Can Kansas basketball guard Nick Timberlake continue to provide Jayhawks with solid minutes?

The Towson transfer has picked up his play in recent games.
Kansas v Texas Tech
Kansas v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

The 2023-24 season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Kansas basketball bench. Johnny Furphy began the year with the second unit and slowly worked his way into the starting lineup, but since Elmarko Jackson was relegated to bench duties, nearly all of the offensive production has come from the starting five.

Elmarko Jackson has struggled to contribute all year, and Parker Braun is what he is — a minutes eater when Hunter Dickinson is subbed out. However, one player in particular could be essential to the team's success down the stretch, especially if Kevin McCullar cannot return in the near future from his knee injury.

Towson transfer Nick Timberlake was a star player with the Tigers before committing to the Jayhawks this offseason, but he has worked through a case of the "yips." His 37.9% 3-point percentage over five seasons at Towson has dropped 10 points to 27.9% on 68 attempts from downtown as a sixth-year senior.

Despite his rough displays from beyond the arc, Timberlake is beginning to look more confident on the floor. He was aggressive during yesterday's victory over Texas, getting to the free-throw line eight times and tying his season-high in the scoring column with 13 points. Across the four games McCullar has missed this season, Timberlake averages 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and one steal in 29.3 minutes played.

Timberlake has made Kansas basketball fans feel plenty of different emotions thus far. Some games you feel: "What is he doing out there?" During others, you think: "This guy could be really important to this team." Yes, there are moments like the Baylor game when he had one of the worst possible sequences a player could make, but he also makes plays like this one yesterday that supplied a newfound hope in his abilities.

There is no doubt that Kansas needs McCullar active to make a deep run in the tournament. KU's lack of depth means they need all the help they can get. However, if Timberlake can flip the switch come March, he might be the X-factor player the Jayhawks have so desperately needed.