Kansas City, Mo. Eric Pauley accumulated a grand total of 10 rebounds through Kansas' first six basketball games.
That's not many caroms for a shooting guard or small forward, much less a 6-foot-10, 210-pound center.
Pauley, a transfer from Cypress Community College in California, didn't grab more than five boards in a single game until a six-rebound effort in Game 17 at Oklahoma.
The Buena Park, Calif., native has rallied of late. He grabbed 10 rebounds last Sunday versus Missouri, eight on March 2 versus Oklahoma State and 12 on Feb. 24 versus Oklahoma.
"I DON'T think there's any reason that sticks out," Pauley said of his improved board work. "I've been in the right place at the right time. The boards have been coming to me, but I can't tell you I've been doing anything different to get rebounds."
Pauley, who became a starter in late December, was to answer the call again today against Colorado. Tipoff for the first-round Big Eight tourney game was set for 2:20 p.m. at Kemper Arena.
"Rebounding will be important against Colorado," said Pauley. "They are very athletic."
Through 27 games, Pauley averages 9.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. In the Big Eight, however, he's averaged 11.4 points and 5.1 boards. Just this week he was named honorable mention all-Big Eight.
"I don't know if I'm looking to be more active," said Pauley, who had 13 points against Missouri and a career-best 23 versus Oklahoma. "I'm more comfortable with the system. Here it's easy to get the shot if you run the plays you're supposed to run. A lot of it is the way the system is."
UNDERSTANDABLY, it took Pauley a while to learn coach Roy Williams' system. He averaged 21 points and 9.3 boards last year at Cypress.
"I think he has been more active," said senior forward Alonzo Jamison. "Like he says, he's more confident. In time, new guys will do that. He's been picking it up the last couple weeks. Our big guys have to keep doing that."
Oklahoma and Nebraska were to play today at 12:10 p.m., followed by the KU-CU clash. Tonight, Oklahoma State will face Kansas State at 6:10 p.m., followed by the Missouri-Iowa State game at 8:20.
The winner of Friday's KU-CU game will face the OU-NU winner at 1:10 p.m. Saturday. The other semifinal will follow at 3:20 p.m. The final is set for 2:10 p.m. Sunday.