With a weak conference RPI,
finishing in the top 3 this year is as vital as ever in the 10 years of the Big
The main threat on the Jayhawks is freshman slasher Brandon Rush (6'6, 210). Rush, who is Kareem (Mizzou) and Jaron's (UCLA) younger brother, played at the same prep school with Tasheed Carr and Shawn Taggart. The pre-ordained freshman of the year is averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Although Rush has highlight reel ability, it has been his outside shot that has revitalized the Jayhawks this season, as he is knocking down 50 percent of his shots from distance (25-50).
Even though freshman guard Micah Downs left the program last week (rumor is he is heading to Gonzaga) Kansas still has 10 guys that average over 10 minutes and four points a game, meaning any number of other guys can beat you. They have used numerous starting line-ups.
Sophomore Sasha Kaun (6'11) is
Fellow Sophomore tower C.J. Giles
(6'10) is also a defensive force on the inside. Giles is an incredible athlete
for his size, very similar to
Just when you think they run out
of big men, Christian Moody can surprise you. Moody (6'8) is finally a senior
and earned a scholarship this season for his hard work. (I swear he played with
LaFrentz.) He contributes five points and four rebounds. He has a nice mid-range
game and can guard a number of postitions. He missed two huge game-winning
Freshman Julian Wright (6'8 215, McDonald's AA) provides some versatility for Bill Self's squad. He can play every position on the floor and has tremendous athleticism. He is putting up 7 points and 4 boards, but continues to vastly improve.
In the back-court the Jayhawks are paced by Sophomore point-guard Russell Robinson (6'1). He has the second most minutes on the team and puts in 8.5 points and 3.5 assists. But, he had his best output of the year against the Aggies: 29 minutes, 24 points, including 12-13 from the line. Despite his size, he attacks the rim and has supreme quickness. He is also a ball-hawk on defense, providing great pressure on opposing guards. Freshman guard Mario Chalmers (6'1 185, McDonald's AA) is now living up to his potential. Continuing on the theme of young great potential, Chalmers has been inserted in the starting line-up. On the season he is averaging 9 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 steals. He is another great on-the-ball defender. On Wednesday he had 15 points, 8 assists and 3 steals. It should be fun to watch him and Blalock square-off.
Like Moody on the inside, senior guard Jeff Hawkins (5'11) provides some stability in the back-court. Hawkins has already graduated and his focus is on helping the youngsters and the team improve with every game. He only averages 5 points and 3 assists, but his leadership is his best asset on this team dominated with freshman and sophomores. He also is a threat to knock down the open shot (40 percent from deep.)
It is obvious to see,
Get the coffee and eggs ready for a late morning showdown with major conference ramifications. I can't wait.