As the Jayhawk Nation eagerly awaits the opening scrimmage this Friday and the football team continues to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, here's round one of the PB lineup poll. Coach Self historically tries to whittle down the rotation to seven or eight guys. There is so much talent on this team, that picking a consistent lineup of seven or eight guys and playing them in predictable patterns may seem impossible, but it's not.
Coach Self told Luke Winn of CNN/SI that he intends to get all four guards (Russ Rob, Super Mario, Sherron, and Rush) 25 minutes per game, but would only consider playing them all at once to maintain a late-game lead by protecting the ball. If Rush is the player closest to having a lock on a starting slot (at the 3), then it is reasonable to predict that Coach Self will rotate Russ Rob, Super Mario and Sherron in the 1 and 2 slots, giving them each about 25 mintues a game as he said.
Lest you think that I place too much expectation on the shoulders of the McD's AA, Coach Self said, "Sherron is the best guy we have in our program right now as far as getting other players shots off the dribble." . . . "He's such a fast study that I think he'll have an impact right out of the chute," Self said of the freshman guard.
What about a backup for Rush at the 3? With so many talented big men, who will play the 4? Again, Coach Self gave us some insight in his comments to Luke Winn: "I'd like for Julian to become more of a wing guy for us, but more than likely he'll start at the four." If Julian will be starting at the 4 but playing some 3, perhaps one of the other players will finish out a three-man rotation through these positions. If I had to guess, that player is freshman Durrell Arthur. Again, each of the three would average about 25 minutes per game under this scenario.
That leaves the 5 slot. I suspect that Sasha and CJ will again rotate at the 5. It worked last year without too much complaint, although DJ made some noise when he was in there. Perhaps others will think DJ deserves the nod over Kaun or Giles.
So here are my initial predictions: (* denotes starters)
1-2: Robinson*/Chalmers*/Collins (est. 25 min. apiece)
3-4: Rush*/Wright*/Arthur (est. 25 min. apiece)
Though many of you probably disagree, no freshmen crack my predicted starting lineup. DJ and Case will see playing time, especially if there are injury or foul problems. Stewart and Morningstar will have very limited roles.
As for Kleinmann and Bechard, I hope they play at least the last 45 seconds of EVERY GAME THIS SEASON!