Thanks to bananas, water and all the sports drinks Tyshawn Taylor can swallow, the Kansas’ point guard is doing just fine and will be ready for Sunday night’s NCAA Tournament game with Purdue.
“I’ve been pouring it down and eating bananas,” Taylor said Saturday. “I just have to stay hydrated.”
That was a problem in Friday night’s opening victory over Detroit, when he missed most of the second half with leg cramps. He blamed his dehydration on medicine he was taking for a cold.
Taylor has a history of cramps. He got them in against Georgetown in the first game of the Maui Invitational, but he came back to play in that game as well as the other two in the tournament.
All on consecutive days.
“This time I have a day off between games,” Taylor said. “I’ll be fine.”
KU coach Bill Self agreed.
“Last time, it was full body cramps,” Self said. “This time it was just in his calf.”
Chasing Clyde — Thomas Robinson has a good chance of passing Clyde Lovellette and reaching No. 3 for the most rebounds in a season by a Jayhawk.
Robinson has 401 rebounds going into Sunday’s game, nine short of the 410 boards Lovellette pulled down in 1952. Drew Gooden’s 423 in 2002 ranks second behind, who else, Wilt Chamberlain with 510 in 1957.
Watch your tweets — ESPN’s Jason King has called Twitter the “bathroom wall of the Internet.”
Sometimes tweets get athletes in more hot water than their coaches would like. Taylor had that problem earlier this season when he tweeted responses to critical fans.
But Self didn’t take social media away from Taylor, nor is he ready to squash any of his players’ tweeting.
“I trust our guys,” Self said. “We talk about it, but I haven’t put a muzzle on it.”
At the same time, he does have a staff member who monitors his players’ tweets.
“You can’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t want your mother to read, your grandparents to read … or your coaches,” Self said. “It’s also part of growing up. We want to put our players in a situation where we help educate them.
“They’ve got to learn the value of what they say. Telling them they can’t, in my opinion, doesn’t help them long term.”
Self tweets some because he’s been told it helps recruiting.
“But I’m not into the social networking like a lot of others are,” he said.
Helpful tweet — A tweet from a fan actually motivated Taylor before KU’s victory Friday night over Detroit and after two other No. 2 seeds had already lost.
“I saw somebody write on my Twitter, `We might as well call this Upset Friday,” he said. “I was like, `Dang! Not going to let that happen.’ ”
Turning 21 — Robinson turned 21 Saturday, and his KU teammates were more than happy to remind him.
“I must have told him happy birthday 100 times,” Taylor said. “He’s happy to be 21 finally.”
Good replacement — When guard Kelsey Barlow was kicked off Purdue’s team in mid-February after getting into a scuffle at a bar, Terone Johnson replaced him in the starting lineup.
In those eight games as a starter, the sophomore from Indianapolis has averaged 14.3 points — double his season average before starting.
Almost a Tiger — Purdue coach Matt Painter was Missouri’s top choice last year to replace fired Mike Anderson. Painter chose to stick where he began his Boilermaker career as an assistant under Gene Keady, and the Tigers went with on Frank Haith.
Asked before Friday’s games whether he had any regrets about not taking the MU job, Painter said, “Not really. I’m happy for Missouri.”
Friday, No. 2-seed Mizzou lost to Norfolk State and Painter’s 10th-seeded Boilermakers advanced by beating St. Mary’s.
Taking the next step – While Norfolk State and Lehigh made history this week by becoming the first 15 seeds to defeat a No. 2 in 11 years, the other four all lost their next game.
“When you make history, it’s hard to re-focus,” said NSU’s Kyle O’Quinn, who will lead the Titans against No. 7-seed Florida tonight. “But we want to keep that good feeling going and make some more history.”
Working out the plan – O’Quinn is charming the tournament in a year when the powerful 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior was named the player of the year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
He came from a humble start in the game and he hasn’t forgotten. He didn’t go out for basketball until his junior year in high school in Jamaica, N.Y., and Norfolk State was his only Division I offer.
“I was pretty bad,” O’Quinn said. “I lacked a lot of things that other kids had. I lacked experience, I lacked discipline.”
He goofed off so much in high school that he was almost kicked off the team.
But after averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds as a prep senior, he got a chance at Norfolk. He began to understand he was answerable to others, such as his parents and coaches. O’Quinn began to set goals.
“At first I just wanted to set at the end of the bench,” he said. “But as I progressed, I felt more and more confident. I still questioned myself.”
Then as a sophomore, he was named second-team All-MEAC.
“So I stuck to the plan,” O’Quinn said.
He was named the league’s top defensive player as a junior and was a first-team All-MEAC pick. This year, he was named the league’s player of the year.
“I had a lot of help,” he said, “but I stuck to the plan to keep working. That’s why I try to appreciate the guys under me. I want to keep encouraging them. Those goals aren’t that far. You can do it.”
Classic’s round two — Next season, the second year of the Champions Classic will move to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where KU will play Michigan State and Duke will meet Kentucky on Nov. 13.
The classic pits the four teams in a round-robin fashion over a three-year period. This year at New York’s Madison Square Garden, KU lost to Kentucky and Duke defeated Michigan State.
In 2013, the classic moves to Chicago’s United Center, where KU will play Duke and Michigan State will meet Kentucky.
Winning student section — All those nights KU students have spent camping out in Allen Fieldhouse over the years have brought them more than the best seats in the student section.
From a field of 80 entries, KU was selected this week to win the inaugural Naismith Student Section of the year award by Collegiate Licensing Co. and the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
In selecting KU, the Naismith board noted some of the unique traditions of the Jayhawks’ 4,000-seat student section, including the camping-for-seats system, standing throughout the game and Rock Chalk chant.
The award comes with a $5,000 cash award, which will go into university’s general scholarship fund.