Thursday, March 22, 2012


Carolina drama intrigues


— Kendall Marshall. Kendall Marshall. Kendall Marshall. Stilman White. Stilman White. Stilman White.

There, now you don’t have to watch Roy Williams’ news conference today. You just heard all the questions, and Roy won’t have any answers. If he knows the odds of Marshall, North Carolina’s gifted sophomore point guard coming off wrist surgery, participating this weekend in the Edward Jones Dome, he won’t share them.

While the police-interrogation lamp shines on the coach, the spotlight of speculation zeroes in on Marshall and the more mysterious White.

The fascination with the Carolina point-guard uncertainty enabled Kansas to arrive quietly at its downtown hotel Wednesday night with all the Jayhawks’ attention trained on North Carolina State, Friday night’s opponent.

On the other hand, nothing in Roy’s world is quiet at the moment. Williams faces difficult decisions that go beyond how to exploit Ohio University in Friday’s regional semifinal. Should Roy put the ball in the hands of smooth sophomore wing Harrison Barnes, a better scorer than facilitator? Or should he let the untested White take on the challenge of getting his first shot at running the Heels?

If Dexter Strickland had not been lost for the season in mid-January, Marshall’s wrist injury wouldn’t be as big a deal. Other than Strickland and Marshall, Carolina doesn’t have a player on the roster averaging more than 1.3 assists.

A 6-foot, 160-pound freshman out of Wilmington, N.C., White is scheduled to leave for two years on a mission for the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

It’s tempting to liken Carolina needing to play White at point guard to Kansas needing to play Naadir Tharpe at the point if Tyshawn Taylor suffered an injury, except that Carolina doesn’t have an Elijah Johnson to slide over to lead guard.

Otherwise, the Tharpe-White comparison does have some relevance. Tharpe was more highly recruited than White, who drew interest from Brigham Young.

Tharpe played 175 minutes, shot .289 from the field, .273 from three, .500 from the line, attempting just two free throws. He scored 29 points, had 21 assists and 22 turnovers. White played 136 minutes, shot .283 from the field, .200 from three, .500 from the line with 20 attempts. White had 19 assists and just five turnovers.

Williams said Justin Watts, a 6-5, 210-pound senior from Durham, N.C., also will spend some time at the point, but Watts has just five assists (and seven turnovers) in 246 minutes. He’s no playmaker, no scorer, considered a better defender than anything.

Kansas doesn’t have seven McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster, as does North Carolina, in fact it doesn’t have any, but it does have two guards whose confidence never has been healthier. Should be a fascinating few days in the Edward Jones Dome.


Tim Orel 10 years, 8 months ago

I'll read this column if/when KU gets past the Wolfpack. This is premature, to say the least.

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 8 months ago

I was about to write a similar post. One foot before the other... Otherwise you slip.

Mike Ardis 10 years, 8 months ago

Readers want to know what the hot topic at the St. Louis regional is, especially since it deals with the Number 1 seed, and a coach who spent 15 years at KU. If this was happening to Ohio I doubt there would have been a column. Roy was here for a long, long time, and people, as you can tell by the number of comments, want to read about him, UNC and what could happen Friday night.

Mike Stewart 10 years, 8 months ago

It's always humorous when fans think what they focus their attention on will in any way impact the outcome of the game.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand your objection. This is just an article about North Carolina which has a big effect on our Midwest division. It has nothing to do with us playing against them. The comparison to Tharpe was simply an example of using an unproved player in an important position.

ancient_hawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I find it hilarious that Keegan, in his video interview with Tait, completely pooh poohed all the UNC/KU hype, and pointed out that the focus should be on NC State/KU.

And then.........he couldn't help himself. He wrote an article about that very same hype. Bloated Bloviater is Bloated Bloviater, film at 11:00

deepind 10 years, 8 months ago

All browsers support AdBlocking either natively or through a plugin. I use Adblock Plus plugin with FireFox, and AdBlock 2.5.22 with Safari (fyi - I'm on a MacBook Pro, Snow Leopard 10.6.8).

baldwinjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't know how Keegan high school grammar, let alone college grammar. Maybe he didn't?

Bville Hawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Quote: "I don't know how Keegan high school grammar"

Speaking of a need for grammar check...

10 years, 8 months ago

Grammar Police Rule #1: check your own comment for errors prior to criticizing others.

