That was a good win for the guys. Yes, Washington turned out to be far less competitive than many of us thought they might be, but it was still a good performance early in the year by our guys.
There were a lot of good things that happened and plenty of
not-so-good. The season is going to be full of ups and downs
- not only game to game but within the games themselves. Just
like we can't get too "down" by a loss this year, we can't jump to
unreasonable expectations based on any one win either.
I certainly thought that the effort was there the entire
time. We all know that we got killed on the boards,
especially in the first half. I watched at the start of the
game, and I thought we were working hard in that area. I
thought we were trying to box out but they were just going up over us -
and not always without contact. From there it seemed to
snowball, and we did not do a very good job of putting a body on
anybody. It is, of course, a lot harder to do that in a zone
defense because you aren't in contact with an individual throughout the
entire defensive sequence.
I was surprised that we played as much zone as we did. But,
then, Washington couldn't throw the ball in the ocean so it was the
logical thing to do. I think we also protected a couple of
guys from foul problems. I don't think we can afford to play
zone against Syracuse tonight with the sharp shooters they have on that
team. I think the zone might have been a good plan for a team
full of pretty inexperienced players who might have been a little hyped
up for their first night against what was thought to be another level
of competition. But it was probably used more than originally
planned as Washington continued to show a lack of ability to put the
ball in the hole.
What can you say about Cole? He was a man out there last
night. He showed that he could stay out of foul trouble and
still stay aggressive on the defense - especially since he stayed away
from those silly fouls. I thought that in the zone defense he
should have stayed underneath the hoop until the guy proved he could
knock it down from the free throw area. It seemed that every
time he would come out to pick the guy up that Brockman, or whoever,
would get in behind him and have a much smaller defender to contend
Cole showed a variety of offensive moves. Unfortunately the
reverse layup failed for him a couple of times. But he has
really good footwork for someone that tall. I imagine Coach
Knight has seen a few good big men in his time, and he certainly gushed
all over Cole's abilities. With his long wing span, Cole is
able to block a lot of shots while maintaining a solid defensive
base. And he wasn't just swatting the ball out-of-bounds like
he has been doing. His shot goes down with good regularity
despite the hitch in his motion. It's just fun to think about
where he might go under Danny's leadership.
It looked early on like it might be the Sherron Collins show.
He scored most of our early points and seemingly couldn't miss from the
field. He just looks like he's the man. We stopped
going to him there for awhile in the first half, but he's one of the
few guys on our team that can create his own shot on the
perimeter. I just really like his poise and
attitude. He's going to have a great year!
I think Marcus Morris is going to be a really big factor for
us. He is starting to show that he can score in different
ways, and he is very active on the court. He showed a couple
of good moves in the paint. He also showed excellent form in
knocking down some free throws. I think as his confidence
continues to grow and the game starts slowing down for him that he will
be a consistent offensive contributor. We need a steady third
scorer, and it just might be Marcus.
Markieff still hasn't gotten into his rhythm on offense. He
almost looks a little hesitant when he gets the ball on the
perimeter. I don't mean hesitant to shoot, but I think he
appears to be a little unsure about his ability to handle the
ball. A couple of times he got caught holding it too long
when he could have dribbled out of the situation and then passed
it. He got a couple of fouls that were of the unnecessary
type. But he appears willing to mix it up and is making the
effort on the defensive end and on the boards. Remember how
anxious we all were waiting for the twins to become eligible?
It's pretty easy to imagine now how lacking in depth we would be if
they had not been. We would definitely be a lot
shorter. They are going to play a big role in our success
The Brady and Tyrel "controversy" continues to swirl amongst some
fans. I just trust Coach to use them effectively.
If they can't get it done, then I have to assume they will be on the
bench. I don't think we can judge Brady by his offensive
performances only. I think he is an extremely hard worker and
gets the most out of his abilities. We saw an example of
that, of course, when he missed the free throw and then recovered to
steal the outlet pass. He also knocked down a shot while the
announcers were discussing the Hall of Fame activities and got away
from the game for about 5 minutes. I think he was kind of the
"goat" in that he was on the backside of the zone and often got matched
against a much taller player. But I certainly don't fault his
effort. Tyrel, on the other hand, has to score.
That's his strength. If he's not going to knock down his
shots on a consistent basis, then he's going to struggle to do enough
other things to stay on the court. Maybe it's just my
perception, but he seems to be rushing his shots a little bit so far
this year. Like I said before he needs to catch and shoot in
rhythm. It's hard for both guys to get their shots against
athletic big men on the perimeter. The team is going to have
to help them out through ball movement.
How about Tyshawn? What a coming out for him. I
hope his buddy Cheek was watching and enjoyed seeing how Tyshawn is
contributing already. That was some serious "hops" he showed
on the block. He takes the ball well to the hole.
He does need to occasionally pull up and take the short jumper as Coach
Knight pointed out. He was very good defensively
also. He's going to be a fun player to watch as he progresses
throughout his career at KU.
I have to admit that I'm a little surprised that Travis Releford isn't
seeing a little more time on the court. He must be lacking a
little something in practices, but he seems to show up and do his thing
in the games. I have to assume that he will earn his minutes
eventually. QT also is falling back some in regards to
minutes. He just doesn't have the physical strength yet for
his position. He's one of those guys that I think is going to
be around KU for a while and in that time will continue to grow, gain
upper body strength, and continually improve under Coach
Manning. Oh, and have I mentioned how anxious I am for Mario Little to get back and show what he can do? He had a really
good showing in Canada, and I think he's going to have an instant
impact on the team.
For the most part I thought we moved the ball well. We are
very unselfish. Once again the guys just seem to enjoy
playing together and sharing the rewards. How fortunate we
have been the last 20 years to have teams that share this attitude and
play as a team. The coaching staff deserves, and gets, a
whole lot of credit for continuing to mold these teams and getting the
guys to get past their individual egos and performing as a single unit.
Tonight is a different ball game. We are going to have to
prove we have the ability to guard the perimeter. I think we
are pretty confident with Cole on the inside. But Syracuse
put up a ton of 3-pointers last night, and we will have to get in their
collective face. I think we are up to it. We'll see.
It's a GREAT day to be a Jayhawk! Rock Chalk!
The Day After: Washington
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