How Will Kansas Manage Without Its Point Guard?Posted by dnspewak on December 12th, 2011
Tyshawn Taylor finally redeemed himself in a 78-67 win over #2 Ohio State on Saturday, shaking off a poor start to his senior season by tallying 13 assists. Sure, Taylor did turn the ball over seven times, but he served as the catalyst for an improved offensive effort by the Jayhawks.
And he did it all with a sprained MCL and a torn meniscus, an injury he had actually previously suffered early in the week in practice. After pushing through the injury, however, Taylor finally had surgery yesterday and will miss about three weeks.
His status for Kansas’s Big 12 opener on January 4 against Kansas State is in question, though he is expected to return by then. Even if he does, he will surely miss their games with Davidson, USC, Howard, and North Dakota. Even without their point guard, the Jayhawks have no excuse to lose any of those contests, though Bob McKillop‘s Wildcats could provide a sneaky challenge after testing Duke and Vanderbilt earlier this season.
Despite the weaker competition, Kansas will need to make major adjustments to compensate for Taylor’s injury. Elijah Johnson may become the go-to option in the backcourt, a role he looks equipped to handle based on his productive performance against the Buckeyes. The situation could also enable freshman Naadir Tharpe to finally crack Self’s rotation. The true freshman has not seen much action this season, but his minutes could skyrocket during the next few weeks. Tharpe looks like a potential point guard option for Self next season after Taylor graduates, so the extra playing time could be key in his development as a Big 12 player.
If Taylor misses any time during league play, Kansas could be in trouble. With a relatively inexperienced roster, Taylor and Thomas Robinson are the two most important players on this team. But by all accounts, Taylor should have no issues getting back on the court by early January.