Jayhawk freshmen using defense to boost on-court minutes
- Oct. 31, 2012
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That is all the time Kansas coach Bill Self has to distribute each game to the 12 players currently fighting for minutes.
On Tuesday night, freshmen Landen Lucas and Anrio Adams staked their claim that they merit an extended look as the Kansas men’s basketball team works to trim down its rotation.
And they didn’t do it with flashy shooting or by throwing down monster dunks.
Instead, they made their statement with their tenacity when the opponents had the ball.
“The two best players for us, per minute, were Anrio Adams and Landon Lucas,” Self said. “They got more done as far as from a coaching standpoint. You look at points, which a lot of people look at, but if you look at who made the most out of their possessions.”
Lucas led the team with nine rebounds, despite playing just 12 minutes in the game.
Self said Lucas’ only turnover, an offensive foul called against his screen, was really more on the hands of freshman guard Ben McLemore because he didn’t wait for Lucas to set the screen before moving.
Lucas’ fight for minutes will be a challenge because he’s going up against senior forward Kevin Young, who played a big role coming off the bench last season, freshman forward Jamari Traylor, who has a semester of attempting to defend Thomas Robinson under his belt, and freshman forward Perry Ellis, who has the best offensive game of any Jayhawk forward.
“On defense, I feel like I need to be more versatile in what I can guard so that coach doesn’t feel like I can only guard one position,” Lucas said.
Lucas believes that will be the key to maximizing his playing time.
Adams’ achievements didn’t show up in the stat sheet in the same way that Lucas’ did, but the guard made an impact on the game with his defensive presence.
Under Self, the Jayhawks have annually been one of the top defensive teams in the nation.
“It’s going to be a big thing that’s going to separate me from the other guards,” Adams said. “We have a lot of guards that can score that are a lot bigger than me as far as the two goes, because I’m a combo. So I just feel like for me to be on the court, I’ve got to give more effort on defense.”
Monday night’s contest with Washburn will be the final chance for the freshmen to make their preseason impressions on Self. After that, minutes will be cut quick as the Jayhawks face Michigan State in their second game of the season.
“Anrio Adams, if he can eat up the ball like that, he could add a different element to our game,” Self said. “Especially playing at home with the crowd and get the crowd into it because he really played hard.”
Withey Named To Award List
Senior Center Jeff Withey has been named one of the 30 candidates for the 2012-2013 Senior CLASS Award. Withey is joined on the finalist list by Kansas women’s senior guard Angel Goodrich.
The lists will be reduced down to the top 10 midway through the regular season before the winners are announced at the Final Four.
If Withey wins, he will join Wayne Simien, the 2005 winner, as the only Kansas players to win the award, which began in 2001. Three other former Jayhawks, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Tyrel Reed, have also been named to the Senior CLASS First Team.