Last night against Iona, Joel Embiid had his coming out party as a Kansas basketball player. It was very fitting, due to the fact his father was in attendance to witness his very first basketball game. His son did not disappoint, having his best game yet as a Jayhawk. Embiid, along with the rest of the team, gave his father a great game to watch, beating Iona 86-66.
Embiid showed an abundance of moves, including everything from the “euro step” to a high flying alley-oop. He has come a long way from his first game. It won’t be long before he takes over for Tarik Black as the starting center.
Embiid finished the game with 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Cameroon native just keeps improving, and insures his good game was not a result of his father being present.
“I don’t think I played good because he was there,” Embiid said according to an ESPN press release. “I just felt more confident, and Coach always gives me his trust, so I just felt more confident.”
Head coach Bill Self has been extremely pleased with Embiid’s learning ability. Embiid is always asking questions and most importantly improving on the mistakes he does make.
“He’ll look good some days, he won’t look as good some days, ” Self said according to an ESPN press release, “but he’s smart. He gets it. He’s figuring things out all the time. I’m real pleased with his development.”
Perry Ellis led the team in scoring, and you wouldn’t have known it without looking at the box score. He has an amazing ability of filling up the score sheet in a quiet manner. Against Duke, you would have thought Andrew Wiggins was the leading scorer, but Ellis has a knack for putting the ball in the hoop. He scored in every way fathomable, but his biggest improvement from last year is his confidence and strength. Ellis ended with 21 points and seven rebounds. The duo of Ellis and Embiid combined for 16-18 from the field.
The zone defense that Iona played really kept the skills of Wiggins from showing, not allowing him to get to the basket like he is accustomed to doing. He scored the majority of his points in the open court with high flying dunks and cashing in from the free throw line. Wiggins ended the game with a solid 13 points, and wasn’t really needed to have the NBA star type game.
It was a little surprising that Brannen Greene was the only player not to see the floor, especially considering his impact he had for a brief moment in the Duke game. He is a tall guard with a very smooth stroke from beyond the arc, which is surprising he wasn’t used as a “zone buster” last night.
Unnoticed was Naadir Tharpe’s ten assists and one turnover, and did a great job of getting the ball to players in position to score.
Frank Mason has admirable confidence, and can seemingly get into the paint at will. A big chunk of his nine points came from that good looking floater he has from just in front of the free throw line. He needs to improve on his point guard skills, and become more of a pass first player. He seems to force things at times when he doesn’t need to.
Iona stayed in the game during the first half because they were able to cash in on the abundance of three point field goal attempts. Kansas used their height advantage to dominate the paint, but couldn’t pull away from Iona until the second half. They are still getting beat too easily on the dribble drive, and will need to fix that before Big 12 play.
Up next for Kansas will be the University of Towson on Friday at 7p.m.
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