Monthly Archives: February 2010

Quigley to play another season

Kansas running back Angus Quigley, who played linebacker in 2009, will take advantage of the NCAA waiver that allows for an extension of the five-year period in lieu of extenuating circumstances and play a sixth season at KU next fall.

Quigley missed the 2005 and 2006 seasons with injuries. He played running back in 2007 and 2008 before moving to linebacker last season in an attempt to find more playing time. Quigley will return to running back under new head coach Turner Gill.

“I wasn’t planning on coming back, but I love KU and I love playing football,” Quigley said. “I heard about the new coaching staff and the way they were going to coach and the values they were going to instill and it interested me. I went to the first team meeting with (Gill). He is a players’ coach and is respectful.”

Quigley has carried the ball 76 times in his career for 5.4 yards per carry. But former KU coach Mark Mangino often called out Quigley’s upright running style that may have contributed to him fumbling too often.

“The new offense works out in my favor and will be my type of style,” Quigley said. “It has been fun being around the coaching staff already. There is more urgency to do things and people are having fun.”

Taylor to start over Morningstar

Kansas coach Bill Self said Thursday that he will start Tyshawn Taylor over Brady Morningstar in the hopes of giving the Jayhawks, who have looked tired to Self in recent weeks, a boost of energy and speed out of the gate.

“This is not a reflection of Brady playing poorly,” Self said. “I just think we gotta get more out of Tyshawn moving forward for us to have a chance to do what we want to do. He’s gotta become one of the premier players on our team. Doing this with him I’m hoping will get him to that point, and I know it’s not going to hurt Brady.”

Taylor, who averages 6.8 points and 3.2 assists per game, has been moved in and out of the starting lineup several times this season. A starter for 33 of 35 games during his freshman year, Taylor has spent year two in Lawrence figuring out his role with a more talented team around him.

Taylor hasn’t played great in the past few weeks, but he has emerged in Self’s mind as a player who has made KU better when he is on the floor.

“Tyshawn is a guy that can make plays you can’t coach,” Self said. “He’s a difference-maker from a speed standpoint. We really need to focus on getting him playing at the level we know he can play at. I think he’s well on his way to doing that.

“I would say from our vantage point we’ve got his attention, undivided, and I don’t mean that from a negative thing from before. He’s trying really hard. I think that when he hasn’t played as well, it certainly hasn’t been because he’s not totally into it or with us.”

On toughness and a possible heating of Morningstar’s veins

In the moments after Kansas’ 59-54 victory over Texas A&M, I was busy trying to figure out how the Jayhawks actually won the game. Usually, no matter how ugly it is, I can decide at least one way that KU won and spin my story around whatever that factor is. After this one, my head was spinning, and it wasn’t all because of the tight deadline.

There was Cole Aldrich’s 12-point, 10-rebound, 5-block performance, so you could jump to the conclusion that Aldrich and KU’s inside play was the difference. But then Texas A&M pulled down 20 offensive rebounds. Twenty! Where was Aldrich then?

What I settled on was this abstract idea of toughness, because that’s what Sherron Collins said it was and because I only had 25 minutes to write.

Toughness, in this case, was KU going to the free-throw line 26 times and making 18 of them, compared to Texas A&M, which only went 11 times and made five. Things weren’t going well for the Jayhawks, but they never stopped attacking the basket. Texas A&M settled too often for 3-pointers, and, of course, Aldrich’s presence may have had something to do with that.

So we had KU coach Bill Self talking about his team’s toughness, which happens often because he loves to talk about toughness. I asked him if Collins has the rest of the team loving these close games and these challenges, and he sort of bought it before saying that a lot of other guys are loving it, too. Then someone else followed that up by asking Self if Brady Morningstar is one of those guys.

Self said yes, but then he said something that was pretty interesting. It was something he didn’t have to say but volunteered.

Yes, Morningstar is good in a tough spot, “but he’s gotta make shots,” Self said.

This was interesting to me because I thought Morningstar had moved past the point where he had to make shots to impact the game. Morningstar has been considered KU’s best perimeter defender the past two seasons, and this year he has been the team’s most consistent passer and post-feeder with an astounding assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.41. The book on Morningstar had become that the Jayhawks were way better with him in the lineup. He wasn’t just glue; he was superglue. If he made some shots, well, that would be great, too.

Apparently, that isn’t so much the case. Morningstar hasn’t made shots the last two games, and his minutes have decreased to 17 against Iowa State and 24 against A&M. Self went with Tyshawn Taylor to start the second half against A&M, and it was Taylor who was also the key in KU’s victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

I have marveled at Morningstar’s ability this season to go long stretches without taking a shot and then nail the shot when he’s open. And maybe he isn’t close to as valuable when he’s not doing that.

It’s only been a couple of games, but I’m starting to wonder if Morningstar’s hilarious free-throw attempt at Texas has gotten in his head a little bit. In his last two attempts from the line last night, his first since UT, he was way off and barely hit the rim on one of them. He hasn’t shot the ball well from three since then either, missing all five attempts.

Morningstar’s MO has been the old “ice in his veins” cliché. Without that, is he a 30-minute-a-game guy? And if Morningstar isn’t, will KU be as tough of a team? Those are some things to watch as Big 12 play closes.

Some perspective on Sherron

It’s amazing to me that you can cover a player for four years and still, with just 10 conference games left in Sherron Collins’ Kansas career, new information and perspective keeps pouring out.

KU coach Bill Self said some interesting nuggets about Collins on Monday that made me wonder: If Collins had gone pro after last season, would we have never heard this stuff?

Some of the most interesting:

On Collins’ numbers this season not really showing how great he is: “I think that’s probably a good point. I think the more you see him, the more you appreciate him. He’s not a numbers guy. There was a time in our league when he was a freshman, and this is a coach’s point of view but also other coaches in the league told me this. They viewed him in February as the second best player in our league behind (Kevin) Durant. Couldn’t guard him. He went through a stretch where he was that good. That’s with D.J. Augustin in the league. He was the best player on our team from that particular stretch.”

On his basketball IQ: “The thing about Sherron is he’s become more consistent. If you study him every day in practice, the guy has unbelievable basketball savvy. His IQ is really, really high. The questions that he asks are questions that make a head coach think ‘Man he’s got a point here.’ He sees the game. The game is in slow motion to him usually. He doesn’t shoot enough to put up big numbers. He’s playing to win. That’s what point guards are supposed to do. I think he’s showing NBA teams hopefully he can run a team and not just put up numbers.”

On if he knew Sherron would be THIS good when he recruited him: “Yeah, Sherron and Ty Lawson were two best guards in the country coming out. It was neck and neck who was the best one. I thought he would be this good. Yeah.”

On if he forecasted Sherron as a potential four-year player: “I never thought he’d be a four-year guy, never. Sherron could have left after his sophomore year if he was healthy, if his body didn’t totally almost fail him. His sophomore year, he’d have been our leading scorer probably on that national championship team. I think he could have gone. He had to have surgery, do some things when that season was over. I think the shocker was last year he wanted to come back. It was also a deep heavy point guard draft, and he likes to win. The kid’s legacy to me is, there’s been a lot of good players here, and he’s gonna win more games than any of them.”