Kansas University senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor is expected to play in tonight’s game against Davidson, coach Bill Self said Sunday.
“Yeah, I do. I do think he’ll play, unless something happens negative today,” Self said before practice, asked if he thought Taylor would take the floor eight days after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. “He’s going to go up and down a few minutes today, just a few. He won’t play 30 minutes or anything. If he doesn’t have a setback today, I think he’ll be OK to at least play a little bit tomorrow.”
Self confirmed after practice that there was no “setback.”
“He was good today,” Self said.
Self said Conner Teahan would replace Taylor in the starting lineup, giving KU a backcourt of Elijah Johnson and Teahan to open the 8 p.m. game at Sprint Center.
Self said Taylor shot on Friday “pretty much full-speed. We waited to see if there was any swelling, and there wasn’t. He practiced yesterday some, but only half court. We waited to see today if there was much swelling, and there wasn’t. We’re going to let him go up and down today a little bit — 10 minutes, 15 minutes — and see how he does there. We’ll wait and see tomorrow if there’s any swelling. But if there’s not, there’s no reason he can’t play some tomorrow.”
Self reminded the media that Thomas Robinson came back from the same injury in a similar period of time last year.
About Tharpe: Self said he did not know how much freshman point guard Naadir Tharpe would play tonight.
“It’s the hardest position to play, no question,” Self said of lead guard. “Naadir played a lot early in the exhibition games. He hasn’t played as well the past month. Since the Kentucky game, he hasn’t played as well. I hope he does (play more). Even if it’s giving us three to four minutes a half, that would be good for Tyshawn.
“He has to play better,” Self added of what it’ll take to play more. “You could say the same about any of our players if we don’t put them in. The reason guys don’t get into the game is you feel more comfortable with guys in the game than those not in the game. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Finally practicing: Freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, who were ineligible first semester, are now practicing with the team.
“They are fitting in well,” KU junior Travis Releford said. “Those guys have been wanting to play since they’ve been here. It’s good to have them. They’ve been making the team a lot better the last couple days.”
McLemore, 6-foot-5 from St. Louis and Traylor, 6-8 from Chicago, will have four years of eligibility remaining starting next season.
“Ben and Jamari have been practicing well. They’ll be fun to watch next year for sure. We wish we could have had them the entire year,” senior Conner Teahan said. “Ben’s defense is great; Jamari’s is great. They make it harder on T-Rob and the guards. It’s something that gets overlooked. How much they will bring to the table in practice is making us better.”
Back home: Teahan, who is a graduate of Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High, said it’ll be fun to play in KC’s Sprint Center.
“We call it Allen Fieldhouse East,” Teahan said. “I think the Sprint Center is awesome.”
KU is 13-2 all-time in Sprint Center and 212-83 in KC. KU has played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 22 of the last 24 seasons, including every year the Sprint Center has existed.
About Davidson: Davidson, located in Davidson, N.C., has an enrollment of 1,900. Davidson is 2-0 in Southern Conference play, a league the Wildcats have won seven times in the last 11 seasons. ... coach Bob McKillop is 407-266 in 23 years at Davidson.