Kelly Oubre has finally broken through for No. 13 Kansas.
The uber-talented small forward went for 20 points, scoring 16 in the first half, as the Jayhawks knocked off Kent State on Tuesday night. That came 10 days after he had 23 points and 10 boards in a win over Lafayette.
Oubre has done enough, according to head coach Bill Self, that he has “solidified” his role as the starting small forward for the Jayhawks. That’s a big deal. Oubre is the most talented wing on the Kansas roster, and getting him on the floor for 30 minutes a night would go a long way towards curing some of the Jayhawk ills this season.
Now to focus turns to Cliff Alexander, another supremely talented freshman that has gone through massive scoring and effort droughts this season. Alexander scored eight points in the second half, sparking a run that put the game away on Tuesday. But before that he had been more or less irrelevant for the last three games. Self provided some insight why after the game. From the Kansas City Star:
On Tuesday, Self opted to start junior forward Jamari Traylor instead of Alexander, and in the first minute after his freshman power forward entered the game, Self called for his team to run a simple play off a free throw.
“He just gets back and doesn’t even run it,” Self said. “He’s only been in there for one minute — why wouldn’t he have effort to go make that play? I think that’s just kind of the stuff. It’s just consistency to go do it.”
If you don’t run what coach wants you to run, that’s an easy way to find yourself buried on the bench.