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November 11, 2010

Jayhawks not worried about struggles from outside

Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar, two of KU's most seasoned sharpshooters, combined to shoot just 2-of-12 from behind the arc in blowout victories over Washburn and Emporia State during exhibition play. However, it wasn't just Reed and Morningstar that struggled from downtown. As a team, the Jayhawks connected on just 7-of-31 three-pointers in facing the Icahabods and Hornets.

Despite their struggles from outside, the Jayhawks aren't one bit concerned. In fact, most believe it's only a matter of time before the shots from the outside begin to fall.

"No, we really haven't it talked about it much," said Reed when talking about KU's struggles from the outside. "I think we've got capable shooters on this team and I think we've got some proven shooters on this team. Its just shots weren't falling in those couple of game. I thought we did other things well, besides shoot the three.

"I think they're (teammates) all capable," he added. "Travis Releford put in a lot of work in the offseason, Tyshawn Taylor has gotten a lot better and myself and Brady, we've got to knockdown shots and the twins have been doing a good job."

Against Washburn and Emporia State, both exhibition games, Kansas combined to shoot just 7-of-31 from behind the arc. Of the seven made three-pointers, Marcus and Markieff Morris were responsible for more than half (four) of KU's makes from downtown.

Reed, in both games, shot just 2-of-7 from behind the arc, while Morningstar was 0-of-5 in exhibition play. The Morris twins, however, shot 4-of-6 from three-point range. Reed and Morningstar are proven shooters, while Tyshawn Taylor, Royce Woolridge, Elijah Johnson, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Mario Little and Travis Releford all have the ability to score from the outside.

"We've got shooters and we can shoot better, but we're just struggling right now," said Little. "We shoot good in practice, but we just haven't been able to buy a shot lately."

For now, the Jayhawks aren't concerned about their lack of outside shooting, but rather continue to focus on getting better as a team. Bill Self's squad, during the two game exhibition season, was almost flawless from the free-throw line (67-of-75), won the battle on the boards in both games, and proved, without any question, to be an unselfish group.

The Jayhawks were also careless at times and didn't play with the focus and intensity needed to be successful throughout the course of the regular season. With that being said, not many teams, if any at all, are firing on all cylinders after just two exhibitions.

The talent is in place for Kansas, especially with a player the caliber of Josh Selby, to have a special season. Getting off to a fast start against Longwood, a team that won just 14 games last year and doesn't have a player taller than 6-foot-8, would be the perfect way for Kansas to kickoff the regular season.

The final score, which was evident against Washburn and Emporia State, doesn't always give a true indication of how well a team played. Against Longwood, its not just about being successful from behind the arc.

No, its much deeper than that. Its about coming together as a team, playing smart basketball, playing with intensity, passion and enthusiasm that you'd expect from any Kansas team. Its about making smart and sound decisions on the court, being unselfish and doing whatever it takes, within the team concept, to achieve success.

Its about playing sound defense and taking pride in your assignments. On Friday night, the biggest key for Kansas is getting off to a good start.

"Its very important to get off to a good start," said Marcus Morris. "Its important to get up for the atmosphere in the gym and have the fans into it (the game). Its important just to get the team going."


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