KU AD: Kansas vs ISU pregame notes
KU AD video & transcripts: Coach Self, Tyshawn Taylor, Jeff Withey, Conner Teahan preview the ISU game
“[It’s] definitely a redemption game for us,” said forward Royce White. “We felt like after [the loss to Kansas], we were upset with ourselves. We kind of gave the game away. We want to go out here and get it.”
Iowa State Daily
Scott Christopherson said Iowa State is capable of beating Kansas. Chris Babb thought ISU put itself in a position to beat KU two weeks ago.
Fred Hoiberg opined that it was a game the Cyclones should have won. Royce White believed the Cyclones had won.
There's little doubt emanating from the Iowa State men's basketball team heading into Saturday's rematch with No. 5 Kansas, that's for sure.
…"I definitely think we have something to prove," said Babb. "We put ourselves in a position to win, beat a top 10 team on their home court, which a lot of people don't do, we had a great chance to do that.
"We showed we can put ourselves in a chance to win and I think we can do that again."
…"We lose to the No. 9 and the No. 10 teams in the same week and had both games won, essentially," said White.
…"I thought it was a game we should have won," Hoiberg said. "You get up 12 on them in the second half, and we got away from what we did to get us that lead.
"So we need to go back to what we saw that got us that lead and try to stick with those things that made us successful."
The Cyclones' success and ultimate failure in that contest revealed two things, according to Christopherson.
"When we play smart, we we're capable of beating them," said the senior, "and when we don't play smart, they'll kill us."
Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is our Men's National Player of the Week. Taylor, a 6'3 senior helped lead the Jayhawks to an 18-point win (92-74) over then-#3 Baylor to start the week. Taylor continues to quietly lead the Jayhawks (16-3, 6-0) through a brutal schedule. He scored 28 and dished out 6 assists in the Baylor game. He followed that up with a 22 point, 5 rebound, 4 assist clinic in a 69-66 win at Texas. Taylor averaged 25 points and 5 assists while shooting 58.3% (7-of-12) from behind the arc and 63% (17-of-27) from the field for the week.
Leaving a legacy in the Kansas men's basketball program is no easy task when names such as Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Pierce and Danny Manning adorn banners hanging from the rafters in Allen Fieldhouse. However, as a four-year starter for the Jayhawks, Tyshawn Taylor is climbing the all-time charts in many statistical categories at KU, doing his best to carve a place for himself in Jayhawk basketball lore.
Already listed in the top 10 in career assists at KU with 489, the top 20 in career steals (144) and top 30 in career scoring (1,264 points), Taylor's name appears among elite company at a university where they began playing basketball in 1898 with the inventor of the game, James Naismith, as their first coach. But Taylor knows that one number carries much more weight than individual statistics at the second-winningest program in NCAA men's basketball history.
"The only thing that really matters is the wins. That's it," said Taylor, who became the 54th player in KU history to reach 1,000 career points when he scored 17 against Duke earlier this season. "I think the 1,000 points is a great accomplishment. Being able to achieve that at such a high level at a program like this is amazing. It's definitely a milestone and something I'm happy about, but the only thing that matters after I leave college and after it's all said and done is how many Big 12 Championships we won. We already have three, and hopefully we're working on another one, so maybe four. That's what people are going to look at."
Along with his assists, steals and points, Taylor has helped the Jayhawks pile up plenty of wins. With a career record of 112-17, Taylor has become a part of the 26th-straight senior class to win at least 100 games in its career at KU, dating back to the 1986-87 season. Taylor has started in 108 of those 129 games, including 33 as a freshman, but he quickly deflects credit for the victories to other players who have donned the Crimson and Blue.
"I think it shows you that I've been on some really great teams," said Taylor, who will graduate in May with a degree in African-American studies. "From my freshman year, being with Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to my sophomore year with Sherron and Cole again to myself, the Morris twins, Xavier Henry, Thomas Robinson and guys like that. I think last year (junior season) was the best team. Marcus and Markieff (Morris) were great, and Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar could shoot the ball. Without being on those good teams, I wouldn't have won so many games."