Kye Clark 10 years, 8 months ago

Kind of ironic how so many (myself included at times) have been critical of Self not playing Tharpe, often harping on the "what if...?" scenarios that could thrust Tharpe into some "crunch time minutes" and yet here Roy Williams has basically done the same thing, and is now in fact faced with that "what if...?" situation. I'm not one for saying "he's the head coach and they know better than you/us" but maybe we (myself included) should cut Bill some slack, as the practice of not playing inexperienced freshman point guards is not exclusive to him.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I am willing to cut our legendary coach 99% slack, based on the miracle work he has done with this current squad. The remaining 1% shrieks, "Damn it, Tharpe should average at least 2 more minutes playing time!"

Brianna Zaleski 10 years, 8 months ago

I think the biggest thing gained by keeping our smaller rotation this year is chemistry. And, boy, has it showed this year when we most needed it! In years past our larger rotation hurt us when we needed to buckle down and get some stops and trust each other. There are plenty of advantages that go with depth (and its a good"problem"to have), but there are advantages to the lack of it as well. And this year I think we've seen that it can produce great trust in each other and great chemistry.
Barring any injuries!

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

Amen icthf, Tharpe hadn't played well enough to get those minutes, Self didn't want to hurt his confidence by having him force more errors than necessary, and KU has 2 guards that can play point already. Tharpe was ready to contribute the minutes he needed to against Purdue, that's what matters. Obviously all those minutes of EJ and TT together allowed for a pretty special ending to that game for KU fans (can't believe that alley-oop wasn't a SC topten play, it was sick. For a while I wanted Tharpe in more, then I wanted him in less after seeing what kept happening. Now maybe we can hope he's able to provide a few good minutes of relief off the bench in case of foul trouble or fatigue, but we need to be able to get it done with our first seven this year, those are the guys that can really keep the pressure on opposing teams.

Bob Forer 10 years, 8 months ago

My guess is that Williams will give most of the PT to Watts, who at least offers some senior experience and defense. The other four players on the floor are athletic enough to make their own plays. No way does he thrust an unheralded and inexperienced freshman into the point guard slot in the sweet 16.

Alohahawk 10 years, 8 months ago

BTW, who is the starting point guard(s) for KU's 'next' opponent, N. C. State?

One game at a time, Hawks. (And T. K.)

jhox 10 years, 8 months ago

I sort of hope, if we advance and play Carolina, that Marshall plays. There is no way a point guard can be effective this soon after the kind of surgery he had. Yes, it is his off hand, but a point guard needs that off hand regularly. It's not like a power forward who could get away playing much of the game with one hand. Tyshawn and Elijah would eat him alive.

But like everyone points out above, one game at a time. I'm not overly confident about this NC State game.

BruceWayne 10 years, 8 months ago

Very premature article. Guess Keegs needed something to do while the staff switched from breakfast buffet to lunch buffet.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Forget NC State and NC -

Who are we playing in the Championship game? Let's concentrate on them!
And next years game too.....

bballwizard 10 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Hey, wizard, we're just locked in, locked down and focused. Not yer ordinary gaggle of fanny scratchers.

KGphoto 10 years, 8 months ago

+1 locked and loaded. Crosshairs on the pack.

Steve Reigle 10 years, 8 months ago

So why is this premature? Are you a Kansas fan only or a basketball fan, as well? Those of us who are basketball fans do like to read about other programs.

LJ Gee 10 years, 8 months ago

Im not a big Keegan fan but I do think all the "this is premature" talk is ridiculous. The point of the article is just to point out that in STL, all the talk is on the PG issues of UNC, which has allowed KU to fly under the radar a bit. I find nothing wrong with that at all. Its essentially, the news of the day. The only part that might - might - be a bit premature is the very last paragraph but even that doesnt talk directly about a potential matchup with UNC. You people need to chill out a little bit

Brak 10 years, 8 months ago

So basically if KU finds a way to beat NC St. then go on to beat NC to head to the final four all we will hear is that KU got a lucky break just like when we beat OSU without Sullinger.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

If that's the tune coming in I could listen to it all of next week with a big smile on my face

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

Brak has hit the nail on the head...all I am hearing from the Tiggers surrounding me is " you Chickenhawks get every break..first three rounds of double digit seeds then a fourth round against the weakest #1 with major injury issues."

I simply reply, "Wouldn't you like to be in our sneakers???" :)

Frankly, because of the unique relationship between Kansas and Carolina and Coach Williams and Coach Self, his successor, I think the timing of the article is totally appropriate, since we are in the same regional and there is a better than 50/50 chance that we play will face each other.

C'mon guys and gals, if you haven't believed by now that this year's team has learned to take no one for granted, you haven't been paying attention.

