Kansas Jayhawks: It’s Time for the Kelly Oubre, Jr. Show


When the Kansas Jayhawks slipped past TCU in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals Thursday, they had Kelly Oubre, Jr. to thank.

He was to the Jayhawks in the game what Walter White was to Breaking Bad: the star of a show that sometimes made you cringe, but ended just the way you wanted.

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For Oubre and Kansas that was a 64-59 victory, which landed them a date  in the semifinals with fourth-seeded Baylor.

It would be the Horned Frogs playing the Bears if not for Oubre.

His career-high 25 points only scratched the surface of the importance he played Thursday.

He also recorded six rebounds, three steals, two blocks and sank 19 free throws — TCU attempted only 18.

This dunk at the 1:13 mark gave Kansas a 61-57 lead, and the momentum it needed to hold off the pesky Horned Frogs.

Now, more than ever, would be a great time for Oubre to continue this kind of play.

If leading scorer and rebounder Perry Ellis is not able to go against the Bears because of his knee injury, a good game from Oubre is a must.

At a time when the Jayhawks are battling injuries, a suspension, and cold 3-point shooting (5-for-38), the future lottery pick could be they key to a deep postseason run for Kansas.

That certainly wasn’t the case in November.

Mar 12, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) dunks the ball as TCU Horned Frogs forward Brandon Parrish (11) tries to defend during the first round at Sprint Center. Kansas won 64-59. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Oubre played just eight minutes per game during the season’s first seven contests, before finally earning coach Bill Self’s trust.

He has scored in double-figures 15 times so far, including the past five games.

During that stretch he is averaging 15.6 points and seven rebounds.

More importantly he’s been at the free-throw line eight times per game the past five, after only attempting that many in two of his previous 27 games.

That shows he is being more aggressive, and confident while on the court.

Combine that with his athleticism, and it spells trouble for his opponents.

In the TCU game Self played Oubre mainly at the four spot instead of his regular role as small forward/guard.

That is a much tougher task against Baylor, the fourth-best rebounding team in the country — and most physical in the Big 12.

Self usually keeps his cards close to his chest, so he may have a trick up his sleeve, and he also may have Ellis back.

Either way, Oubre needs to shine for the Jayhawks to keep their hopes of a 10th Big 12 Tournament title alive.

Based on what he’s shown the world lately, there’s no reason to think he won’t.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Four Unbelievable Facts from the Bill Self Era

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