Kansas fans got on me last week for suggesting Tyshawn Taylor might be the best Kansas point guard in this millennium, but who's laughing now? The answer is me, not only because the angry Jayhawk fans were never even laughing in the first place but also because Taylor validated what I've been saying all along — he's a lock for Big 12 player of the year and an obvious All-American.3 Thomas Robinson, who most analysts think is the national player of the year, has undoubtedly been a saber-toothed tiger this year, but if you pick any game in the past seven days other than the Texas A&M game and compare Robinson's stats to Taylor's, it's easy to see who Kansas' best player is. For example, the non-Texas A&M game from last week that I just randomly picked is Kansas' three-point win at Texas, and in that game Taylor had 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists to completely outplay Robinson, who had 17 points, nine rebounds, and two assists. Not only that, but Robinson also had infinitely more turnovers in that game than Taylor (two to zero). Arguing with my opinion is one thing, but if you're going to argue with stone cold math, well you, Kansas fans, are dumber than I thought.
CBS National Player of the Year Watch: TRob maintains at #1
For the first time since I’ve been tracking these stats, Bill Self has taken over the top spot in the coach rankings. And this season might be Self’s finest performance. Thomas Robinson has always been an explosive player. But Self has groomed him from an inconsistent freshman into the national player-of-the-year favorite. Tyshawn Taylor’s emergence as a polished player is equally remarkable. But it is Self’s consistent commitment to defense that has allowed his team to win conference titles year after year.
Jeff Withey is a 7-footer, which instantly draws associations with lumbering, klutzy big men only playing because of their size.
But Withey is not one of those graceless giants who anchor near the basket. He actually is KU’s best free-throw shooter, making 85 percent of his attempts. He can knock down jump shots, which KU coach Bill Self doesn’t mind him taking.
And, of course, he is an elite shot blocker.
During Withey’s first summer in Lawrence after transferring from Arizona, KU guard Conner Teahan joined others in setting volleyballs for Withey one day. Watching the big man, Teahan quickly reached a conclusion.
“He’s a very coordinated 7-footer,” Teahan said.
Withey’s volleyball background — he calls his family a volleyball family — also translated to basketball.
…The standard for shot blockers in Self’s tenure is Cole Aldrich, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his junior year, Aldrich averaged 3.5 blocks. Withey is averaging 3.3 blocks in his junior season.
“I think he keys our success as much as anybody,” Self said. “He makes it awful hard to score on us in tight when he’s blocking and altering like he is right now.”
When Kansas visits Ames on Saturday to play Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum for a 1 p.m. tipoff, Withey will face challenges at both ends. During the first game, Withey spent a portion of the game guarding point power forward Royce White, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Because Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg surrounded Thomas Robinson with multiple defenders even more than most coaches do, Withey found himself standing alone with the ball in his hands and shot jumpers by default instead of with confidence.
“I think they are going to do the same thing, focus on T-Rob, and I’ve been working on that jump shot,” Withey said. “I missed three or four of them the last game, but I think they’re going to play the same way they did, and we’re going to have to hit shots. No matter what, teams usually focus on Thomas. So I’ve been lucky this year to get a lot of opportunities on the offensive end.”
It’s easy to see Withey having a big day Saturday offensively, not as easy to see it happening at the other end if he’s on White as often as he was in the first match-up.
“He’s a great player,” Withey said. “It’s going to be tough guarding him. He’s quick. He can handle the ball. I think I know what to expect this time. It’s hard to believe that somebody that tall and that strong can be kind of like a point guard, and the first time it kind of shocked me. Now I know what’s going to happen. ... I’ve been guarding more on the perimeter (in practice).”
Jeff Withey makes Dick Vitale's All-Swat Team
“I think he’s kind of falling in love with that three,” Taylor said of Johnson, a 6-4 junior from Las Vegas. “I’ve been yelling at him and talking to him and giving him pep talks and letting him know he’s a way better player (than that), he’s not strictly a three-point shooter.
