Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Episode 104 – Schedule Gets Interesting

Posted on: January 15th, 2017 by jayhawktalk No Comments

The fellas are back to talk KU hoops and the 2-0 sweep against the Oklahomas. They get into the week that was in the Big 12 and preview the next week’s games, including a lot of talk on ISU and Texas. They also dive into the race for the Big 12 and have another edition of America’s fastest growing podcast segment, Naismith Court.

Grab a beer and come on in for a listen of the Jayhawk Talk Podcast.

ROCK CHALK!

Find the Podcast on iTunes here (Please subscribe, rate, review!)

Find the Podcast on Podbean here (non-Apple mobile devices)

Episode 94 – Welcome to MARCH (with Matt Norlander)

Posted on: March 6th, 2016 by jayhawktalk No Comments

March Madness is in the air, and the guys are soaking it all up after going 2-0 this week and securing the regular season Big 12 title outright. They are joined by friend of the show, Matt Norlander, of CBS Sports to rap about the Big 12, KU’s chances in the tournament, and several other national stories. They also preview the Big 12 tournament, take some credit for Wayne’s shooting slump bust, and do another round of “Step Ya Game Up.”

Come on in, grab a beer, and enjoy a little Jayhawk Talk Podcast.

Find the Podcast on iTunes HERE.

(Please continue rate/review/subscribe/comment!)

Find the Podcast on Podbean HERE.

(Non-Apple Mobile Devices)

Rock Chalk!

Editor’s Note: Look for another podcast episode to drop Monday night previewing the Big 12 Tourney! 

Projecting the 2013 KU football starters

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 by jayhawktalk No Comments

(Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by my fellow KU alum, @thelachmantest. Good buddy from college and huge KU football fan. Give him a follow on twitter and look forward to future posts from him here at JHT. Rock Chalk!)

2013 FOOTBALL STARTING LINEUP

A.K.A

HEY TURNER, THANKS FOR (ALMOST) NOTHING

With a program like KU, you would expect most starters to be in their 3rd to 5th year in school — guys who have developed through the strength and conditioning program and have some playing experience.  For 2013, these would be the recruits from the classes of 2009 up to 2013. The 2009 class were true freshmen during Mangino’s last season.  The 2010 class was a mix of Mangino/Gill guys. 2011 were all Gill guys. 2012 were a mix of Gill/Weis guys.  2013 was all Weis guys.

While putting this lineup together, I was not surprised how Charlie Weis has revamped the roster and has a lot of his guys starting or fighting for a starter’s spot.  I was surprised to see Mark Mangino still having an impact on the roster and on the flip side the lack of impact by Turner Gill.  On second thought, I’m not surprised by the lack of Gill guys in the lineup given the complete lack of discipline, accountability, and an overall lackadaisical attitude under his charge.

To come up with lineup, I used the spring depth chart, various articles and quotes along with some educated guesses to come up with a starting lineup.  I used Jayhawk Slant to gather commitment dates and other recruiting information.

Some dates to keep in mind:

Mark Mangino fired resigned: 12/3/09

Turner Gill hired: 12/15/09 and fired: 11/27/11

Charlie Weis hired: 12/9/11

Let’s take a look the potential starting lineup.  Starters are in BOLD.

Credit: LJ World

OFFENSE

QB: Jake Heaps: a BYU transfer brought in by Weis.  This year we will go only as far as “The Mormon Cannon” will carry us. His backup is Michael Cummings, a Gill recruit. I was part of the #freemichaelcummings campaign last year, so it saddens me to say I only see him being used as part of running/option package.

RB: James Sims: committed to Dave Beaty on 7/13/09 under Mangino. Ran for over 1,000 yards in only 9 games, with most defenses knowing that we are running the ball 9 out of 10 plays.  I’m excited for his senior campaign.  Taylor Cox is JUCO transfer brought in by Coach Weis, and will be a great change of pace backup.

RB/WR: Tony Pierson:  He committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill.  No question, the best player on the field.  We should all expect big time plays from this guy all season long.

WR: Andrew Turzilli: Turzilli has all the physical tools to be a standout at WR, showing some flashes last year.  He committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino.  His backup is most likely Christian Matthews, who is versatile enough to play QB in the “Jayhawk” formation.  During the spring game, he also filled in at CB for a couple of plays.  Matthews committed to Dave Beaty on 6/20/08.

WR: Justin McCay: McCay is a transfer from OU brought in by Weis, and is another guy with good physical tools to play the position.  Tre Parmalee is a Weis recruit who saw decent playing time as a true freshman last year, and he’ll play the slot position.

All other WRs who could see playing time are recent transfers (thus all Weis guys).

TE: Jimmay Mundine: Mundine showed flashes of his full potential and the expectations are even higher this year.  He committed on 7/31/09 under Mangino.  His backups are a JUCO transfer, Charles Brooks, and a redshirt freshman, Jordan Shelley-Smith, both Weis recruits.

