Kansas Basketball Faller No. 1: Nick Timberlake
Maui Invitational Stats: 3.0 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 54.5% FG, 16.7% 3PT
It couldn’t have gotten worse for Timberlake after his abysmal showings in the second and third outings of the season, yet it didn’t get any better in the Maui Invitational. He continued to look lost on defense and failed to convey any signs of improvement.
What is even more concerning is how poorly he is shooting the ball — he connected on just 1-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc and missed a pair of free throws versus Marquette. Some might chalk that up to nervousness, or you could say he isn’t cut out to play meaningful minutes in Power 5 basketball.
Kansas is thin at the guard position, but he appeared for just three minutes in the final tournament round, the lowest of any scholarship player. It isn’t time to sound the alarms yet, but time is running out for Timberlake to exhibit some encouraging signs on the court.
Kansas Basketball Faller No. 2: Elmarko Jackson
Maui Invitational Stats: 3.07PPG, 1.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 20.0% FG, 25.0% 3PT
Aside from a 7-point, 3-assist effort in round one against a Division II opponent, Elmarko was virtually a nonfactor in the Invitational. He committed multiple turnovers and missed all six of his combined shot attempts against Marquette and Tennessee. His defense has also been disappointing when taking into account that it was supposed to be his best quality heading into this year.
He found himself riding the bench for most of the second half versus Tennessee, being outplayed by Jamari McDowell (13 minutes for Elmarko to McDowell’s 27). If that trend continues, it might not be long before we see some other players getting a crack at the starting rotation.
Elmarko has been featured in NBA mock drafts and is considered an exceptional pro prospect. He has raw talent and it might take some more time to get where they want him to be. However, if he isn’t giving the Jayhawks enough to help them win games, Coach Self will continue to gradually decrease his usage.