“That’s a luxury to have because he is able to get in the paint just like I am. He has to get himself going, get fouled, attack the rim, make a couple free throws, get a layup, and maybe those long balls will start falling. He’s keeping a good attitude, working hard, coming in the gym early to shoot. He’ll be fine,” Taylor added.
Johnson has been to the free-throw line 17 times all season, making 13 for 76.5 percent. Taylor has made 83 of 121 free throws for 68.6 percent.
“He can get hot. He can make four or five (threes) in a row. I’ve seen him do it, but I think he’s just falling in love with it too much,” Taylor said. “It’s still going to be there, try to get something easier to get something going. That’s what I tell him, anyway.”
KU coach Bill Self said the good news is he’s seen “nothing wrong” with Johnson’s long-range shooting form.
“It can get a little flat sometimes,” Self said. “If you are a good shooter, you never miss right or left, you miss long or short. If you notice, his misses are all long. I don’t think it’s major. I guess one was wide-left last game, but for the most part they are short or long.”
Nobody accuses Kansas of being soft inside. The Jayhawks rank at or near the top of the Big 12 in all rebounding categories, have the league’s leader in Thomas Robinson and two of the top 10 when Jeff Withey is included.
So it was something of an eye-opener two weeks ago when Iowa State came to Allen Fieldhouse and, by Kansas’ standards, hammed the Jayhawks on the boards.
The Cyclones’ advantage that day was 49-41. It was the most rebounds by a KU opponent since 2004. Withey noticed.
“We were down, and that’s something we need to improve on,” Withey said. “Coaches are coming to the bigs and saying, ‘We need to rebound better.’ ”
Assistant coach Danny Manning, who oversees the Jayhawks’ bigs, will add his emphasis.
“He’s definitely going to be hitting us with some pads in practice getting us ready for the game,” Withey said.
“Tyshawn hit some big shots and he hit some shots we we didn’t expect him to hit,” said Cyclone forward Royce White, “and it gave them a spark that he hadn’t given them earlier in conference play.”
The Iowa State men's basketball team gets its second chance this weekend with Taylor, Robinson and the rest of the No. 5 Jayhawks coming to Hilton Coliseum for a rematch Saturday (1 p.m., ESPN).
Since that first matchup, Taylor has averaged 22 points per game, even equaling his career-high of 28 points the game following KU’s win over ISU, a 92-74 dismantling of then-No. 3 Baylor.
“He’s on a tear right now, playing as well as anybody in our league,” said Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg.
Over the past four games, Taylor has been shooting 58 percent from the floor as Kansas (17-3, 7-0) has run its winning streak to 10 games.
“He’s never really been a shooter in his whole career at KU. He’s always been that guard you kind of play off of,” said ISU’s Chris Babb, “but he started knocking down shots (against ISU) and that kind of built his confidence for the rest of his game.
“Since then, he’s been knocking down shots, he’s been shooting them with a lot of confidence. Confidence is a big part of shooting. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and he’s leading their team.”
Iowa State (14-6, 4-3) has targeted improved defense against the pick-and-roll as the key to containing Taylor this time around.
“We had no answer for the high ball-screen,” said ISU senior Scott Christopherson. “I think going into this game we’re going to have to come up with some sort of plan for that.”
In 2010, the violent heartbeat that has symbolized the onset of his anxiety since he was a child derailed his plans to transfer to a powerhouse program. That year, John Calipari offered to rescue White -- who hadn't played organized basketball in more than a year -- from college basketball's purgatory after a suspension and eventual departure from Minnesota.
Kentucky's head coach called the prep star from the Twin Cities one night and asked him to come to Lexington the next day to officially sign with the program. But White's fear of flying, coupled with his anxiety disorder, ultimately triggered a panic attack.
His heart thumped as he thought about sitting on the airplane alone. He could barely breathe as fear gripped him. The episode, stemming from a condition that's severe enough to consistently interfere with the daily lives of people who have it, sapped his strength and left him in emotional ruin.
