Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Thoughts

I thought I'd throw down some random thoughts on some University of Kansas basketball action after seeing them walk over UCLA on Sunday. First things first, man has UCLA fallen off- they looked terrible out there. They played good defense, which is expected under Ben Howland, but I never feared KU losing their 10 point lead because they had an offense equivalent to that of a high school team.

I'd like to start by saying it has been harder for me to follow the Jayhawks this year with not being enrolled in the school. I've found it a little challenging to watch them blow out the lesser opponents so far this year. That must just come from not living in Lawrence anymore. But, I feel drawn in now, and why's that? Look at who's number 2...Texas. The next line of thought from my brain goes like this, F*** Texas, followed by an upside down hook 'em horns sign. I dunno if people can tell or not, but I currently have a strong distaste for Texas.

That being said, I would have no problem with Texas displacing KU as number 1 in the nation right now. I have not been impressed with them so far. I would say they haven't had an impressive game up to this point, which obviously means I'm not counting the blowouts of the little schools. In the Memphis and UCLA ballgames they seemed very ho-hum in their efforts and played sloppy, undisciplined basketball. I would argue their most impressive game of the year came against Oakland, a team picked to win their conference with a legitimate big man down low. Now, is this anything to worry about right now? Probably not, as long as it doesn't continue. They'll have a chance to impress with Michigan and Cal coming up in a 4 day span later this month. Although, I foresee their first loss coming at the hands of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The biggest problem I've seen out of the team this year has been players not knowing and/or not committing to their roles on the team. I believe a basketball team is at its best with three main scorers, and the other players filling roles around them. There just aren't enough basketballs to go around to feed four hungry scorers. This team has returnees Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich as the main building blocks, along with freshman Xavier Henry stepping in as that third scorer. The person this leaves on the fence is Tyshawn Taylor, who has been struggling mightily this season. If I were Bill Self, the first thing I'd do (besides admiring myself in the mirror) is show Tyshawn tapes of Russell Robinson. Become him. Accept your role. Make good passes, don't turn the ball over, and lead your team. You win championships with a mix of star players and other players knowing and accepting their roles. Tyshawn fits the bill of a role player, atleast for now, and coming off the bench might be the best way for him to learn that.

The next biggest problem I've seen is just an overall lack of involvement from Cole Aldrich. He is your stud, you need to ride him. It might just be early in the season, so they are including everyone in the action, but Cole needs to take charge and demand the ball more. I'm almost wandering if he has leveled off and reached his full potential.

My final thought is about the overall improvement of the Morris twins. They seem to be everywhere this year. Although, I wander, is that because there are two of them and we think we're seeing them twice as much as we actually are? Does anybody have a strategy for differentiating the two? Because I just say "good play Morris" every time, and refer to the two of them as a whole, 'The Morrisi'. I say we make them wear different colored head bands. Or one grows an afro. Or one becomes point guard. They gotsta do something...

Rock Chalk,
His Dirkness


Zeet Zeet Motha Ucka said...

Wow. I definitely agree all the way around again Nic and I know I've been agreeing with you a lot, but I'm not just trying to get in your pants, I swear. I guess it's easy to see Cole hasn't really been improving and the Morris twins are looking better and such.

I thought Tyshawn was having a terrible year too. He mostly just had a terrible night against Memphis, but I think it shows the problem exactly. Sure he's great at beating lesser opponents off the dribble, but he is reckless and it catches up with him when we play good teams.

A friend of mine pointed out that Cole looks like he is playing with his back to the basket too much. Maybe trying to improve that area of the game for his NBA career, but it seems he needs to just get his buckets where he can get them. Sometimes on an offensive board, he'll back up slightly to set up again, when if he just went up strong, he's so much bigger than everyone they'd have to foul him or give him the bucket. So basically he needs to play more like Dwight Howard and not worry about actual offensive moves as much right now. Just be big and score.

I thought this coming into this season and I still think it. It will come down to how many stupid shots we take (pretty much like any basketball game). The reason we weren't better last year is because Sherron felt he had to take it on himself so he would jack up crazy 3's 5 to 10 seconds into the shot clock. He's good enough to do it, but it doesn't mean he should. I think we should revoke all 3 shooting privileges from the twins, tyshawn, and xavier. They're all better inside or going to the basket. Leave the 3's for the shooters.

Lastly UCLA was pretty bad. No Alcorn State, but there were a couple of times I had to look at the name next to the score again b/c it looked like they were trying to give us the ball.

Zeets said...

Well I guess I balked. I know that Xavier is so athletic and good going to the basket, I'd rather him do that than chuck up treys, but he has a really good percentage from the 3 line, so he can go ahead and keep shooting them. He's at exactly 50% of the year with 19 of 38, so I couldn't be more wrong.

His Dirkness said...

Zeets that was the only thing I disagreed with in your writing and then you went ahead and corrected it yourself. I'm gonna keep my eye on Cole and what you said cause that would be something that i haven't noticed. I think Tyshawn's head is a little overinflated right now because of his under 19 team usa thing from the summer. Bill will shrink it down, and i saw he didn't start last game so i'm glad he took my suggestion to heart. Good work i like your comments zeets, you da man, and you don't have to impress me with sports knowledge to get this guy, i'm already wooed.

Rickaaay the Leadoff Man said...


Your commments about KU team-wise I can agree to an extent with your "3 main scorers" theory, because it's a necessity to be able to rely on those types of guys to consistently impact the games. But I actually feel fortunate that this team has what I call a different "b-side" player almost every game that steps out of the shadow and has a breakout game, and some of the time leading the team in scoring for that game (T-Rob, Kief, Tyshawn, 'Cus, and now 'Jah). With that availability to happen at any moment, the team can benefit much more than relying on a struggling Aldrich or a grandfatherly Collins. Oh yeah and X has the quietest 17 pts/gm there could be (not a bullhorn blast like John Wall gets).

The reason I think Cole is hindred is because he's still shook up from the football/basketball gang fights, in which he hid in his room eating Cheez-Its and wishing that his teammates would "golly geez jus stop all this quibberin"...while the Morris' took throwing people down the stairs as inspiration and have become a night and day difference from last year. Also, I don't feel that "Yeeeah" Brady "Cornbread" Morningstar has any role left on the team, I mean having Reed yank up missed 3's is forgettable enough. Oh, and get "Whitey" Withey on in there!

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