Tag:Brady Morningstar
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:54 am
 

Taylor active for KU's final home game

Tyshawn Taylor could be playing his last home game at Allen Field House.

Posted by Eric Angevine

I actually try really hard not to be cynical about these things, but is it a coincidence that Bill Self has opted to get Tyshawn Taylor off the bench and back into uniform in time for tonight's visit from Texas A&M? As KU's final home stand of the year, the game will be a showcase for Bill Self's seniors. Tradition dictates that Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little will get at least a token start, though each of the three has started on his own merits in the past.

Taylor is a junior, but there has been some talk in the past of his jumping to the pros before his senior season. His reputation for off-court shenanigans (though this latest may actually have occurred more or less on the court, in a perverse sort of way) may make that a pretty dicey situation, though. Nonetheless, this could, conceivably, be the final home game for Taylor and fellow junior Marcus Morris..

Taylor won't start, but he will likely play some. That could be part sentimental, as outlined above. It could, in my more cynical heart, also mean that Bill Self wants every weapon in the quiver as he finishes out his quest for an unprecedented seventh straight Big 12 title and a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Playing A&M at home will make that task difficult enough, but a season-ending game at high-pressure Missouri will make Taylor's speedy presence even more crucial.

Since tonight is Senior Night at KU, the true resolution of the Kansas point guard drama will likely be suspended. Normal rules of starting and substitution do not apply on the most emotional of nights in Allen Field House.

In all likelihood, we won't see this team's true postseason lineup until Saturday, when Bill Self will honestly have to juggle Elijah Johnson, Taylor, and Morningstar in his season finale.

Photo: US Presswire
 
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Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Parsing KU's point guard situation

Posted by Eric Angevine

KU has plenty of point guard options, and that’s a blessing.

However, at this late point in February, I’m sure Bill Self would rather know which one he’ll be counting on to lead his team in the postseason. Right now, he can’t know that.

We know that Tyshawn Taylor, the regular starter, played the most minutes of any Jayhawk before his latest indiscretion – 27.1 per game, to be exact. He also had a 1.7 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and a good defensive impact, with 1.2 steals per game. Most importantly, he had the speed that Bill Self craves.

So, if Taylor sits, where does Kansas go from here? Does Bill Self suddenly forgive all and bring Taylor back for the postseason run? Or has this opened the door for another of those weapons we touched on?

The number one option most fans would look to in this scenario is freshman Josh Selby. He has the speed of a Tyshawn Taylor, but combines it with superior shooting range. The only problem there is that Selby has been injured. He also sat out the first nine games of the season, and has never really found a rhythm. When he does play, it’s as more of a combo guard than a pure point guard. His flashes of potential would probably warrant any kind of experiment Self might want to conduct, assuming his foot is up to the task.

The foot and its various accoutrements are what gave us a good look at our other intriguing point guard option. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star told the story in today’s recap of KU’s decisive Big Monday win over Oklahoma State:

Josh Selby and Brady Morningstar also played at the point, and Selby was in the plan to start. But at the 3 p.m. shootaround, just before the team’s live 10-minute scrimmage where the starting lineup is identified, Selby didn’t have an insert he uses for the shoe of his injured foot. Selby couldn’t practice without it, and the nod went to Johnson.

“We can’t let him practice without it,” Self said. 

If you don’t practice, you don’t start, obviously.

Elijah Johnson put himself in the picture with a great performance against Oklahoma StateWhich creates a bit of a conundrum, because sophomore Elijah Johnson (right), who has been something of an invisible man for KU up to this point, got the start and played very well. He had 15 points on 5-6 shooting, and most of that was an amazing 4-4 night from behind the arc. Johnson also played super-sticky defense on OSU’s Keiton Paige, who had trouble even getting his hands on the ball, let alone shoot it. The diminutive sharpshooter ended his miserable evening 2-of-11 from the floor. As Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World points out,
Johnson’s defense on Jacob Pullen a week ago was more effective than anything Taylor threw at him.

As Kerkhoff noted, Brady Morningstar also plays some point, but it’s pretty clear at this stage that a lack of speed is going to limit the senior to role player duty.

If I had to guess (and I think I do, since I asked the question), I would say that Johnson has earned his start as the nominal point, with Selby alongside and steady Tyrel Reed in the third slot. Morningstar will continue to come off the bench, and I suspect Taylor will – at least for a while – if and when he returns.

The truth is that KU has operated without a true point guard all season long. A Johnson/Selby backcourt is a pairing of two combo guards who can both score and pass. I discussed the KU guard rotation with Paul Biancardi – ESPN’s recruiting director and former Horizon League coach of the year – and he told me at the time that it’s fine to use such a rotation as long as one of the two athletes can act as the primary scoring option. Selby can do that.

If this was an isolated incident for Taylor, I’d say he might get his job back sooner rather than later. But at some point, I have to believe that his litany of poor off-court decisions are going to trump the fact that he makes pretty good on-court decisions. Not knowing what his latest indiscretion is, it’s hard for me to guess, but this is the first one that’s put him on the bench in street clothes, and I think that’s at least a meaningful symbolic gesture. We saw Morningstar sit a whole semester last season for a DUI incident, but we’ve also seen Taylor play after being openly critical of his coach, so I’m pretty much in the weeds on where this might be going.

Kansas probably has the talent to reach the Sweet 16 no matter which starting backcourt they go with. For this team to reach its Final Four potential, however, the rotation must be settled before the end of the season.

Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:40 pm
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Posted on: February 5, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 4:22 pm
 

KU should be fine without injured Selby

Josh Selby has a stress injury in his foot

Posted by Eric Angevine

KUSports.com, the website affiliated with the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper, sent out some injury news via Twitter (@KUSports) this afternoon:

Selby will not play today b/c of stress reaction in right foot. X-rays & MRI show no fracture. Morningstar will start. #kubball
Morningstar is a low-scoring senior guard who nonetheless has a great deal of experience running the Kansas offense. While Morningstar -- a Lawrence native -- is nowhere near the offensive threat that freshman phenom Selby is, he is known as a stalwart defender who can make an impact with hustle and three-point shooting. Against Nebraska, with the Morris brothers leading the charge, that should be more than enough.

Sophomore backup Elijah Johnson should see plenty of floor time as well, providing a more athletic presence in relief.
 
 
 
 
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