He called his mother and told her to cancel the trip on his behalf. On that day, White's anxiety seemed stronger than any defender he'd ever faced on the basketball court.
"I was on my way to Kentucky," White said. "Anxiety set in. It hurt me so bad because I have so much respect for Coach Calipari and Kentucky basketball. I almost came to tears because my anxiety had let me down in that situation."
ESPN: Royce White and the battle within
Kansas doesn’t need a whole lot of help from the Big 12 office. During basketball, the conference rents a nook in Allen Fieldhouse (somewhere near the Dippin’ Dots) for its trophy engraver.
Still, when the first “How We Play’’ schedule was released, KU found a bargain on the front end of the round-robin.
Sure, some potential battles existed. Yet the Jayhawks rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit against Iowa State with relative ease, overcame a comeback bid at Texas and successfully escaped two or three layers of Texas A&M mud. KU also dispatched both Kansas State and Baylor by 18 points apiece.
By remaining perfect, the 7-0 Jayhawks carry a two-game conference lead. Any of the next four road games can be considered tossups. Yet the confidence KU lacked at the beginning of the season because of its inexperience, is now fully engaged.
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off,’’ said senior guard Conner Teahan. “If we can keep taking care of business, especially on the road, that’s really going to help us out. A two-game lead can be squandered quickly in this league.’’
The Cyclones host No.5 Kansas. It’s not just a chance for ISU to knock off a top ten team and have the kind of experience every college basketball player dreams off.
It’s a chance to get the NCAA selection committee’s attention.
That is what this game is really about. The goal every season for the Cyclones, and really any basketball team, is to make the NCAA Tournament.
The easiest way for them to do that this season is to win the games they should and pick up a marquee win or two.
There arguably is no bigger win on the schedule than one over the Jayhawks. They are a Final Four candidate. They are the front runner to win the Big 12. They are a true blue blood of the sport.
ISU doesn’t have that many chances left to get a win they can hang their hat on that will truly impress the selection committee.
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Kirk Hinrich made his season debut late Wednesday night, scoring seven points in 14 minutes during his Atlanta Hawks' 105-83 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
Hinrich missed the first 18 games of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
...Yet, a bright spot for the Hawks was the return of Hinrich, who Atlanta has missed despite its solid start. A former Sioux City West prep standout and All-American at the University of Kansas, Hinrich started 22 of 24 games for the Hawks last season after coming over in a trade from Washington.
"It felt pretty good tonight. I'm happy," Hinrich said. "The last thing I wanted to happen was to come back and have some sort of setback, or wasn't able to just do the things I needed to do to contribute."
Sioux City Journal
If you haven’t seen Brittney Griner yet, you’re missing out.
The 6-foot-8 center from Baylor continues to dominate women’s college basketball as she’s midway through her junior year season.
It’s not just because of her height. It’s not just her ability to dunk, a rarity in women’s basketball.
It’s her incredible reach on defense that has opponent’s game planning around her.
“She’s ridiculously talented offensively,” said Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson. “I’m not trying to discredit her on that end, but she is more impactful on the defensive end,”
This weekend, the Kansas women’s basketball team will have the daunting task of defending Griner and the No. 1 Lady Bears (19-0, 6-0 Big 12) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Waco, Texas.
With a wingspan of over seven feet, 3 inches, Griner consumes any basketballs that come inside the paint. She leads the NCAA with 5.3 blocked shots per game.
The Jayhawks (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) must rely on their own big woman, 6-foot-3 junior forward Carolyn Davis, who will be matched up with Griner for almost the entire game.
Kansas forward Carolyn Davis first exchanged elbows with Baylor’s 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner as a high school junior in Houston. She knows what’s coming Saturday when the Jayhawks visit the undefeated and top-ranked Bears.
“It’s a daunting task,” Davis said.
For sure, but one Kansas is best suited to tackle in years. The 7 p.m., game in Waco, Texas, will match the league’s top teams. Kansas, at 5-2, stands in second place.
