KU Basketball RotationOctober 29th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
Bill Self has a talented and deep basketball team this year. He’s always said that he prefers an eight man rotation with five perimeter players and three big men sharing the majority of the minutes. That will be tough to do this year. There will be a lot of juggling of playing time early trying to find the right combinations.
In a game there are 200 minutes available (40 minutes x 5 players). Here are some thoughts on playing time:
There are three players who should garner a significant amount of playing time: Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry. These three need to average about 30 minutes a game. So that’s 90 of the available 200 minutes.
With Aldrich playing 30 minutes a game, that leaves 50 minutes to be shared among the other bigs. If the Morris brothers have stepped up their games, you would think they would each average about 20 minutes per game. With these three, Bill has his primary three man rotation down low. That leaves 10 minutes to be shared between freshman Thomas Robinson and transfer Jeff Withey, who will not be eligible until second semester. Early reports on Robinson have been outstanding. If either of the Morris brothers struggle, Robinson and Withey could certainly steal some minutes from them. This depth will prove valuable on nights where we run into foul trouble. I’m hoping that Self does not resort to playing Marcus Morris on the wing to get him more playing time.
Xavier Henry provides the Jayhawks with more of a true small forward than they’ve had for a while (though the team lists him as a guard). I’d like to see Henry play the three spot, with Mario Little getting 10 minutes per game as his primary backup. Self will experiment with a “small” lineup where he plays a guard at the three, and a “big” lineup where he plays Marcus Morris on the wing. But if Henry and Little can play up to their talent level, hopefully Bill will stick with them at small forward.
And then with your guards and Collins with his 30 minutes per game, I expect Tyshawn Taylor and C.J. Henry to share the majority of the remaining 50 minutes. Don’t be surprised if C.J. becomes a starter over Taylor. When Brady Morningstar returns from his suspension, he’s going to have a difficult time getting on the floor, but he’s a fine defender and a good leader. He’ll likely get some minutes at both shooting guard and small forward.
So for his eight man rotation: Aldrich, Morris, Morris, Henry, Little, Henry, Taylor and Collins. When he goes nine deep it’s likely to be either Morningstar or Robinson getting those minutes.
That leaves a group of guards buried on the bench including Tyrel Reed, Travis Releford and freshman Elijah Johnson. Don’t be surprised if one or two of them redshirt this year when it becomes obvious they won’t get any time on the floor.