Although it would be easy to postulate that the Kansas Jayhawks skyrocketed success as of recently would be due in part to their coveted freshman Andrew Wiggins, this teams recent streak of dominance has been more about their team efforts rather individual contributions. While Wiggins has definitely flexed his muscles as a respected and aggressive guard, like all athletes, he has days of brief mediocrity. However, even in those underwhelming moments, the rest of the Jayhawks exceptional roster has proven that they can easily pick up the slack even when they’re up against ranked opponents. Between forward Perry Ellis’ well-developed 3-point shot and Joel Emiid’s dominant defensive game, the Jayhawks have a slew of young talent that is more than capable of exerting themselves to overcome even the most competitive opponents.
What makes this Jayhawks offense tic is their effective offensive flow that can quickly move the ball up the court while methodically waiting for the right weapon to become open for a scoring opportunity. Thanks to this year’s youthful cast of gifted youngsters, the Jayhawks have been blessed with one of the most versatile and accurate offenses in college basketball (they shoot 50.6% from the field, 4th in NCAA). Although the Jayhawks are capable of playing a fast paced offense when they want to disrupt defenses on the court stability, their overall offensive success is predicated on efficient ball movement. While the Jayhawks may not garner the most assists per game, their on the court vigilance is what allows them to seek out the proper player with the best chance at scoring. Whether it’s through Joel Emiid’s physical, low post scoring techniques or Wiggins’ evasive movements that allows him to be open for a decent shot almost anywhere on the court, the Jayhawks have the stamina and athleticism to score in a multitude of ways.
While the same appreciation cannot be bestowed upon the Jayhawks erratic defense which can relinquish over 80 points one game while stifling opponents to under 70 the next, they do have an exceptional defensive superstar in Emiid who is consistently capable of timing his blocks to perfection. What makes Emiid the ideal defensive powerhouse is his ability to excel as both a tenacious ball snatcher (he averages one steal per game) and as a patient and instinctual shot blocker (he averages 2.8 blocks per game). However, Emiid’s dynamic defensive tactics don’t simply stop with his reach and immense size. For a center, Emiid has an uncanny quickness about him that allows him to lull his opponents into a false sense of security when they attempt to shoot. In one moment, Emiid can quickly get his hands up to force a contested shot and in the next he can just as smoothly come down with a defensive rebound while having his eyes down the court for an essential fast break play. In essence, Emiid is a one of a kind athlete that is both confidently persistent on offense and frustratingly elusive when he has the ball near the basket.
Although it’s taken some time, the Jayhawks have developed a team chemistry that has quickly taken the college basketball realm by storm. While the Jayhawks succumbed to some devastating losses earlier in the season, it’s easy to tell that this team has not only practiced being more disciplined on the court but that they also love playing with each other. Even though every starter is capable of shooting the basketball proficiently in their own right, this team gets much more satisfaction out of contributing to their comrades overall success rather than padding their own stats. Because of this team’s intriguing on the court cohesion, they are able to adjust and, more importantly, communicate amicably to overcome any type of oppression that comes their way.
When all is said and done, the Jayhawks are a thriving college basketball program that his quickly matured and flourished in situations where they came up short earlier in the season. The fact that the Jayhawks last four victories have been against ranked opponents clearly indicates that this team is not to be taken lightly despite how young their roster is. As long as this budding collegiate program can continue to build off the monumental success they have garnered as of recently, they’ll surge into the post season as one of the most dangerous teams to encounter when everything is on the line.