LT: Pat Lewandowski: From the sound of it, there is a 3-way battle.  Lewandowski may have the upper hand over Riley Spencer and Zach Fondal.  He is a local kid who committed to KU in January 2010 under Gill.  Weis & Co. converted him from a DE to LT.  Riley Spencer committed in Jan 2009 under Mangino. Fondal is a JUCO transfer brought in by Weis this year.

LG: Ngalu Fusimalohi: Penciled to start is Fusimalohi who is a JUCO transfer under Weis.  Damon Martin is a Gill recruit, most likely the backup.

C: Dylan Admire:  Another battle for the starting spot, Admire is penciled in as the starter for now, over Mike Smithburg and Gavin Howard.  Admire is a local kid who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill.  Smithburg is a JUCO transfer under Weis, Howard is a Mangino commitment.

RG: Randall Dent / Mike Smithburg: Tough call between these two.  Smithburg is an incoming JUCO transfer, who has been on campus for winter conditioning and spring ball, while Randall Dent played a lot last year but could end up splitting time with Smithburg.  He originally committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino.

Credit: CJ Online

RT: Aslam Sterling: Sterling is a JUCO transfer brought in by Weis last year.  He has dropped weight and gotten in better shape and is a lock for the starting spot. Brian Beckmann, who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill, should be the backup.

With the offensive line we’re looking at 2 Weis guys (Fusimalohi & Sterling). Then there are 2 players connected to Gill — one of whom was recruited by Reggie Mitchell (Admire), the other a converted defensive end.  Randall Dent will be the one starter recruited by Mangino.  If Fondal (left tackle) and/or Smithburg (center) get the starting nod, Gill gets credit for only one starter on the entire offensive side of the ball.

Offense total: Mangino: 4, Weis: 4 (could be up to 6), Gill: 3 (could be 1)

DEFENSE

LE/T: Jordan Tavai / Tendarian Johnson: Both are JUCO transfers under Weis. Tavai should be the starter as he was here last year, and held up okay while under a steep learning curve. Johnson arrived in time for spring ball and should get to see the field this fall.

NT: Marquel Combs/ Ty McKinney/ Tyler Holmes:  Combs is the #1 rated JUCO recruit in the country this year, and penciled in as a starter.  Mckinney was supposed to be a JUCO transfer last year, but academic issues pushed it back to this year. Both are Weis recruits.  Holmes is a redshirt freshman, who was being recruited by Buddy Wyatt under Gill and finally committed in Jan 2012 under Weis.

RE/T: Keon Stowers/ Keba Agostinho / Kevin Young: Stowers is a JUCO transfer under Weis, and should be the starter.  Agostinho is a Gill recruit under Buddy Wyatt, while Kevin Young is a holdover from the Mangino days.

BUCK: Chris “Robin Hood” Martin/ Andrew Bolton/ Ben Goodman / Michael Reynolds: Bolton is a JUCO transfer this year under Weis who also had SEC offers.  I would guess his athleticism lends him some playing time.  Goodman was recruited by Buddy Wyatt under Gill, and has continued to improve every year, really coming on late last year.  Reynolds is also a Gill recruit, and should be a situational pass rusher.

The D-Line was a big focus for Weis and Co., and they have definitely built depth at that position.  No matter the starters, I expect a lot of rotation to keep fresh legs in the game.

OLB: Courtney Arnick / Marcus Jenkins-Moore: Arnick is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis; Jenkins-Moore is a JUCO transfer, who arrived on campus in June 2013.  At this time it is a toss-up who will start.

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

MLB:  Ben Heeney: Heeney should/will be the starter.  Recruited by Gill, he earned 2nd team All Big 12 as a sophomore starter last year.  His backup will be Darrius Willis who followed Gill from Buffalo, redshirted and then had to prove himself again to Weis to stay on this team.

OLB:  Jake Love / Samson Faifili: Recruited by Gill and Co., Love played a lot as a redshirt freshman last year, and should be the incumbent starter. Faifili is a JUCO transfer who should be on campus as of June 2013.  He’ll compete for playing time at either of the OLB positions, similar to Jenkins-Moore.

CB: Dexter McDonald/ JaCory Shepherd: McDonald is a local kid who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill.  After leaving the team for one year, he was brought back by Weis.  Shepherd was recruited as a wide receiver under Gill but was converted to DB by Weis & Co. I would say whichever guy does not start will be the nickel cornerback.

SS: Isaiah Johnson: Johnson is a JUCO transfer and brings considerable hype with him.  He should be on campus at the start of July, and is penciled in as a starter. Tevin Shaw is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis and will get a chance to prove himself.  Ray Mitchell, while listed on the spring depth chart, is not listed on the official roster on the KU athletics website.

FS:  Dexter Linton / Greg Allen / Kevin Short: Linton committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino, and brings the most experience as a senior.  Allen is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis, while Kevin Short is a JUCO transfer, who may see time all over the defensive backfield.

