The Sideline Report with Tyshawn Taylor
The NCAA requires teams to open their locker rooms to media members for a short time each day once the NCAA Tournament begins.
This mostly means two things: better access for the media and longer Sideline Reports for the fans.
Trust me, it's much easier to ask silly questions when you have plenty of time and not as many reporters around you.
The following is seven good minutes with KU guard Tyshawn Taylor. I have an open locker room to thank for that.
The Sideline Report with Tyshawn Taylor
Jesse Newell: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?
Tyshawn Taylor: Mario Little. Hands down.
JN: Why’s that?
TT: He’s a clown, man. As soon as he steps in the locker room, everybody is smiling because they think he’s going to say something funny. He’s just a clown. He makes jokes about everybody. He’s just funny. He’s a character.
JN: What’s an example of something he’s said?
TT: He’s always talking about Q (Quintrell Thomas), because Q always talks about what he used to do in high school. Mario’s like, ‘You’re always talking about high school.’ He talks about the twins a lot because they’re kind of goofy. He always talks about Cole. It’s funny. He’s funny.
JN: Who’s the goofiest teammate?
TT: Cole. (laughs) You can just tell by the way he looks he’s funny. He always wears his little hat. He’s got these big ears and he always wears the little hat. He never covers his ears. It’s always at the top. He’s just so funny. And the way he talks. I don’t know. He’s just goofy.
JN: Have you heard people talk like that around here yet in Minnesota?
TT: I haven’t heard many people talk in Minnesota. But if they’re all as goofy as him, I feel bad for the state. (smiles)
JN: Who’s going to play you in a movie?
TT: Denzel Washington. Oh, Will Smith. I was going to say Will Smith, but I just feel like he’s too light-skinned. He can’t play me. He’s not funny enough, I don’t think. He’s funny, but he’s not as funny as me.
JN: So Denzel’s funnier?
[Ed. Note — Anyone else love this movie?]
TT: I think he could be funnier.
JN: So Denzel lives up to your standards. Will Smith not quite there.
TT: Nah, he can’t play me.
JN: Do you feel like early in the season Sherron was riding you harder than some other people?
TT: Yeah. I think he was because he expected more of me. He knew that I needed to play at my best for us to be at our best, so he pushed me a little bit harder than he pushed everybody else. I’m thankful for it because if he didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be at the point I’m at right now.
JN: Matt Kleinmann said early in the season maybe you and Sherron got into it one time in practice. Has that happened too?
TT: Yeah. Two good players colliding everyday, talking. He’s a good player. A great player, and I’m pretty good. I’m trying to be where he’s at, trying to win a national championship and be as good as him. So, I mean, everybody’s got their opinion on different things, and some people feel like we should do it this way and he feels we should do it that way. Of course we’re going to bump heads, but, I mean, it’s all in great love. He’s been a great friend to me since I’ve been here, like a big brother type. I appreciated everything he’s been doing for me.
JN: Mario says he thinks coach Self might be tougher on you at times than other people. What do you think about that?
TT: I think it’s the same. I feel like he sees more in me and feels like I can do more. And when I don’t, he gets upset with me like any coach would. Coach Self, he’s been on me, but, I mean, he wouldn’t be the coach that he is if he wasn’t. I get upset, but I’m thankful.
JN: What did you and Sherron disagree about?
TT: Who’s not playing hard, or who should be where when they aren’t. Stuff like that. Just little stuff like that.
JN: That stuff happens during the season, right?
TT: All the time. All the time.
JN: What was the biggest adjustment, coming to Kansas?
TT: Leaving the city probably. Lawrence is more slow-paced. Everybody’s a lot nicer. A lot nicer. People just talk to you. You walk up to people, and they just start talking to you. People don’t do that in New Jersey.
JN: Give me a funny story that happened on the road. What’s something that you’ll remember from this first year?
TT: I think it was when we beat K-State. Russell Robinson came in the locker room. I can’t remember exactly what happened in the game, but coach Self said something, and Russell walked in, so coach Self, his whole attitude just changed. Everybody just started laughing because it was kind of like a surprise. That was kind of funny. I think everybody was a little bit surprised about it. Coach was kind yelling at us a little bit, and then Russell walked in, and (Coach) just started smiling. So that was kind of funny. Russell kind of saved us a little bit.
JN: So is Russell invited back to the locker room any time?
TT: Definitely. Definitely. Especially when coach Self is in the middle of yelling at us.
JN: I heard you like to shop. Is that right?
TT: I love to shop. I love shopping.
JN: Shopping for what?
TT: Clothes. I love clothes and sneakers.
JN: Do people get after you for that?
TT: Nah, I think we all like to shop equally. I go shopping with the twins and Mario all the time. I think we all like to shop equally.
JN: Where do you go shopping at?
TT: Oak Park Mall.
JN: Do you talk to your mom after every game?
JN: Tell me about that.
TT: I have three or four missed calls during the game. She calls me while I’m playing to tell me what I’m doing wrong. And I call her back, then she explains to me what I did wrong during the game like she knows. Every game, I have about three or four missed calls, and I talk to her after every game. She’s the first person I call after every game.
JN: What’s an example of something she tells you that you did wrong? Does she know about basketball?
TT: She doesn’t know anything, but she tells me I don’t shoot enough, which every mother says to every one of their kids. She tells me I don’t follow through on my free throws, which, that’s accurate most of the time. And I’ve got to stop turning the ball over.
JN: Have you told her that calling you during the game isn’t going to do much?
TT: I tell her every time. It doesn’t stop her. I feel like she needs to. She saves face when she does it. I don’t know what it is.
[Ed. Note — Look to the far right.]
JN: Did you doubt yourself at all earlier this year, maybe when you went through a little slump?
TT: I don’t think I doubted myself. I was kind of down on myself a little bit. It felt like I needed to play a little bit better. It felt like I had to get out of a funk. But I didn’t doubt myself, because I knew what I was capable of, and I think my teammates did too. I appreciate my teammates because they didn’t doubt me either. They helped me out going through everything. They helped me out a lot.