Kansas eager to leave off-court events behind
First came the hype centered on the new team that John Calipari had assembled over in Kentucky.
Then the focus shifted to off-the-court antics involving Tyshawn Taylor, his Facebook page and the altercations between the Kansas basketball and the football team.
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Finally, it was a bonehead move by starting guard Brady Morningstar less than two weeks ago when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The preseason No. 1 team in the land finally took the court on Friday night, and it was a typical celebration at Allen Fieldhouse.
Fans cheered as if nothing had happened. Taylor danced in one skit, received a loud and boisterous ovation and Morningstar was given one as well.
"This is exactly what we needed," Taylor said.
Taylor and his badly disfigured right thumb made an appearance in the scrimmage to end the night. Morningstar, suspended for the first semester, didn't partake and was instead relegated to watching Midnight Madness from the sideline.
When Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins decided to return to college and bypass the lure of the NBA after last season, the Jayhawks instantly became the clear-cut top team in the land.
But you'd never know it.
"I put it on us," Kansas freshman forward Thomas Robinson said. "We made a couple of bad mistakes."
With Aldrich, Collins, Taylor and highly touted freshmen Xavier Henry and Robinson, this team is so deep that top-50 player Travis Releford won't get off the bench. Jeff Withey, a long, athletic transfer from Arizona who won't be eligible until the second semester, is fifth on the depth chart in terms of frontcourt guys.
Just two years after being decimated by the loss of all five starters from their 2008 national championship team, the Jayhawks aren't just back.