High Plains Drifter

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March 18, 2006

Rock-chalk chopped…

Filed under: Editorial — Mike U @ 12:07 am

This is a painful entry… but I will feel better if I at least type something. My beloved alma-mater… the University of Kansas Jayhawks… were defeated once again in the first round of “The Big Dance” by the Bradley Braves, a team who clearly no one knew much about… at least I didn’t (and the KU team itself, by the looks of the game!)… and pretty much wrote this game off as a “should-win”, looking ahead to a fairly competitive match-up against Pitt.

I sat and watched this game this evening, and I felt like I had gone back in time…. to a time about 4 months ago when young frosh were running up and down the court tossing the rock like it was a hot potato with every other possession resulting in an unforced turnover. What really makes a game like the game against Bradley so difficult to swallow is the fact that we came off one of our best games of the year last week against a good Texas team. Granted, I didn’t watch that game, but rather listened to it on the radio at work, but it amazes me how a team can go from such a stellar performance to something so unbelievably full of mistakes… like it was the first time the school ever played in a big tournament. Hah.. reminds me of my bowling, quite frankly — the up and down.

That’s the way a team will play, though, without senior leadership. I think the coaching staff can only provide so much motivation. There needs to be on-the-court leadership, and quite frankly the very young Jayhawk team has NONE. The two seniors we do have — Moody and Hawkins, do not provide much in the way of leadership because they are not on the court often enough to be leaders (How about a total of 16 minutes between the two of them? How’s that for on-the-court leadership?). They just aren’t as talented as our younger crew. Our age showed big-time… and it was exposed tremendously by a much more eager-to-win Bradley club. I watched my young Hawks and I just saw a lack passion and obviously experience. The sophomore crew were freshman against Bucknell last year, so they gained little tournament experience last year. It’s as if they knew they were better than Bradley and just mentally didn’t have it in them… whether that was because they were emotionally fatigued still from that big Texas win… or were looking ahead to Pitt… or knew “they were all that” after the Texas win… or a combination of all the above. I don’t know what it was, but there was no desire or passion out there on the floor.

I am still having a hard time putting my finger on Brandon Rush. He has been our highly touted freshman star all year… but I’m just not seeing the fire in Rush. He’s definitely not ready for the NBA, that’s for damn sure. I’m seeing much more passion out on the point with Chalmers and Robinson. These two guys will end up being the leaders on this team… especially Russel Robinson. Someone has to step up BIG-TIME if the Hawks are going to compete with serious competition on a consistent basis. Bucknell and Bradley are NOT serious competition!

So now I’ll root for Wichita State against Tennessee tomorrow… it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. It would be one of the biggest wins in the WSU program in a long, long time (if not in the history of WSU Basketball), and a huge recruiting kick for Mark Turgeon. Wichita State is looking up, and that’s awesome to see.

Now time to “try” and get into Royals Baseball season now. It’s difficult being a KU Basketball, Royals, and Chiefs fan.

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