It’s rarified air for coach Bonnie Henrickson’s program, which hasn’t finished higher than seventh in the league since she took over in 2005.
Kansas, 16-3 overall, is coming off a signature victory, a 19-point triumph over Texas Tech on Wednesday.
The win ended a 12-game Jayhawks’ losing streak against the Red Raiders and was authored by Davis, a 6-3 junior who scored a season-high 34 points.
“It gives us a lot of confidence going into this game,” Davis said.
Saturday’s meeting matches the Big 12’s top offensive teams. Baylor averages 81.7 points; the Jayhawks, 74 points. Griner leads the league in scoring at 22.7; Davis is second at 18.5.
The Jayhawks are angling for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000, which is also the last time the team crafted a winning record in conference play.
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was clearly peeved when he told the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette on Wednesday that Missouri’s move to the Southeastern Conference next school year was “selfish” and “disruptive.”
But Neinas didn’t just stop there when contacted by telephone by The Star on Thursday afternoon.
He was asked why he was saying those things now when Missouri’s move to the SEC in 2012-13 was already announced, just as Neinas had already assured West Virginia’s move from the Big East to the Big 12 would happen in 2012.
“Because it’s true,” Neinas said.
Neinas went on to say that the Big 12 offered Missouri concessions to stay in the Big 12 and not move to the SEC until 2013-14.
But Neinas would not reveal any specifics of that offer and supposed concessions, but did contend that SEC commissioner Mike Slive had told Neinas that Slive would be willing to delay MU’s inclusion in the SEC until 2013-14.
“Mike Slive,” Neinas said, “said that he could live with 13 teams (for 2012). He advised Missouri not once, but twice. Mike also advanced our proposal to Missouri as did our (Big 12) chairman, Burns Hargis.
“Missouri declined and said they wanted to go in ’12.
“They knew full well what would happen if they went in ’12 because it was a domino theory,” opening up further conference chaos across the nation.
“That’s exactly what’s happened,” Neinas said.
The Big 12 is counting on West Virginia to restore the league to 10 teams and help fulfill its obligation to Fox Sports Net, which begins a 13-year, $1.2 billion cable TV rights deal this season. But the Big East intends to hold West Virginia to the conference’s 27-month departure notice, which would allow the Mountaineers to relocate in 2014-15.
A judge has ordered a nonbinding mediation between the parties and scheduled a status conference for Feb. 9.
Missouri, in November, informed the Big 12 it was heading to the SEC in 2012. Soon thereafter, Neinas said, he took part in a teleconference involving “the SEC, the Big East, the ACC, the Mountain West and Conference USA.”
During that teleconference Neinas suggested some of a moratorium on conference moves for the 2012 season.
“I said if we all hold serve we can avoid money, litigation and have a reasonable and orderly transition process if it happens in 2013 rather than 2012,” Neinas said. “Because of the date Missouri said they were leaving, it put everybody in a bind.”
Bill Self came next. His tenure showcased the programs true potential. He won two Big Ten championships, finished second once, won six NCAA tournament games and reached the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in three years in Champaign.
Comparably, Weber began his career looking like he was going to carry Self’s torch. The Illini went 26-7 overall, 13-3 in the Big Ten, won the Big Ten and reached the Sweet 16 in Weber’s first year. In his second season, Illinois was 37-2, won the conference and lost in the national championship game to North Carolina.
Since then, Weber and the program have dropped off. In the last seven seasons, Illinois has gone 59-52 in conference, failed to reach the NCAA tournament twice and hasn’t advanced past the second round.
Illinois’ last four coaches have proven the Illini can be among the top 10 programs in the country. What is expected now is for it to be consistently there. By all accounts, Illinois should be in the same sentence with the likes of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.
Part of that equation is recruiting. Illinois is as packed any state with high school talent. If you can win Illinois in recruiting, you can compete for a national championship. Kansas won a title with Sherron Collins. Duke won a title with Jon Scheyer. Memphis finished second with Derrick Rose. Kentucky is likely to be near there with Anthony Davis this season. Upcoming recruits Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor could have the same effect.
