One thing that the Bill Self’s Kansas program has proven is that if you’re willing to bide your time and accept a role on the bench, you’ll eventually end up reaping the benefits.
Sherron Collins went from seventh man to first-team all-american at the same time that Cole Aldrich went from “is that big guy a walk-on?” to “that big guy’s a lottery pick!” The Morrii were unimpressive their first season in Lawrence, but both went on to become first round picks. While they were making a name for themselves, Thomas Robinson was waiting for his chance to become a National Player of the Year candidate and the No. 5 pick.
Jeff Withey. Travis Releford. Even Tyshawn Taylor. It makes one wonder just what Self could have turned Josh Selby into if he had three years to work with.
And if Naadir Tharpe’s quotes to Rustin Dodd of Kansas.com are any indication, he may be the next Jayhawk to turn into a success story:
“You’re not just going to be able to come here and just think you’re going to be able to play,” Tharpe said. “You’re going to have to know the system.”
[…]“I really didn’t do anything spectacular last year at all for anybody to see what I can do or not,” Tharpe said.
Tharpe is going to need to make some spectacular things happen next season. With Taylor graduating, he inherits the starting point guard job. There will be plenty of talent around him — Ben McLemore, Perry Ellis, Elijah Johnson to name a few — but Tharpe will be the glue that holds that team together.
History says that he should do just fine.