Kansas head coach Bill Self has shown that he is not happy with the way his basketball team has played this season. With one more game remaining in their non-conference schedule, the Jayhawks are 9-3 on the season and 1-2 against ranked teams.
Self and the Jayhawks will have their fourth ranked opponent on Jan. 4 to begin conference play. They will host the 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats next Wednesday and hope to make a statement in the conference.
In order for Kansas to do that, they must come together and play as one cohesive unit. Some Jayhawks have not played well this season individually and have hurt the Jayhawks in games.
Here are my grades for each player on the Jayhawks. Let me know what you think!
Thomas Robinson has been the leader of this Jayhawks team since the beginning and as played well. Robinson leads the team in points with 16.7 per game and rebounds with 11.4 per game.
While playing over 30 minutes in nine of the 12 games this season, Robinson has turned the ball over nearly three times per game. In the last five games, Robinson has turned the ball over 3.8 times per game.
Robinson has the ability to be an impact player, but he must take care of the basketball when being given a lot of playing time.
Elijah Johnson has been a key factor for the Jayhawks in nearly every aspect. He has remained active in minutes players, scoring, assists and free throws.
Johnson’s biggest asset for the team has been leading the team in steals. With conference play upon us, Johnson must continue to come through defensively to help the Jayhawks remain competitive in the Big XII.
Conner Teahan has been a big factor for the Jayhawks when it comes to shooting from downtown. Teahan leads the team in three pointers made this season as it puts him second in his three point shooting percentage.
If Teahan can be more accurate with his three point shooting, he will come away with a much higher success rate by the time the season is over.
Jeff Withey has contributed quite a lot for the Jayhawks as a Junior now that he has been more active. However, Withey has received a lot of criticism due to not being a dominant center.
It must be kept in mind that just because Withey is seven feet tall, he isn’t going to play like Shaquille O’Neal or Dwight Howard. However, Withey has the highest free throw percentage among all Jayhawks and has had very few misses this season, which is rare for a centers in basketball.
By now surprise, Withey is leading the team in blocks going into conference play. If Withey can have a strong defensive outing against Kansas State, he will be a defensive threat to many teams in the conference.
For Travis Releford, his contribution coming off the bench was key last year and has stepped up while taking a bigger role this season. Releford is one of four players who has notably received a lot of minutes on the team.
He has been active in scoring, rebounds and assists for the Jayhawks. With the absence of the Morris twins, Releford has gotten a lot more face time on the court as a Jayhawk.
No player has drove fans more crazy than Tyshawn Taylor this season. Has has not had the stellar Senior season many were expecting from him. Taylor is second on the team points and rebounds per game, but he leads the team in turnovers by a large margin.
With 3.9 turnovers per game, Taylor has set the Jayhawks back. Taylor gave Duke opportunities to win with 11 turnovers in the Maui title. Duke went on to win 68-61, mainly due to Taylor’s inability to take care of the basketball. Taylor had another game later in the season where he turned the ball over seven times.
Outside of turnovers, Taylor has shown his ability to be a key player. Taylor currently leads his team in assists and could contribute more in that category by making some adjustments.
If he can limit his turnovers in conference play, it will benefit the Jayhawks when it comes to the Big XII tournament in March.
As we now get into the players who have limited playing time, we talk more about their contributions off of the bench, which is something Self wants from his players.
Self sees that in Kevin Young, who shined in the win against Ohio State with 14 points, a season high after scoring 13 against Towson during the regular season opener.
As a Junior, Young must step up and have more games, like the one against Ohio State, when the Jayhawks open up Big XII play against Kansas State at home.
As a Freshman, Naadir Tharpe has done a good job of distributing the ball in the limited playing time he has received.
Other than that, he has been quiet in the playing time he has received and it is uncertain if he will play the same amount in some of the conference games in the next couple of months.
While playing in all 12 games and getting significant playing time, Justin Wesley has not has not shown us a whole lot about himself.
He averages 2.5 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game on an average of over 12 minutes per game.
Wesley may not see the same amount of playing time in the upcoming conference games.
G Christian Garrett
G Niko Roberts
G Jordan Juenemann
G Merv Lindsay
F Anthony West
The five players listed above have received very limited playing time and that amount could decrease soon. With Kansas exiting the non-conference part of their schedule every year, we see some players get less action on the court.