10 ways KU could benefit from Tyshawn Taylor's suspension


Responding to a question about all the drama surrounding Kansas State’s basketball program this season, Kansas University junior guard Tyshawn Taylor chose not to throw stones, remembering his troubled past.

“My name scrolled across the bottom of ESPN a couple times, too, so I mean, they’ll be fine,” Taylor said nine days ago.

K-State, spurred by its victory against KU in Manhattan, is fine for the moment. Taylor isn’t.

His name is crawling on ESPN again. Taylor’s indefinite suspension for violating team rules comes as a blow to a team that has had trouble with consistency at the point guard position and it’s a personal setback for Taylor, who forever hints at making strides in the maturity department, only to stumble backward repeatedly.

Here’s a look at 10 ways Kansas can, strange as it may sound, benefit from Taylor’s suspension:

1. KU’s ceiling is highest with hyped freshman Josh Selby at his best, making the team better with him than without him. Now, with Taylor out, Selby has a chance to show he can play the point, get to the paint consistently and dish to teammates for easy buckets. He’ll have a chance to play through more mistakes this way and with such a great opportunity in front of him, might be able to push the residual pain his foot still causes him into the background. Maybe the confidence of knowing he can play through mistakes will make him tighten up his ballhandling and make fewer careless turnovers.

2. The embarrassment of seeing his name crawling on ESPN for his role in a fight with the football team and for his Facebook postings, both coming during his sophomore year, didn’t make Taylor realize that he needs to block out all voices other than his coach’s in order to get the most out of his college basketball experience. Maybe this will shock him into growing up.

3. Reserve sophomore guard Elijah Johnson has the chance to get more prolonged stretches of playing time and prove that he’s a better player than he has shown so far. He won’t do that by clanking three-pointers, rather by driving and dishing.

4. This is yet another opportunity for the Jayhawks to show they can overcome whatever adversity is thrown their way. Kansas ranks third in the nation, despite players losing 17 games and counting to suspensions (Selby nine, Mario Little six, Johnson two, plus however many Taylor misses), 11 games to injury (Travis Releford five, Selby three and Thomas Robinson three) and two games because of family tragedies (Robinson), a total of 30 games. Having so many different players in and out of the lineup presents an even greater challenge than if one player had missed all the games.

5. Having one less guard in the rotation could lead to more combinations in which KU has three bigs on floor together. There likely will be teams Kansas faces in the tournament that can best be exploited by using three front-court players. The more experience such a lineup has playing, the better they’ll perform.

6. One less guard in the rotation means more minutes for Travis Releford, who was coming on before suffering a sprained ankle that still nags him. His ankle is more the issue than anything as to why he’s not getting big minutes now, but Taylor’s suspension also will be a factor too in his playing time.

7. Sends the message to the entire team that coach Bill Self doesn’t care how important the player or what the calendar says in terms of vital timing, you break a serious team rule, you get suspended.

8. This gives both Selby and Johnson a chance to show they can handle the assignment of guarding the opposing point guard and can stay in front of him, prevent him from whipping around them easily. It’s a stretch to believe either player has it in him to do so, but if either does, this opportunity will bring it out in him. Johnson, remember, did a far better job than anyone else of slowing down Jacob Pullen in Manhattan, which might not be saying a great deal considering Pullen scoring 38 points, but still, it’s something.

9. This team showed how well it deals with prosperity — not very well, having lost the day it was ranked No. 1 — and this latest news will solidify the national perception this just isn’t KU’s year. Most of the talk will center on the other five teams that received at least one No. 1 vote in the poll released today.

10. It gives the coaching staff a chance to see what the team would look like with Selby initiating the offense instead of Taylor and leaves open the possibility of handing the keys to the freshman, even upon Taylor’s return. Selby’s looked so raw at both ends, has missed so many games, and Kansas is 25-2, so it seems a huge stretch, but it’s at least worth discussing. North Carolina, for one, has improved making an in-season change at the point. In the first game after junior Larry Drew II quit the team, freshman Kendall Marshall responded with nine points and 16 assists. Things would get most interesting if Selby put up that sort of night tonight.


d_prowess 11 years, 9 months ago

Great blog in response to this recent development! Good breakdown of what it could mean.

Tom Keegan 11 years, 9 months ago

No spin, 12steps. They have no choice but to try to get better without a player whose poor judgment put them in a bad spot. Would you rather they try to get worse from it?

