Wednesday, January 14, 2009

‘Just play’ pays off

Taylor heeds advice

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor hooks a shot around Kansas State forward Ron Anderson during the second half Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor hooks a shot around Kansas State forward Ron Anderson during the second half Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


KU crushes K-State in conference opener

KU tipped off the 2009 Big 12 season with a 17th-straight conference opening win. It was their 33rd consecutive victory in Allen Fieldhouse.

UPDATED: 2008-09 Kansas Men's Basketball: Past, Present and Future

This multimedia feature will keep you on pace with the Kansas men’s basketball team throughout the season. We trace the path from last year’s national championship game to the team's new faces for 2009, its 11-4 record heading into conference play and a 14-2 Big 12 finish, including a record fifth-straight conference title. Check back for a final update when the season concludes.

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2009 KU-KSU basketball Jan. 13

Down in the dumps over his recent slump, Tyshawn Taylor sought the advice of some of his elders this week.

Namely, he visited with veterans Sherron Collins, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Cole Aldrich.

“I talked to Sherron about it. He went through it. I talked to Brady, Tyrel, Cole. They all went through it. It’s something I had to overcome,” Taylor, Kansas University’s freshman point guard said, referring to a sudden lack of confidence midway through his rookie season.

“Sherron told me to stop thinking, just play,” Taylor added after exploding for 20 points with three assists and two steals in the Jayhawks’ 87-71 victory over Kansas State on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Sherron noticed when coach yells at me I get down on myself,” added Taylor, who entered having scored in single digits in five of KU’s last seven games after a stretch of six straight double-figure outings. “He said, ‘The more you think, the more you mess up. Just play. I know you can do it. I’ve seen you do it. You are a good player. Just play.’”

Taylor hit a three-pointer during KU’s wild game-opening 18-0 run.

Perhaps more importantly, he helped keep the ship afloat during the times foul-plagued Collins (24 points, four assists in just 27 minutes) and Aldrich (15 points, eight boards, 28 minutes) were seated next to coach Bill Self instead of on the court.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about ‘Tyshawn is not playing good. The twins are not playing good.’ I felt this is my time. I wanted to come out and play,” Taylor said.

“I felt I needed to score, to step up. Cole and Sherron have been playing a lot of minutes, scoring all our points. I felt I needed to play, too.”

Taylor scored nine points and had four rebounds in 16 minutes as KU led, 37-24, at halftime. Collins, who picked up his second foul with 11:29 left in the half, had five points and three assists in 14 minutes at the break.

“Tyshawn was fabulous,” Self said of Taylor, who hit five of eight shots (one of two threes) and nine of 13 free throws. “He drove the ball hard and got to the free-throw line. That just shows you what he can do and is capable of doing.”

K-State, which has a fabulous guard of its own in Jacob Pullen (13 points off 5-of-15 shooting) made it a game, outscoring KU 14-8 to begin the second half and lagged by just three points — 45-42 — with 15 minutes left.

Brady Morningstar responded with a three, Tyrel Reed hit a layup off a fantastic deep outlet pass from Aldrich, and Aldrich cashed a bucket and foul shot, giving KU a comfy 53-42 advantage at 13:45.

KSU never cut it below nine again.

“It was a shock to me how hard we came out. It felt like we were all on the same page,” Taylor said of KU’s early 18-0 run. “We got rolling. It feels good to do that in the fieldhouse. We knew K-State wouldn’t give up. They came back, but we stuck together and wanted it really bad.”

Self, of course, wasn’t thrilled the lead dipped from 18 to three, but was pleased his Jayhawks (12-4 overall, 1-0 Big 12) responded.

“There are times this year we have looked every bit as great as teams in the past. We just don’t sustain it,” Self said. “We’ve had some great runs at home, whether it be Tennessee, 25-9, or Siena, 25-1. Tonight it was 18-0, then we just traded baskets.

“I told our guys we haven’t played 40 minutes. The Tennessee lead, they cut it down. The Siena lead, they cut it down. Tonight the big lead, and they cut it to three. I thought we showed toughness.”

The coach left the fieldhouse pleased with the entire team, including Taylor, which makes the 6-foot-3 New Jersey freshman mighty happy.

