Tyshawn Taylor. TT. #10. What can you say about him? He’s….just…so….TYSHAWN. He’s gone from being an underperforming underclassman with so much POTENTIAL, to being a detriment to the team (on multiple occasions), to savior, to goat, to salvation, to….TYSHAWN!
Before I get too far into this, I have to admit something. Less than 4 months ago (honestly, it’s been a long winter, I can’t remember), I told my Brother-in-law (KU Alum, and avid fan), that I was planning to start a “Cut Tyshawn from the Team” page on FB. He reminds me of this constantly. I deserve all of his criticism, and I do now regret that comment.
Someone out there needs a big gold medal on a silk ribbon to adorn their neck that says (the ribbon goes on their neck, the neck doesn’t actually talk, the mouth does. Fuck you grammar!), “I invented “Manny Being Manny””. In the same way, someone out there in KU Land needs an Iron Pyrite Medal with a knitted wool ribbon that says, “I invented “Good Tyshawn/Bad Tyshawn”” (It’s amateur athletics, guys, we can’t afford to go all out). And that is the only way I can reckon with this phenomenon. TT isn’t comprehendible without that qualifier. He just isn’t. But if you make the analogy real inside your head, it all makes sense, and it all works out, and life can go on.
So, Good Tyshawn is the one we all know and love right now. His smile is too big for his face, and I LOVE that about him…it’s an underrated quality in humans. When he’s doing well, and is happy, you can tell it. It’s…right…there….smiling at you! (yes, the smile makes me forgive the “dead-eye” mugging that makes me want to strangle him. Hey Tyshawn…you’ve hit like…a gazillion 3’s in your life….we know it…stop mugging and ACT LIKE YOU’VE DONE IT BEFORE!!) He plays under control and “within” the game, but still takes whatever advantages the other team gives, is faster than a Mizzou fan on Meth telling you how the B12 championship is meaningless, and simply makes plays that drop your jaw. He’s too tall to be a great PG, and too long. And he’s too fast to be anything but a good point guard. I’ve seen his mother on TV, but I can only guess than his father is a 6’10” milkman with a 12 foot wingspan from the planet “Basketball”, because he’s a FREAK athlete. Good Tyshawn isn’t LeBron….but he’s a damn good basketball player that can do things that very, very few people can. And I think that if we saw this maturation of Good Tyshawn closer to the end of last year, instead of in the middle of this year, people would be talking about how he should have gone to the draft instead of coming back for one more season. As it is, he’s still going to get drafted, and will get paid to play for a living. And I hope he learned a little about who “Good Tyshawn” is, because if so, he might find that he hasn’t found his true ceiling yet.
Now…BAD Tyshawn. Now this is an INTERESTING cat. He’s all over headlines, so you know that you’ve read about him. Bad Tyshawn can actually be broken into two elements. OffCourt Bad TT, and OnCourt Bad TT. OffCourt Bad TT is just a jackass and needs/needed HCBS to hobble him, and leave him in a ditch in Garden City. (That was originally LeCompton, but….a buddy of mine told me that borders on racist (I think he doesn’t know Kansas, and thought I meant like, Compton, CA), so, I moved it to Garden City because the geographic difference would make it harder for him to get back to Lawrence, and….Garden City/Garden State (NJ), I thought was an artistic touch). Anyway, Bad Tyshawn decides to pick a fight with the football team from him own school. Bad Tyshawn does undisclosed things that get him suspended from the team. Bad Tyshawn (OffCourt variety), doesn’t realize that even when he’s not dribbling down the court, he’s still a Jayhawk, and hence, still represents all of his family, friends, fans, and yes, the University, and hell…the STATE. He represents you and me….and I know it’s rough, and not an easy life…but Bad Tyshawn doesn’t realize that in exchange for all of his fame and his (future) fortune, this is part of the payment.
And now best of all…OnCourt Bad Tyshawn. This is where I’m so happy, so just…oozing with glee that I can tell you what I have discerned from the last 4 years of watching this kid. OnCourt Bad Tyshawn is NOT a bad person (and I seriously doubt any incarnation of Tyshawn truly is)….but he doesn’t know what he is. That’s because….he’s masked, and wears a cape. Yes, all the geeks out there are salivating now…they can see it. One minute, he’s the mild mannered, smiling, dunking-off-a-lob or lobbing-for-a-dunk point guard of one of the nation’s best teams, and then he dons the cape, the mask, and the shirt that has a HUGE ‘T” on it….and he is…..Turnover Man. Turnover Man works in mysterious ways, because not only does he have, and exhibit the ability to dribble down court faster than….a…uh….Mizzou-fan-on-meth-telling-you-the-big12-title-doesn’t-matter, but…he also can turn over the ball at rate that even rivals that. But WAIT! No! He’s not done yet! He can also single-handedly take over the entire team, and eliminate ALL Offense, but just keeping the ball and driving for a foul. Not a real shot, mind you, but a foul. You know that pretty offense KU runs, where they move the ball around to open up the post, screen high, and then just destroy the other team? He can stop that offense from running, just by keeping the ball, dribbling it a lot, and then tearing inside for a foul.
Now, the good news is this: I haven’t seen him do that in a manner that totally disrupts the team since Maui and the Duke game. In fact, I haven’t seen Bad Tyshawn (expect for minor flashes here and there), since about the same time. And, in the last 10 games, I haven’t even really seen anything but for a brief peek at Bad Tyshawn (which I can TOTALLY live with). So far, he has seemingly matured. He was quoted as saying that he’d focus on this season to a relative of his (mother?). And what kills me most is this…Tyshawn, as long as we’ve known him, is still…well…just barely finding himself. He’s a kid….still in College, and he can make mistakes. I just hope he can realize that he doesn’t need to don his cape and mask, and put the big T on his chest to lead our team. We don’t want that guy. We want Tyshawn instead. Superheros and comic book people are overrated. I’ll stick with Good Tyshawn. If he plays within himself, and the game, and just takes what comes…and runs HCBS’s offense in the meantime…I have high, high, hopes for this team.
But I also know this. This team is not where it is now without him, good or bad. T-Rob’s freakiness of nature makes Tyshawn “almost” look semi-mortal (expect for T-Rob’s temper, which has been addressed). But, good or bad, on the court, this is TT’s team…..and it reflects him just like he represents us. It’s too early to tell if it’s a team’s who’s inconsistencies are warts or simply a missing ear, but I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it already, and can’t wait for the rest.