Part of Jeff Borzello's epic National Championship Game Preview
Kansas Team Breakdown
Kansas was in most people’s top-five heading into the season, and played like one of the best teams in the country all season long. KU started the season at 19-0 before struggling somewhat and losing three of its next seven. It hasn’t lost since. The Jayhawks are clearly one of the most talented and balanced teams in the nation, which makes them difficult to defend offensively despite their lack of a true go-to-guy. Defensively, they force turnovers with their outstanding perimeter defenders and get transition points.
It all starts on the perimeter for the Jayhawks, who have one of the most talented and deepest backcourts groups of anyone in the country. Brandon Rush is an outstanding scorer who can get points in a variety of ways, but sometimes lacks aggressiveness. He has the ability to knock down deep perimeter shots, but is at his best when taking defenders off the dribble and shooting mid-range jumpers. His length enables him to get to the basket finish around the rim as well. Sometimes, though, he tends to be too unselfish and defers to his teammates too often. Mario Chalmers is one of the best two-way players in the country. He can score from the perimeter consistently, and has proven that he can make clutch shots when given the chance. Chalmers can also get to the basket off of penetration. Defensively, Chalmers has quick hands and racks up steals very quickly. The third starter, Russell Robinson does not appear as often as the other two do in highlight reels, but he plays as much of a role as they do. He is one of the best defenders in the country, and has forced scorers from coast-to-coast into difficult nights from the floor against the Jayhawks. He is also a very good floor leader and can score in bunches if needed. Even though he comes off the bench, Sherron Collins might be the most talented and explosive of them all. He is very strong and can get into the lane on anyone in the nation, and he has the athleticism to finish above the rim. He is not afraid to take a big shot and has the ball in his hands at key times.
While the Jayhawks’ perimeter group gets most of the headlines, don’t sleep on the frontcourt. Darrell Arthur is one of the more talented forwards in the country, and has shown flashes of his potential throughout the year. He has been called a first-round, or even lottery, pick by several scouts, but needs to become more consistent and dominant to reach that lofty goal. He has a nice variety of inside moves, but he gets into foul trouble at times and is also not very aggressive down low. Darnell Jackson really improved this season, and became an offensive threat inside instead of just a banger who can get rebounds and garbage points down low. His development has been one of the keys for this Jayhawks team this year. Sasha Kaun started last year, but has come off the bench this season. He is experienced and can contribute in a number of categories down low. Cole Aldrich is a talented big man who needs some seasoning to truly become a consistent factor. However, he played very well against North Carolina and is a solid defender, rebounder and finisher.
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