Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Column: Traylor should turn up the heat

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) defends against a shot from Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews (0) during the first half on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) defends against a shot from Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews (0) during the first half on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.


Since starting the first two games of the season and playing 29 and 26 minutes in a victory over UC Santa Barbara and a loss to Kentucky, Kansas University junior Jamari Traylor has seen his minutes dip and only once — Dec. 13 vs. Utah — played as much in a single game as he did in either of those contests.

Traylor, like many Jayhawks on Bill Self’s deep and talented roster, appears to be thinking too much about how he’s playing or what he’s doing instead of just letting it rip.

With roles still being sorted out and chemistry, rhythm and confidence coming and going, there’s one way Traylor could nail down his spot and increase his minutes while helping the team at the same time.

He needs to channel Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, Charles Oakley or Anthony Mason. Those guys were some of the baddest dudes in the NBA during their days. And they became that way by making the paint a place opponents did not want to enter.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Traylor does not have to go as far as developing a reputation for which Detroit’s “Bad Boys” or Oakley and Mason’s Knicks were known. But would it hurt if he were to lean that way ever so slightly?

Think about it: In 10 games this season, Traylor is averaging just 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 40 percent in fewer than 20 minutes a game. Those aren’t bad numbers for the second or third guy off the bench, but Traylor is not the guy to look to for increased scoring or as a defensive stopper. He has just 11 blocks and eight steals all season.

He can, however, become an enforcer. If just one guy on this roster did that, it would be interesting to see how many others would follow. I’m sure sophomore point guard Frank Mason would love to be that guy. But his small frame and overall value prohibit him from being the answer. Traylor can be, and he can do it without risking much. In his 10 games, Traylor has committed two fouls or fewer seven times and has yet to foul out. This is not to suggest that Traylor should become a cheap-shot artist or fall head over heels for the hack. But they give you five fouls. Why not use them?

Doing so would give KU an edge it currently does not have. Traylor could even expand the role. Go crazy on the defensive glass. Swat everything that comes near you, even if it leads to a foul or goaltending. The whole idea has nothing to do with production or statistics and everything to do with making a statement the Jayhawks need someone to make.


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 9 months ago

Those names (Mahorn, Laimbeer, Oakley and Mason) still raise my, and most Bulls fans, blood pressure. I wish Mahorn was still with the Pistons in '91 when the Bulls swept them. Oakley wasn't strong enough to finish the winning shot in game 7 in '96!

Can you imagine how sweet it would be if Traylor/Alexander took on a Mahorn/Mason persona!!! The next time any of the those 4 mentioned cowers to anyone will be the first and a major shock. A Dennis Rodman on-court persona would also be welcome.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 9 months ago

Great thought. but the problem is if he becomes an enforcer, we're even thinner at the offensive end. my 2cents, if you want him to be an enforcer, he better crashing much harder for offensive rebounds, not just a rim protector.

he's great at setting up screens, but the problem is, only Mason or Graham is quick enough to use the screen to pop the ball. most of the times, Mari ends up with the ball. i would rather he's good at shooting J's or driving to the basket than just a facilitator at the key that ends up with empty hands (no rebounds, getting calls for moving screen, turnovers).

Jerry Walker 7 years, 9 months ago

The wheel has already been invented...there's no such thing as the "Easy" button...and it's silly to suggest that a player "go crazy" in any facet of the game.

I do agree that this team lacks intensity. But if we're going to dream of channeling some past players...there's one perfect model for this team to emulate and it's not some scowling bad dude.

Its Keven Young...the human hustle machine.

Chuck Woodling 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor is what he is - an average player with no real skill in any area. But he looks good in a suit.

Janet Olin 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor is still on a steep learning curve, having only played 3 or 4 years of basketball, not since he was in diapers like some players. He's improving, but he could be a real force as a rebounder. I predict he will continue improving.

Jerry Walker 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor is drifting into Justin Wesley status.

Many, many people who have watched KU practices, workouts and camps said the guy with the most jaw-dropping physical skills was none other than Justin Wesley. He just never could transfer that to game situations.

Michael Gentemann 7 years, 9 months ago

How about being a Darnell Jackson? I'd take that.

Jonathan Unruh 7 years, 9 months ago

What about Alexander? Lucas? No leadership on this team. We are Missing Big Black.

Robert Brock 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor is just a hustle guy. Unfortunately, he hasn't been hustling lately. He may be doing a lot of pine time second semester.

David Kemp 7 years, 9 months ago

Hustling no less than anybody else. Lucas, Alexander Ellis Michelson, all these guys are no less lost than. Traylor

Mick Allen 7 years, 9 months ago

Other than Alexander, none of the others can blame it on lack of familiarity with the system.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 9 months ago

We can forget about Coach Self's high-low offense that establishes an inside game first this year. We are not getting great inside presence that we need, and until last year, we had some "hustlers" that could make things happen. He needs to find a different way to win games this year, and recruit for it next year.

Robert Brock 7 years, 9 months ago

The good news: all our players are returning next season.

The bad news: all our players are returning next season.

Tom Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

I hope so, but I will not be suprised if we lose two and I think it's probable we lose one.

Either way, we'll be better next year than this year.

Jonathan Unruh 7 years, 9 months ago

So proud of Tarick Black. Look at what a four year college player is accomplishing with the Rockets. To many underclassman/ players are looking for paydays next year instead of being patient and just playing basketball.

Jonathan Unruh 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor : Pull out a Dennis Rodman video. You have the ability to go out and get 12 rebounds a game. 5 offensive boards gets you min. of 6 points per game. Rebound with enthusiasm and you'll become the leader of the team.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

I got no problem with Jamari Traylor. Usually, he is pretty focused. He brings more than Kevin Young. And credit Traylor with sealing a couple of our close W's with his pressure-FTs.

Jamari just needs to keep improving. He can already drive the ball like TRob, and even did that against Duke last year.

ENERGY guys: Mason, Traylor, Graham, Alexander, and maybe Oubre. And, really, Wayne Selden needs to be in this category offensively, as I know he expends a lot of energy defensively.

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