levy 1 year, 9 months ago

I never put much stock in these ratings to begin with, but they have now lost all credibility. Traylor scored 6 points, less than 1/10th of the team's scoring and only 9 players played. Elijah Johnson had as many rebounds as he did. He had a solid game and couple of great highlights, but Elijah and Ben had much better games and a strong argument could be made for Travis as well.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 9 months ago

I think that the ratings should be titled, the Newellsen Ratings.

In the first KU game that was I able to watch this season I was very much impressed with Traylor. Not because I felt like he was the best Jayhawk on the court, but just because my expectations for him weren't sky high, even after all the praise he's gotten through the exhibition season.

For being a guy who hasn't played much organized ball he seems to have excellent instincts. He was often in good position for rebounds and loose balls. He made good moves to the basket with and without the ball. He missed some easy baskets, but that will come with time. Maybe Self would say that Traylor's success is from learned behaviors and not instincts, but I think that he's going to have an excellent career here.

That said, even with his highlight block and his stickback dunk I don't think that his line warrants a number 1 rating. BMac quietly had a very good game, and he should be #1. Jamari may deserve #2, but he and Johnson I think were in a tie, just because Johnson has such a profound impact on the team. I still think I'd go BMac, JT, EJ, then continue as written.

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kerbyd 1 year, 9 months ago

Not sure Johnson should be rated that high shooting just 25%.

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