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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Justin Wesley puts on better show than in opener

Kansas forward Justin Wesley goes up to the bucket between Fort Hays State defenders Karron Mckenzie (2) and Lance Russell (21) during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Justin Wesley goes up to the bucket between Fort Hays State defenders Karron Mckenzie (2) and Lance Russell (21) during the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU vs. Fort Hays State

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Kansas defeated Fort Hays State, 101-52 on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 101-52 exhibition victory over Fort Hays State.

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Justin Wesley wasn’t happy with himself after reviewing his performance against Pittsburg State from Kansas’ first exhibition game on Nov. 1.

“That’s the good thing about film. You actually see yourself out there,” the KU sophomore forward said. “I don’t think I gave as much effort as I should.”

Wesley worked to correct that issue Tuesday, contributing 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes during KU’s 101-52 exhibition victory over Fort Hays State.

“I felt like tonight I did a better job of using my athleticism,” Wesley said, “as far as running the floor and kind of being all over the place defensively.”

The 6-foot-9 Wesley — who has gained 20 pounds since first arriving at KU at the beginning of last season — made three of four shots and all six of his free-throw attempts.

KU coach Bill Self said Wesley, a Fort Worth, Texas, native, had the potential to impact the Jayhawks’ program the same way former KU walk-on Christian Moody did.

“I thought he played really well,” Self said of Wesley. “His hands to me looked better. He’s a great athlete as you can tell — not a good athlete, a great athlete.”

Part of Wesley’s improvement came from going against Marcus and Markieff Morris in practices last season.

There were a handful of times when Wesley left practices with bloody noses after taking unintentional elbows to the face.

“It taught me how to play and be physical,” Wesley said. “It was great.”

The red-shirt year also helped him realize what would be expected of him; that included knowing how hard to go in practice and learning KU’s 100-plus plays.

Wesley has already talked to Self about his role this season, which is to be a ball-mover and to help KU gain extra possessions.

“He’s not a natural scorer. He’s an intangible guy,” Self said. “But the way he scored (Tuesday) is the way he can score in a game.”

Wesley hasn’t allowed himself to think too much about how his college basketball fortunes have changed in the last three years.

During the 2009-10 season, he averaged 1.2 points and 9.9 minutes at Lamar.

Now, as a sophomore, he’s likely the first big man off the bench to start the season for 13th-ranked KU.

“A lot of people say it’s a rags-to-riches story, but it’s just one of those stories that happened to turn out good for me,” Wesley said. “Coach told me the other day that this is the chance of a lifetime. I’m just going to do everything I can to not let it pass me by.”

Comments

Alohahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

There are a lot of us out here in the Jayhawk Nation who would have given just about anything for the opportunity to play on the Jayhawks's BBall team. Coach Self realizes you have the ability, so make us proud, Justin. Give it everything you can. Keep improving and who knows, you might be playing professionally in a few years. That's the nice thing about being a Jayhawk. The sky's the limit. Us armchair quarterbacks may be envious, but it doesn't mean we're not rooting for you to succeed.

As you've realized, having been a KU fan for so many years, we're all one big family of Jayhawks at heart. Something which recruits who go elsewhere will lose out on and never have the opportunity to appreciate. You're one of the smart, and lucky, few who get to play for KU.

yates33333 10 years, 6 months ago

If he is as good as Christian Moody, and I hope he is, KU is in for a better season than I thought.

bradh 10 years, 6 months ago

I like the change in attitude and performance Bill gets after a year.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 6 months ago

If it's a Rag's to Rich's story than I have no problem comparing him to Richard Scott. We just have to get J-Wes a nice flatop fade to go with it.

diegohawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Shaw..... One could only hope. RS was a stud and to this day I can't think of another to wear the uni that sealed the paint like he did for KU. JW seems to be a couple more seasons of development on the offensive end with DM away from playing for pay whether here or abroad. Kids got the athletic tools just needs to refine the basics and develope a signature move or three while embracing the garbage man mentality.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

It is amazing having him come off the bench and have TRob on the floor at the same time. I think at one point in time they had Trob, JeffW, and JWesley on the floor for a very tall lineup.

I kind of think of him as TRob's freshman year, you could tell he had skills he would rock everyone, but was a little raw in his talents. I'm hoping as time moves forward Jwesley continues to polish his talents. With more game time, I think he will mix very well into the fold.

