Kansas newcomer Jalen Wilson missed a well-guarded 10-footer to the right side of the lane, a shot that had it fallen, would have made the 6-foot-8 wing from Denton, Texas, a hero in the eyes of several hundred Bill Self campers Tuesday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I thought I did,” Wilson said, asked by a media member if he “thought he had hit that game winner” — a shot over Ochai Agbaji that came with the Red and Blue teams tied at 79 in the Self campers game.
Instead, Mitch Lightfoot rebounded a carom off the right side of the rim, was fouled and missed two free throws. On the ensuing possession, KU graduate Tyshawn Taylor scored on the opposite end to give the Red team an 81-79 victory over Wilson’s Blue squad. The game was decided by first team to reach 80 points.
“I’ll get the next one,” a confident Wilson told media members.
In Lawrence since Saturday, KU’s most recent addition to the 2019-20 squad scored 11 points on 5-of-20 shooting (1 of 13 from 3) for the Blue team, which was led by Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike, who scored 24 and 23 points, respectively.
“I didn’t shoot that well, but I mean that’s all part of it. I love the kids, tried to put on a good show for them. They support us so much. I thought it was fun,” Wilson added.
The 29-year-old Taylor, who played pro ball in Italy this past season, scored 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting for the winning Red squad. He missed four threes in as many tries, coming up clutch from 15 feet on the final possession.
Taylor brought the ball upcourt following the Lightfoot miss at the line. He converted a step-back jumper to end the contest.
“You know I’ve got a clutch bone,” Taylor said, smiling. “I was just playing. The possession before that, Elijah (Johnson, a late arrival who didn’t score for the Red team) made a play. The next time we had the ball I just told myself I was going to shoot it. I had ‘Little Teahan’ (Chris, brother of Taylor’s former KU teammate Conner Teahan) on me so … ‘light work,’’’ Taylor added jokingly.
All kidding aside, Taylor, who will play in Thursday’s annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic KU alumni game (7 p.m., Eudora High) said he had a great time scrimmaging in front of Self’s campers Tuesday.
The game was held in steamy Allen Fieldhouse because of construction of the new Horejsi Center, where the camp games normally are contested in air-conditioned comfort.
“It was fun, man,” Taylor said. “I think them switching it in there for the kids gives them an experience. Obviously for the old guys (Taylor, Johnson, Travis Releford who had four points) … we get to run out of the tunnel again. It’s always fun to shoot around in there and play in there. That was fun.”
Taylor’s clutch shot swished in front of his 6-year-old son, Juedah, who attended the proceedings.
“He lives here. It’s always fun for me to come back and see him coming to things like this,” Taylor said. “I love coming to this place.”
Taylor said he was impressed with KU freshmen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna (six points), Issac McBride (eight points) and Christian Braun (13 points, three threes). Wilson attempted what would have been the game-winner shortly after Wilson’s three gave the Blue team a 76-71 advantage down the stretch.
“I was guarding him a little while. He missed a couple shots and was kind of getting on himself,” Taylor said of Wilson, the country’s No. 47 rated player in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com. He committed to KU over Michigan and North Carolina last week.
“I told him, ‘You’ve got to keep shooting.’ He made a big one to put them up three or four points late. I told him, ‘That’s why you keep shooting, stay confident.’ For a young guy, that showed confidence,” Taylor added.
Taylor said Wilson and KU’s other freshmen all “have a lot to learn. It’s summertime. Coach (Bill) Self hasn’t had a chance to get his hands on them fully yet. It’s always fun for me to come in the summertime for the scrimmaging, then watching them get so much better in the season. When I see Jalen in December, January, he’ll be a totally different player than now. It’s always fun for me to see that, having played with them a while and watching them grow.”
Freshman McBride said he learned a lot from playing next to Taylor on Tuesday.
“The stuff he did out there was jaw-dropping pretty much,” McBride said. “I grew up watching him. I know it’s going to be bad to say in the media but growing up I was a UNC fan. They used to have battles of course (KU and North Carolina). I watched him in the championship game (in 2012 after beating UNC in the Elite Eight). I wanted Kansas to win in that game (loss to Kentucky) He’s such an amazing talent. You can see that he’s definitely league, an NBA player,” McBride added.
Soph David McCormack led the Red team with 28 points. The 6-10, 270-pounder hit one of his three 3-point attempts.
Highlights: Agbaji, who had 14 points for the winning team, put the ball between his legs and finished with a one-handed dunk. He also had a windmill dunk. … Azubuike, a 7-foot senior, had a crossover move on McBride at midcourt and raced in for a dunk. Later he went three-quarters court and finished by banking in a short shot. Azubuike was 2 of 2 from the line, drawing a loud roar from the campers. … Braun hit three threes in seven tries. … Lightfoot hit a three. … McBride had a no-look pass to Taylor for a layup. … McCormack’s three gave the Red team a 44-37 lead. He had a hustle play, racing out of bounds to save the ball on a possession. McCormack also hit a layup off a spin move and had a lefthanded tip in of a Taylor miss. ... Sophomore Silvio De Sousa did not attend the scrimmage. Coach Bill Self said he was not injured. He had a scheduling conflict.
Mitch Lightfoot 24, Udoka Azubuike 23, Christian Braun 13, Jalen Wilson 11, Justin Roberts 4, Devon Dotson 3, Marcus Garrett 0, Chris Teahan 0.
x-points did not add up.
David McCormack 28, Tyshawn Taylor 18, Ochai Agbaji 14, Issac McBride 8, Tristan Enaruna 6, Travis Releford 4, Elijah Elliott 4, Michael Jankovich 0.
x-points did not add up.