CB: Cassius Sendish / Nas Moore / Tyree Williams: Sendish is a JUCO guy who has been here for spring practice and should be a starter.  Backups may include Moore, a JUCO transfer last year or Tyree Williams, a redshirt freshman. All are Weis guys.

It is a little harder to break down the defense since more positions are up for grabs, but there are at least 6 Weis guys (LE, NT, RE, OLB, SS, CB); at least 2 Gill guys (MLB, CB); 1 Mangino guy (FS) and tossups between Weis and Gill guys at the BUCK and other OLB position. Let’s assign one to each.

Defense Total: Weis: 7, Gill: 3, Mangino: 1

SPECIALISTS

Credit: LJ World

K/P: Trevor Pardula: The spring depth chart has Pardula, a JUCO transfer, listed as a starter at both positions.  Eric Kahn, a transfer from Mid America Nazarene may also get a shot at being the kicker. Both of those guys were brought in under Weis.  Either way, Ron Doherty has good competition at both positions.

Snapper: Zachary Young / Reilly Jeffers: Young is a transfer from Indiana. Jeffers played as a freshman last year. Both are Weis Guys.

Not surprisingly, Turner Gill recruits have zero impact on special teams.

COACHES

Reggie Mitchell and Buddy Wyatt:  There is a reason Weis only kept these two from the prior staff.  Almost all the Gill guys on the list above are linked to those 2 guys.  They may have been the only 2 coaches on staff who knew what to look for in a potential recruit.

Dave Beaty:  His name came up a lot as well.  The dude could and can recruit.  I wish Weis would’ve kept him.  Instead he’s at Texas A&M as an assistant coach & recruiting coordinator.  A&M’s 2012 recruiting class was ranked: #15 in the country.  2013: #11, 2014: #6 and rising.  Sigh.

What does it all mean?

Well, for one thing, Turner robbed us blind.  For his $10 million, we’re getting maybe 4 starters on this year’s team, when it should be close to half.  During his opening statements he said a lot of things, which were essentially just a lot of hot air and B.S (by the way, be careful reading that transcript, it may induce excessive eye rolling and possibly vomiting). Gill pretty much did the opposite of what he promised, running a loose program with no discipline or accountability.  There is a reason Weis had to kick out nearly a third of the team, and that is also the reason he has had to bring in so many JUCO guys, players with experience and physical development, to fill in all the gaps.

Having said all that, I think Weis has us on the right track, with a potential bowl season in 2013.

Season breakdown next?

Photo Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

 

Kansas’ Harlem Shake – An Analysis

Posted on: February 16th, 2013 by jayhawktalk No Comments

I’ll admit it. I’m kind of a slut for flash-in-the-pan Internet crazes.

You know how it works. You receive a link in a chat window, a message on Facebook, a retweet into your timeline. It’s a video, a picture, a “meme” or a dance. You watch it, you love it, and you find yourself searching out other examples.

Only thing I love more than awesome things on the Internet is KU basketball. This team has found a way to marry these two wonderful things.

What follows is a beautiful little video from the KU basketball team. It’s their version of the “Harlem Shake.”

It makes sense if you think about it — this team getting on board with a dance craze. As we’ve surely all seen by now, these guys are all about dancing. Who can blame them? Dancing is awesome.

There are about a million different Harlem Shake videos out there right now. This is obviously my favorite. First, a quick background. The Harlem Shake meme generally requires three things (1) at the beginning of the video one person is dancing with the crowd not paying attention; (2) when the bass or hook drops, everyone is dancing, usually with some sort of costume or general ridiculousness; (3) well, that’s it, really.

I thought it’d be interesting to take a closer look at this video, person by person. I urge you to re-watch the video each time you read a paragraph and focus only on that one person or group. It’s worth the individual attention to detail.

Bill Self: He doesn’t really fit into the meme recipe described above, but I appreciate his involvement in the shoot. He’s pictured drawing up some spectacular inbounds plays (I’m particularly impressed with the top left play, which aims to open up Ben for a corner 3). Self’s cameo ends with him erasing four of the six plays (he keeps the good one) and writing “Harlem Shake!!!” on the board and walking away. Note: Evan Manning is the only player pictured and he doesn’t seem to give one shit at all about what Coach is drawing up.

Ben McLemore: Of late, he has been the star of the Kansas basketball dance troupe. This video probably wouldn’t be a thing if not for Ben’s previous escapades, first documented in a post-Ohio State locker room celebration and later in a post-KSU dance. Ben gets us started with a solo version of “The McLemore” dance — a healthy mix between Hava Nagila, the C-Walk, and Saturday Night Fever. In any event, it’s freakin’ awesome. So there he is, dancing away while everyone is suiting up for practice — everyone except Elijah Johnson, who seems to have discovered nappy time. Ben’s also wearing the head of a chicken costume, just because. Cut to the new scene and Ben has shed the mask but found the rest of the chicken costume, again, just because. His chicken walk through the last few seconds of the scene is pure amazeballs.