JRandall 11 years, 9 months ago

Nice perspective Tom.. This team seems to thrive and get it together with adversity. Just hoping the adversity is dying down. What are your thoughts on Ben McLemore being kicked suspended from Oak Hill Academy? Is this kids talent worth the possible discipline problems for HCBS and Jayhawks?

tulsahawkfan 11 years, 9 months ago

I actually agree with many of these. But I'm more of a glass-full type of guy. Still loaded with talent and this does open up the door for others. Positive attitudes play a big role in success this time of year.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Stop trolling.

He's not saying anything is looking up. He's saying there are ways they COULD benefit.

Obviously this is not a good thing, but there are opportunities for players to take advantage which COULD be a good thing.

Adam Evans 11 years, 9 months ago

TT has had two, maybe three solid games this year. The rest he has been a liability and someone else had to pick up the slack. This team will show that we are better and stronger with him off the bench rather than starting.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Interesting post, although this sort of seems like a recap of the comment board on the Taylor suspension article. :-)

Number 1 and 10 seem a little bit repetitive, but all and all an interesting thing to think about. Also appreciate the fact that you are saying this is how KU could benefit, not that they are better off as some posters have stated. They are not better off -- that is just silly to think so -- but there is a possibility it could help in the long run.

pizzaboy225 11 years, 9 months ago

not always a fan of your work, but i do appreciate your above average critical eye of the team more than most of the active posters. #'s 5,7, and 8 were especially insightful in my opinion

jayhawklawrence 11 years, 9 months ago

Late last year. ..

That is when Tom had some kind of epiphany. His writing has been great since.

Great comments.

We don't know who Selby is yet other than that he has a tremendous upside. It is too early to give him the reins, but he has to step up to the challenge. He has a lot of freshman issues but we will need him to grow up quickly. What can be fixed quickly is our transition offense and our fast break. Selby can fix that problem very quickly.

Luckily, Tyrell and Brady are awesome. Enough said.

It is time to give the sword to Releford. He has earned it. Let the man play.

Mario needs to stop trying to prove he belongs. He sold me a long time ago. Cut down on the fouls. Stop trying to do too much.

The Morris twins already proved they have the right stuff. They are going to be there along with Robinson.

The K-State game was an NCAA tournament kind of game. They were perfect for one game and they beat us because we were not perfect. To win in the NCAAs you have to be perfect every game.

We don't have much time left to screw around with maturity issues.

Scott Smetana 11 years, 9 months ago

Excellent Post.... best one I've read on here all week.

Tom Keegan 11 years, 9 months ago

12steps -- do you have a real name, by the way, I feel funny calling you 12steps -- are you saying Taylor didn't play a great game against Iowa State? Time for you to look back at the tape. Garrett was Cyclones only shot at making it a game and Taylor shut him down. I'm not saying this makes them better, I"m saying these are ways to try to benefit from it. ... LAJayhawk, You don't really believe I read comments to determine what to write, do you? That was a joke, right? For the record, I do have a mind of my own. Why wouldn't there be overlap? Not to rip myself, but were any of the 10 reasons terribly insightful? AS for 1 and 10 being repetitive, I'll give you that one.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Yes, Tom, that was a joke (note my smiley emoticon). I was actually thinking more of the intelligence of your readership. This fan base has a very strong knowledge and they were thinking much the same as you were. Obviously you didn't read those comments then quickly type this post. You must have started working on it when the news broke, which is why you posted so soon after we learned of Taylor's suspension. I meant no disrespect with that comment.

And, yes, I did find them insightful, which is why I called it an interesting post. I agree with basically all of what you have said.

I believe you do read through comments on here (and why not?), but it's clear you write from your own mind/opinion. And I highly respect that even if I dog on you a bit. :-)

hawksfan08 11 years, 9 months ago

Love point #5 but I worry we won't get to see that effect due to the Robinson injury. Of course if the suspension lasts more than a game or two we might.

dynamitehawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Good work Keegs. Time to grow up. Point Plankin'

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 9 months ago

What is going on in the heads of KU players after reading this.

irvan moore 11 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Keegan please remember i am a fan of yours but take that nasty thing out of your mouth! smoking is bad for you and it is a very poor example to be setting for all the youth in our city who look to you as a role model.

