Monday Notebook: The week of Devonte’ Graham

1. Devonte’ Graham balls out, scores 35 against Toledo

KU was able to destroy yet another cupcake opponent last week, and Devonte’ Graham absolutely killed. He scored 35 points (23 by halftime), knocking down five threes, and personally led or tied Toledo for about 30 minutes. He was sensational. Malik Newman had a very nice 17 point effort for the Jayhawks. Newman has been quietly consistent so far this year. He has been a great addition for this team. Svi Mykhailiuk was on fire from three going 5-for-6, and finishing the game with 15 points. Mykhailiuk continues to be the catalyst for Kansas’ runs this year.

Udoka Azubuike scored 12 points, and had five rebounds in this one. I am finally starting to get concerned about his lack of rebounding. It felt like he would eventually snap out of it and just start to gobble up boards, but that remains to be seen. The offense for this team has been truly amazing to watch. The ball movement has been fluid, the shooting has been spectacular, and someone has scored at least 20 points in every game except for the game against Kentucky. This team is a lot of fun and I hope it doesn’t stop anytime soon.

2. Devonte’ Graham balls out, scores 35 against Syracuse. Wait…

If Devonte’ Graham doesn’t win Big 12 Player of the Week, something is wrong. He dropped ANOTHER 35 points on Saturday against the Orange. Graham is the first player in the Bill Self era to hit seven threes in a game. He has scored 70 points and hit 12 threes in his last two games. This was the best game of his career. He scored the last 14 points of the first half to give the Jayhawks a 35-21 lead at the break, and kept Syracuse at bay by himself for a while in the second half. Devonte’ Graham just put himself back on the map. He has been tremendous.

Lagerald Vick had a great game as well, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight boards, and dishing out seven assists. The Syracuse zone couldn’t stop him. Vick should’ve shot the ball more, to be honest. Graham, Vick, and Svi Mykhailiuk combined for 66 of KU’s 76 points. That’s both impressive and concerning. Impressive that three guys can score 66, but concerning that the rest of the team could only muster 10. This game gave me the same feeling as the Kentucky game. KU didn’t shoot, or play offense terribly well, but they still came away with the win. KU was still able to go on a run or two, and this was their best defensive game (in the first half at least) this season. Just wait until they play a complete game against a good team. Kansas might be scary good this year (and hey Jeff Goodman, KU would beat Michigan State and at least give Duke a game if not win).

3. Is Clay Young Legit?

Clay Young has been called on to play some meaningful minutes in Billy Preston’s absence. He has played much better than one might think for being a walk-on. Young has scored a grand total of seven points. He has recored six assists, and zero rebounds. Writers usually don’t talk about players with that kind of a stat line. Mr. Young, however, makes his presence known on defense. He hustles, and plays smart, fundamentally sound basketball. When watching him, you’ll never think “Man, this kid is one heck of a basketball player.” But you will see that Clay Young knows what he’s doing. He’s always in the right place. Always setting good screens, and making good passes. He isn’t as talented as Udoka Azubuike (height has something to do with that though), or even Mitch Lightfoot, but he’s at least as smart. Clay Young is the one who sparked a Jayhawk run against Syracuse with his defense and spacing. Other players scored the points, but Young was the catalyst in this particular game. He’s not an offensive juggernaut by any means but Clay Young is, in fact, legit.

4. College Football Playoff Final Four

Ok, so my preseason prediction of the top four (Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma, USC) was a little off. Two out of four isn’t bad though. The real CFP teams ended up being #1 Clemson, #2 Oklahoma, #3 Georgia, and #4 Alabama. These are the correct four teams. Ohio State should not have been put in. They lost twice (and once by 31!!!), while Bama lost just once. The Crimson Tide (as much as I dislike them) are a better team than Ohio State. The only way the Buckeyes should have gotten in is if TCU had beaten Oklahoma, opening up the Sooners spot. The committee underrated UCF for sure. They got a couple other things wrong as well. But if you’re going to rage about something, don’t rage about Alabama getting in over Ohio State. Alabama didn’t lose to Iowa 55-24. My prediction is that #1 Clemson will beat #4 Alabama 31-26 and that #2 Oklahoma will beat #3 Georgia 36-24. That gives us a Clemson-Oklahoma title game, which OU will win 35-28.

Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.

Landen Fields

I’m a junior in high school. I’m also homeschooled, which gives me the ability to watch ESPN all day. I love the Jayhawks, and I love to write about them. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, Marvel, and action/sci-fi movies. I hope to have a career in sports media one day, and I am grateful for this first step into a larger world.