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Archive for Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jayhawks deserve their lofty perch

February 24, 2009

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Jayhawks hang on, take down Sooners

KU defeated Oklahoma, who was ranked third in the nation, 87-78 on Monday night in Norman, Okla. Enlarge video

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2009 KU-OU Feb. 23

— Not a single returning starter from a year ago, only one player who logged more than four minutes in the national-title game and an unavoidable heavy reliance on freshmen added up to no chance for Kansas University to extend its streak of at least a share of consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles to five. Right? Wrong.

The Jayhawks need not apologize for standing alone atop the Big 12 standings because Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, the nation’s best player, watched the game in street clothes. That doesn’t explain away Kansas going into Manhattan and Lincoln and coming out with victories in places where Missouri lost. It doesn’t explain how a team that starts two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior, a bunch that in the summer had trouble winning all its exhibition games in Canada, is 12-1 with three conference games remaining.

Question: Would Kansas, which defeated Oklahoma, 87-78, Monday night in the Lloyd Noble Center, have lost if Griffin played? Answer: It doesn’t matter. You confront the challenges life presents you, after good breaks and bad, and you count up the score at the end.

Through the years, KU director of golf Ross Randall has offered a standard response to golfers good and challenged who begin to rattle off a litany of excuses, from a bump in a green to a rake in a trap that undid them. “What’d you shoot?” Randall never has been afraid to interrupt. (My answer: None of your business).

Face it, it’s what you do with life’s breaks that determines outcomes. Early in the game, Kansas freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor banked in a straight-away jumper, but no asterisk in the box score indicates that. Somehow, Taylor turned his ugly basket into a confidence-booster, and the box says Taylor scored 26 points, dished three steals, turned the ball over once and had a steal. It says he hit three of five three-point shots and defended Tony Crocker well enough to limit him to nine points.

“His best game in college,” was how Kansas coach Bill Self summed up Taylor’s night.

For reasons of pride, it couldn’t have come on a better night for Taylor. Kansas recruited Taylor and the more highly coveted Willie Warren, who ended up choosing Oklahoma. Taylor knew he was a fall-back option in the event Warren didn’t commit to Kansas. Taylor signed with Marquette under the understanding Dominic James would leave early for the NBA. James returned, Marquette’s coach, Tom Crean, left for Indiana. Taylor was granted his release and committed to Kansas.

“I kind of played with a chip on my shoulder because of that,” Taylor said being second fiddle to Warren. “I’ve been thinking about that. Coach was recruiting him a lot. He was supposed to come here, and coach kind of hesitated in recruiting me because of him. He played a great game. He couldn’t have played much better. He played well. I played well. We came out with the W. It feels good. I felt like I had something to prove, and I kind of feel like I proved it.”

Warren, who led the Sooners with 23 points, is better than Taylor, but that doesn’t mean he’s a better recruit. Taylor will stay in college longer.

“Coach Self lucked out with me, I guess,” Taylor said, flashing a huge grin.

Nothing wrong with a little luck here and there.

Comments

Mixolydian 5 years, 11 months ago

Like they say.....

Tradition never graduates.

Rickyonealku 5 years, 11 months ago

Being down 22 to 8 then making a come back to take the lead at half time plus hold on for a WIN....now beat Missouri then travel to Texas Tech and final game vs Texas for another Rock Chalk Jayhawk Big 12 Title.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

From 22-8 down to 58-38 up......a 50 to 16 run?!!!! Fan-freakin-tastic! You do that sort of thing at home against Northewestern Connecticut State, not against the number three team on the road.
Giddy, just plain ol' giddy today. The tough stuff ain't over and Mizzou will be amped Sunday. But man, what a great season. I expected a three or four game losing streak at some point this year and a third of fourth place conference finish at best.

This is nothing short of phenomenal, and if we somehow hold on and win the Big 12 is there any way Coach Self doesn't win Coach of the Year?

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

Totally off the subject, but nice picture of Nick Collison. I assume that's his daughter crawling all over him?? And I was wondering how Blake Griffin endured the noise in Noble with a concussion. Great picture to explain it.

