2007-08 Nov. 28 KU-FAU Basketball
The toughest thing about garbage time during a college basketball game is watching the patronizing cheers for walk-ons and the gut-busting by the regulars that takes place on the bench when one of the non-scholarship players scores.
Why laugh at them? If they weren't positively influencing the program in some way, they wouldn't get a uniform.
The best thing about watching garbage time of Kansas University basketball games against ridiculously overmatched opponents, such as Florida Atlantic University, which played the tomato can Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse?
Watching Conner Teahan shoot from beyond NBA 3-point range. Between the time he misfired his first 3-point shot as a college player and the time his rainbow from the left corner just in front of the KU bench glanced off the rim with 15 seconds left in KU's 87-49 victory against FAU, here was the result of every 3-pointer Teahan took: Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. The freshman from Rockhurst High in Kansas City, Mo., made eight in a row.
Named Mr. Show-Me Basketball by the Missouri Coaches Association, Teahan turned down basketball scholarship offers from several Missouri Valley schools and a football scholarship from Tulsa University.
He came to KU and knew he would have to do more than shoot his way into contention for a spot in the rotation. He has a long way to go defensively and as a ballhandler before he gets the meaningful minutes. Meanwhile, he has been so entertaining firing up shots late in games that it pays to stay until the end of blowouts.
Teahan played nine minutes and scored nine points against FAU, and his points-per-minute rate actually dropped. For the season, he has scored 26 points in 23 minutes.
"He can shoot," coach Bill Self said of Teahan. "Good God he can shoot. And he's not scared to shoot it. Defensively and some other things he's got to tighten up a lot. Usually, in tight games I play the guys I trust the most, and I have to develop that with all our young guys. That's not a knock on him or Cole (Aldrich) or Tyrel (Reed). That's just the way it is."
Reed and Aldrich will get crunch-time minutes before Teahan, but that doesn't mean Teahan always will be a garbage-time sensation.
"I predict that he'll be part of our rotation in some way, shape or form during his time here, I just don't know when that time will be," Self said.
Teahan averaged 25 points a game during his senior year in high school.
"I knew coming in here I could shoot, and I think they knew that, too, but I have so many more aspects of my game I need to work on," Teahan said. "Sooner or later, I think I'll get used to the speed of the game. Defensively is where I need to improve the most, defensively and ballhandling. If I can improve on those things, I think I'll break into the lineup sooner or later."
He has become a late-game favorite for all the right reasons, not in a patronizing way.
"I kind of zone out before I shoot it and while I shoot it, but once it goes in and the crowd goes crazy, you can definitely feel it, and it kind of picks you up," Teahan said.
It's mutual. He sends them home smiling, not laughing.