Tom Keegan 11 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I don't read comments and then write. Until recently, I didn't read comments at all. I just now have started sometimes reading them below my stories and so far it hasn't been as self-defeating as I might have thought, given that the anonymity of the Internet means there are no consequences to uttering gratuitously mean comments designed at making the person making them feel better about himself by making someone else feel worse about himself. ... As for the intelligence of the fan base, I can think of a much better example: Markieff grabbed a rebound in traffic midway through the second half of Saturday's game. His elbows were out, players started stabbing at the ball, and his reflexes told him to start swinging his elbows, but his quick thinking told him to tuck the elbows and cover up the ball, an impressive sign of progress. Immediately, the fans erupted, applauding him for the decision. My question is this: How many fan bases would have been that in tune with what's going on with one of its players for nearly everyone in the house to pick up on that and reinforce his good behavior with applause? Not many. The Allen Fieldhouse crowd reminds me of the baseball crowds at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in that regard. Language, thankfully, isn't as salty though.

gchawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Good synopsis. I've been to games at NU, KSU, and CU and those experiences just proved to me how knowledgeable KU fans are. Without exception, at the other schools if there was a call against their team the crowd would jeer loudly, I guess they feel their players make no mistakes and the refs always do, but, ultimately, it just makes them appear ignorant.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

"Actually, I don't read comments and then write."

That wasn't what I meant; sorry if it came across that way. I meant that I assumed you do read comments after you write... and I made that assumption based on the article you wrote about Sherron's elevator-gate story in which you quoted online comments a couple years ago.

There is certainly nothing wrong with taking multiple opinions into account as you work (again, though, not suggesting you do). I do it all the time when I frame my opinion about KU basketball. There are a number of very insightful people on here... unfortunately there are also a lot of those trolling for reactions by tossing out insults (12steps on this very blog is a perfect example).

If I could offer a suggestion to you, Tom, I think it is beneficial that you read comments after your articles and occasionally respond to one or two (not all the time, but every once in a while). I think you would see more engagement, and -- more importantly -- people would see the human element and lay off the insults as much. You will still get the mean-spirited people (those are never going away) but I think many would start acting more respectful. I can personally say I greatly respect the fact that you would open up a discussion with me despite the fact that I have criticized you in the past.

Great point about the fans response to Markieff's attempt to change. That's exactly what I mean and why I spend a fair amount of time reading comments on here. You just have to be willing to wade through some crap sometimes.

Thanks for the responses, Tom. I appreciate it.

dynamitehawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Do you stare at a horse's ass for 30 minutes, then post on

dynamitehawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I would destroy you in a battle of wit, but you're not worth it, man. Have fun trollin'

RockCaCO3 11 years, 9 months ago

Step 1 - Act like a douche Step 2 - Be a douche Step 3 - Live the douche Step 4-11 Feel the douche Step 12 - Troll like a douche.

MinnesotaJay 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe more Morningstar and Reed minutes will result in a more mature product on the floor. Of course, maybe that's not where the minutes land. Regardless, I think Taylor's minutes are bound to wind up in the hands of players who will appreciate them more.

jbrandt3 11 years, 9 months ago

I really hope the guys stepping in for Taylor play very well tonight. Maybe create a feeling of uneasiness in TT that maybe he doesn't need to be on the court for the team to play well. He needs to grow up and keep his mind on playing basketball. I think my three year old has better focus then he does.

midhawktx 11 years, 9 months ago

Tom...I give you major props for getting on the message boards. Here is my question to you about TT: How many suspensions/chances does this guy get? Is he still here next year? Thoughts?

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 9 months ago

Just looking at a segment here in DC about baseball player Adam LaRoche who apparently has ADD which affected his focus. I wonder if TT has some type of a behavioral problem?

midhawktx 11 years, 9 months ago

Who knows what is causing the lack of focus. As a fan, I'm very disappointed.

midhawktx 11 years, 9 months ago

No better place or time to get it when you have free healthcare and doctors at hand. Better now rather than later.

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 9 months ago

LaRoche got medication to control his ADD and has been able to to extend his baseball playing career. I am only saying that something along these lines could be affecting TT's behavior and might be corrective.

Danny Hernandez 11 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe how many games players have missed for whatever reason and we're 25-2! 25-2!! Tom, what is that a result of? This team lost 3 starters from last year and still, the team is right up there again....Coach Self and staff are unbelievable, maybe the best in the conference and country.....08, we lose all 5 starters and go out and win the Big12. 10, we lost 3 starters and are 25-2, one game behind UT for the conference, talking about a possible 1 seed. I wonder how we would do if we could go 2 years without losing any players, either to graduation or the league? And we could we play healthy for a season?

REHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Bill Self has done a patient admirable job in attempting to nurse TT to become a focused competitor who best utilizes the superior physical and learning skills which have befallen him. Most dedicated supportive Jayhawk fans have shown remarkable resiliency in coping with TT's frequent intermittent slip-ups. Will there ever be an end to such offcourt "highlights" and gametime regressions? Weird season for Jayhawk coaching staff? Understatement.