Justin Wesley: Of any Jayhawk, Justin should know what it takes to shine in front of a camera. He spent the offseason playing Wilt Chamberlain in the upcoming movie, Jayhawkers. It makes you wonder why he chose one of the easiest theatrical stunts — that is, struggling to put his practice jersey on over his head — during Ben’s dance. He certainly makes up for it after the break, center frame, going full on kilt and chains. I have 10:1 that look will be in a new Chief Keef music video within the next calendar year. Flawless.

Naadir Tharpe: We’ve seen his dance moves a few times this season. His default move seems to be the “Robot.” You probably have that buddy that has a default move to the “Robot” too. Your buddy isn’t very good at it. Neither is Naadir. But it’s still sort of endearing. You have to think his teammates told him to wait in the wings and then when the time is right, just sachet across the shot from stage left to right, employing that signature move. I also tend to think that Naadir owns that green vest and did not need to make a visit to the KU Theatre Department’s prop room before filming.

Niko Roberts, Christian Garrett, and Landen Lucas: These three really need to be discussed together because of their roles in a truly meta sub plot going on inside this video. We first see Niko, in full-on onesie pajamas, a bib, and a pacifier. He seems to really be into his dance moves until he is completely distracted by a gigantic fly hanging from a 6-iron. What pacifier-sucking kid wouldn’t want to follow that? Especially if that pacifier sucking kid is also armed with a butterfly net!!! Too bad we couldn’t see just three more seconds of the video. I hope he caught that pesky fly. Meanwhile, Christian decided to go with the half-KU football player in December after a workout coat, half-Roman soldier look. He has some nice moves with that shield before taking Santa Landen on a ride in the equipment cart. Landen is holding the 6-iron/fly thingy while seemingly jamming to his own Keith Sweat slow jam that only he can hear.

Jeff Withey and Jamari Traylor: Jeff is attempting his best Slash impression, but is failing miserably. I would have preferred to see Jeff play a more vital role than “awkward white 7-footer with wig that plays fake guitar in socks,” but that’s just me. To his credit, he actually makes out a couple legit power chords between the three or four times he adjusts his hair. Like a true 80s guitarist. Jamari, on the other hand, goes with the mini-acoustic, black leather vest, and sombrero get-up. He seems to be the most accomplished musician in the bunch, with most of his focus going toward his craft. He’s also, umm, very muscly.

Travis Releford: He is probably the one in the video that makes me giggle the most. He is sporting the black boots, shorts, and soccer jacket of one of those club teams or countries or something (Germany, maybe? Clearly a huge soccer fan here), and is swinging the everliving shit out of some beads (?). His facial expressions are the real sell, though. Absolute gold, especially in slow motion.

Elijah Johnson: We know he’s been struggling to find his place on the court of late. Not here. He plays the creepy, masked joker Santa PERFECTLY. You might miss him the first couple times you watch it, but he emerges from behind Ben and finds his way to orchestra right by the end of the shot. He looks confused, but don’t let him trick you. That’s what he wants you to think.

Kevin Young and Company: Speaking of creepy, let’s talk about the guy in the back wearing the Jason mask and holding a knife. Oh, but he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, so it’s not near as bad. He’s standing on a chair, slashing at the air with all his Kevin Young might. You’d think Evan Manning next to him would be just slightly scared, but once again, he’s still not giving one shit. Perry Ellis looks a little scared, but that’s probably more about his discomfort with being in a group setting than a Hawaiian with a huge knife. Then there’s Andrew White III with a big goofy hat. Like Jamari, it appears he’s jamming to a different song as well. Maybe U2 or Bonnie Raitt or something.

Tyler Self: Tyler made the mistake of going shirtless in this shoot. He’s standing near Jamari Traylor, who can pull of shirtless. Tyler, not so much. I do appreciate his decision to play jungle gym on the water pipes running across the ceiling, although I think he geared up to try a “pull-up” and realized he didn’t have the arm strength for it yet. He does earn some points for his mink throw he has draped across his shoulders. Keeps him warm and hides his underdeveloped delts.

Not pictured: Supremely disappointed Rio Adams was not involved. He is the best dancer on the team not named Ben McLemore and he has an argument that he’s even better than Ben. Not sure where he was during the filming, but I’m sad he wasn’t there. Same goes for Joe Dooley and Andrea Hudy, both of which could have added a lot to this just by making a one second cameo.

I hope you enjoyed my write up as much as I enjoyed watching the video 35 times. Happy gameday!

 

Fuse Blowin’ Christmas Greatest Hits

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

If you came here for Jayhawk news today, I’m sorry to disappoint. Head over to Jayhawk Slant or KU Sports or The Star. But if you’re into Christmas — and let’s face it, who isn’t — you’ve actually come to the right place.

