Triple Double, Mario?
Junior guard Mario Chalmers has a chance of becoming the first KU player in school history to officially record a triple-double. (Wilt Chamberlain posted two unofficial triple-doubles in his day before blocked shots were counted in the 1970s.) Chalmers actually flirted with a quadruple-double versus DePaul. He had 12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and seven steals in 32 minutes.
"He impacted the game today by doing a little bit of everything," Self said. "He is the best anticipator I've ever coached defensively. Russell (Robinson) is better on the ball, but Mario is the best I've ever had off the ball. (Chalmers and Robinson, who had seven points, nine assists, and two steals) played to their strengths and got everybody else involved and the game just became easier for everyone else."
Chalmers' seven steals were a career high. Only nine other players in KU history have recorded seven steals or more. Aaron Miles holds the school record with nine steals versus Iowa State on Feb. 16, 2003.
Has Robinson played with any guys with quicker hands than Super Mario?
"Not that I can say," Robinson replied. "Maybe Sebastian Telfair (New York native like Robinson who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves) probably has quicker hands, but Mario is definitely up there with one of the best backcourt guys I've ever played with."
Chalmers, normally very laid back off the court, shows a great deal of emotion at times during games.
"He gets that pumping his arms and jumping around," Robinson said. "He gets the crowd into it, and we need that."
Whether he's hot or cold with his shooting, Chalmers' game never changes.
"It's nice to be like Mario," said Self, "where no matter what happens, he's full of confidence. Some guys aren't like that."
Senior center Sasha Kaun is definitely a guy who needs confidence to play well. After struggling this early season, he was energized versus DePaul with 15 points (six-of-seven from the field), five rebounds, and two blocks in just 15 minutes.
"I hope he didn't tease us, because he can play like that every day," Robinson said. "We got to get him going and get him in that mindset. We just got to continue to get him to play that way and we'll be a great team. He's a big body, he takes up a lot of room. That makes it a lot easier for guys to penetrate the lane, it makes it tougher for guys to make moves on the other end. If we get him playing like that, our team just goes upward."
Kaun said he's not thinking about the NBA.
"I just want to play every game and have a great season" he said. "I haven't really been thinking about what I'm going to do in the future, because I think it brings more distractions. I just want to go out there and have a great season and (then) see what my options are."
Sherron Comes Back
Sophomore guard Sherron Collins returned to the lineup against DePaul after foot surgery in mid-November. He scored six points and went two-of-three from three-point range in 13 minutes.
"I thought it was going to be a six-week process," said Collins, who commented he's about 85 percent. "I feel pretty good, but I know I got a lot more work to do. I got to rehab and get back stronger how I was. It was good to get in there and knock down a couple of shots."
A Chicago native, Collins dearly wanted to play against DePaul.
"I guess every game I really want to play in," Collins said. "This game is maybe better for the win because they beat us last year. It is kind of bragging rights when I go back home."
Robinson was thrilled to have Collins back in action. Freshman guard Tyrel Reed was the only player who didn't see time against DePaul due to a sprained ankle.
"It feels great to see everybody out there and contributing and seeing Sherron hit a couple of shots," Robinson said. "He's not at full speed yet, but his presence his well felt out there on the court. We got to get everybody going and we'll continue to get better."
No Rush To Worry
Junior guard Brandon Rush is also working himself back into the lineup after off-season knee surgery kept him out of action until mid-November. After scoring 17 points each against Arizona and Florida Atlantic, Rush has shot just 11-of-36 from the field during his last three games. Rush's roommate and senior forward Darnell Jackson knows his buddy's shot will come back.
"I just think he's so anxious to get back and play and make the big plays like he usually does," Jackson said after the Eastern Washington game on Dec. 5. "He just has to calm down and and go out there and play. It will come to him, he's not worried about it. He knows he's missing shots. We're just encouraging him to keep shooting, because that's what he does. He's a great shooter. It gives us a boost when he comes off (the bench as sixth man) and we throw him the ball and he shoots a three, the crowd goes crazy. That gives Brandon a lot of energy when he's making shots. He feels good about himself. So we just have to keep (telling) him about shooting the ball."
Self on Arthur
Sophomore forward sensation Darrell Arthur scored 13 points and blocked two shots, but did not get a rebound in 22 minutes versus DePaul. This was the first game at Kansas where he was blanked on the boards. (Arthur had three games last season where he had one rebound).
"I thought Darrell played pretty good, to be honest," Self said after the DePaul game. The KU coach then added: "I think he's our second leading rebounder right now (Arthur averages 5.4 rebounds per game behind team leader Jackson at 6.9 boards), but he doesn't get any. That's unheard of in 22 minutes, how you can go 22 minutes and not get any rebounds. I'll watch the tape to see if he just didn't go after the ball or maybe if it was just one of those days where he just didn't put himself in position because the ball bounced the other way. But we'll do everything we can to correct that."