Monthly Archives: November 2013

Wayne Selden on Towson

By Rustin Dodd

LAWRENCE Kansas freshman Wayne Selden met with reporters on Thursday before the second-ranked Jayhawks’ game against Towson on Friday night.

Selden, who is averaging 10.0 points and 4.3 assists after three games, said KU coach Bill Self was putting more of an emphasis on being aggressive and physical on defense. The Jayhawks have recorded just 21 steals through three games.

An early look at Andrew Wiggins

By Rustin Dodd

Andrew Wiggins had 22 points and eight rebounds in Kansas’ 94-83 victory over Duke last week in the Champions Classic. It was a solid line, especially considering Wiggins had just six points while battling foul trouble in the first half.

But after two games — yeah , just two games— there are a couple of trends emerging that could be considered positive signs for Wiggins and Kansas.

1. Wiggins is taking 32 percent of KU’s shots while he’s been on the floor, according to KenPom.com. For comparison: That’s more than Kentucky freshman Julius Randle (25.2 percent), and a little less than Duke freshman Jabari Parker (36.4). And it’s also considerably more than former KU guard Ben McLemore (24.7 percent), who averaged 15.9 points per last season — but often struggled with his assertiveness.

If there were similar concerns about Wiggins — concerns that he might disappear on offense for stretches — the first two games have been promising. He floated a little bit during the first half of KU’s opener against Louisiana Monroe, and he’s battled foul trouble. But for the most part, he’s looked to attack when he’s been on the floor.

2. Wiggins is shooting 63 percent (12 of 19) on two-point field goals, and 41.7 percent of his shots have come at the rim, according to HoopMath.com. Small sample size, of course, but Wiggins has been better at getting shots at the rim than all of Kansas’ other wings and forwards. (Side note: Freshman point guard Frank Mason has taken 62.5 percent of his shots at the rim; if he can continue to get into the paint, he’s going to be a serious offensive weapon under the new rules.)

It’s too early to know how it will translate at the next level, but Wiggins’ combination of length, athleticism and quickness can make him nearly unguardable in the post — even against some bigger power forwards. If Wiggins can make enough three-pointers to keep defenders honest, well … his efficiency numbers could begin to look pretty scary.

3. Again, small-sample-size alert. But here’s one more positive trend: A 6-foot-8 wing, Wiggins is one of the biggest perimeter players in the country. But in two games, he hasn’t shown much tendency to turn it over. He has three turnovers in 59 minutes of court time — although he also has just two assists. For a player who will likely have the ball as much as Wiggins will this season, that’s a pretty good start.

Charlie Weis from Monday’s Big 12 teleconference

The endless search for more consistency on offense continues for Kansas coach Charlie Weis.

Two days after Saturday’s 35-13 loss to Texas in Austin, Weis said Monday that he’ll likely shake up the offensive line again in advance of this Saturday’s road game at Oklahoma State.

The Jayhawks have already played three players at center — senior Gavin Howard is the latest — and shuffled in multiple people at left tackle. The changes, for the most part, have served as a temporary bandage on a gaping wound.

Kansas has allowed 22 sacks in eight games this season, an average of 2.75 sacks allowed. That’s tied for 98th in the country in sacks allowed. Starting quarterback Jake Heaps took a beating against Texas, and the game turned when Heaps fumbled after absorbing a big hit midway through the third quarter. The Longhorns returned the fumble 40 yards for a touchdown, igniting a second-half rout.

“I think it all starts up front, to be perfectly honest with you,” Weis said on Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “You try to establish some chemistry, and get the same guys playing together all the time. But we have not been very efficient up front.”

Kansas, 2-6 and 0-5 in the Big 12, is 114th in the country in scoring offense, averaging just 17.1 points per game. The Jayhawks have failed to score 20 points against a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision.

For now, Kansas will continue to play two quarterbacks, Weis says, juggling junior Jake Heaps and freshman Montell Cozart.

Heaps completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for 160 yards against Texas, but Weis says he saw some improvement from a transfer quarterback who has struggled to find a rhythm in his first season at Kansas.

“He’s significantly improved over the last two weeks,” Weis said. “Sometimes stats are a little bit misleading, because you throw in a couple of throwaways and a couple of dropped balls … and all of a sudden, he could have been a 75-percent completion guy.”

Cozart, meanwhile, rushed four times for 34 yards and a touchdown while attempting just one pass. After the game, Weis said he was still confident in Cozart’s ability to throw the ball. But Cozart didn’t get many chances against Texas; his one completion came on a shovel pass.

“I think he was a little bit of a freshman this past week, to tell you the truth,” Weis said. “You’re playing there in Texas (in front of) 100 grand in the stadium. But I think that each week, Montell will continue to play. And I think that by the end of the season, we’ll have a guy that is really ready to blossom as he goes into his second year.”

Oklahoma State’s Patmon to face old team

Kansas will face a familiar face this week at Oklahoma State. Cowboys cornerback Tyler Patmon started parts of three seasons for Kansas before graduating last spring. With one year of eligibility remaining, he landed at Oklahoma State and was eligible immediately under the graduate-transfer rule.

Patmon, who started this past week in a victory against Texas Tech, will enter Saturday with 14 tackles, one interception and eight pass breakups.

“Tyler was graduating from school,” Weis said, “and we both chatted, and when you graduate from college, you can move on and go somewhere else, and I let him.”

Sims moves up charts

Senior running back James Sims had 48 rushing yards against Texas, moving him into third place all-time at Kansas with 3,119 yards. Sims passed former KU running back Laverne Smith, who played from 1973-76.

Early start time for Kansas-West Virginia

It’s another early start time for Kansas, which will play host to West Virginia at 11 a.m. on Nov. 16. This week’s game at Oklahoma State is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.