The retired jersey banners in the south end zone at Allen Fieldhouse paint a glorious picture of Kansas basketball history, images of Jacque Vaughn dashing up the court, Raef LaFrentz tossing up that lefty jumper, Danny Manning spin-dribbling through the lane, Wilt Chamberlain leaping above bewildered opponents who'd never seen a man that tall jump that high.
Bill Self warned the latest edition of Kansas Jayhawks to forget all this beauty. If KU did it right this season, the only thing pretty might be the final score.
“I remember early in the season him telling us, ‘We’re going to have to win ugly,’ ” says senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, a third-team SN All-American. “Talentwise, one through eight or nine, we’re not the best. We’re not the scorers like we had in the past. So we’re going to have to win ugly, be a defensive team, be tough guys on the boards, battle and win ugly games.
“As the season went along, we kind of understood what he was talking about.”
...Self persevered without three of his top recruits, who were ineligible to compete.
But he did his best work with Taylor, who developed rapidly through the course of the season into one of the nation’s elite point guards.
“First of all, he trusted me, put the ball in my hand and said, ‘This is going to be your team, and it’s going to go as far as you take us,’ ” Taylor says.
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