Yesterday, the Mario Chalmers-led Jayhawks handed the Eagles of Boston College a crushing loss. This was a possible signature win for BC, the first thing they would present come Tournament Time as their ticket in. They had a lot more than we had riding on this game, but we played a hell of a lot better. One thing in particular was different in this game, we played a zone defense. I had speculated previously how we were going to shutdown their top scorer Jared Dudley. I said we should put uberathletic F Julian Wright on him, which we did to some extent. Bill Self's solution though, to play zone. Here is a brief recap of a game I didn't get to see (tear...tear) which means this is based on purely statistics...my favorite!
Mario Chalmers - Grade: A-
Chalmers scored a season high 22 points on 9-16 shooting including 3-6 from beyond the 3 point line. He also showed why he is my candidate for Big 12 defensive player of the year, as he stole the ball 5 times while even blocking a shot. He also added 4 assists and 2 rebounds. "Super Mario" is a cliche kind of name for an athlete named Mario, but that is his new nickname as far as I'm concerned. As I have pointed out in other threads, I think he will become this team's leader throughout the season and is the team's most important player game in and game out.
Brandon Rush - Grade: B+
This was Brandon's third straight "good game", but this is the kind of production we should be seeing from him game after game. 15 points is always nice, but he only had 3 boards and 2 assists while turning the ball over 2 times. He has the potential to dominate games, and while it wouldn't necessarily be in the team's best interest for him to do that, he needs to dominate stretches for us to be a national title contender. Like the 1:07 stretch against Winston Salem State where he scored 7 points, he needs to have a 2 or 3 minute stretch each game where he gets the ball every possesion and dominates like he can.
Julian Wright - Grade: B+
I know that he only scored 13 points on 5-13 shooting, but I have a feeling he had a great game. He did tie a career high 12 rebounds including 4 on the offensive glass and dish out 4 assists. He is the other vital part of our offense that needs to produce game in and game out, and while he didn't put up big numbers this time around he still had a major contribution to the team.
Russell Robinson - Grade: B
This guy will probably be the hardest player to grade every single game, especially without watching the game. His stats tell you little of how well he played, as he is the glue that every national title contender needs. We don't run the offense that we score in the 90's every game, so Robinson won't get up there in points very often, but every game he is vital to our success. He shot only 2-8 from the field on his way to 8 points, 5 assists and 4 boards. He led the team in minutes, like usual, with 38 and even rejected a shot.
Sasha Kaun - Grade: C
Kaun is still recovering from his patella injury, so his 16 minutes isn't too worrisome. However, he has played a lot more than that recently, so I have to imagine his 4 fouls played a large role in his lack of minutes. Defensively, he went up against Sean Williams who had a career day, so he didn't play too well on that side of the ball either. His line of 8 points, 6 boards (3 offensive) and 3 blocks is decent, but not good enough for our one true inside presence.
Bench - Grade: C+
Like usual, Slim Shady had a decent game in his 20 or so minutes (18 this time around). He only shot 1-7 from the floor, but 5-6 from the charity stripe on his way to 8 points. He also got in foul trouble like Kaun ending the game with 4 personals, a problem he needs to fix before he is the player he can be. Sherron Collins didn't play that much (only 9 minutes) because of the way Chalmers was playing and that contributed to a goose egg in the scoring department. Of course, he only attempted one 3 point shot so nothing to get worried about. Morningstar made a cameo appearance at the end of the game for a minute, not posting any stats. So, with both freshman struggling off the bench how does it receive a "C+"? Two words, Darnell Jackson. Jackson was the beneficiary of Kaun's foul trouble, playing 16 minutes. He posted 11 points and pulled down 6 rebounds, 3 of those offensive boards. He was a perfect 3-3 from the field and shot 5-7 from the line, but like every other big guy in the game he ended with 4 fouls to his credit.
Overall Grade: B+
I know that each individual grade wasn't that high, but our team as a whole played great yesterday. If we play like that every day, we will be fine come tournament time. According to the things I've read on KU sites, there were some bad calls against KU, partly why everyone and their brother picked up 4 fouls. I would imagine it was also the reason that Billy went zone halfway through the 1st half, in an attempt to slow down the foul trouble. All in all, a good game for the Jayhawks, who host Detroit Mercy this Thursday night at the Fieldhouse.