For the past two seasons, Sherron Collins has been the obvious leader of the Kansas Jayhawks. This year’s team needs to realize that Collins is not walking through that door.
Well actually… Collins will be in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday when Kansas faces off Colorado, but he will be in the stands of Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since high school. Both Collins and Mario Chalmers have tweeted recently about how they need to talk to this year’s team when they come back into Lawrence this weekend. They both should be able to offer some good advice on leadership.
Chalmers, of course, was on the 2008 National Championship team but that squad didn’t feature a clear-cut leader. Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson, Brandon Rush, Sasha Kaun, Darrell Arthur and even Sherron Collins all were leaders on that team, mostly be example.
Collins took over the reigns of the team when Chalmers and Rush left early and held those reigns for two years.
What the 2010-2011 Kansas team needs is a leader.
Nick Wright discussed on his radio show on Tuesday about how not many players on this team are likable. Thomas Robinson is likable because of what has happened to him this season, but he’s only a sophomore. Travis Releford is likable but injuries have kept him out of the lineup at times. Tyrel Reed is a likable starter for Kansas. The question is, can he be the leader?
I see three potential leaders on this team: Reed and the Morris twins.
Reed has made the big shots when it has mattered most and on Monday in Manhattan, he seemed like the only Kansas player that showed up. He was 3-6 for 14 points and he was a part of the run that got Kansas back within four points following halftime. I’m not sure how vocal Reed is in the locker room, but he seems like a quiet kid. He can lead by example but is he the kind of guy to walk up the Marcus or Markieff Morris and get in their face to get them motivated or tell them to knock off their fouling? I’m not sure.
The Morris twins, however, seem like the most suitable candidates to be the leaders of this team. Their F.O.E. (family over everything) motto has become the rallying cry of the 2010-11 Jayhawks because of everything that has happened to Robinson. However, they don’t seem to understand the importance of their actions on the court.
Self has said that “what you see on TV and that kind of stuff is not necessarily who they are.” And Self has mentioned that they both get unfairly grouped together when one of the twins makes a dumb foul. However, he feels like they also benefit from each other’s successes, too.
“They have developed a reputation that is not favorable at all,” said Self. “It is to the point now it’s going to cost them. We thought we had this thing addressed to the point we wouldn’t have to revisit it again. We have had to revisit it.”
Self also said that he will deal with punishment within the program.
“I’ll deal with it my own way with them, but certainly it hurts everybody associated with our program. To me, it hurts everybody that supports KU because that is not who we are. That’s not what we stress. They know that. They understand that. They get that, but still yet it happens.”
That last sentence is important. They get what they’re doing wrong but yet they still do it.
The twins can be leaders. But they need to behave. Self says they realize this but now they need to prove that.
I’m not calling out the Morris twins because there are players out there who have done much worse than what they’ve done in their collegiate careers so far. The airsoft gun incident painted them in a bad light. But it is not like they’re murders or they abuse drugs.
However, I’m saying that they need to realize that their reputation is damaged in the eyes of officials right now. The NCAA tournament officials are going to be strict with the whistle. They’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt.
The Morris twins can fix their reputation by stop raising their elbows in games and by being respectful of the officials and players in games. It’s that simple.
For KU to make it the Final Four, they’re going to need the twins to stop committing stupid fouls and making avoidable mistakes that lead to intentional fouls. If they can do that, they’ll become the leaders of this team and get Self his second National Championship.