LAWRENCE — Kansas coach Bill Self's tough love looks a little bit like this: Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor won't be expressing himself on Facebook for the foreseeable future after one of his posts this week fueled rumors that he was considering transferring from KU.
"It won't be a problem from this point forward," Self said. "I've talked to him. You will never ask me another question about that."
Did Self strip Taylor of his Internet privileges?
"You will never ask me another question about that," Self repeated.
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At the same time, Self's tough love looks a little bit like this: He has told Taylor, who has not had the sophomore season that he imagined after an encouraging freshman year, that he can still salvage what matters most and make people forget what has happened to this point.
"What I told Tyshawn is, 'what people sometimes don't realize, we've played 50 percent of our games, but 95 percent of our season remains. Because nobody cares what you do in November and December,'" Self said. "He has a chance to impact that last half, that last part that everybody cares about the most, in a big way. But his head's gotta be right, and his heart's got to be right, and I think he's on the verge of having that become true."
On Wednesday night, as Kansas beat Baylor 81-75 with Taylor sitting for the first 17 minutes, Taylor's Facebook page — and whatever comments he made — were taken down. What is known is that his words were enough to warrant action. Taylor was not made available to explain the post in question on Friday, but Self said he did not think Taylor was indicating that he might transfer.
"I don't think that's even remotely true," Self said. "But if he has said that, which I do not think to be the case, that's the reason why he's not playing well. Because his head's not right. I don't believe he said that. What I think has happened is he's probably frustrated, and he's probably said some things that, because of his frustration, his popularity and things like that, anybody can take anything one of our players says and spin it in a direction they want it to be spun.
"If any of our players are thinking about (transferring), then trust me, I will be the first to help them find a place when the season is over."
Taylor has had a rocky 2009-10 school year mostly because he has aired his difficulties in public. In September, when KU football and basketball players were involved in fights on campus, Taylor wrote on his Facebook page that he had dislocated a finger while throwing a punch. He also made racial slurs and inflammatory remarks on his page during the same period. Taylor later said he was quoting hip-hop lyrics.
Last week, coming off KU's loss at Tennessee, Taylor was asked about finding his role on such a talented team and gave an honest answer — that sometimes he didn't know what his role was. Self, when told of Taylor's comment, said "I think Tyshawn talks too much."
Against Texas Tech last Saturday, Taylor played 12 minutes. On Wednesday, Brady Morningstar started in his place.
Overall, Taylor's numbers show that he's a player who can help KU. He's averaging 6.9 points and 3.8 assists and has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio, good for 11th in the Big 12.
"He's a good player that hasn't played as good as he's capable of playing," Self said, "and I think he'd be the first to agree with that. Against Baylor, I thought he gave us some good minutes, thought he did a good job on LaceDarius (Dunn). That's gotta be his role for us first. He's a creator for others, creates for himself as a secondary goal, and then he needs to be a lockdown defender for us. He'll get it. He's had a little bit of a sophomore funk, so to speak."
Taylor's teammates are still confident that he'll come around this season.
"I just think it's in his head a little bit," Sherron Collins said. "It happens with players sometimes. They go up and down. He'll be all right, though."