Enjoy the ride, watch us dismantle NC State Friday then sit back Sunday and watch the drama!!!

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

As far as the Tiggers whining goes, well, look where they're from. But they should know that luck (or bad luck) plays a significant role in any NCAA Tournament. I guess they haven't been to enough of them to know.

Rarely does the "best" team win the whole thing, as we Jayhawks can testify to many times over the course of Roy's tenure here, and a couple of times so far under Coach Self.

The key to this team's success is to stay focused. The only thing I respectfully disagree with you about is our tendancy to sometimes take teams for granted. At least it seems that way to me, especially when we are heavy favorites.

To me, the key to our success is stopping the opponent's long range shooters. In our last 7 tournament losses, we have been BADLY beaten in the 3 pt game. Even in our 2008 Championship we were outscored 6-3 in 3 pointers.

Of course, we have to play our game and get Withey involved, and hit free throws too!

Like you, I'm ready to get on with it and let ALL of the drama unfold. RCJH !

GeoHawk15 10 years, 8 months ago

Mizery fans continue to show how little they know about the tournament. Nothing is guaranteed. We can only play the teams that tournament fate puts in front of us. We had a clearer path to the Final Four last year and we all saw how that played out.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Sounds to me as though "lucky breaks" means "wins." I'll take 'em.

Scott Smetana 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't think this will affect UNC's ability to score, especially with Hensen and Zeller inside. However, this will make their already shaky defense worse.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

"Kansas doesn’t have seven McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster, as does North Carolina, in fact it doesn’t have any, but it does have two guards whose confidence never has been healthier."

That is one of the ugliest run-ons I've seen since fifth grade. It should be written something like this:

"Unlike North Carolina, Kansas doesn't have seven McDonald's All-Americans on the roster. In fact, it doesn't have any. However, it does have two guards whose confidence has never been healthier."

Can I have a job as proofreader?

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Oh, and "have" not "has". Stupid copy & paste.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Frankly, it should have been written this way:

"KU proves how much hype there is in McDonald's All-Americans; that lots of unselected guys are just as good, and sometimes even better. Baja KU's overrated big men are going either to be twisted like paper clips by the nation's POY--Thomas Robinson--the player known as Superman, or they are going to see the sun and their shots blotted out by the nation's finest shot blocker--the only shot blocker in America adept at blocking shots to his teammates and to himself. And KU's perimeter players are faster, just as long, and much stronger that Baja KU's. KU is about to put the lie to the McDonald's All American label, as being a reliable indicator of who can play the greatest game ever invented."

Or something like that.

And, yes, I intentionally stretched out those sentences just to see if I could get away with it. :-)

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

So there's an ad selling Sweet 16 shirts on this site? Huh? Sweet 16 is something to sell shirts about? Not at KU.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

maybe if we had 8 straight of them, then it might be worth it, not until then

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

respectfully say - 8 straight Final Fours

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

It'$ not about whether or not KU $hould or $houldn't $ell $weet 16 t-$hirt$. There'$ a different factor coming into play here...

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

If our starters play 30 minutes per starter, or less, of fast tempo against NCSU, then we'll beat Baja KU. We were as good, or better before their injury problems. Now we are for sure the better team.

But if we really have to empty the gas tank to beat NCSU, it will be very tough to beat Baja KU. I don't foresee Baja KU having a knock down drag out in their warm up for us.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

It aint the Big 10, they don't know how to do that there with the exception of Virginia.

10 years, 8 months ago

Me likey! Thanks for the link :^)

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

Love the use of Great Escape for the PU game On the other hand probably gonna bet almost every one of those sweet16 games on the other side of the spread compared to his score predictions, except I like Marquette to cover 1.5 or 2 against UF same as the writer and I don't bet on KU.

Steve Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

Kansas doesn’t have seven McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster, as does North Carolina, in fact it doesn’t have any..

Oh crawp, guess we better pack it up and head home, oh wait, I'll double check my cards, I'll play these, I'm all in. If you get by Ohio, I'll see you sunday at sundown.

clinkmd 10 years, 8 months ago

I was talking with a surgeon with significant hand experience today and he said a scaphoid fracture has a significant risk of non-union (basically a failure to heal that requires another surgery and bone grafting). Anyone concerned with this kid's long term interests should probably advise him to not play.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure what to think about UNC-Ohio, Ohio was giving up way too many easy buckets to USF in the post so UNC should be able to own them down there, but on the other hand UNC is most likely going to look terrible getting into their offense. Current line around 10.5, I know enough to put some scratch on the Bobcats with that kind of spread working in my favor.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.