By Jon Rothstein
Tyshawn Taylor has always played in the shadows of others.
As a senior at St. Anthony’s of Jersey City in 2008, Taylor was one of six division one players who helped the Friars reach a perfect season and win a mythical national championship.
During his first three seasons at Kansas, Taylor has always been regular member of the Jayhawks rotation but was never a name in bold print on an opponent’s scouting report.
That is all about to change.
Taylor’s senior season will have to be his best if Bill Self and Kansas are going to continue their string of dominance in the Big 12 and throughout college basketball simply because there isn’t anyone else the Jayhawks can pass the baton to.
“This is the first time since he’s been at Kansas that he’s the leader of the team,” Self said of Taylor after Friday’s basketball clinic at Rutgers to benefit the Brayden Carr Foundation. “It’s his time.”
Taylor’s emergence will be one of many key factors if the Jayhawks are to replenish the talent they lost from a season ago. Gone from last year’s team that lost to VCU in the Elite Eight are first round picks Marcus and Markieff Morris along with guards Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar, and Tyrel Reed.
Still, even with the defections, Self feels the combination of Taylor and burgeoning forward Thomas Robinson, who seems primed for a monster season should be enough to keep the Jayhawks ship afloat.
“We’re going to be good but we’re going to be different,” Self said. “We’re not going to feature as many guys as we have in the past. We’ll probably feature Tyshawn and Thomas while working in Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young (transfer from Loyola Marymount), and Jeff Withey. Those six are going to be our core.”
THIS AND THAT:
– Several sources confirmed that Iona should hear this week whether or not guard MoMo Jones will be eligible to play for the Gaels during the upcoming season. The former Arizona guard applied with the NCAA for a waiver to play immediately after transferring to the New Rochelle school in June. Should Jones be ruled eligible, Tim Cluess could potentially have a starting lineup of Jones, Scott Machado, Kyle Smyth, JUCO forward Nyandigisi Moikubo, and Haggerty Award favorite Mike Glover.
– Herds of college coaches are expected to attend Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio’s annual showcase in Queens on Wednesday afternoon. Assistants from Syracuse, Kansas State, Villanova, Kentucky, UCONN, St. John’s, and Virginia tech have already confirmed their attendance. The Judges’ prime prospect is 6-foot-9 junior forward Jermaine Lawrence but Naclerio uses the event to also help players in his program land opportunities at the Division two and three level as well as junior college.
– Despite the fact that three of his freshmen are ineligible for the start of the upcoming season, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin is still excited about the group he’s about to coach — especially first-year floor general Phil Greene. “He’s got a great feel,” Lavin said of Greene. “He’s got a knack for getting people involved. He may not make an immediate impact like some of our other guys but his body of work over the course of his career should be solid.” Look for Greene, freshman D’Angelo Harrison, and JUCO transfer Nurideen Lindsey to take up a lot of minutes of the perimeter for the Red Storm this season along with junior Malik Stith, the only St. John’s player returning with any experience.
– In an effort to bring freshman Kadeem Jack along at a reasonable pace, don’t be shocked if Rutgers coach Mike Rice opts to bring the high flying forward off the bench for the first portion of the season. If the season started tomorrow, we’d bet the Scarlet Knights’ starting five would be Myles Mack and Mike Poole in the back court with Dane Miller on a wing and veterans Gilvydas Biruta and Austin Johnson up front.
– Looking for a non-BCS team to have a breakthrough season? Try Marshall. Tom Herrion has assembled an incredible base of talent for a Conference-USA squad headlined by combo guard Deandre Kane, who should be preseason conference Player of the Year. Senior point guard Damier Pitts also returns and Herrion has three major additions in former Louisville commit Justin Coleman as well as JUCO big men Robert Goff and Dennis Tinnon. Goff originally committed to Oklahoma before Jeff Capel was fired while Tinnon led the nation in rebounding at the junior college level.
– Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said last week that the Rebels are hoping to find out by October 14th whether or not forward Murphy Holloway will be eligible to play during the upcoming season. Holloway’s situation is an interesting one. The 6-foot-7 forward played two seasons for Ole Miss then transferred to South Carolina and then transferred back to Oxford. Should Kennedy and the Rebels add him for the upcoming year, Holloway could form one of the SEC’s more lethal front courts with Reginald Buckner and Terrance Henry.
– The more and more I watch LIU’s Jason Brickman, the more and more he reminds me of former Siena point guard Ronald Moore who led the nation in assists a few years back during the Saints run of three straight NCAA Tournaments. Brickman, a sophomore is one of many reasons why Jim Ferry’s Blackbirds are the favorites in a loaded NEC.
– Howard Garfinkel’s “Clinic To End All Clinics V” will be held Friday at Iona College starting at 9 am. Clinicians include Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, Rutgers coach Mike Rice, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, St. John’s women’s coach Kim Barnes Arico, and Michigan coach John Beilein. For more information call 212-246-3063.
Is Taylor about to bust loose? What are your NCAA hoops thoughts? Let Rothstein know in the comments below…