Posts Tagged Conner Teahan

Don’t blame Conner

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

Pregame warmup 3s always go in.

Conner has become the new Tyshawn.

No, he’s not point plank’n. But he has become the hot message board target of the week. More and more he is being yelled at in sports bars. He’s drawing the ire of the casual KU basketball fan.

Kind of like Tyshawn a month ago.

Unlike Taylor, this is not Conner’s fault. He is who he is. He’s not underachieving like Tyshawn was. He’s not a knucklehead like Tyshawn was (at times). He’s not really turning the ball over. And unlike Tyshawn, who would occasionally take plays off, Conner plays his ass off on nearly every possession.

I repeat, he plays his ass off on every possession. Which is why I feel badly writing anything negative about him. Or letting others speak so negatively of him.

But let’s face it. He was a walk-on for a reason. And due to some misses on the recruiting front, he is going to be our 6th man this season. For better or worse.

I have heard him compared to Tyrel Reed. I think that comes from the fact that people saw Tyrel hit corner 3 after corner 3. People sometimes see Conner hit the corner 3 too. But Tyrel was so much more than a spot up shooter. He had a flare for the dramatic. He seemed to hit the clutch shot at exactly the time Kansas needed it the most. He had good lateral quickness and kept his man in front of him. He wasn’t Keith Langford, but he could dribble baseline if he needed to and would nearly always make a good decision with the ball.

Conner is not Tyrel Reed. Conner is Conner.

Conner is a fantastic high school basketball player. At Rockhurst, he averaged 25 points and 8 boards a game. He was Mr. Show-Me Basketball his senior season. He was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year. He had a tremendous high school basketball resume, but couldn’t garner a scholarship offer from any of the Big XII local schools.

To play basketball for Bill Self, you have to defend. If you don’t defend, you don’t play. That’s how he’s always been. Everything starts with the side of the court that doesn’t include shooting or passing or dribbling the basketball. Coming into the season, Self recruited a great wing player named Ben McLemore. Like Conner, he was a standout high school player. He averaged 28 and 12.

He could also defend.

Ben was recruited to come in and play right away at a position the Jayhawks needed. When he didn’t qualify, Conner entered the picture as a guy that was going to have to play, even if he didn’t meet Self’s qualifications for the position.

In theory, Conner is not a bad guy to get minutes on this team. He has traditionally been a decent 3-point threat. This KU team didn’t really have many of those coming into the season. When he came off the bench, defenders would have to respect his shot, leaving more room for Thomas to operate and Tyshawn to drive. It makes some sense.

Except the poor guy just can’t guard.

And this is something the casual (and not so casual) KU fan has started to notice.

Unlike Reed and Morningstar and other white KU dudes that have come before him (because, let’s be honest, nobody…and I mean NObody compares white guards to black guards. It’s silly, really. Happens in football too. Think “Wes Welker-type.” I digress), he lacks lateral quickness. He lacks court vision. He doesn’t have the handles. And when he lacks confidence with his shot, he hurts his team.

Now some will look at the box score and see that he went 2-2 from 3-point range on Saturday. Those watching the game might even say that those two shots were huge at the time. Others, still, might even throw in that he got KU’s biggest steal of the game, one that led to points on the other end. All of these points are 100% accurate. It was his best game in a month.

But he got killed on defense.

Missouri seemed to run most its offense right at him. It didn’t matter who he was guarding. His guy seemed to get the shot, or at the very least, his guy started the possession for the shot. Can’t blame them really. I’ve been saying it all season. Whenever Conner is in the game, the opposition should send its guard right at him for a blocking foul or around him to make T-Rob or Withey slide over and draw those guys into fouls.

Again, I want to remind you, this isn’t Conner’s fault. Don’t get mad at Conner. If anything, get mad at Self for multiple misses on the recruiting front the last two years. Get mad at the NCAA or the Big XII partial qualifier rules for keeping Ben in street clothes for the season. Hell, get mad at Naadir Tharpe for struggling so badly in practice that he can’t make the rotation on a team that desperately needs another competent guard.

But it’s not Conner’s fault. He’s trying his hardest. And we’re going to have to live with it.¬†Here’s hoping his 2-2 performance on Saturday is a jump start for the rest of the season.