KURocks 5 years, 11 months ago

Hoop:

No chance Collins stays for 4 years. Him and Cole are gone.

Graczyk 5 years, 11 months ago

Was it me or did OU's place seem to be super loud? Maybe it was a difference in the telecasts, but I'm not sure AFH has rocked that hard this year. I'm new around here, so I don't really know, but is it true that Lew and crew really gutted the spirit out of it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

How the rest of the season goes could determine a lot (and there's up to 12 games remaining,) but I think Collins is gone, since staying another year probably won't help his draft position much. But right now, Aldrich would probably be a mid to late 1st round pick, while staying another year could move him up to a top-ten or even top-five position.

Linda Aikins 5 years, 11 months ago

I would love to know how many times that camera was pointed on Blake, or his brother, or his parents. That should have been in the "go figure" numbers!

Regardless, WAY TO GO HAWKS!!!!

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

Due to family issues and the season he's had, I think Collins will probably go NBA. I hope Aldrich sticks around at least one more year. He's definitely a first rounder this year, but like bozo said, he'd be lottery next year for sure. And having him and Withey play together would be monstrous in the middle.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

"If collins plays four years, he will be the greatest KU gaurd of all time" PUH-lease. This guy is a one man show. I don't know how many things I've throw at the TV because he refused to set up the play and instead turned it over because of his "self confidence". He's not as bad as he used to be, but he's still no team player. Am I the only one who noticed that we began to do better when they stopped giving Collins the ball? I hope he does leave, so that the rest of the team can do what Jayhawks do best; work together.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

alm,

No doubt Collins has tried to take over games or let his ego get in the way like against UMass and Syracuse. Thing is, he needs to, at least to some extent, this year. He IS the leader out there and when surrounded by that much inexperience the load is going to naturally fall on his shoulders. And if you read this story and others, last night he won the game by taking it over at the end. He is a total team player, but some teams more than others have to have a go-to guy, ala Kobe with the Lakers or Wade with the Heat. When the game's on the line, Sherron is the one you want with the ball in his hands with this team, and if you can't see that you don't know much about basketball. Without Collins there's no way we're sitting 12-1 and vying for another conference crown. When he goes our team gets weaker. Period.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

Arumer, you left Heinrich out of the bunch. He was an amazing guard. .

thanksforcoming 5 years, 11 months ago

My question is how do you choose OU over KU? Am I that biased? I wouldn't trade Taylor or any of the 'Hawks for any one on OU's team. Tyshawn will be fun to watch the next three years.

acoupstick 5 years, 11 months ago

Today Sherron Collins is walking around campus pulling a wagon behind him........

TO CARRY HIS IMMENSE BALLS OF STEEL!

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

Agee with logic, Chalmers has been the best all-around guard at KU that I've ever seen.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, jay, I just can't stand the guy...

On another note, I also noticed last night, our bench is deeeeeep. It always has been, but it stood out last night. Just look at all the names rattled off in this discussion! I really do think we'll have that rhythm in place before too long and surprise a lot of people at the big tournament.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

I hear ya, alm. There have been times when he's brought the ball straight down and launched a three without a single pass, and I get irked. There's a certain braggadocio to Sherron that's gonna turn some people off. The Morris boys have a level of it as well. Thing is, with Self as coach and the type of ball player he likes, you're gonna need to get used to the Chicago or East Coast-type player, the tough ballers from the streets.

Sorry, Arumer, I defy you to name 5 guards with better all-around games than Chalmers. Loved Hinrich, not as good defensively. Loved Jacque, can't shoot. Loved Miles, same thing. Loved Adonis, not even close. Cedric Hunter was fantastic, nearly broke my ankles with his stop and start drive, but he didn't have the same range. Nope, Mario's the best I've seen.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

"I seriously believe the Royball era was ridiculous"

Wow. I can't.... You don't have a......... What the....

Just wow.

Matt Lacey 5 years, 11 months ago

If Cole and Sherron stay around with next year's sophomores and recruits, it's scary how good we could be.

stephenj 5 years, 11 months ago

Suck it Toby Keith!!! Go sell a truck.

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