This is a blog devoted to a little musical side project I have goofed around with for the last five years. It started with my mom asking me to record her a Christmas song. It eventually led to drunken merriment among friends as I involved other talented people in the recording process. Each year since, we have continued recording and trying new things. The album is released under the name “Fuse Blowin’ Christmas” because I have historically been known to enjoy going a bit overboard when it comes to Christmas lights. This has often led to unfathomable (and certainly unsafe) electronic feats. Generally, the same words can be used to describe the music as well – that is, unfathomable and unsafe.

Enjoy, and Merry freakin’ Christmas.

This Christmas

Fireside

The Christmas Song

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Carol of the Bells

O Holy Night

We Three Kings

Silent Night (a capella)

Blue Christmas

Reindeer Blues

Santa Buddy

Loud Silver Bells

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Greensleeves

Angels We Have Heard On High

Christmas Time

Self to add to the 2012 class?

Posted on: January 11th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

Bill Self may be adding to the (already large) '12 recruiting class

Bill Self recently said that he believes his 2012 recruiting class is “good” but that he and his staff are still looking to add one or two more players to make it “great.”  I think most people immediately assumed he was referring to his pursuit of the #1 2012 blue chip, Las Vegas’ Shabazz Muhammad. But with Shabazz being somewhat of a long-shot to end up in Lawrence next year, I thought it would be worth exploring who else Self could be courting into the Spring.

First, it is worth stating that all of KU’s scholarships are completely spoken for. Certainly Thomas Robinson is nearly a lock to head to the NBA next year and Elijah could have a look if he goes on a run into postseason play. There are also a few candidates to transfer as well. Merv comes to mind.

Of course if Self is faced with a can’t-miss player wanting to come play for him, he’ll find a scholarship. (Sidenote: I’ve always enjoyed those people that get riled up about the number of schollies available. If good players are out there, we always have a scholarship available. One way or another.)

There might also be an issue with all of the 2012 players qualifying to play. I don’t have any insider information on it, but I do know that we’ve obviously had our issues in the past when it comes to qualifying.

Of course he may also be referring to the guys that haven’t officially signed on the dotted line yet — Anrio Adams and Andrew White.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at who is out there that could still possibly end up in Lawrence next year. I’ll rank them by how likely I believe they will be here.

(1) Geron Johnson, 6’3 Guard

Geron Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: I recently reviewed Johnson here a few weeks ago when it sounded like Kansas might be more interested in adding him. He is a 6’3 combo guard with a versatile offensive game and good size. He has had somewhat of a checkered past, however, as he battled off-court issues until his time at Garden City Community College. Assuming he keeps his focus on school and basketball this year, he’ll likely be playing Div. I basketball somewhere next year. He’s currently averaging 18+ points for GC, though the basketball part has never been his problem. He was a top 100 Rivals player out of high school.

My take: I get the sense that he would like to come to Kansas, but I don’t get the sense that he has necessarily been guaranteed a scholarship yet. While I would like to see Self add another guard to this class as insurance for Anrio Adams as well as any potential transfer, I don’t think Johnson will be first on his list. However, I do believe based on proximity and need, Johnson could be in Lawrence next year. It depends on how long he is willing to wait to see if a scholarship will be there.

(2) JaKarr Sampson, 6’8 Small Forward

JaKarr Sampson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Sampson originally signed with St. John’s last year, but was ruled ineligible, so he returned to Brewster Academy and has since put in the work to get back into his college recruitment. He is very long and athletic, with rangy arms and impressive defensive acumen. On the offensive side of the ball, he still needs to work on his jump shot, but he has no problem finishing at the rim. He’ll need to continue working, but based on his potential alone, he was the 51st ranked player by Rivals in the 2011 class.

My take: I think Sampson does legitimately like Kansas. We recruited him the first time around, and both Self and Dooley have maintained contact with him and his coach. He has not taken any visits yet this year, but does seemingly plan to do so in the spring. While I do believe he could fit into KU’s system nicely, he might be scared off by the number of guys Kansas has that can play small forward next year. That being said, he was a part of a 9-man recruiting class to St. John’s so perhaps he isn’t afraid of some competition. Speaking of competition, in addition to KU, Sampson has heard from Pittsburgh, Providence, Florida, Baylor, Connecticut, and Louisville. Might be a tough one to get.

(3) Luke Cothron, 6’9 Power Forward

Luke Cothron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Similar to the above two prospects, Cothron has had a bumpy road to Division I basketball. He was a top prospect in his 2010 class, Rivals ranking him 45th overall and 11th at the PF position. He committed to Auburn over Connecticut, Kentucky, and Tennessee. However, he didn’t qualify and eventually landed at UMass. He became homesick and journeyed to the University of New Orleans. He eventually left there too and ended up at the College of Southern Idaho, where he’s stayed until now. Cothron has a variety of low post moves and has a good motor for rebounding the ball as well. He has a great frame and can still add muscle to his already strong upper body.

