Skip to main content
Original Issue

7 KANSAS Jayhawks

A roster stocked with versatile players echoes the '08 title team

LAST YEAR junior guard Tyshawn Taylor made headlines more for his off-the-court antics than for his exceptional talent. In September 2009 he dislocated his right thumb while throwing a punch in a brawl with the Jayhawks' football team (and then broke the story on his Facebook page). Later in the season he publicly stated that he was uncertain of his role on the team and even advertised, again on Facebook, that he wanted to transfer. "I went through a lot, and I made dumb mistakes," says the 20-year-old Taylor. "I realized, in the end, it was about me having to grow up."

Now? The new and improved Taylor is the most experienced guard and the top defender on a Kansas team that will challenge Kansas State for the Big 12 title.

Over the summer Taylor worked on his jump shot—his field goal percentage dropped to 43.8% last season from 50.6% in 2008--09—and ballhandling skills. But more importantly he adjusted his attitude. "He has matured a ton," says coach Bill Self. "I never lost faith in him as a player, but I told him, to win at the highest level, you have to have talent plus the intangibles."

Taylor's style of play fits perfectly into Kansas's balanced offense. Unlike the last two seasons, when the Jayhawks relied heavily on two superstars—Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich—this KU roster looks more like the '08 team that cut down the nets by sharing the ball. Self will have six skilled guards in his rotation (including, assuming he's cleared to play by the NCAA, the nation's top freshman point guard, Josh Selby), along with versatile post players Marcus and Markieff Morris.

The defense is still a work in progress, however. "To be candid, I thought defensively we had a chance to be great," Self says, "but I don't see it yet. This team needs time to grow."

Despite the likelihood of growing pains, he's still excited. "There are many unknowns," Self says, "but we have a chance to be real good."


Coach Bill Self (8th season)

2009--10 record 33--3

Big 12 15--1 (1st)

NCAA tournament Second round


Returning starter

*High school stats


Nov. 12 Longwood

Nov. 15 Valparaiso

Nov. 19 North Texas

Nov. 23 Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Nov. 26 Ohio*

Nov. 27 Arizona*

Dec. 2 UCLA

Dec. 7 Memphis†

Dec. 11 Colorado State

Dec. 18 USC

Dec. 22 at California

Dec. 29 UT Arlington

Jan. 2 Miami (Ohio)

Jan. 5 UMKC

Jan. 9 at Michigan

Jan. 12 at Iowa State

Jan. 15 Nebraska

Jan. 17 at Baylor

Jan. 22 Texas

Jan. 25 at Colorado

Jan. 29 Kansas State

Feb. 1 at Texas Tech

Feb. 5 at Nebraska

Feb. 7 Missouri

Feb. 12 Iowa State

Feb. 14 at Kansas State

Feb. 19 Colorado

Feb. 21 Oklahoma State

Feb. 26 at Oklahoma

March 2 Texas A&M

March 5 at Missouri

*Las Vegas Invitational

†Game played in New York City


Hopes for winning the Big 12 hinge on this showdown with Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse. Last year the Jayhawks beat the Wildcats twice, including an 81--79 overtime thriller in Manhattan. K-State's Jacob Pullen & Co. will be hungry for revenge.

Get the latest and best Jayhawks stories, statistics and fan blogs from across the Web, handpicked by the editors of SI.



TYSHAWN TAYLOR The junior guard made great strides in the off-season, both on the court and off, and that bodes well for Kansas.