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Archive for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Did Tyshawn Taylor just get Pipped?

February 22, 2011, 12:00 a.m. Updated February 22, 2011, 10:42 a.m.

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KU vs. Oklahoma State

Kansas players Elijah Johnson, Marcus Morris and Thomas Robinson discussed KU's victory over Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 92-65 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 21, 2011.

Lou Gehrig didn’t become Lou Gehrig in one night, so it’s a little early to fit Tyshawn Taylor for the moniker Wally Pipp, but Elijah Johnson’s performance in the first game of Taylor’s untimely indefinite suspension opened a door that Johnson walked through quite gracefully Monday.

After Johnson contributed 15 points and three assists with just two turnovers in Kansas University’s 92-65 rout of Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse, the victorious coach made it clear with several statements that the starting point-guard position is Johnson’s to lose.

As Arte Johnson used to say on Rowan and Martin Laugh-In, “Interesting. Very interesting.” And Johnson — Elijah, not Arte — only got the start because the special device for Josh Selby’s shoe was at his mother’s house, so he wasn’t ready to start until the correct shoe was retrieved for him.

While it’s true that if a team has three point guards sharing the job, it actually doesn’t have any point guards, that’s not a death sentence to national-title hopes in this season of imperfection in college basketball.

It doesn’t get much easier for a player to break into the starting lineup than playing a home game against an Oklahoma State team one year after the James Anderson era and one season before LeBryan Nash’s arrival, in other words an atypically vulnerable Cowboys squad. Still, Johnson showed enough to want to see what he can do Saturday on the road against Oklahoma and again at home March 2 when Texas A&M visits on Senior Day.

As baseball lore has it, Pip was hung over, said he was sick and asked out of the lineup, and Gehrig saw to it that he never got back in. Taylor, of course, didn’t ask out of the lineup. He was told by his coach that whatever team rule he broke, he got caught breaking it.

The team needed either Johnson, who started the season with a two-game suspension for non-specific knuckle-headed behavior, or Selby to play terrifically to shift the focus away from Taylor’s latest self-destructive transgression. Johnson did so by for the most part being content to run the offense that very often resulted in either Marcus Morris showing why he’s a strong Big 12 Player of the Year candidate or in Johnson hitting a jumper he didn’t hurry.

Maybe Taylor’s the last to fall into line and is shocked into cerebral play on and off the court, or maybe coach Bill Self lets Johnson take the reins. Taylor need only look at specific instances of the Morris twins from the past two games to realize it’s possible to let the mind defeat emotions, one of life’s never-ending battles for most of us.

Midway through the second half of Saturday’s victory against Colorado, Markieff snared a rebound in traffic, and his elbows were pointed outward when he came down with it as Buffaloes from all directions were trying to slap at the ball. The natural, emotional response would have had Markieff swinging his elbows to clear space. It looked as if he was about to do just that, but he checked his swing in the nick of time, drew his elbows to his body and covered up the ball. Not missing a beat, the crowd applauded him for his cool-headed play.

His personable brother Marcus, clearly wounded by the heat his brother took in the wake of a three-point, no-rebound night in the loss at Kansas State, was nothing short of terrific Monday, scoring 27 points, leaping to the heavens for an on-ball blocked shot and going out of his way afterward to praise his twin, the star of the Colorado game. Oklahoma State’s wide-body power forward Matt Pilgrim looked as if on a mission to trigger Marcus’ temper at the outset of the game, talking trash to him and bumping him constantly and even nailing him with an elbow. Marcus let Pilgrim play the role of bouncer, and he played the role of the bartender tossing glasses in the air, catching them, pouring drinks with style and pretty much making himself the center of attention without moving his lips.

“It’s hard to say he was trying to,” Marcus said. “At the beginning of the game, he gave me a little ’bow to show he was there. And I gave him 27 (points) to show I was there.”

Taylor also could learn watching the way Johnson, not nearly as quick afoot as Taylor, stayed focused defensively in chasing Keiton Page, the Cowboys’ sawed-off gunner, around screens and frustrating him into a 2-for-11 shooting performance. Self detailed how Johnson played a few of those screens the wrong way, and Johnson also didn’t look like a point guard when he turned it over when trapped near halfcourt once and again threw it away when trying to feed Markieff in the post from an awkward angle. Johnson wasn’t perfect, but he played well enough to make Self tell the world he has a serious shot at stealing Taylor’s job.

Maybe Self said what he said to capture Taylor’s attention, or maybe the coach simply has grown weary of inconsistent point-guard play and is ready to turn the job over to the most consistent performer.

North Carolina’s season turned for the better when junior Larry Drew II was benched in favor of freshman Kendall Marshall. St. Louis Cardinals ace Joaquin Andujar once said, “Baseball can be summed up in one word: Youneverknow.” The same goes for basketball.

• A previous version of this story was updated.

Comments

Robert Rauktis 3 years, 1 month ago

Keegan writes the way Taylor plays point guard.

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Bladerunner 3 years, 1 month ago

pipped? verb, pipped, pip·ping.
–verb (used without object) 1. to peep or chirp. 2. (of a young bird) to break out from the shell. –verb (used with object) 3. to crack or chip a hole through (the shell), as a young bird. –verb (used with object), pipped, pip·ping. British Slang . 1. to blackball. 2. to defeat (an opponent). 3. to shoot, especially to wound or kill by a gunshot.