My take: Cothron told me via twitter that he had plans to visit Kansas, but that has not happened yet. The skills are definitely there, but it’s hard to say whether Self has earnestly offered him yet. Per @scoutsfocus on twitter, Cothron has said that he has offers from Kansas, Baylor, UNLV, and Memphis, but I’m not sure it has been confirmed. If Cothron ends up on campus for a visit, I’ll give this one a much higher shot, but until then, I do not think Cothron will end up in Lawrence.

(4) Tony Parker, 6’9 Center

Tony Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Parker is one of the last remaining Class 2012 blue chip prospects that has yet to commit. He is a huge kid at 6’9, 250 pounds, and uses all of his strength and mass well in the low block. For a big (round) guy, he has great post moves and really good hands. He uses all of his size to control the paint when he has the ball, but does not have the same presence on defense as he tends to play below the rim. He has had some troubles with staying in shape, but if he were to end up in a good strength and conditioning program, he could be a huge force down low.

My take: Because Self was confident that he was going to land his number one Center prospect in Kaleb Tarczewski, he did not put in much work into back-up plans at that position. Once Tarczewski committed to Arizona, Self hit the recruiting trail hard on both Parker and Landen Lucas. Parker has stated recently that Kansas has come on strong, but schools like Duke, UCLA, Ohio State, Memphis, Georgetown and Georgia have been there from the beginning. Not to mention Kansas will go from no depth in the post this year to having Withey, Traylor, Lucas, Peters, and Ellis all down low next year. I highly doubt Parker visits Kansas and would not recommend getting too tied up in his recruitment until a visit is imminent.

(5) Shabazz Muhammad, 6’6 Small Forward

Shabazz Muhammad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Shabazz is the #1 player in the 2012 class and is much deserving of such an honor. In short, he is a brilliant basketball player, with an exceptional mid-range game and an ability to get to the rim and finish hard. He’ll have no problem scoring on the collegiate level and will likely be drafted very early in the 2013 draft.

My take: I am keeping this one short because I think Kansas is a long shot in this recruitment. While he has said that he plans to visit Kansas, I am skeptical. Those much closer to his recruitment have said that he’ll eventually end up at Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, or UNLV. He is an extremely talented player, but at times it seems like he also has an extremely talented publicist. It seems like his team’s motive is to keep his name in the papers at all the blue blood schools to keep the hype alive. Not to say I don’t think he’s worth hyping. He is. But I don’t think he’ll end up in Lawrence.

(6) Savon Goodman, 6’6 Combo Guard/SF

Savon Goodman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Goodman committed to his hometown Villanova in late 2010 but then decommitted in 2011 and opened up his recruitment again. He is Rivals’ 53rd ranked player in the class of 2012. At one point, there was speculation that Goodman would have to reclassify to the 2013 class due to some academic concerns. However, he has indicated that he still plans to sign in 2012. He is an excellent scorer and can aggressively drive the lane and get to the basket. He does need to work on his jump shot and 3-point shooting.

My take: Kansas recruited Goodman the first time around, but there has been very little smoke with his name and Kansas the second time around. While quite a few schools have expressed interest in Goodman, I think there is some concern that he may not qualify. I put him in here because at one time Kansas did have interest, and that interest could be rekindled if there is some indication that he will, in fact, qualify for the 2012 class.

(7) Wanaah Bail, 6’8 Small Forward

Wannah Bail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: Bail is originally from the Bahamas and has landed in Texas. He has transferred high schools multiple times and has had some difficulty staying eligible. When on the court, he has excelled as a versatile small forward with enormous athleticism. His speed at 6’8 is a huge plus and he excels on the baseline with a good first step.

My take: Bail claims he still has a number of offers from high major programs such as Houston, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisville, Marquette, Texas, Baylor, San Francisco, Arizona State and South Florida. He says he’s also got interest from Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Arizona, Miami (Fl.), USC, Nebraska and Boston College. Similar to Goodman above, the name Kansas has been mentioned with Bail so I wanted to provide some information. That said, I do not see him ending up here.

(8) Nino Jackson, 6’2 Point Guard

Nino Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview: From a talent perspective, Jackson may be the best on this entire post outside of Shabazz. Unfortunately, Jackson has not been able to display his talent much this year due to academic and and other off-court issues. There are rumors that the Ardmore, OK guard got caught up in some things that he shouldn’t have outside of school. He’s somewhat of an internet legend around these parts as Kansas fans enjoyed his hints that Self and Co. led for his services at one point. Then, in the matter of about a year, he went from one tattoo to a hundred (check out his twitter profile @SoufSide_FlyGuy for a look), skipped a lot of school, and has had coaches seemingly keep him at arm’s length while still keeping one eye on the situation. When he’s on the court, he is a fantastic scorer, with good 3-point range and ball handling skills. While he’s listed at point guard, he’s probably more of a combo guard.

