With the AAU circuit finished for the summer and classes starting up across the country in mere days, it seems appropriate that Phog is the first to get a good look at some of the Jayhawk squad. Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson, and higly-touted newcomer Josh Selby were in Chicago to participate as counselors for the Adidas Nations event. Not only did I get to see how the guys looked in both practice and scrimmage settings, but there were also numerous NBA scouts on hand as well.
Tyshawn Taylor – In the wake of Sherron Collins' graduation, Tyshawn Taylor is going to be asked to step up into a leadership role for this year's team. His decision-making, play-making, and overall steadiness on the court will constantly be put to the test, and seeing his play today was a sign that he'll be just fine. Showing off good touch in the shooting drills, Tyshawn was one of the more consistent shooters among the point guard crop. He shot off the catch and dribble with ease, and even appeared to be practicing a deft little floater through the lane.
Markieff Morris – It's hard to say who was getting more buzz around the gym between Markieff and his brother Marcus. On the one hand, Markieff's power was breathtaking (and only surpassed by fellow Jayhawk Thomas Robinson) in the big man drills. He showed much-improved footwork in the post, completing the power drills with an ease that very few of the other post players could match. He showed dunks and hooks with either hand, while also showing his shooting stroke out to well past the 3pt line. In the scrimmages, Kieff was one of the hardest working players for any team. He defended relentlessly and did a lot of the dirty work that you don't often see in this type of game.
Marcus Morris – If Marcus wasn't already on the minds of NBA scouts, his play today surely put him there. Showing off his arsenal of post moves, Marcus looked to be the best post player in the practices and scrimmages. While not quite as powerful as his brother, he certainly has a much more advanced post game, using ball-fakes and fades to constantly elude shot-blockers. While it's not likely that Marcus sees much time on the wing in his remaining years at Kansas, he was one of only two or three players that easily transitioned from perimeter drills to post drills and vice-versa. He ran the break easily in scrimmages, made excellent passes, and generally displayed the skills that an NBA combo-forward should possess.
Thomas Robinson – I think it would be hard to argue that Thomas Robinson isn't the most powerful player in the gym. He wowed scouts, media, and youth alike with his ferocious dunks in the drills. In fact, one player quipped that Robinson should have to do the "drop-step" drill (a drill where a player has to pick up the ball from the floor, about 6-8ft from the hoop, and drop-step for a dunk) from the 3pt line. And so he did – with relative ease. Of all the things that stood out about Robinson, the one that makes people talk – both players and scouts alike – is that he plays harder than anyone else. Nobody wanted to go up against him in drills because he defends like it's the final seconds of the Final Four.
Josh Selby – Probably the most well-known Jayhawk in attendance, as well as the most anticipated freshman at Kansas in some time, Selby showed up looking the part of a top prospect. He weaves in and out of drills with incredible ease, handling the ball as if it were on a string. He routinely hit floaters and mid-range jumpers, with or without defenders, in drills as well. Fans also shouldn't worry about his 3pt-shooting ability – he can shoot those quite well. In fact, after watching him miss almost everyone in the light-hearted "warmup", Selby proceeded to hit every 3pt shot in his first perimeter drill – at least 6 in a row.