If he is athletic enough to guard like a 3, than we could play very tall during certain games of the season...I'm not a defensive mind though. He did seem very athletic against and undersized team yesterday.

REHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Another prime example of what the Kansas coaching/training program can do for kids with promising size and talent. Kudos to Keith for paying his brother's way to KU last season. Justin quite probably has found the trail to glory.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 6 months ago

Easy, fellas. Let's see the guy play against some real competition before assuming he'll be anything more than simply a serviceable body in lieu of a real recruit. Could he be solid? Sure. But certainly not worthy (yet) of even anticipating that he'll be "amazing" or comparing him to Darrell Arthur or Richard Scott. Temper your enthusiasm, at least until the post-game threads next Tuesday.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 6 months ago

I see a big difference between Arthur and Scott, but I like the potential of the Scott comparison. Scott was a JUCO transfer and came in with zero expectations. Nobody even knew the guy until you saw him step on the court for the first time and then you had check the media guide to figure out who he was. I think the same can be said for Justin Wesley thus far regardless of the competition. Wesley has had a pretty good start and if he can continue to progress and contribute, I have no problem making the comparison. You're right, we shall see as the season progresses.

Joel Hood 10 years, 6 months ago

Richard Scott was NOT a JUCO transfer. He played at KU between 1991-94. You might be thinking of Freeman West.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 6 months ago

You are absolutely right, I am getting Alonzo Jamison and Richard Scott mixed. It's easy to do between those two. Jamison went to Junior College before coming to KU as he was recruited by Brown, but then his scholarship was honore by Roy Williams. My bad, I often get "Zo" and Richard Scott confused.

Joel Hood 10 years, 6 months ago

Scott is one of my all-time favorites - great kid that always outworked everyone on the floor.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

2011-2012 Equation for Kansas basketball:

{ [Kansas/depth x talent] + [guard x 3] } - [Morris x 2] + [HCBS] = 27-7

Jack Wilson 10 years, 6 months ago

That's funny, my solution was 26-8. I'll check my math ... perhaps I didn't calculate something correctly.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 6 months ago

From that equation, I had 25-9 initially. I am checking my math as well.

Ann Oneill 10 years, 6 months ago

Teahan shot 100% last night from the field and free throws. Nice! Tharpe - not too shabby either.

Michael Auchard 10 years, 6 months ago

I'd imagine both KU and UK have already been practicing against each others' looks. Perhaps off and on for quite some time now. They might not be able to scout the talent so well yet, but these two coaches have a very good understanding of what to expect from each other Xs and Os-wise and how to plan accordingly.

Thomas Michaud 10 years, 6 months ago

The one thing that concerns me is the UK press. I'm really hoping that we do better against a team that presses and runs well. Otherwise, I'm seeing a VCU nightmare of a game (just not getting into a rhythm). Funny thing is, I like the idea of Tharpe running the point against a press (despite is "lack" of experience compared to TT) -- love the kid's speed, cutting, and passing. Not saying he'll be perfect, but like that we have him as an option (e.g. having TT + Tharpe + EJ + TRob + Releford as an anti-press line-up).

yates33333 10 years, 6 months ago

Unlike most posters here I like John Calipari, but I sure don't wish him luck against K.U. I hope his team gets drubbed although I don't expect it.

Mitchell Corona 10 years, 6 months ago

Here is an example of what can happen to Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor if they apply themselves.

It should be an inspiration to them.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

My apologies for reposting this but it is interesting. Rivals.com ranks KU's junior class [TRob, Travis, Jeff, Elijah and Kevin] as the 2nd best junior class in America.

Throw in Tyshawn and Conner from above and Naadir and Justin from below and HCBS may have a very surprising rotation.

Next year, replace Tyshawn, TRob and Conner with BenMac, Jamari, Zach, Perry and who knows who else and Kansas will keep on rolling!!!!

Annette Lee 10 years, 6 months ago

Scott couldn't shoot free throws but he could get 20 garbage points! Dennis Rodman proved that the NBA can use garbage guys! Wesley can shoot free throws so things are looking up.

yates33333 10 years, 6 months ago

Ralster. I usually agree with your comments, but Moody carried KU his senior year. He was a basketball player. His athleticism may not have been much but he was certainly KU's greatest walk-on ever and a very good basketball player. I hope Wesley turns out to be better, but this year I am hoping he will be a player of Moody's caliber.

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