My take: It does sound like Nino may be back in school now. I heard somewhere that he enrolled in a program to help him get caught up with his classmates on academics. Hopefully he will find whatever he needs to find to get him back on track because it would be shame to let all of that talent go to waste. With the spring period rapidly approaching, I would be shocked if Nino ends up being recruited in the 2012 class to a Division I program. More likely, he’ll either end up reclassifying or going to a junior college to prove to coaches that he has his priorities back in line. I’d love for him to be at KU, but only if Self does too. I’m not sure we’re there yet.

Conclusion: 
I would be surprised if Self does actually add to an already good 2012 class. I don’t see him adding guys for the sake of adding them unless he knows that there will be eligibility issues or transfers. After this year, there is certainly something to be said for adding depth though. I would bet that unless one of the foregoing guys really impresses Self, he won’t be adding beyond the two guys that have yet to sign – Anrio and White. I guess we’ll see.

 

Still waiting for ‘Good Tyshawn’ to step up

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by jayhawktalk No Comments
Taylor tries a circus shot

Taylor attempts another circus shot

I predicted before the season that the duo of Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson was going to comparable to Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, if not better.  I, like most people, saw such promise in Taylor’s game. A quick first step, good vision, and athleticism matched by very few in the college game.

And we all knew what Robinson could bring to the table. In my mind, both had ceilings that were higher than Cole and Sherron, and both were in a position to need good seasons for future basketball employment.

Of course, Robinson has been terrific. What’s more, he’s been incredibly consistent. He is a force down low and has been good at keeping himself on the court and relevant late in games. He has, thus far, produced a season better than Cole ever did.

But Taylor has not held up his end of the bargain.

He hasn’t been bad. In fact, he’s probably been the most productive guard in our lineup this year. Not that he’s had much competition.

But he hasn’t been great. And he definitely hasn’t been consistent.

It’s been said before, but the thing that’s so frustrating about watching Taylor is that you know he has the skills to be phenomenal. You’ve seen it in spurts.

He can get by his man whenever he wants to. It truly does not matter who is guarding him. He has an incredible first step and has built the strength to surge to the rim off the dribble. The problem for Taylor has always been what comes next. He tends to leave his feet at inopportune times, leaving him with the option to attempt a pass or a shot mid-air (often with no real commitment to either before take-off). The good news is that he’s often fouled. The bad news is he turns the ball over a lot.

His best asset is his speed, but it can also be his worst asset at times. He plays the game sped up, which gives him a super power most don’t have on the court. Except sometimes uses his power for bad instead of good.

I think this is what KU fans mean when we say “We need ‘Good Tyshawn’ today, not ‘Bad Tyshawn.’” You see Good Tyshawn when he uses all of his incredible talents for good — active on defense, smart distributor, getting to the basket under control.

And you know what happens when he uses them for bad. You see the one-handed passes off the dribble (the one thing I LOATHE from our guards), the circus shots that fail to draw rim, and the bullet passes to Withey that he couldn’t catch in a million years. You also see the obligatory swing pass that falls into the lap of Danny Manning on the bench. The common denominator to all of these errors usually starts and ends with playing sped up.

The funny part is, Tyshawn could be just as effective in the college game if he slowed down just a tiny bit. He doesn’t need to go 100% to get by most college guards. 80% would do just fine most of the time. And when he gets by the first guy, he need only trust his instincts just a little bit more. And I think his instincts need to come down to three options, in this order:

(1) Score the basketball as if you’re not going to get the foul call. If you do get the foul call, even better.

(2) Find the Post. If you see the post defenders drawing away from Robinson or Withey to contend your shot, find Robinson or Withey for an easy basket.

(3) Kick to the wing. This hasn’t been quite as effective this year, mostly because we don’t have that corner 3 threat that we’ve had in recent years. But it should still be open nearly every time Tyshawn gets to the rim.

At times, this KU team struggles to score. If teams are doing everything they can to shut down Robinson (good strategy), it should really be Tyshawn’s show. He is the only one on this team that has shown the ability to get the rim whenever he wants to, no matter what defense he is facing. And when Tyshawn is getting to the rim with ease, good things should happen (see above options).

Think back to the second half of the Kentucky game this year. Most people ridiculed Taylor for his 3-13 shooting performance, but without his penetration in the second half, KU might have lost that game by 25. He hit 15 of 17 free throws and did not have a turnover. He was our only offense at the time. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

Certainly I understand the counterpoint that when Tyshawn drives the lane, throws up a prayer, and doesn’t draw a foul, it might as well go in the box score as a turnover. My response to that is when you have a 7-footer in Withey and Thomas Robinson (arguably the best rebounder in the NCAA), throwing a prayer off the backboard should get a put-back from time to time.

I still think this KU team is pretty good. In order to be great, though, it needs Good Tyshawn on a more consistent basis. Hopefully he can find it.

