The Kansas Jayhawks, without a doubt, were one of the most surprising teams of the '08-'09 basketball season. The Jayhawks were lead by star point guard Sherron Collins and big man Cole Aldrich.
Much of the success for the Jayhawks this year must be credited to head coach Bill Self. Any coach who returns only two players from a team that wins a national championship one year and returns to the Sweet 16 the next year has to be a genius of the game and a coaching guru, and that's just what Self is.
The Kansas Jayhawks finished their season with loss in the Sweet 16 to the Michigan St. Spartans, 67-62. The Jayhawks' overall record for the '08-'09 season was 27-8.
We can now take a look at the individual performances for the Jayhawk key players this year.
Collins was the leader for this Jayhawk unit this year. He led the team in scoring, with 18.9 points per game and 5.0 assists per game to go along. If you put Collins on a team with more experience, he could be projected as the best point guard in the nation.
On a team where players don't have experience in taking big shots, it forces the best of players to do things they're uncomfortable with. By that, Collins was sometimes inconsistent with taking care of the ball. For that reason, Sherron Collins falls short of the "A."
Collin's Overall Grade: A-
Aldrich was the anchor down low for Kansas this season. He led the team with 11.1 boards per game and 2.7 blocks per game. The big man's offensive game wasn't bad either. Aldrich has a great mid range touch for a big man and averaged 14.9 points per game.
Without Aldrich this year, the Jayhawks would not have been nearly as competitive or as surprising. With that being said, Aldrich would be my candidate for team MVP.
Aldrich's Overall Grade: A
Like most freshmen, Taylor's season was up and down. He was brilliant at some times, like when he dropped 26 points at Oklahoma with a 87-78 win. Then, at other times, Taylor played almost scared, like in the Sweet 16, when it looked like he was afraid to step up and make a big shot at times.
With all that said and done, Taylor was the third leading score on the Jayhawks' roster this year, with 9.7 points per game. Taylor has shown that one day he will be the leader of this Jayhawk squad; he just needs a bit more experience.
Taylor's Overall Grade: B-
Morris helped the Jayhawks a lot this year by taking some of the load off fellow big man Cole Aldrich. Morris showed a lot of bright spots in his game this year, but improvement is needed on the offensive areas, like post moves and mid range shooting.
If those things can be improved in the offseason, he has the potential to be the best big man in the Big 12 next year. Morris averaged 7.4 points per game, along with 4.7 boards per game; expect those numbers to be improved considerably next year.
Morris's Overall Grade: C+
Players like Morningstar seem to do all the little things right that help a team win. Morningstar brought great energy and character to the Jayhwaks' squad this year; he averaged 6.5 points a game, and had very few turnovers.
A player like Morningstar also has holes in their game. By not being able to be a pure scorer, he relies on others to create his shot. Saying that, some role players are great when they're on the floor for 15-20 minutes a game, but when they're forced to take on greater duties they sometimes fall.
In big games, like other players on the Jayhawk roster, Moringstar seemed to not have the courage to take big shots in clutch situations.
Morningstar's Overall Grade: C+
Mario was the No. 1 rated junior college transfer coming out of Chipola College. Little was thought to be a key addition to the Jayhawks' roster this year, but he came short of expectations. Little missed 12 games this season, and when he was on the floor he was nothing more then average.
He averaged only 4.7 points a game this season. Due to a rough first year, Little will more than likely go to work this offseason to improve, in hope off a national title next year.
Little's Overall Grade: C-