And if it isn’t, here’s hoping KU plays a lot of “Conner Teahan types” in its remaining games.

 

Couple quick thoughts on the Baylor matchup

Posted on: January 16th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

Baylor will be in town tonight for a huge Big Monday matchup. I never really get into the “must-win” scenarios this early in the season, but a victory tonight would go a long way for both teams come late February. It will be a huge game, and I expect the Fieldhouse to be rocking.

Some quick thoughts on the matchup:

Baylor’s Length:

We haven’t played a team like this since we played Kentucky. The same Kentucky that gave us fits. Baylor may be the only other team in the country that matches up with the Wildcats from a pure length and athleticism perspective. And Kentucky manhandled us. I know it was close in the first half, but it shouldn’t have been. The good news is that this Kansas team is a much different Kansas team than we saw on November 15. I think we’ll be more prepared for it this time around. The equalizer will be whether we are able to knock down some open shots that we will be able to create by going inside-out.

Perimeter Shooting:

I hate the say it, but I hope Conner doesn’t get a ton of minutes off the bench tonight. He will be such a liability on the defensive end that I don’t think his 2-6 from 3-point range will be worth it. Against most teams, we can cover for Conner with additional help every time he gets blown by. Unfortunately tonight, we’ll need to preserve Thomas and Jeff from foul trouble. That all said, we’ll need to make some perimeter shots and Conner may be our best option. We’ll need Elijah, Travis, and Tyshawn to do better than 29% from three tonight. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for an Elijah coming-out-party.

Tyshawn:

Tyshawn will be the most important player tonight, as he has been most nights. He was the single reason we didn’t lose to Kentucky by 25 points. He has proven time and time again that he can get by his man at any time he wants. Hopefully tonight he’ll keep attacking. As Self alluded to in his post-game comments after Iowa State, it would be ideal if Taylor penetrates with the idea of passing when he draws help defense. I agree to some extent, but when we have difficulty scoring, he needs to be able to take over much like he did in the second half on Saturday. He can be instant offense when he’s on. We’ll need him to be on tonight.

Foul Trouble:

As awesome as it was, I think we saw an aberration on Saturday when Kansas played great absent Thomas. Throughout the year, we have been better with him on the floor, and tonight we will definitely need his 18 and 12 to win. He’ll need to muscle up and play hard on defense, but be mindful of foul trouble. You have to think Baylor will take it right to him. Likewise, Withey has been a very important player the last few weeks. We’ll need him tonight, especially on the defensive end of the floor. He’ll be able to take up room and deter some penetration. I also put the over-under on his fouls at 4.5…and I’m taking the over. Just hope it’s very late in the game.

Allen Fieldhouse:

This isn’t the same kind of Baylor team we’ve seen before. It is loaded with as much talent as a non-Kansas team has been since I can remember. And they’re not freshman. They’re veteran players that have been around the block. Allen won’t intimidate them at the beginning of the game. It will, however, intimidate them if things don’t start off well. The key for Kansas will be to get off to a good start. I want to see the K-State game, not the Iowa State game. If we give them momentum early, the crowd won’t be quite as stiff and they’ll be able to continue playing their game. If we come out strong, our guys will feed off the crowd and the building. That’s when Baylor could be distracted and see what so many other great teams have seen inside the Fieldhouse — the PHOG.

Coaching:

It has long been said that Baylor Coach Scott Drew is a fantastic recruiter and a very average basketball coach. I don’t necessarily buy into it, because the same has been said before about Bill Self, and John Calipari, and many other great Xs & Os coaches. That all being said, Kansas certainly has the advantage from the bench. I tend to think Drew has stepped away and let his guys play more loose this year. Baylor, like Kentucky, could probably beat 95% of the teams they face without a coach at all. When a team is loaded with talent, the key for a coach is to get his guys to play with the same intensity on defense as they do on offense. Self and Calipari are great at that. We’ll see how good Drew is tonight.

Prediction:

I think it will be a close game throughout. It would not shock me if Kansas lost the game in the end. Baylor is that good. As long as we can make a few open shots and bother Baylor’s guards on the defensive end, I will take KU. Something like KU 71 Baylor 68 sounds about right.

I’ll be in the house. Hope you will be too. Rock Chalk!