Columbia, S.C. It's way too early in the basketball season to suggest Kansas University's Darrell Arthur has hit the fabled "freshman wall."
College rookies normally run into that invisible barrier late in the conference campaign - a topic for the dog days of February.
So there must be another reason the 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward enters today's 3:30 p.m. nonconference clash at South Carolina on the heels of a three-game skid in which he's averaged 6.3 points a game off 6-of-26 shooting with 14 rebounds.
"My confidence hasn't been up to par shooting," said Arthur, who averages 12.1 points a game overall off 52.8 percent shooting with 5.5 boards a game. "Coach and I have been talking. I need to find a way to get it back."
KU coach Bill Self suggested a way to get it back.
"Get easy buckets," Arthur said. "Find a way to run transition and get easy layups. Then I can start moving out and hit some jump shots. I've missed a lot of jump shots lately."
Arthur, who admits he's been pressing a bit, was visibly disgusted after missing an inside shot, grabbing his own rebound and missing again in KU's last game - a victory over Rhode Island eight days ago.
"I missed two in a row. I rushed 'em," Arthur said. "I talked to coach. He said I need to slow down and gather myself."
Arthur has played an integral role for the Jayhawks in all 14 games this season. He's started seven games and come off the bench in seven. In the his starts Arthur averages 13.6 points and 6.2 boards. In his seven reserve appearances he averages 10.7 points and 4.9 boards.
"I don't think it has anything to do with starting or not starting," Self said. "Oral Roberts he had 22 (points coming off bench). It's a little bit of what all freshmen go through, a little funk. The ball's not been going in, and he lost a little confidence. He'll be fine."
Arthur prefers coming off the bench.
"I like to watch the defense and see how the other team is playing," the Dallas native said. "I just want to do what I can to help this team win."
¢ Last time against SC: KU today completes a home-and-home series with South Carolina. The first game in the series was not last year but two seasons ago.
KU erased an 11-0 deficit to claim a tense 64-60 victory on Dec. 18, 2004, in Allen Fieldhouse.
"Wayne got hurt, and we put the ball in the other goal (when C.J. Giles shot into the wrong hoop)," KU coach Bill Self said quickly, asked what he remembered most about that game.
Wayne Simien broke his left thumb in a game in which he scored a game-high 20 points. J.R. Giddens scored 13, and Keith Langford tallied 11.
Kansas took its first lead at 54-52 with 5:07 remaining as the game had four ties and five lead changes down the stretch. Simien gave the Jayhawks the lead for good, 59-58, on a dunk with 1:41 to play. Freshman Russell Robinson made a key lay-up with 38 seconds remaining and two free throws with 14 ticks left to seal the victory.
Darnell Jackson is the only other current Jayhawk to have played in that game. He had five boards in nine minutes.
Just two players on South Carolina's current roster played in the only meeting in history between KU and USC. Senior Tre' Kelley had eight points off 3-of-10 shooting with two assists and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Senior Brandon Wallace had five points off 1-of-5 shooting with four rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes.
"We were behind double figures almost the entire first half," Self lamented. In fact, KU trailed, 33-25, at halftime. "Our guys were tough. We won that game. They had Balkman (Renaldo, four points, 17 minutes, now with NBA's New York Knicks) and Kinsey (Tarence, 11 points in 33 minutes, now with NBA's Memphis Grizzlies), who are both in the NBA. Also, Tre' Kelley, their leading scorer now. They've had some good players - athletic who can pressure you - who come through there."