“It’s not easy at all, not easy,” he said of a point guard playing for the demanding Self. “I like taking the challenge. I like playing point guard. I feel I have the game in my hands, that I’m controlling the game. I like feeling that.”

And team leader Collins likes seeing that.

“With me and Cole in foul trouble, he carried us through that,” Collins said. “I tell him I know he can do it. I see it at practice and in games. All freshmen go through things. He’ll be fine. All our young fellas will be fine.”

KU will meet Colorado at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Boulder, Colo.


Eric Hammond 13 years, 10 months ago

I don't think Tyshawn or Little is the problem on this team. Tyshawn has shown flashes of being one of the premier guards in the league, and Little hasn't had an oppurtunity. The twins and thomas have to step it up. They are going to be the key to us winning 20+ games and making it farther in the tournament this year. Tyshawn and Little are going to be fine, Sherron and Cole are, well Sherron and Cole, we need the other three bigs to start to play. GO HAWKS!!!

zissou 13 years, 10 months ago

K-State fans better get used to Tyshawn demoralizing them a lot over the next few years.

KUPROUD 13 years, 10 months ago

It takes awhile for freshmen to tune out the fans. Tyshawn said, “I’ve been hearing a lot about ‘Tyshawn is not playing good. The twins are not playing good." Hopefully he's not reading comments posted on articles. That's for Walter Mitty type guys like me who can only dream about making plays he makes. Great game.

Scott Smetana 13 years, 10 months ago

Erich... I agree with you on most everything you said... except: Is Little fine? I didn't get to watch the KSU game out here in Colorado, but his previous games i was NOT impressed. Was he that impressive last night? Also, I think Tyshawn is 'fine' when he finds his game. Hopefully that's not 1 in 4 games. PS - nice job Mizzery at Nebraska. It's a scam u were ranked this year. Go away little Mizzerable kitties. PPS - If in Colorado, head up to Boulder this weekend for the pre-party at the Walnut Brewery! Rock Chalk!

cklarock 13 years, 10 months ago

We've started to see what a healthy Mario Little can do -- he was much better today than he had been, particularly in that early going and it looks like he'll live up to the hype.

Sally Presson 13 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Hawks!!! Tyshawn, hang in there, you're a great talent, you've proved what you can do it. Don't hesitate to talk to the veterans, they've all gone through the rough times and they are stonger and better for it. All you freshman, we're so glad to have you, keep up the great work. Hawk fans are loyal to you, we know if Coach Self recruited you, you're the best!!! Take a deep breath and enjoy being a Jayhawk!! Let's start your own winning streak in Bramledge this year. KState hadn't won a game against KU since they moved into their new facility until last year. Let's start another winning streak in Bramledge, KU's home away from home

jayhawker_97 13 years, 10 months ago

keep it up, T. we always believe in you. we will need the rest to follow your determination. Morris Twins, keep fighting hard, and you'll be fine. Your great efforts will not be wasted.Confidence, boys. Confidence. We're waiting for good things to just keep coming. it'll be contagious. it's a never-ending experience, your toughness, roughness and never give-up will be rewarded.we love ya, all!! Rock Chalk!!

d_prowess 13 years, 10 months ago

It is obvious that Taylor had a great game last night. My only criticism is that he got beat by him man driving to the basket a number of times during the KSU attempt at a comeback. He needs to get a little more savvy on the defensive end of the court and cut off their penetration, especially since he will be going up against a lot of fast guards.

rawkhawk 13 years, 10 months ago

KU is by no means perfect, but I am encouraged by Taylor, Little, and, yes, the Morris twin's improvement. I see KU being increasingly effective down the stretch. I'll try to make it to the Walnut Brewery Saturday and will be sure to wear blue to the game.

Trey Hohman 13 years, 10 months ago

I really like the Morris twins. Dennis Rodman-esque@times. e.g. Gritty and strong, yet smoothe they are able to play, when motivated and focused. Just like me after a night on the town when I was a savy single man....Except the exact opposite.

NebraskaJayhawk 13 years, 10 months ago

I disagree with the "Morris twin's improvement" rawkhawk. Until they can start playing defense, they add nothing to a Bill Self squad. Self is all about defense and these knuckleheads can't play a lick of it. That said, I would very much like to see them turn into the "Dennis Rodman" type players that Ihohman3 is suggesting they are.Little could really help this team. Was glad to hear of his decision.