 

 

The Definitive Kevin Young Post

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by jayhawktalk No Comments

“The Energizer Bunny”

His Community College coach, Reggie Howard, called him the “Quiet Assassin.” Loyola Marymount Head Coach Max Good called him the “Energizer Bunny.” Self called him “bouncy” and compared his skill set to Julian Wright.

So who exactly is Kevin Young?

You might remember him from the first game of the year. Against Towson, Young played 14 efficient minutes going 6-7 from the field with 13 points and 7 rebounds. A pretty impressive output for a guy playing his first official game in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kevin Young about to snag a rebound

Kevin Young goes for a rebound

More likely, you might remember him from the Ohio State game where he had a similar stat line (6-8 from the field, 14 points, and 4 rebounds) in 24 minutes of play. He also took two impressive charges and made the best assist of the game – faking a three pointer and delivering a bullet pass to Robinson for a timely dunk that “energized” the crowd to the loudest it was all game.

Sandwiched in between the Towson and Ohio State games were seven modest performances, where Young averaged only five minutes of playing time and had no significant statistical impact on the game.

Through nine games, Young has shown that with additional minutes comes additional output. So why hasn’t Self played him more?

When a player is beyond the seventh spot on Self’s depth chart, he’ll often come in for a few minutes, and on the first mistake, get pulled not to play much again the rest of the game. Young only has five turnovers on the entire season. His defense has been solid. His energy has been a spark off the bench. And he looks like a guy KU fans will quickly get behind for doing all the little things.

You have to think Young proved to Self that he deserves a longer leash after Saturday’s game. As Self put it, “I haven’t seen that, or if I have seen it, then certainly we’ve made a mistake by not playing him…But that was something today like his coming-out game.”

Perris High, Loyola-Marymount, Barstow C.C.

When Young was a senior at Perris High School (Calif.), he logged three triple-doubles. He averaged a double-double for the season. He grabbed 31 rebounds in a game – twice. At Loyola-Marymount, Young broke the freshman record for rebounds (224) and rebounds per game (7.2). He also broke LMU freshman records for blocked shots and steals.

After his sophomore season at LMU, Young enrolled at Barstow Community College to focus on academics. Once he got those back in line, he signed a grant-in-aid agreement to play for San Diego State. Before he was able to get on the Aztecs campus, the opportunity to play for Kansas arose and Young decommitted to Bill Self.

Steve Fisher vs. Bill Self

Young’s decision to break his grant-in-aid with SDSU in favor of Kansas became somewhat of a national story when Aztecs Head Coach, Steve Fisher, went straight to the media to complain. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune:

I’m disappointed that a young man who I am very fond of would not feel an obligation to honor an eight-month commitment. And I’m equally disappointed in a program and coach I’m very fond of to pursue a player who made an eight-month commitment.

Young had every right to decommit from SDSU as the grant-in-aid he signed did not bind him to the school the way a national letter of intent does. A player is only allowed to sign one letter of intent during his career, and Young had already exhausted that signature with Loyola-Marymount.

Fisher continued, “Unfortunately, the only people who suffer in this situation is us because we passed over three or four very talented players because we did honor our commitment (to Young).”

Interestingly, Self responded to Fisher by telling the Lawrence Journal World:

“I don’t blame coach Fisher for being disappointed at all because Kevin did commit to them…but Kevin also told them he wasn’t going to San Diego State before we recruited him, so we didn’t steal him from San Diego State by any stretch.”

Whether Self and Co. contacted Young while he was “committed” to SDSU is up for debate. Young states that he spoke with Assistant Coach Kurtis Townsend and expressed interest in coming to Kansas in May. Young said that Townsend told him to talk to Fisher before he took a visit to KU.  Once Young spoke with Fisher, he visited Kansas and committed. Whether Townsend contacted Young or Young contacted Townsend is unknown.

Kevin Young Dunking

Kevin Young throws down a dunk against Towson

It also doesn’t matter.

The coaching fraternity is a tight knit group. Self certainly doesn’t want to make a habit of pissing off his brethren. At the same time, Fisher came off as desperate with his comments. The letter of intent is a powerful tool for small schools in small conferences. In this instance, he could not rely on it.

I’d also be remiss not to mention that Fisher was of course fired from Michigan in 1997 when he was the at the helm of one of the biggest college basketball scandals in history. Under his watch, booster Ed Martin allegedly paid Michigan players hundreds of thousands of dollars. In short, Fisher has very little room to be telling off other coaches.

Quiet Assassin

Kevin Young has not said much this year. Perhaps he has made the effort to let his play do the talking. If that’s the case, his play was yelling as loud as the Allen Fieldhouse crowd was on Saturday. Self perhaps put it best when he said, “That’s the Kevin Young we thought we recruited. Maybe this will give him the confidence moving forward. We could use another weapon.”

Another weapon.

Or an assassin.