CBE Recap: Ripening Orange
Thousands of fans took in the College Basketball Experience, many expectant of a Kansas championship. While Syracuse spoiled that dream 89-81 in overtime, the fans did bear witness to the greatest display of point guard play in the nation thus far.
They led in different ways, but both KU junior Sherron Collins and SU sophomore Jonny Flynn (25 points) were hell for the opposing defenses. With the dribble as their tool these leading men embarrass cats consistently.
Collins has had an astonishing bag of tricks for years. He is the product of Sportscenter highlights, YouTube compilations, and And1 mix tapes. The ball is his yo-yo, no doubt.
Flynn’s first step is as quick as a magician’s hands. The sprightly fellow buried a game-tying three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in regulation. Jayhawk fans cringed realizing their victory could have been clinched had either Collins passed the ball on a 3-on-1 fast break or had Cole Aldrich made the second of his two free throws with 20.0 seconds remaining.
Collins’ choice to take it straight at the rim seemed decent. He did not expect Paul Harris, the Syracuse God of War, to make a superhuman block coming from at least eight feet behind the play.
Harris incidentally amassed 14 rebounds. He is 6’5″.
The effort of Harris gave ‘Cuse extra possessions in the extra time. Andy Rautins’ triple with 1:42 remaining opened up an insurmountable lead.
Kansas is Syracuse from a year ago. Obviously talented, but emotionally immature. These losses and the way they react from them will mold the 2009-2010 Sweet 16 Jayhawks.
One distinct difference in the two stellar point guards is their role in the fast break.
Collins waits for the ball eagerly near half court. Once he has the rock his array of dribbling moves begins.
Flynn sprints ahead of the play when Syracuse gets a turnover. Jettisoning up floor, the guard awaits the outlet pass and finishes with ease.
With Nick Calathes of Florida in the fray, the downtrodden KU fans that packed the new Sprint Center witnessed three of the top 10 point guards in the nation. Will the fans count themselves lucky in defeat? Doubtful.
Syracuse 89, Florida 83
The Gators’ defense needs some teeth. The lane could have only been more inviting to ‘Cuse guards if Billy Donovan had laid out a red carpet before the game.
Without the red carpet adorning the paint, the Orange still managed to get to the free throw line 32 times and set up wide open three point shots. The beneficiary, Andy Rautins, found his shooting touch. He knocked down five first half triples in his first strenuous game since his severed ACL injury.
Florida forward Alex Tyus finished with 24 points in a losing effort.
Kansas 73, Washington 54
What is the best thing about freshmen? They become sophomores. Kansas’ sophomore Cole Aldrich is really developing into a supreme talent. Already surpassing former KU center Eric Chenowith in ability, Aldrich is only a mean streak away from dominating like Eric Montross did at North Carolina with the same haircut.
Cole the Pole stayed on the floor for 31 minutes and accrued six blocks and nine rebounds. Most impressive is the comfort level he showed in the paint. Pump fakes, spin moves, and drop steps are easily executed and startlingly effective.
How good was the Jayhawk bench last year? With just a small infusion of freshmen talent, those ’07-’08 backups beat a middle-tier Pac-10 team 73-54.
The Jayhawks did not just defeat the Huskies; they mauled them.
Jump-started by the bold Sherron Collins, KU obliterated the more experienced Huskies. Collins personally contributed seven of the first nine points.