Posts Tagged Tyshawn Taylor

Kansas, Baylor by the numbers

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by jayhawktalk 1 Comment

Robinson rises for the alley-oop. This eventually goes into the basket for 2 of his 27 points.

By @HailToOldKU

First things first, sorry I’ve gone missing over the last couple games. Kansas wrecked some fools, I have a real job, things got a little hectic. Is what it is. But when Kansas wrecks some highly ranked fools? Time to come back out of the woodwork. No more slacking.

I’m going to break this up a little bit differently than I have been, because putting stats on there for the bench guys would be completely irrelevant. So I’m going to ignore those guys – because Kansas is essentially a 5-man team anyways – and do numbers for the starters, and then some game stats that I thought were the key. Without further ado:

Thomas Robinson: 1 foul
Baylor can run out five guys with the size and ability to frustrate most posts. All of them, except maybe Quincy Acy, are stretch-fours who can get a traditional post into trouble by dragging him out to the perimeter and either drawing fouls or getting by them for a bucket. Robinson did an incredible job of staying out of foul trouble. With the Jayhawks’ lack of depth, he needed to stay on the floor for 30-plus minutes. He played 35. Oh, and he had 27 and 14. Which doesn’t suck.

Tyshawn Taylor: 10 points
I know Taylor finished with 28. The 10 I mention are the 10 that came during KU’s 13-0 run to end the first half. Taylor’s run entering the break gave the Jays all the momentum entering the second half and put his team up a dime at half. He came out and played a brilliant second half, hitting 10 of 14 shots in his most efficient night of the season.

Jeff Withey: 9 offensive boards
This number just makes me laugh. Seriously? NINE? That’s insane! Here’s the best part, though. The Bears, with all their ridiculous length, combined to get eight offensive rebounds as a team. Man, if it weren’t for the fact that Thomas Robinson is the Greek God of Thunderdunking, we’d all be going nuts about how much Withey has improved. As it stands, I’m going nuts about it anyways. He’s the most improved player on the Jayhawks roster by far.

Elijah Johnson:  1 three-pointer attempted
We’re getting dangerously close to having Good Elijah and Bad Elijah nights just like we do with Tyshawn. The bad Elijah isn’t out of control or turnover prone or anything like that, he just jacks up an insane amount of threes with little regard for Bill Self’s offense.  Self’s offense usually works. Let’s just stick with it. Elijah was great Monday because he played within himself, didn’t do too much and let the two best players on the team be the two best players on the team. Johnson has the talent to be the star, but so did Thomas Robinson last year. Sometimes you have to know your spot, and EJ’s is as the third option, at best.  Great night all-around from him, though, as he embraced the role. 11 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 4-of-7 shooting. Did it all well.

Travis Releford: 36 minutes
Releford had the biggest challenge of any Kansas defender last night. Not because he was guarding the Bears’ best player (that honor went to Withstar who D’d up on PJ3), but because he was outmatched by five inches and didn’t have much, if any, advantage in quickness against freshman Quincy Miller. Miller went for 17 points, but needed 12 shots to do it and only pulled down a couple boards. Releford played the most minutes on the team because he’s as good as it gets defensively for the Jayhawks right now, and he should be an all-conference defender by the time the season ends. Startling how similar Releford’s numbers (11 points, 3 boards, 4 assists, 5-of-7 shooting) were to Johnson’s.

Key Team Numbers

48-34, 39-24, 17-8: The Jayhawks worked Baylor in the paint, outscoring the Bears 48-34 in the lane and outrebounding them 39-24. Withey and Robinson deserve much of the credit. Also, the Jayhawks won 17-8 on second chance points, courtesy of Withey’s nine (seriously! NINE!) offensive boards. Love that number. Baylor has one of the best frontcourts in the country (I’d put them behind Kentucky and North Carolina only), and the Jayhawks shredded them.

114+: I wasn’t in the building, so I don’t know the exact number, but the highest I saw was somewhere over 114 decibels in the Fieldhouse Monday night. I’m going to toot our own horn here for just a minute: The best fans in college sports live in Lawrence, Kansas.

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 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.


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.


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!


KU, OU preview

Posted on: January 7th, 2012 by jayhawktalk No Comments

Kansas faces Oklahoma today at 1:00 PM in the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, OK. For those looking for the game, it will be televised on ESPNU. Judging by my twitter timeline, it sounds like there will be a few KU fans making the trip south, which is pretty freakin’ awesome.

I think most fans are looking at this game as an easy one considering Missouri recently beat Oklahoma by a ridiculous 38 points. I truly believe that game was an aberration. While Oklahoma certainly struggled against the Tigers, they are still 11-3, and have beat Arkansas and should have beat Cincinnati (outscored late to lose by one point).

Oklahoma plays a similar game to Kansas State. They crash the boards with authority and have better outside shooters than the Wildcats. While the Sooners were picked by Big XII coaches to be tied for last in the league this year, they have surprised some with their good rebounding and perimeter shooting. Should Oklahoma do both of those well, they will hang with this KU team.

Kansas certainly has the edge in the interior. At this point, you can pretty much give Robinson his double-double. What I am looking forward to is seeing whether Withey will maintain the kind of production he had against Kansas State. He played strong, and had a true presence on both ends. If he can find that every game, we are going to be tough to beat.

I’m also looking for Tyshawn to have a really good game. He sounded off on twitter last night, calling out those who criticize him and don’t know how to play basketball. While I’m not that worried about the twitter rant, it would certainly do a lot to quiet his critics with a big game. I think he’ll do it.

As for a prediction, I believe KU wins an ugly matchup. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 72-60. Safe travels to all making the trip, and Rock Chalk!

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.