Kansas Basketball: The 5 Most Impressive Jayhawks in 2013-14 so Far
While three nonconference losses do not scream impressive, there are plenty of individual Kansas Jayhawks performance to boast about.
With a heap of new faces and unproven big men, Kansas seeks to enter Big 12 play (vs. San Diego State on Sunday) with a 10-3 mark and a load of optimism. Here, we review the five most impressive Jayhawks thus far in 2013-14.
5. Perry Ellis
After exploding onto the national scene with huge postseason numbers a season ago, sophomore Perry Ellis dominated early nonconference competition, averaging 19 points on 73 percent shooting in the Jayhawks' first three contests.
The combo big man has since fallen victim to a bonk on the head and inconsistent physical efforts inside. However, he reliably remains out of foul trouble, commits just one turnover per 28 minutes and averages 13.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Ellis was expected to produce like the Morris twins of 2010-11, but his game progressed impressively nonetheless.
4. Naadir Tharpe
Point guard continues to be the most important and most criticized position in Bill Self's high-low offense, with nothing changing for the lone upperclassman, junior Naadir Tharpe.
Despite concerns over the fluidity of the offense, Tharpe has impressed with improved decision-making and efficient perimeter-penetration plays.
He has posted a 5.3-to-2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio and is on pace for the highest mark since Aaron Miles in Self's first season as head coach of Kansas.
3. Jamari Traylor
Traylor, a redshirt sophomore, posted grossly inconsistent numbers last season, shooting only 43 percent from the floor and 58 percent from the line.
While his fouls (2.3 per game) and turnovers (1.2) have increased with the bump in minutes, his overall efficiency on both ends of the court has improved. He is shooting 74 percent from the field and a whopping 85 percent from the line in nearly 14 minutes per game.
He has offered Kansas everything it needed with questionable depth in the frontcourt.
2. Andrew Wiggins
The nation's most highly criticized player would be considered one the most impressive players if not for the hype.
Andrew Wiggins has found difficulty in opening the court for his extraordinary length, but the freshman continues to stuff the stat sheet with 15.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and more than one steal per game.
The lanky 6'8" versatile forward has performed best against elite competition, posting 22, 22 and 26 points against Duke, Colorado and Florida, respectively.
1. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid's learning curve at the college level was expected. Unfortunately for opposing big men during Kansas' nonconference schedule, he volunteered to skip that learning curve to quickly become one of the nation's elite centers.
His composure, dynamic footwork and explosiveness in the lane were on full display during this "Dream Shake" against New Mexico last month.