Gotta wonder about the use of a word no one around here has used in decades. Might as well say he has a nice puss.

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Gregory Newman 3 years, 1 month ago

All of these comments except for one tells me not one of you have ever played organized basketball. I'm not talking about intermural. There is no teaching coming from the bench except for Danny. Hollering and screaming and punishing and favortism is not coaching.

Thats called not knowing how to put together a puzzle. SELF recruited every player yet before the game he said "this team is weird" No it is not!!! get rid of the cookie cutter and adjust the offense to the personnel and teach defense with bending the knees and sliding with the feet and quit reaching and playing with the hands.

Too many coaches are scheming their way out of wins with X's and O's as if there is no coaching from the other bench. Pride comes before a fall or lose.

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LeBo 3 years, 1 month ago

No need for Ty, just like Xavier!

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cheeseburger 3 years, 1 month ago

TT's behavior on the bench last night, and his remark that the matter was 'no big deal' are commensurate with someone that either still doesn't get it, or worse, doesn't give a darn. I know Coach will do what he thinks is right, but I hope the discipline is severe enough to get TT's attention this time.

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KEITHMILES05 3 years, 1 month ago

Can we please correct the usage to University of Kansas and not Kansas University?

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Andrea Hoag 3 years, 1 month ago

I am sure this is all very clever stuff, but I had to re-read the first few grafs several times and I'm still not sure what's happening.

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formerfarmer 3 years, 1 month ago

"Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson announced Monday afternoon that senior guard Marisha Brown has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules."

Any connection with the Tyshawn suspension???

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Shane Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

A good show from a good "team".

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hesshawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I like the Marcus comment "he gave me a little ’bow to show he was there. And I gave him 27 (points) to show I was there." No retaliation (that always get caught). If he and Kieff would take that attitude into every game they play, this team would be nearly unstoppable. Add EJ's play last night on a daily basis, Little keeps contributing, Selby gets healthy, TRob gets healthy......woooooooo the possibilities I think somethimes we forget that the team has lost only 2 games despite all the problems and injuries. Last night another back-up got plugged in to the starting lineup for the most game minutes he's played and his response was controlled play and a huge contribution to the team's play.

Rock Chalk

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parrothead8 3 years, 1 month ago

The first sentence of the article makes an incorrect reference: "Lou Gehrig didn’t become Lou Gehrig in one night, so it’s a little early to fit Elijah Johnson for the moniker Wally Pip..."

First of all, it's Wally Pipp, with an additional "p" on the end of his name.

Second, Elijah Johnson would not be the one earning the name "Wally Pipp." That distinction would be reserved for Tyshawn Taylor...the one who was removed from the lineup. As you know, Wally Pipp was the one removed from the lineup. In this instance, Elijah Johnson would be Lou Gehrig, not Wally Pipp.

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pizzapete 3 years, 1 month ago

I would say Tyshawn got Pipped! But as others have said, this is just one game. Consistency is what a lot of our players have been lacking this season, especially TT.

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Janet Olin 3 years, 1 month ago

TT still doesn't get it in his third year, and I'm tired of the 'boys will be boys' selfish, immature behavior (not only from TT). TT doesn't defend, can't take care of the ball in pressure, and doesn't shoot well. What does that leave? A pouty, 'whatever' attitude. He can't go away soon enough to suit me. Let EJ and Josh play through mistakes. Can't be any worse.

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Matt Bowers 3 years, 1 month ago

I have to agree with all the previous posts and +1. The most frustrating thing for me last night was TT. When interviewed by an ESPN anchor before the game he stated that his suspension was no big deal and that he would be back soon...not one bit of this has sunk in. Hopefully he does come off the bench for the rest of the season because EJ has earned it and TT doesn't deserve it.

Rock Chalk

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Johnson played very well, and earned the starting job, for now.

But Taylor will be back, and let's hope his time observing from the sidelines allows him to learn a few things. Despite his inconsistent play, when he's when he's playing well, KU is a better team with him than without.

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CLARKKENT 3 years, 1 month ago

WHAT A NICE GAME EJ PLAYED AGAINST OKIE STATE. ONLY 2 TURNOVERS AND TERRIFIC DEFENSE AGAINST PAGE. HE DID LOOK LIKE THE POINT GUARD OF THE FUTURE. DON'T KNOW WHAT TT DID, BUT HAVE TO BELIEVE HE WISHES HE HADN'T.

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okiedave 3 years, 1 month ago

The game against Missouri in Columbia should be a good test.

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Scruggsy 3 years, 1 month ago

I agree- great game, but let's wait until EJ has to play against an actual Div 1 guard before he is annointed. Page flat out sucks. Enough of all this talk about what a great shooter Page is- he was shooting 31% from 3 before the game, and went 2 for 11. But the senile Bobby & Brent think he can shoot, so it must be so. Travis Ford must have found some of ol' Eddie's feel good pills in his desk drawer to play that kid 38 minutes...

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FarneyMac 3 years, 1 month ago

It's Arte Johnson, not Artie Johnson.

Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's.

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nobody1793 3 years, 1 month ago

Good start, but let us see EJ do that for 6 straight games against much better competition in a few weeks.

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rgh 3 years, 1 month ago

Johnson proved his worth. Tyshawn has been a thorn for two years now.

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