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.


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.


rgh 7 years, 3 months ago

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

Martin Shupert 7 years, 3 months ago

I am not a fan of ragging on a reporter's writing, but this was a pretty strange article for several reasons. First off, I feel pretty old because I knew about every single reference. Wally Pip is ancient, though not obscure. If people do not know about it, they will learn about it here and that's a good thing. However, Rowan & Martin's Laugh In? Wow. How many under 30 are going to get that one? Then there's the comment that Elijah is not nearly as quick afoot as Taylor. You could have fooled me. I do think EJ brings more passion to the defensive side. TT was always late rotating... ALWAYS late... so quick is as quick does. And do not forget when Darnell Jackson lost his starting role to Sasha Kahn, after similar misbehavior. Sasha never gave up the starting role. I seriously doubt that Coach Self would ever say something like "It's EJ's to lose." just to send a message to TT and then, reinstate TT out of the blue. Think about what that would do to EJ's attitude. Coach Self knows better than that. Take him at his word. TT has lost the starting position to a better point guard, better in all those intangibles such as running the team and keeping focus and composure. TT's time to grow up has come and gone several times. Let's see how he responds to being a substitute. My guess is, it won't work out for him. I'm hoping he learns from this and contributes to this team. It's also the best thing for his future.

hail2oldku 7 years, 3 months ago

"martyks (anonymous) replies… And do not forget when Darnell Jackson lost his starting role to Sasha Kahn, after similar misbehavior. Sasha never gave up the starting role."

Rewriting KU Basketball history on this one Marty. DJ was not a guy that was in trouble. He was more TRob than TT. Also, Sasha started as a Sophomore and Junior. DJ started almost every game as a Senior with Sasha coming off the bench. That's the opposite of what you stated, and I HIGHLY doubt that Sasha was a problem player.

Martin Shupert 7 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, but I'm not rewriting history at all. I can't go into detail. but I got it right. DJ broke a couple team rules. They were not bad things or big things. He just messed up, and had a bad day, didn't fulfill his responsibilities. That was all it took. Sasha started every game after that day. DJ sure turned out great and was a wonderful player, but he never started again as far as I remember.

hail2oldku 7 years, 3 months ago

You couldn't be more WRONG.

Don't believe me, look in the record books. Sasha started 29 of 33 games as a Soph and 28 of 35 as a Jr. He then only started 6 of 40 games played as a Sr.

DJ - 0 games started as a Soph, 3 of 38 as a Jr (when Sasha was hurt) and then 35 of 40 games as a Sr.

The only troubles that DJ had were related to his Mom and GMa being injured in a car wreck, which eventually cost both of them their lives, and a question related to improper benefits received from a booster who had known him since he was a kid (similar to the Selby stuff)

Your story is so full of it I'd bet your eyes have turned brown.

hail2oldku 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and before you even start on Freshman year - Sash started 2 of 27 games played and DJ 1 of 24.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 3 months ago

hail2oldku for the win...........................

nobody1793 7 years, 3 months ago

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

Tim Quest 7 years, 3 months ago

It's Arte Johnson, not Artie Johnson.

Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's.

Gene Wallace 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm who I am because of Funk & Wagnalls. CCG!

Scruggsy 7 years, 3 months 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...

okiedave 7 years, 3 months ago

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

CLARKKENT 7 years, 3 months ago


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months 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.

Matt Bowers 7 years, 3 months 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

hesshawk 7 years, 3 months ago

Makes you wonder if the suspension ought to go on longer until he realizes it IS a big deal

Janet Olin 7 years, 3 months 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.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months 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.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

Agreed, consistent with a bad choice of clothes.

parrothead8 7 years, 3 months 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.

Jesse Newell 7 years, 3 months ago

Thanks. Pipp's name has been changed above.

Jesse Newell 7 years, 3 months ago

And you're right. Taylor is earning the name of Pipp. It's been changed above as well.

hesshawk 7 years, 3 months 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

formerfarmer 7 years, 3 months 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???

Andrea Hoag 7 years, 3 months 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.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 3 months ago

That's a common effect when reading one of Tom's pieces. His writing is so bad it makes me yearn for Chuck Woodling.

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 3 months ago

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

Janet Olin 7 years, 3 months ago

He must be brain dead to say something like that on TV at the beginning of a suspension. Obvious that the time/effort/care of coaches in developing his'potential' (for 3 years) is a lost gamble. They should focus on someone else, and he should Just. Go. Away.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Taylor has never shown any particular talent for public speaking. I imagine what he meant by the remark was that he didn't want to talk about it (likely per instructions from Self.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Yea, that would have been better. But as I said, he's not a particularly good public speaker.

Gregory Newman 7 years, 3 months 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"All of these comments except for one tells me not one of you have ever played organized basketball."

And your comments indicate that you think KU's coaches haven't either.

I suspect there's a reason they are getting paid to coach, while you're just writing about it on this forum.

number1jayhawker 7 years, 3 months ago

The coaches can coach all week long, but when it comes game time, it's up to the player to execute on the floor.

Scruggsy 7 years, 3 months ago

I bow down to you, oh great wizard of basketball knowledge. Is that you Bobby Knight?

Someone get this info to Coach Self pronto! Well, I'll be dipped. All they gotta do is bend their knees and slide their feet. I can't believe a coach whose been in D1 for 20 years didn't know that. Jeez.

Bladerunner 7 years, 3 months 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.

Robert Rauktis 7 years, 3 months ago

Keegan writes the way Taylor plays point guard.

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