A few random hoops thoughts while wondering how many more columns and features will be written this season about amazing and talented freshman Joel Embiid.
No matter how many it is, the guy is worth every inch that’s written.
Actually, that brings me to my first thought — Embiid. We’ve all marveled at his size, skill, footwork, touch and power, but not much has been said about his on/off switch. Of all the things that have impressed me about the big fella, his ability to turn nasty in a snap of your fingers is right up there near the top. Kind, caring and as pleasant as they come off the floor, Embiid has the ability to transform into an angry, aggressive monster on the floor. And that’s nothing but good news for the Jayhawks, who occasionally have had to beg their superstars to have a killer instinct.
Speaking of killer instinct, is there a guy on the roster with more confidence than freshman sharpshooter Brannen Greene? I know he got off to a slow start and that he and Bill Self were not always on the same page in the beginning, but look at him now. He’s had season-highs in minutes played during two of KU’s last three games and appears to be turning the corner in terms of earning Self’s trust. Yet again, another good thing for this roster. I get the feeling that Greene is one of those guys who thinks he’s the best player in the gym no matter the gym. And I have no problem with him believing that.
Belief. There’s a word that will go a long way for KU fans this season and likely already has served many of them well. And I’m not just talking about believing this team or the head coach would get it together after road losses to Colorado and Florida. I’m talking more about believing in the team’s leader, junior point guard Naadir Tharpe. Does Tharpe take a couple of ill-advised shots? Sure. Is he a little wild at times and a tiny bit shell-shocked at others? Yep. But is he the best candidate to be the on-the-floor leader for this year’s Jayhawks? You betcha. Self has said as much, repeatedly, and he’s not the kind of guy that just says things to hear himself talk. Stand behind Tharpe. He’ll make you glad you did.
Anyone else having a hard time believing that Big 12 play starts a week from Wednesday? If the next two months go by as quickly as the first two did, we’ll be on the brink of warmer weather and in the heart of the best part of the college basketball season.
That’s enough for now. Enjoy these guys. This team is made up of as good a group of people as I can remember being at KU.