Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor can praise and insult in the same paragraph. Asked about Detroit guard Ray McCallum, Taylor called him “terrific … crafty … great understanding of the game … tough to guard.” And then Taylor said, “We learned about him briefly that he doesn’t want to guard too much, so we’re going to put him situations where he has to be a defender.”
Naturally, McCallum, a sophomore, was asked about the slight, and he admitted to not having a good attitude toward defense last season. “But coming into this game I have a defensive mind-set,” he said.
Someone asked Elijah Johnson what sort of mind-set KU should have going into today’s game against Detroit, the 15th seed. This was shortly after he talked about — and acknowledged — KU’s tendency to overlook schools without big profiles.
Johnson’s answer: “The mind-set that they can send us all home in tears. The mind-set that they can go to the Final Four. The mind-set that they can disappoint everybody in Kansas. The mind-set they can take national player of the year from Thomas (Robinson). The mind-set they can mess with Tyshawn’s pro basketball thing. Gotta think about that stuff, because if we don’t, we think about it while we’re crying on the way home.”
Marcus Denmon and Kim English continue to get treatment for their nagging injuries and expect to play today against Norfolk State.
English, who injured his quad in the Tigers’ Big 12 tournament semifinal win over Texas last week, said there’s still a bruise, but the swelling is going down.
“Running is fine,” English said. “It’s when I get physical contact, it still bothers me. … we decided to take all of the lob plays out of the practice for me.”
Denmon, who sprained his ankle in the same game against Texas, said the swelling has gone down and has improved greatly since the Big 12 championship game Saturday.
“I don’t know how I was playing with it because during the game it hurt and it was affecting me,” Denmon said. “I couldn’t do certain things, but I just thought I could play through it and be fine. But after the game it really stiffened up and tightened up and was hurting bad, and I couldn’t walk on it.”
Who needs experience?
English has a go-to example of why experience in the NCAA Tournament is sometimes overrated. And he had the perfect opportunity to pull it out this afternoon when the Tigers talked to reporters.
“Carmelo Anthony had no NCAA experience and won the whole thing,” English said, “So it’s not that important.”Good, but not that good
Missouri coach Frank Haith gave his thoughts on Norfolk State center Kyle O’Quinn, a 6-foot-10 senior who leads the Spartans with 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
“He plays hard,” Haith said. “He’s good at (scoring) off the block, which makes him very difficult (to guard). Not only can he score with two feet in the paint, he can face you up, which makes him a tough matchup.”
When asked to compare O’Quinn to somebody the Tigers had faced, Haith paused for a moment.
“I mean, Thomas Robinson can take you off the block, too,” Haith said. “But he’s not Thomas Robinson. But he’s very similar to that type of player.”