University of Kansas

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor must adapt to newcomer Josh Selby

LAWRENCE — Before Josh Selby played his first game, Kansas coach Bill Self said Tyshawn Taylor had been the Jayhawks' MVP.

After Selby's debut — a 70-68 victory over Southern California that showed how good Selby can be but also how far the Jayhawks have to go as a team — Self's tone had momentarily changed on Taylor.

"I'll be honest. I didn't see much," Self said about Taylor. "That was poor play, and he knows that. I'm sure he feels bad, but that was poor play today."

Taylor, KU's junior point guard, had seven points and one assist and matched a season-high with six turnovers. Five of the giveaways came off of USC steals and one was for charging.

All players are allowed an off game here or there, and Taylor said that's exactly what Saturday was. And he wanted to make sure that his season-worst performance wasn't connected to him sharing the floor with Selby for the first time.

"It was just one of those days," Taylor said. "It's nothing with Josh."

Tonight's game at California marks the Jayhawks' first road test and their second chance to integrate Selby's innumerable talents into their style of play. Every guy in KU's rotation is learning how to play with Selby, who scored a team-high 21 points against the Trojans, and it makes sense that Taylor would have the biggest adjustment.

For the first nine games, the Jayhawks were Taylor's team and he excelled in that role, showing poise that was missing during a turbulent sophomore campaign. Taylor knew that it was his job to set the pace and distribute the ball to his teammates, and he had the freedom to look to score when the time was right.

Self wants Taylor to play the same way with Selby. Self said that he will eventually use Selby as a primary ball-handler, but only when Taylor is not in the game. This is still Taylor's team, and having a scorer like Selby on the wing should only make Taylor more effective over time.

"He'll enjoy playing with Josh because Josh can get him more assists," Self said. "They'll be our starting one and two at some point in time."

KU began the season ahead of the game offensively, leading the nation in assists. But in the last four games, Taylor has had more turnovers than assists, and it's no coincidence the Jayhawks have followed suit with 65 turnovers and 60 assists.

"He knows he's gotta be better," KU guard Tyrel Reed said. "We've got a great group of guys around him that are going to lift him up. He's gonna be fine. He's got a great attitude."

The Jayhawks don't expect to look great with Selby right away.

"That's going to come with time," Reed said. "He's been practicing with us but not with the first team all the time. Game experience is huge. Having a first game, to get a win like (USC) was big for us, and I think we're just gonna keep getting better from here."

California will catch the Jayhawks as a work in progress. KU has struggled to beat Pac-10 teams Arizona, UCLA and USC, and this will be the Jayhawks' first game in a true road environment.

Taylor could quiet any concerns about his game with a good showing in Berkeley. At this point, if there are concerns, Taylor doesn't share them.

"I'm good," Taylor said. "I feel like I can play better, so I'm definitely upset about that. But we've got a long way to go. I'm just gonna keep getting better gradually."