One feel-good story during the pre-Christmas portion of Kansas University’s 2011-12 basketball schedule had to be the emergence of fifth-year senior Conner Teahan as a regular rotation player.
He’s the same guy who, as an invited walk-on, played precious few minutes in his previous seasons at KU.
“It is so much fun being out there helping this Kansas basketball team. Being able to wear the jersey and everything is a dream come true,” said Teahan, a 6-foot-6, 212-pound shooting guard out of Kansas City Rockhurst.
He’s averaged 7.8 points (off 42.2 percent shooting; 21 of 51 from three for 41.2 percent) and 2.8 rebounds while logging 21.9 minutes a game in 11 games for the 8-3 Jayhawks. He played a career-high 35 minutes in the Jayhawks’ 88-80 victory over Long Beach State on Dec. 6 in Allen Fieldhouse.
“I think that was a once-in-every-now-and-then thing,” Teahan said, with a smile, referring to playing nearly the entire game.
Wichita Eagle columnist Bob Lutz recently put Teahan’s minutes into perspective. He pointed out that in Teahan’s first four seasons at KU, which included his 2010-11 red-shirt year, the Jayhawks played 149 games and, including overtimes, 5,990 minutes.
Of those 5,990 minutes, Teahan was on the floor for 218 minutes or 3.6 percent of the total time.
The meager minutes never bothered Teahan.
“Like I said, I’ve always wanted to be a contributor on the team, no matter what that was,” Teahan said. “If that meant playing in games, great. Being able to play 15 minutes plus a game ... yeah it’s a dream come true and being able to score and help the team win.”
He grinned when asked if he’s finally “arrived.”
“I don’t know about that. I’m just happy to be out there. I don’t look at it any other way,” he said. “I just want to help the team win. It’s a lot of fun.”
In past seasons, other players have been in his way.
“Brady (Morningstar) and Tyrel (Reed) did a great job when they were in there. You can’t take that away from them at all,” Teahan said. “I don’t sit back and look at the past, if I could have gotten in or whatnot. I’m happy with this year and think this is the best situation for me.”
KU coach Bill Self said he considers Teahan (who is on scholarship this year for the second straight year) one of KU’s “six starters.” Self did not agree when Teahan personally blamed himself for KU’s loss to Davidson last Monday in Sprint Center.
“Conner cares. He didn’t lose us that game,” Self said. “No one person lost the game. We all lost together. When somebody screws up in practice, Conner always says, ‘My bad,’ just to take the pressure off the other guys. He’s unbelievable that way. He really gets it.”
KU’s next game will be Thursday versus Howard. Tip is 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse.