On Monday Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self announced Tyshawn Taylor was suspended from the basketball team "indefinitely". There weren't any details given as to why the suspension came down and we don't know exactly how long it'll last.
With Taylor out last Monday, KU's options came down to Josh Selby or Elijah Johnson. I argued that Selby had the most to gain from Taylor's absence. That wasn't meant to be a knock on Johnson just a nod to Selby's ceiling which we've yet to completely see.
Self ended up going with Johnson, though he said he was close to naming Selby the starter for Monday night. The result? Johnson's best game of the year: 15 points including 4-of-4 from three-point land in 30 minutes of play. After the game,Self was obviously pleased.
Look at how Elijah Johnson stepped up. You talk about making the most of an opportunity. I'm hoping he can bottle that. He's not always going to make shots, but that was the best defense without gambling that anybody has played on the other team's point guard in a long time. He did a lot of good things.
Following that game on Monday night, Self said he didn't think Taylor would be playing on Saturday against Oklahoma (though, presumably, that can change). That means Selby and/or Johnson will get another shot to show what they can do with more minutes to go around.
So this is a two-part question:
Who should start on Saturday against Oklahoma? Assuming Taylor is out, it's Selby or Johnson. As I said, I previously argued for Selby but Johnson showed me something else on Monday night. Anytime you have someone going 4-of-4 from three-point land, it makes you take notice. After seeing Johnson's play on Monday, and Self's praise afterwards, I think Johnson should be the starter on Saturday. I think Selby has more talent, but Johnson has shown he's capable of playing better within the system right now.
Who should be the starter moving forward? You go with the hot hand. If Johnson puts in another strong performance, it's hard to turn away from him. The beauty of Bill Self is that he's able to manage a lot of star power on one team. Whoever is playing the best should play. If Self is down on Taylor because of whatever team rule he violated, he may be more inclined to give his job to someone else. That said, it'd be hard to diminish Taylor's playing time based on just a couple of games.
Kansas is in an enviable position because they have multiple options. All three of these players are good and would be starting on most college basketball teams.