The Kansas basketball team is taking on the characteristics of a deluxe Swiss army knife. That’s good, because it can drive opposing coaches batty as they try to prepare defenses for the Jayhawks as the Big 12 season gets serious.
Center Cole Aldrich and guard Sherron Collins are the mainstay blades of this versatile weapon. Then there are other attachments that also show promise for KU’s carving up and agitating foes.
The Morris twins finally have stopped playing so dumb and seem to be grasping how they can use their athleticism to Bill Self’s advantage. For a while, it seemed Marcus and Markieff were way out of tune with the coaches’ preferred melody, the most costly errors being lousy ball-handling and softness at inopportune times. With steady improvement to enhance their recent progress, they’ll be two of those “stickies” on the Swiss knife to contend with, like the corkscrew and the nail file.
In defensive anchor Brady Morningstar and a maturing Tyrel Reed, KU has firepower as well as finesse to excel. Freshman Tyshawn Taylor with his quickness and versatility has only scratched the surface of how good he can be. More consistency and he’ll be on a par with Collins and Aldrich as hubs for success.
The injury-hindered Mario Little finally has begun to solve the mystery as to why some people kept saying he’d help so much. Long time coming; maybe he’s arrived. More bad news for the other league teams.
Haven’t even mentioned Quintrell Thomas and Travis Releford, who are struggling to find their identity, but have the wherewithal to help.
All of a sudden, there’s a 10-man package with tremendous potential. If it doesn’t get giddy, KU can win at Iowa State and Nebraska, beat Colorado here and go to the Feb. 2 Baylor showdown with a 6-0 conference pad. Who said the Jayhawks were doomed to a “down” year?
l Pundits rant and rave about quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford coming back for the 2009 Texas and Oklahoma football teams and ignore that Kansas’ Todd Reesing is the class of the Big 12 North. In his own way, he’s as big a determinator as the other two. He’s the only high-profile QB coming back in the North, and he’s the main reason KU should be favored over Nebraska, without Joe Ganz.
l Forget NCAA sanctions against Kansas because Bill Self foolishly talked to a basketball recruit in Springfield, Mo. It’s a mindless issue. Secondly, by the time godfather Lew Perkins calls in a few markers and sics attorney Rick Evrard onto the trail, no harm, no foul. You can bet Missouri, Kansas State and Oklahoma will try to raise hell, but Lew could have stuff in the files that would negate the thrust of their sabotage. Remember how these two orchestrated that last run-in with the NCAA to KU’s benefit?
l Some day, KU’s likely to remove the track in Memorial Stadium, lower the field for more seats and build a separate track stadium. Bob Tanner, a KU devotee in San Diego, notes there’s no contest for the namesake: Bill Easton, the local spiked-shoe icon. Tanner has written Chancellor Bob Hemenway about that and hopes Hemmie’s resignation doesn’t derail it. If Hemenway drops the ball, Perkins and Co. shouldn’t. Bill Easton Track is academic, mandatory.