Here We Go!

Win or lose Tuesday against Division II Pittsburg State, this won't be your average Kansas Jayhawk basketball team that takes the floor for the first time during competition this season.

Forward Thomas Robinson, a preseason All-American selection, is nursing a hyperextended knee and might be out according to Head Coach Bill Self Robinson is about a week away from being 100 percent.

"We'll see at practice today how he's getting up and down the floor," Self said Monday when he addressed the media. "Yesterday he was staying at half court. I think there's a chance he'll play, but I'm not going to put him out there unless the training staff tells us that we should put him out there."

As if being without your top inside presence isn't enough, guards Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson have been suspended for the team's first two exhibition games. KU Head Coach Bill Self stated it was a team rule that was violated over the summer provoking this penalty.

"I'm not doing it to embarrass them but this is what needs to be done and they're totally in agreement with me," Self continued but not releasing what rule was violated. "I warned them and they did it so that's the penalty. We're here to win the battle over time, not to appease the situation and make it seem like something didn't occur."

"These guys have been great. It's unbelievable how good they've been from an effort standpoint and a discipline standpoint. So maybe the discipline is actually helping them. I'm not going to apologize for that."

Hmmm, so it's game 1 possibly without three of its top players creating an interesting scenario against an experienced Pittsburg State squad.

"My expectations will change with this (game)," Self admitted. "If you don't have a healthy Thomas (Robinson) and if you don't have your starting backcourt then obviously it's not the same team. 60 percent of your stuff is gone. Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson) are going to be playing 32-35 minutes a game each so it'll be a totally different look."

"My expectations are that we go out there and play with some energy and enthusiasm and play tough. I'll look forward to see how some of the newcomers play when they have to play a lot."

It may honestly give Kansas a harsh early dose of reality. Let's face it this roster isn't deep with eight scholarship players and now just five might suit up Tuesday. And what if, just what if, KU lost a couple of players during the season whether it be injury or some other unforeseen issue? Well, no time like the present to give some of these players a chance to perform.

"I think it's going to be an opportunity for a lot of guys on the team," said Conner Teahan. "I think I would have had the opportunity no matter what, but there are probably some guys we need to depend on in emergency situations."

So let's see how the newest Jayhawks perform when they have to. This makes for a much more interesting exhibition game vs. The normal 40-50 point blowout.

Time for freshman Nadir Tharpe to show what he can do. Teahan, who normally plays the three will probably see time at the four. On Monday, he joked with reporters about his inside moves but what would make Teahan lethal at the four is his shooting prowess.  He and Travis Releford, haven't been part of the meat of the rotation over the last few years but suddenly they are standing front and center, and Jeff Withey will likely be the big body in the middle for most of this one.

"If he (Robinson) can't go then Travis, Conner, some of the other returning guys and me are going to have to step up. I think we'll be able to take that role on," said a confident Withey.

"It's exciting to know I'm going to be able to contribute, because I haven't really been able to do that in the past," said the sharpshooter Teahan. "It's something I'm looking forward to and hopefully I can step into some of the guys' shoes who left last year."

So if Robinson doesn't play the starting lineup could be Tharpe, Teahan, Releford, Withey and according to Self, possibly Justin Wesley.

Kansas has won 37 straight exhibition games and you can be sure that NOW Pittsburg State will have KU's attention Tuesday.

Phog.net Top Stories