LJW Smithology: These Guys Again: TCU
ABOUT TCU (16-10, 3-10 Big 12): After starting 1-10 in the Big 12, a stretch that included a seven-game losing streak, TCU has notched two straight victories. The Horned Frogs handled a ranked Oklahoma State team 70-55 before defeating K-State 69-55 at home on Wednesday. “We’re growing up,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said, “we’re maturing.” In their third season in the Big 12, the Frogs have surpassed their total number of victories from their first two seasons combined. After going 2-16 in conference play in 2013, TCU was winless in the league last season. On the whole, though, TCU has continued to struggle on the offensive end during conference play. The Frogs rank ninth in the league in offensive efficiency, and last in the league in three-point shooting (26.7 percent) and free-throw shooting (57.7 percent). TCU fell to Kansas 64-61 on Jan. 28 in Fort Worth, Texas. But the Horned Frogs punished Kansas on the glass, snaring 26 offensive rebounds. That’s the most allowed by Kansas this season.
The Big 12 schedule has been unrelenting for a Kansas basketball team that has faced uncharacteristic defensive rebounding issues.
After facing Baylor and West Virginia — two of the nation’s top seven offensive rebounding teams — KU won’t get much relief Saturday when it takes on TCU at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Horned Frogs rank 13th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and also had previous success against the Jayhawks in that area; in a 64-61 loss to KU on Jan. 28, TCU grabbed 26 of its 57 missed shots (46 percent).
“A lot of times their best offense is going and getting it off the glass,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We got to do a much better job. We were really poor in Fort Worth with that.”
...KU continues to hold a one-game lead in the Big 12 standings over Iowa State. The Cyclones face a tough game Saturday, as they play at Texas.
“Obviously it’s down to crunch time, but that’s what I told our guys: That’s the way you want it. That’s the way it should be,” Self said. “You should have to play well to win a league.
“Certainly, we put ourselves in a position that if we’re successful, we’ll put ourselves in a great spot.”
They call him Scarecrow, a nickname that seems oddly appropriate the moment you see Chris Huey step on the floor at Allen Fieldhouse before a Kansas men’s basketball practice.
Huey is a slender 6-foot-7 college senior with a pair of gangly arms, a wiry torso and a head of dark brown hair. He does not look much like a Division I basketball player, at least not one who would ever suit up for Kansas. But on this February afternoon, his hands are up as he fights for post position with the Jayhawks’ Perry Ellis, a potential All-Big 12 power forward, during a scout-team walk-through.
“The best way to describe it,” Huey says of guarding Ellis, “is it’s like a wrestling match.”
If you are reading this story — and you are a diehard Kansas basketball fan — you have probably never heard of Chris Huey, or his Scarecrow alter ego. On most days, Huey is an anonymous figure on the KU campus, a fifth-year senior who works as a student manager for Bill Self and the KU basketball program. But on this February day, as Self runs his team through a practice with a collection of donors watching from the stands, Huey is working his other job: A member of the KU scout team.
Jayhawk on Jayhawk crime!
If you're curious whether or not Andrew Wiggins can finish through contact, the Minnesota Timberwolves' rookie can certainly do that. He hasn't had a lot of huge dunks, although he's had a lot of athletic plays, but Wiggins is starting to hang in the air around the basket and violently force the ball through the hoop.
Markieff Morris' slap to the face can't even stop him, and no foul was called on the play.
2/20/15, 9:31 PM
Man, Andrew Wiggins is special. I love how people build these kids up, then tear them down right before draft. Kid is the truth.
Another view of the dunk!
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!