Just for the record, I have been ready to write this since Saturday (the Final Four games healed me) but have been extremely busy since and haven't gotten around to it. It took me 7 days and One Shining Moment before I was able to look back on this season, but boy what a season it was. In the coming days we will discuss at length the terrific season the Jayhawks had, for now let's briefly disect our final game of the year.
Super played great defense, but he was really a non-factor on offense against both Southern Illinois and UCLA, specifically the latter. His 10+ steals (I don't feel the need for a box score) were terrific and he has a chance to be the National Defensive POY in the near future, but in order for him to step up and take control of this team he has to be much more consistent on the offensive side of the ball. His problem is he scores mainly in transition and on his 3 point shot, and when the Bruins take away the transition game and his shot isn't falling he won't be a factor. Hopefully he can work on his driving skills this offseason and be that much better next season.
He had a pretty bad game against the Bruins, just like Super. After drumming him up to be the 'Difference Maker' all Friday and Saturday, the fact that he didn't play well really killed our chances of winning. He has already declared his intentions of coming back, hopefully he can work on that jumpshot of his to become a All American.
I think that that was his last game ever as a Jayhawk. He will be a Top 20 pick in the NBA and that will be enough for him, although I think he would have Lottery written all over him were he to come back for one more season. As I recall he had a pretty good game, but no one including Rush stood up enough to stick out. His defense (or lack thereof) will fit in well with the NBA although it did improve a lot over his time with the 'Hawks.
Russell probably played the best of any of our guards, continuing his unbelievable Tournament. Beginning with his best game of the year against Niagara and ending with knocking down 2 of the 3 3 pointers against UCLA, he played amazing from start to finish in the best sporting event of the year. He will be back and in the starting lineup to begin next season, I think he has a chance to really emerge as a tremendous player in the Big 12 his senior season.
I love you Sasha, I really do. But I think we will be a better basketball team next season if we give more minutes to Darnell Jackson and incoming freshman Cole Aldrich and less to Sasha. He just doesn't make enough inside shots to be a big factor in our offense, something that both DJack and Cole can bring to the table. He doesn't play a lot of minutes anyways, let's just make it official and bench him.
You could really tell late in the season that SC put on some weight. He is a much better player the lighter he is, with his best stretch of play being in the middle of Big 12 play when he was playing at his lightest weight of 200 pounds. He struggled a lot in the Tournament and his game against UCLA wasn't better at all, scoring just a couple of points and being run around by Darren Collison numerous times.
This is now my favorite player on this team. He gets the more out of his talent than anyone else on the team, and that includes walk-ons. He is my early pick to be the 5th starter on this team, replacing Sasha with SC replacing a possibly departing Brandon Rush.
This kid has a boatload of talent, something we saw against Florida early in November and late in the season in the NCAA Tournament. He will be a special player in a couple of years, he rebounds the ball extremely well and as soon as he stops committing dumb fouls, he will have a complete package.
OK, that was definately my worst analysis ever. But it's never fun talking about a loss, especially considering really no one on our team played all that well.
We will talk some football in the coming weeks and months, along with the Brandon Rush-to-the-NBA story and what the basketball 'Hawks need to do to make us 2008 National Champions.