RyanHawk 13 years, 10 months ago

We will be bringing the HOME crowd in Boulder! I will be stopping by the Walnut Brewery with my group before we take the Coors Event Center by storm. Rock Chalk!

Theutus 13 years, 10 months ago

I don't know if I'm alone here.... But I trust Taylor with the ball more than I trust Collins.... Collins makes a great play here and there, and can definitely run the court and spark some quick transition points every now and again... But he turns the ball over so much, and takes so many off-balance terrible shots (contested usually) that it's not worth it in my opinion.I think his role was best played as a spark who gets maybe 10 minutes a half. Whereas I see Taylor as a true PG, in terms of athletic ability AND potential to play smart etc. I actually do see him as the next Chalmers. I look forward to seeing him grow into an all-star PG.

Brian Powell 13 years, 10 months ago

NebraskaJayhawk, I actually saw a lot of good plays on D last night from the Morris's: a few rebounds, even a steal I think (maybe it was counted as a loose ball)It was great to see better play from them, Tyshawn, and Little. Releford had some good plays too (a nice drive to the bucket and a steal off the rebound?) - although I cringed at a couple of the cheap fouls he gave up.

jhawker75 13 years, 10 months ago

Sheron and his young teamates need to quit whinning about the fouls and save the energy for playing the game. Fun watching the young team grow. Rock Chalk

Lance Hobson 13 years, 10 months ago

That's funny that he's taking advice from Morningstar - this is the first year he's gotten any playing time as well. You can really say that about everyone but Collins.

Rick Arnoldy 13 years, 10 months ago

Why not Brady? He's been here a while and shows what you can do if you listen to the coach and work hard.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

I am beginning to think that Brady may start the next couple of years and people are still going to be saying after he graduates that he was just an interim solution. Seeing is believing with Self. Guys who get 32 minutes a game from Bill Self and get assigned the opponent's toughest out have what it takes, by definition. How much more clear does Bill Self have to make it. KU won a ring with Jeff Gueldner and Gueldner and Brady are a lot alike.Their are basic difference between coaches and many fans that explain why Brady is playing when so many, including me for a short while, doubted he could. They include: 1) Coaches actually have assemble teams with parts that fit together and operate optimally versus a broad set of opponents with varying capabilities and strategies of attack. Fans get to pick the five most talented guys and say they ought to be on the floor.2) Coaches have to base play on what players actually do. Fans get to pick players based on what players look like they ought to be able to do.3.) Coaches have to get past cliches of physical appearance and say, "Whatever this guy may look like, he can actually do what we need." Fans get the luxury of indulging their biases about what a player looks like and so is supposed to play like and say, "This guy has a body like Michael Jordan, he could be the next MJ." Recall Kenny Gregory. Recall Nino Samuels. Recall whomever you want.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

4.) Coaches actually understand basketball team play in the kind of detail that any effective working professional understands the detail of his profession and how to work with in his firm performing his professional activity. Coaches who coach for 15 years or more have distilled the game to many, many essenses and performance criteria, without losing their basic intuition for people and for the game. Many people can learn about how to do something and then simply be good mechanics at it. These men are called assistant coaches. They can be extremely talented and knowledgeable assistant coaches. But the trick to coaching, or any other professional endeavor is to become fabulously knowledgeable and insightful about what works and who can do it, while at the same time retaining a god given gift of a feel for people and the game and the dynamics of competition. Either without the other will not get you to the top. I listened to Bob Knight on TV last year during the Madness break down just the pass to the wing and the three things that a player must do when he receives the ball to be an effective threat at that moment. It was magnificiently clear. And you can be sure that Bob Knight has broken down what 3 things have to be done by a player at every reception of a pass at almost every location on the floor within his offense. And so you know that for players to satisfy a coach, they have to be doing hundreds of things error free on top of having great individual skills to be entrusted with 32 minutes of play and to guard the other team's toughest out. Fans get to say, "Look at the move that reserve made! He faked his opponent out of his jock! He is the one who ought to be playing big minutes." But, of course, the reserve with the great move would be playing, if he could make that move, while being able to do the hundreds of possibly required things error free to make the team work too. But the point is the fan, even the most educated ones, even the ones who played the game, even the ones who coached it for five years, probably don't know one quarter or a half of what a 15-20 year coach knows and is requiring of players. And great coaches, like Bill Self and Bob Knight, are just operating on a higher plane altogether.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

