Archive for Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting up to speed: Still without Josh Selby, KU coach Bill Self challenging Elijah Johnson

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson, center, pushes the ball past Washburn forward Logan Stutz, left, to teammate Thomas Robinson in the Jayhawks’ exhibition victory last Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks play Emporia State in tonight’s exhibition game.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson, center, pushes the ball past Washburn forward Logan Stutz, left, to teammate Thomas Robinson in the Jayhawks’ exhibition victory last Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks play Emporia State in tonight’s exhibition game.

November 9, 2010


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who is known to mix and match all sorts of combinations at practice, recently played lightning-quick Josh Selby, Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor on the same team — at the same time.

“Coach said he wanted to see what it looked like. We ran the table — up and down, back and forth, up and down the whole time,” Johnson, KU’s insanely athletic sophomore combo guard, said Monday.

Because the NCAA’s snail-paced investigation into the amateur status of freshman point guard Selby continues ... Self cannot use that small lineup in today’s 7 p.m home exhibition game against Emporia State.

If Self wishes to do so, however, he could employ a threesome that’s similarly speedy — at least in the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Johnson’s eyes.

“Tyrel moves just like Josh, little do people know. He just doesn’t get credit because they (fans) say, ‘He’s a white boy,’’’ Johnson said with a laugh, referring to 6-3 senior Tyrel Reed. “Tyrel can move. Tyrel is pretty athletic. He can do a lot of stuff that I can’t even do (athletically),” Johnson added.

Johnson has been asked to play a lot of lead guard at practice as Self prepares for the possibility of going without Selby for what could be an extended period of time.

“The thing that concerns me about Elijah is that he is so careless with the ball. Either we need to get him off the ball or he needs to take better care of it,” Self said. “We have a whole bunch of combo guards, which is good, but I really wish there would be somebody that would be more of a consistent handler back there.”

Johnson has been trying his best to impress his boss.

“I just feel like he’s testing me every day to see how much he can trust me, putting me in different situations, putting me in situations that’s made for me to fail most of the time,” Johnson said.

“He’s trying to see how you react in those situations because it might happen in the season where you’ve got your back up against the wall. He wants to know, if there’s pressure all around me, will I fold or will I play?”

Johnson was asked to pinpoint situations where he’s made to fail.

“Putting me on the Red Team, which is basically the B team. Trying to have me run the show when you have the starting five on Blue and just have us run up and down the court, try to kill us, try to kick our butt, 10 minutes non-stop, no out of bounds, no fouls, no nothing,” Johnson explained. “Just play all out and see what type of demeanor I have during the process. Not before or after, but during, when it’s the most frustrating for me.”

Senior Reed says he’s noticed the pushing of Johnson at practice.

“Coach Self tests everybody in different ways. I think he’s testing Elijah and Elijah has been responding well,” Reed said, “getting on him and wanting him to do well. Once a coach stops coaching you is when they don’t care about you any more. Definitely he cares about Elijah. We all do. He’s going to be a good player.”

Overall, Johnson relishes running the offense.

“There’s more control you have over the whole game,” he said. “You can control most of the tempo on the court.”

Johnson scored two points off 1-of-6 shooting (0-for-4 threes) with two assists, two turnovers, two rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes in KU’s 92-62 exhibition opening victory over Washburn last Tuesday.

“I felt that was the first game jitters. I can shoot the ball. Everybody knows I can shoot the ball,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t falling. Everything felt good. I looked at it (shot) on tape. It looked good. It wouldn’t fall for me. I got in the gym and put up more shots. I felt the rhythm again, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

It’s KU’s second and final exhibition game. Season opener is against Longwood at 7 p.m., Friday, in Allen Fieldhouse.


Tom Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

Finally! ...someone else used the words "snail's pace" in describing the NCAA's decision making capabilities. The NCAA has to be embarrassed. I know it has lost a lot of credibility this year with NCAA member schools, fans and, especially, players. They probably would respond by saying something like, "we want to make sure we make the right decision". However, according to the press, there are no more than 2 sources that have to be investigated; most of which could be covered over the phone. Whatever decision the NCAA finally comes up with, 99.9% of the fans will say it took far too long. Job security in the NCAA ranks at the top of the list for making decisions at a "snail's pace".

sfbevo 4 years, 11 months ago

It's possible the "no decision" is a decision. The longer the NCAA takes in its' deliberation could very well be the penalty Selby receives. Say as example, the NCAA decides after 4 regular season games to give Selby his right to participate in games with no ruling. It means they don't have to disclose their findings or face the potentiality of future law suits. But in their (NCAA) reality they got their suspension. Part of the their continuing Power Trip to show who really is in charge!!

Jock Navels 4 years, 11 months ago

everybody involved is making a lot of money off ncaa div 1 basketball... oh...except the players...they make're a poor kid from the big city, and you can shoot the hoops...some guy offers you , say, 150 large a year for the next two years in return for which he represents you as your agent when you go is that illegal?...why is that wrong?

Jock Navels 4 years, 11 months ago

well, the college education is worth maybe $7,000 a year. Slaves got a place to stay and food and medical are begging the question, not answering it. Why is accepting money from an agent wrong?

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