It seems a long time ago Tyshawn Taylor was a freshman, coming out of his Kansas gate in a flurry.
He came in as a freshman with Lawrence in a frenzy over winning the 2008 National Championship. And while right off the bat he was stellar—showing a great ability to score points and giving hope to Jayhawk Nation of leading this new batch of Jayhawks into the next generation—he has too often coupled this with a knack for losing his head on and off the court, and a perceived disinterest at times.
What I started calling the "Tyshawn Taylor factor" has quickly become a reality.
I am the first to admit that I have never been a Taylor fan. With him at the helm, this team has consistently underachieved. Taylor has, at times, shown flashes that he has the ability to sustain good play and lead a Division One team.
But all too many times his lethargic effort leads to turnovers, which in turn leads to playing down to the opponent, one of the fatal flaws of Kansas for the past few seasons.
His poor play on the court has been echoed in his immature behavior off the court as well.
Who can forget the spat Taylor had with the 2010 Kansas football team?
Or his banning from social networking websites for threatening to transfer via Facebook?
This is not the behavior of a focused, determined and mentally strong player that the point guard of Kansas has to be.
He has a lot of talent and ability, which is probably why Coach Self has consistently given him playing time, despite his mental lapses and poor judgment.
This year is no different.
Can the 2011 Kansas Jayhawks get where they want to go with Tyshawn Taylor running the point? What is the ceiling for this team?
Well, with all the talent in the world—as is usually the case with a Kansas University team—expectations are sky high.
At the beginning of this season, focus for Taylor seemed to have shifted from his immaturity to his ability to lead this team and perhaps earn his first Final Four berth.
While the Final Four is not out of the question yet, what we saw on Monday night against Kansas State is a far cry from a team that looks poised and ready to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
With Taylor running the point, Kansas has not been able to get farther than the Sweet 16. The loss to Michigan State in 2009 was a tough pill to swallow, as well as the utterly shattering loss to Northern Iowa last season in the NCAA Second Round.
It seems that Kansas could be headed for another disappointing end to the season. Taylor, as the point guard, has not been able to heed positive results for Kansas, and his knack for falling short of potential has resonated clearly through the entire team.
The head coach needs his point guard to be an extension of him on the court. We as Jayhawk fans were all hoping that it would happen at some point in his career, but we all might be left wanting after his tenure with Kansas has run its course.
There is time yet for Taylor to kick it into gear and lead this team, but we would need to see a new Taylor, a reinvigorated spirit and a determination not yet shown.
With Bill Self not showing confidence in any of his other guards, the burden may fall squarely on the shoulders of Taylor.
Can Tyshawn take this team farther than the Sweet 16? Will his Kansas tenure be considered an utter failure? Can this team overcome the play of Taylor or will he flourish the rest of the way and begin to play good basketball?
Time will tell on these questions, so we'll have to wait and see if the "Tyshawn Taylor Factor" will prove to be the doom of the 2011 Kansas Jayhawks.