Which brings us back to the opening question. While Weber has won consistently, won big early in his tenure, but not lately, could his job still be in jeopardy even if Illinois reaches the NCAA tournaments and bows out quickly?
Do you realize Sean Miller is 60-30 in his first 90 games since he took over a busted program whose leading players were Jamelle Horne and Nic Wise, neither of whom got a sniff in the NBA draft?
Lute Olson was 55-35 through 90 Arizona games. Why, Mike Krzyzewski was 43-47 in his first 90 games at Duke.
And now Miller can't coach in the clutch? Such are the standards at Arizona.
The reversal has been so ridiculous that Miller was recently asked if maybe he should re-examine his methods.
"I'm not changing," he said. "The players are gonna change."
After the Wildcats beat Washington State 85-61 Thursday night, little changed. Arizona still has no size, no consistency, no go-to shooter, an all-freshman starting backcourt and perhaps the least effective bench at Arizona in 25 years.
And yet nobody has toyed with the Wildcats or taken them to the woodshed. They lost by 11 to Gonzaga in what was a 62-56 game with two minutes remaining. They lost by 10 to Mississippi State in a two-possession game with three minutes to go.
Given his team's flaws, you could make a case that Miller should be a strong contender as Pac-12 coach of the year.
Arizona Daily Star
A week ago, during an embarrassing home loss to Vanderbilt that wasn't as close as the final 10-point margin, Grant showed his temper in a way we hadn't seen before. He earned one technical and probably deserved another and the automatic ejection that would've gone with it.
As vivid as that expression of frustration was, Grant raised even more eyebrows Wednesday night in his postgame comments at South Carolina. He did it without raising his voice, but the effect was jarring just the same.
Two sentences stood out:
"We're playing an entitled brand of basketball, and it's very frustrating as a coach," Grant said.
Entitled? Wow. Players in a program that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2006 acting entitled? That's disturbing, especially in late January as a season starts to skid.
"And for me right now," Grant said, "I have to self-evaluate what I'm doing as a coach when it consistently feels like winning is not the priority that it needs to be on our team."
Whoa. Winning isn't the priority it needs to be? Consistently? What other priority is there for a college basketball player on a team that was ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation earlier this season? Padding your stats? Impressing NBA scouts?
This isn't the first time this season that Grant has questioned his team on an intangible level, which makes his stern postgame message even more alarming. It means the players, at least some of them, didn't get the message before. Or they got it and didn't respond to it.
Either way, not good.
And just for fun, coming soon to a Super Bowl commercial near you
Former Springfield Hillcrest star Trey Starks strikes again. The 5'10" Starks, who led Hillcrest to the 2010 Missouri class 5 state championship threw down a monster dunk for 9th ranked Seward County Community College in Thursday nights 81-74 loss to rival Garden City.
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self was reported to be in attendance Thursday night.
Starks gained national fame for his amazing dunk at the 2010 state championship. The alley oop jam has received over 270,000 hits on YouTube and was the ESPN SportsCenter "Top Play". Click the link for links to the videos.
Andrew White scored 33 points, including 21 in the first quarter, as Miller defeated Virginia Episcopal, 75-63, on Thursday night in a matchup of two of the top teams in the state.
White, who has committed to play for Kansas next year, came out sizzling, scoring all of his team’s 21 first-quarter points. White went 5 of 6 from 3-point range in the opening quarter and accentuated his scoring blitz with a steal and dunk followed by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the quarter.
“I knew this would be a big game I wanted to rise to the occasion a little more than I have in the past,” said White.
“When I start hitting early, it kind of opens things up for other players.” VES could not match White basket for basket and ended the quarter down 21-11. After White's sensational first quarter, VES coach Curtis Staples knew his team was in for a long night.
“White came out and was on fire. When a guy comes out and gets it going like that, it’s hard to stop him,” Staples said.
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