The great coaches master offense, defense, individual fundamentals, player psychology, staff psychology, recruiting, bureaucracy, media management, public relations, or most of these. They have a fantastic capacity for detail AND a fantastic capacity to distill detail to rules that can no only be clearly communicated, but learned by most of the guys with D1 talent. They can take teams apart and put them back together like a mechanic working on an engine, but at the same time never lose sight of the fact that they are dealing with human beings that are anything but engines. Fans can know only a small part of what these guys know, just as they can only know a small part of what their lawyer, or their doctor, or their accountant knows. In turn, they often can't see the criteria that the coaches are basing their choices on, just as patients can't know the differential diagnoses that their doctors are basing their treatment choices on. Where I'm going here is not to argue Brady Morningstar will or won't be a starter for the next two years of his career. I wasn't smart enough to say he would be starting this year until after I saw him play a few games. I'm not smart enough to say what will happen to him next year and Coach Self, who is smart enough to say if anyone were, probably is also smart enough to say that you can't predict much about the future of who will be here next year and the following year. Each year a team has to be assembled from what is there. Next year he could once again be exactly what is needed. Next year he might not be.Where I am going is that almost no one here was smart enough to say on October 15 that Brady Morningstar was probably going to be a starter every game until now at the 3 and that he was going to be the team's top defender, and that he was going to shoot 46 percent from three, and that he was going to be the best guy on the team at feeding the post, and that he was going to play 32 minutes in a game even after Little came back and that he was going to be exactly what this team needed for it to play down the middle the way Coach Self decided . But Coach Self was smart enough to realize that Brady at least could be that guy. We know this, because Coach Self chose him for the job and Brady rose to the occassion and performed.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

Its true that Rod Stewart performed pretty well in lieu of Brandon Rush, too, and then had to sit for a superior talent; this might happen to Brady, too. But Rod Stewart was not the best defender on our team when he went out. He was not shooting 46 % from trifectaville when he went out. He was not playing almost error free minutes when he went out. He was not the only guy who could effectively feed the post when he went out. Mario Little may replace Brady Morningstar, but he is going to have to be a lot more than a grade A body who can shoot a 15 foot j to do it. Why? Because we are going to lose one heck of a lot, when Brady Morningstar steps off that floor.Remember last year, when Sherron was sooooooooooooo good offensively that it seemed certain that he would replace RR. But he didn't. What happened was that RR just kept creeping back on to the floor. He could do so many things so well that Self just kept finding situations where RR was the logical choice to be in there. Brady is this kind of player. Self probably expected Brady to do okay, but not quite as well as he has done. And now as with all employers, Brady has proven himself to his. And Coach Self can drool about what Little can bring to the team, and he can scheme and plan for how to use Mario Little's amazing abilities, but when it comes down to crunch time, when everyone's cojones are on the line and one needs can do men in the heat of battle, when one mistake is all that stands between victory and defeat, well, Coach Self is going to be sorely tempted to run down that bench every time and shout, "Brady! Get in there!" Brady has gotten under Coach Self's skin just the way RR did. Bottom line: Brady and RR are the same kind of players Bill Self was himself. He knows what these kinds of players can and cannot do. He knows what they mean to a team, when the chips are down. He knows how far they will go and that they will never get you killed. Someone else may have to get you the basket, but they will keep you hanging in for that chance. You don't have to tell them to believe. When they're in, you can focus on the rest of the guys. They simplify things for a coach. This means a huge amount in all walks of life. There are as few of these guys as there are the great play makers. They are gold and great coaches know this, even if they must ask them to sit sometimes. The great coaches know that just like you've got to find ways to get great playmakers in the game, you've also got to find ways to get great glue guys in the game. Great teams have great glue guys. End of point.

