Quick Hitters from KU’s First Exhibition Game of 2013 versus Pitt State:
- Tharpe looks solid: Self said before the season that Tharpe may be the most important guy on this team and I have to agree with him. While not the most talented player out there, he will touch the ball more than anybody. All the talent in the world does Wiggins, Seldon and Embiid no good if they can’t get the ball in the right situations. Tharpe looks much improved. He made good decisions all night. He posted 9 assists to 0 turnovers in the winning effort. He would have had a few more assists if some of our youngsters were looking for the ball. Tharpe was dropping dimes.
- Black a big boost: Black is exactly what this young teams needs. A big bruiser who isn’t afraid to get his hand dirty in the lane. He runs the floor very well for someone his size and he has a nose for the ball off of the glass. If he can post double digit rebounds without adding too many fouls he will be a perfect player in his starting role… that is until Embiid is ready to replace him.
- Perry Ellis is best: Ellis is the best player on this team and it is not even close. I can’t recall another post player in the Self era with as much finesse around he rim. Even the Morris twins didn’t look this polished. He can flat out score around the rim. If he can also develop a sweet turnaround jumper from 15 feet like the Morris twins then look out America. He looks like he has done what everyone hoped in taking the momentum he built in the Big 12 Tournament last season and running with it from there. He may not be the leading scorer on this team, but I would be surprised.
- Wiggins and Selden Nervous: Which is to be expected for these highly touted freshman. While Wiggins’ natural ability still carried him to a team-high 16 points, they were an ugly 16. He showed flashes of what he is capable of though with some great attacking moved off the bounce, high floating finishes and a rim-rocking flush. Selden, on the other hand, looked terrible. They good news is that we know he isn’t. I think he is likely to have a great second game.
- Go ahead and officially take White III off the redshirt candidate list: I wanted to see him is a real game before I fully removed him from my list of options. As we know, some players can look great in practice and never have it translate to the game (*cough* Crist). White looks to be the real deal. He runs hard, rebounds the ball, attacks the rim and makes good decisions. Plus, the kid is absolutely ripped this year. Add to all of this his natural gift of shooting the rock at a high level. Put it all together, and Self wasn’t lying about him. He can play, and he will.
- Frankamp should redshirt, Greene still questionable: See my earlier post as to why. Nothing has changed my mind after one game.
- Deep bench: The rest of the guys coming off the bench all had good things to contribute, but some are further away than others. Embiid and Mason in particular looked like big balls of talent running around with no purpose at times. I think they will get it sooner or later, but fans need to be patient with these two. They aren’t going to light it up for a while. I think by conference play they won’t even look like the same players. And, man, Embiid has a chance to be special.
Those were my main takeaways from watching one game. One major caveat is that exhibition games are not a very good way to predict success in the season. Especially in this season where there were so many guys Self wanted to see. There were groups on the floor Tuesday night that will probably never see playing time together in the regular season. That is partly why the victory was so ugly at times. The other part was nerves and inexperience. The good news is that KU will never field another team as nervous or as inexperienced the rest of the season, so it is only up from here.