Pam McCormick 11 years, 9 months ago

Yea, that is why Mr Knight is calling games and not coaching them cuz he has great player development skills, I admit the man had an impressive graduation rate but that was a different time. I for one would much rather have HCBS on my team's bench!!!!

midhawktx 11 years, 9 months ago

And I would argue HCBS has done the same...Simien, Darnel, Sasha, RusRob, Reed, Trob, and countless others. Your argument is mute.

Steve Corder 11 years, 9 months ago

This isn't KU's year? 25-2 is a terrible year! Replace Self with Eddie Sutton and let's correct this mess.

Robert Sailler 11 years, 9 months ago

Morningstar will play the point guard slot, not Selby. That's the Truth.

mikehawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Some of us are old enough to remember in 1988 when Larry Brown moved Kevin Pritchard to the point. Not quick enough and more of a two than a one. Turnovers decreased, with less flash and better fundamentals, while wins and confidence mounted. The player on the current team most memorable of Pritchard...Brady Morningstar. Still, I think HCBS can't help himself from giving Josh Selby a look see. And, don't forget, the suspension may or may not be of long duration. Should make for a very interesting Big Monday game. Lots of buzz in the Fieldhouse tonight.

Jack Wilson 11 years, 9 months ago

Tom: Could not have stated it better ..

But will Coach Self be a bit of a risk-taker and play Selby at the 1, or EJ;

Or will Coach Self play it conservatively and play Morningstar or Reed at the point?

Roll the dice, coach .. start Selby at the 1.

Greg Lux 11 years, 9 months ago

Sometimes a little adversity brings out the best in others. Josh and EJ have the "Ball in their court" It's not the best way to make a move like this but maybe it's the only way it was going to happen successfully For both Josh and EJ looking over their shoulders knowing if they made mistakes the hook was out with TT in the wings. Now they know they will be able to play through some mistakes and that maybe the incentive they need to excel. I hate to see that TT has still not gotten his life straightened up. But we need to remember that many of these players come from very tough backgrounds with little discipline. We put them in a hero setting and expect them not to take advantage of the temptations out there in front of them. Most adjust.. Some never do .. It appears TT is in the some group. If not for the caring nature of HCBS TT could be off the team looking for another chance someplace else. But not the case here because Coach cares about the kids first and knows their best chance for a future is in basketball. This suspension is sad but necessary and I pray he gets his head on straight sooner because later is fast approaching.

Ian Legler 11 years, 9 months ago

Tom I think you should change your "Keegan Ratings" Icon, seems to me it's looking more like the stock market as of late. Give yourself a little credit.

On another note I could not agree more with the insight. We all know what this team is capable of with Tyshawn at point. Time for us to see what we can do with him riding the pine.

JayhawkDynasty 11 years, 9 months ago

Ian Legler - genius blog commenter or future hall of fame coach...

kansasexplorer3128 11 years, 9 months ago

Pretty much in agreement, Tom. In fact, I've been wondering lately why a) BSelf recruited him in the first place; b) why TT hasn't just bailed out and transferred to a school where he can be a bonehead and still fit in.

KGphoto 11 years, 9 months ago

"...a team that has had trouble with consistency at the point guard position..."

Yeah, well, mainly because TTT has been running that position.

Personally I've been looking forward to a lot more of Bstar's 7:1 A/T ratio.

Sagecasey 11 years, 9 months ago

Good article Tom, but I have to argue #9. KU was only ranked number one because Ohio State lost. Can we really call this "dealing with prosperity" due to so many other factors involved? If Ohio State lost the previous 3 weeks, are you saying we would have lost to Nebraska, Mizzou, or Iowa State after being ranked number one? I think the prosperity aspect is weak considering playing a rival on their home court after we beat them heartily on our home court. KU is a target and Pullen's career/season performance dictates just that. We got outplayed that game. I think it hardly had anything to do with our ranking in KU's mind, but had a lot to do with K-State's knowing we were ranked number one.

Max Ledom 11 years, 9 months ago

12steps, You really sound dumb right now. You sound like an ass and a guy who's just sayin crap off the top of his head. Just sayin

jayhawktalk 11 years, 9 months ago

Fun seeing authors' dialogue with the fan base / readership. +1, Tom (and Jesse, who also participates, hence the plural)! While I am certain there is a fine line to walk while doing it, the interactivity makes for a fantastic read. Love it.

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