100 13 years, 10 months ago

Nice expose, jaybate. I agree with nearly everything you've typed. Brady is a fantastic player, we see it everyday in practice, as well. A winner who makes others better. I hope you're right that he'll be a starter for the next two years. Maybe he will. But in doing that, he's taking away a premier player's spot.., Mario Little.We had a brief glimpse of his stuff on Tues. That's nothing of how dominating he was in practice before his first injury. Let's face it, for a championship type team (next year), there's no way we can put him at the four and take Aldrich or Withey's spot. That's sabotage. And there's no way we replace Little for Taylor or Collins to keep Morningstar in the starting lineup.I just don't think anyone really understands how good this guy is. Again, I hope you're right, because that means Morningstar's game will improve to a level in practice we've not yet seen, which would push Little that much more... But the "look" of a champion would have the following lineup: Aldrich, Withey, Little, Collins, Taylor

PAHAWK1 13 years, 10 months ago

Great points, jaybate.I think that the title of this article should have been "Gimme the rock". At least that is what I understood from Taylor's comments. He said, “..........I like taking the challenge. I like playing point guard. I feel I have the game in my hands, that I’m controlling the game. I like feeling that.” In the last couple of games (prior to KState), it seemed as though SC was playing 1 and TT was lost on the court. Earlier in the year, TT was predominantly playing 1. I realize that SC was in foul trouble in the KState game but TT was playing 1 even when SC was on the court. SC is a good player. He can play 1 or 2 and can create his own shots while playing either of these positions. TT (and KUBB) will be successful if he keeps playing 1.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

100,Excellent points all.I believe the goal of any coaching seeking a great team is to be 2 deep at every position: four bigs, two 3s, and four guards--three of whom could play the point in a pinch.In Selfball, which is all about taking whatever the opponent and the referees give us and then juggling players, offenses and defenses, to achieve match-up advantages that make us able to beat an opponent at any speed that optimizes our advantages, I believe you will never see more than three full time players. A full time player, i.e., a 30-38 minute man, has to be a player who basically ALWAYS offers the team more match-up advantages than switching to any other player on the team. There are few such talented players. On last year's championship team, there were really only two: Chalmers and Rush. And really only Rush was the kind of player who never ever had to have help with his man. Arthur probably could have been a third, but he could not concentrate consistently for whatever reason. Looking at last year's team, you could easily say that the most formidable looking team was Collins, Chalmers, Rush, Arthur and Jackson, just as you have cited Aldrich, Withey, Little, Collins and Taylor appear to be next year. But in fact, what made last year's team a champion, among other things, was its ability to play any style of play an opponent wanted and find a way to beat them at it, regardless of the opponent's personell. To achieve that versatility, and to cover for fouling, they had to use three and occassionally four bigs, and they had to use three guards (four if you count Rod the first quarter of the season).

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

What I'm saying here is: you can evenly distribute scoring, or concentrate it, based on how many real scorers you have, but to meet all the different circumstances you will routinely face and to optimize match-up advantages in Selfball, over the course of the season in Selfball you have to play 7-8 guys even down the stretch and should never expect more than 2, maybe 3, guys to be cornerstones that play all the time against all teams. The rest of the 7-8 guys appear to be about equally necessary to the cause, regardless of who starts. This is how 70-point-take-what-they-give-us plays year in and year out. Most styles of play use 7-8 players, but most styles of play do not see as much sharing of minutes based on situations unrelated to fouling as Selfball. I can't prove this empirically of course, but it sure seems like a probable hypothesis for someone to research.When I "look" at next year's probable players so far, I see Aldrich and Collins gone. I see Kieff and Withey at the 5, and Cus and Robinson at the four for four bigs. I see Taylor for a PG and at Brady two, with Elijah Johnson and Tyrel Reed backing up both for four guards. Where I see lack of depth is at the three where Little has no one behind him, but I expect next year Brady and Marcus will both fill at the three when Little needs a breather or has foul trouble. The wild card is if Self lands an OAD at the two. I think this is now very unlikely, but you never know till the large woman goes operatic. If he does land the OAD, then Brady gets his minutes backing up the two and three, assuming Little pans out and the OAD can play Selfdefense out of the box. But that's a whole lotta assuming as a wily old boss of mine used to say.The thing I like about Brady now is: he's proven goods on the shelf. And as that same wily old boss always used to say: "Son, a bird in the hand always beats two in the bush, unless you've already been in that bush and gotten those two birds' peckers in your pockets before you left."

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

PAHAWK1,I think you just made a better point than I did. I had forgotten about the musical chairs game between Sherronatron and Quantum T. That could well account for some of his uneveness.

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