KU’s Taylor gets mixed review

Freshman’s performance panned despite double-double

Sunday, December 7, 2008

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2008 KU-JSU basketball

Reader poll

Which freshman will have the most dunks this season for KU?

  • Tyshawn Taylor 40% 704 votes
  • Marcus Morris 27% 478 votes
  • Markieff Morris 13% 230 votes
  • Quintrell Thomas 9% 170 votes
  • Travis Releford 9% 171 votes

1753 total votes.

Though Tyshawn Taylor had 10 points, 11 assists and two steals against Jackson State on Saturday, he still had a head coach wishing for a bit more.

“I think this is the best stat line that Ty maybe has had and probably the worst that he’s played,” Kansas University coach Bill Self said after KU’s 86-62 victory over the Tigers. “He didn’t have a very good game today, but he did get a lot of assists. And he’d be the first to tell you he wasn’t a factor defensively like he has been.”

Let’s start with the good news: Taylor recorded his first double-double. His 11 assists were a career-high and the most by a freshman since Aaron Miles had 15 against Texas Tech on March 9, 2002.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it showed Taylor’s willingness to adapt his game to Self’s wishes. After KU’s 100-79 victory over New Mexico State on Wednesday, Self critiqued Taylor’s 23-point effort, saying “he has to have more than three assists in a game where we score 100 points.”

Taylor admitted he was focused on making extra passes Saturday.

“I was more observant of the court, looking to my teammates, driving to the lane and kicking it on fast breaks,” Taylor said. “I hit Sherron (Collins) a couple times, and it led to good things. I see what (coach Self) is talking about.”

At times, Taylor said it was still difficult to try to become a prototypical, pass-first point guard.

“My mentality is still scoring. That’s just how it’s always been,” Taylor said. “I can take the challenge. It’s not hard for me to pass the ball. I just, when I get it, I feel like I need to score, make something happen.

“That’s my mind-set. I’ve just got to switch that a little bit.”

Now the bad news: Taylor had four turnovers. He also wasn’t as active on defense as Self would like him to be.

“Speaking for myself, I was kind of out of it today,” Taylor said. “I didn’t do a lot of things I should have done.”

One factor might have been the early start. It was the first afternoon game for the Jayhawks, which changed up the pregame schedule.

“It kind of did mess with my routine. We did a lot of things different,” Taylor said. “We woke up real early and had breakfast and stuff. It was a lot different, but that shouldn’t have changed how we played. We didn’t play good at all.”

Even with a 24-point victory, Taylor wasn’t happy with the Jayhawks’ effort.

“I don’t think we played really well,” Taylor said. “Not taking anything from them (Jackson State), but I feel like if they catch us on a better night, we would play a lot better.”