Back by popular demand, here's Kansas senior walk-on Jordan Juenemann's scouting report of KU's next opponent, Ohio State, from a conversation we had Friday.
Jesse Newell: What is your overall impression of Ohio State?
Jordan Juenemann: One through five, they’re really solid. It starts with Aaron Craft and the pride he takes in defense. They play good defense. On offense, they control the tempo. Jared Sullinger’s a beast down there and really talented. Just one through five, they’re a solid team, and they’re hot right now, just like what Coach said. They pride themselves on the defensive end.
JN: What are some of the things they do defensively that make them tough to go against?
JJ: I just think how solid they are. With Aaron Craft, he pressures the ball and tries to keep people outside the paint. With their bigs, they’re really big, and Sullinger can guard about anybody down on the block. They just really contain dribble drive and are just solid with that. They’re long and athletic.
JN: Is Deshaun Thomas a similar guy to some of the other “stretch 4s” you’ve seen?
JJ: Yeah, he is. And it’s nice that we played them in December. It makes them hard with the stretch 4 that you talk about, where Thomas can pick and pop, and he can knock in a three.
He is relatable to (Purdue’s Robbie) Hummel. He can slash and do that. He’s probably a little bit more athletic. But, that is scary to do that. Coach has our defense set up for that. Thomas, he is a good weapon for them.
JN: Thomas Robinson will be key defensively, though, in this game, wouldn’t you say?
JJ: Yeah, because he’ll be starting on Thomas, and Craft will come through the lane and screen him, and Thomas will pop out and have a three, or Thomas will come out and set a ball screen, and then pop down to the corner for a three, like we’ve seen.
He’s on fire now with the points he’s put up. Thomas Robinson is a very key factor, being tuned in defensively to guard Thomas.
JN: We talk about Craft a lot defensively. What does he do better than other people do?
JJ: Yeah, I tried to relate myself to Craft a little bit. Tyshawn (Taylor) came to me at the beginning of the week and said, ‘You’re Aaron Craft for the whole week.’ Craft talked last night that he prides himself in defense. You can tell how defense wins games, and he’s really taken that in. I really like him as a player. I told him in the Lawrence when he came up, I said, ‘I really respect how you play. I love how you play,’ and just what he stands for, too. He prides himself in the defensive end. It’s so important and vital, and you can see where they got now.
JN: A big matchup is he and Tyshawn, but he gets a lot of steals away from the ball too, right?
JJ: He does. He digs into the posts. He’s the best — and Coach said that — he’s the best in the country from digging in the post and stealing it, so you’ve got to be aware of that. And he’s a good screener, too. Just like what I said, when he’s cutting through the lane, he’ll cut up on top of Thomas’ man and screen the big, and so the big can pop like that. So he’s a very smart player and tuned in. He pressures the ball, too. He gets a lot of steals on the ball and got some turnovers from Tyshawn when they played earlier. You can see how important that is.
JN: What are the keys for you guys?
JJ: Just go out and play tough and do what we do and get it inside to Thomas, because they can’t guard him. And play fast and get out and run, and just rebound. That’ll be the key, along with playing tough.