Power Rankings: Kansas Jayhawks 2012-2013 Roster

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Kansas Jayhawks 2012-2013 Roster

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Brendan Maloney - USA Today Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks look very impressive this season in both non-conference and Big 12 play. They have an impressive resume so far with wins against Ohio State and Kansas State on the Road plus Temple and Iowa State at home.

What has impressed me the most is how this team wins as a team. I have watched a lot of Jayhawk games over the years, okay about everyone, and this team knows each other and spends time with each other outside of basketball. They are a well oiled team that is on a course to win the National Championship. Their only real loss came against Michigan State by three. They are playing with a passion that comes all the way from their head Coach, Bill Self. They bleed red and blue all the way through. They have been inconsistent at times on both sides of the ball but their passion to win takes over.

Their winning has surprise many because they lost two players to the NBA, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. Robinson was a beast for the Jayhawks down low, crashing the boards and scoring. Taylor was the court general slashing to the rim, making the right pass and playing great defense. Those guys were the go-to guys who were the main scores for the Jayhawks. Without their presence many players had to step up and become the leaders for this team and to become the go to guy.

There have been some great Jayhawks in the past like Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlin, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, Mario Chalmers, Drew Gooden, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Brandon Rush, Keith Langford, Julian Wright, Jacque Vaughn and Greg Ostertag to name a few, stepped up as leaders every time they stepped on the court. It would be hard to rank the best all time Jayhawks because each of them contributed in their own and left a legacy behind. During the Texas home game this season, Chalmers will be having his jersey retired.

Many on this years team have done the same and have really stepped up on both the offense and defense. No one can take the place of Robinson or Taylor but they can make their own legacy at Kansas. These rankings are based on a few criteria: leadership, scoring, difference maker, defense and what they bring to the team. Each player has contributed in their own way by rebounding, assisting, scoring, playing aggressive defense, leadership or etc. Their time is now to shine and they are doing a great job at it.

There are no walk on's in this list but they are very important to the team. They don't get the headlines or the interviews but they help make this Jayhawk team win games. They are the scout team and play against the starters at every practice. They watch the game tape and play like the opposing team at practice. They play hard and with passion hoping one day Self will call their name to play a few minutes in a game. These players are: Christian Garrett, Niko Roberts, Evan Manning, and Tyler Self. Plus there is one red-shirt scholarship freshmen who plays the bigs tough and will take his place in the lineup next year, Landen Lucas. I have had the opportunity to interview Landen and Christian, both great young men who are passionate Jayhawks. Another player that I left off the rankings is Justin Wesley. Wesley is really tied with Andrew White and Rio Adams but since his injury he hasn't played that much so that is why he is in 11th place.

Ready, Drum roll please.... here are the power rankings for the Kansas Jayhawks basketball roster. Some of you will agree with me and some will disagree with me about these. So just sit back and spend time soaking in these rankings.

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Number 10: Andrew White III

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John Rieger - USA Today Sports

Andrew White III or AW3 as many call him around Lawrence is 10th on this ranking list. White hasn't had a lot of playing time but when he did, he could shoot the ball. The one struggle he has is on defense. He is still learning to play college ball and learning Coach Bill Self system and coaching style.

When White gets it all together he will be a threat from deep and when he gets hot look at Jayhawk country. We need great three-point player who can play under pressure. He has had some great game this season and has showed his soft touch in the Phog. It might take him till next season to to get going but when he does he will be a great player for the Kansas Jayhawks.

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Number 9: Rio Adams

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Denny Mdeley - USA Today Sports

Rio Adams is a talented freshmen guard who like AW3 hasn't had a lot of playing time to show you what he can really do. I really like him and his style of play. He has been very inconsistent but he does a great job on defense pressuring the ball with his dribble and speed. He is also a great ball handler but he is still a freshmen trying to learn how to play college ball. When his time comes he will also leave behind a legacy at Kansas. He has a great smile, he is very teachable and wanting to learn, and he is ready to show the Coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks fan what he can really do on both sides of the ball. After watching him on the sidelines at the end of the Kansas State game, he can also put on some dance moves.

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Number 8: Jamari Traylor

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Paul Abell - USA Today Sports

Jamari Traylor has been very impressive to watch on the defensive side of the ball this season. While sitting last year as a red-shirt freshmen on the bench he learned how to play for Coach Bill Self and want Self expects from his players day in and day out. He has been very aggressive on the glass by crashing the boards and scrapping for the 50-50 balls. He lays it all out when he gets the playing time. Traylor has been what I expected this season but I wanted him to show me more.

One of his biggest problems is that at times he is to aggressive and ends up fouling and had fouled out of a few games. He plays with emotion and passion as Thomas Robinson did but he hasn't shown yet what he is capable of. This young man has been down a rough road and has a great story to share. On the court he has showed his quickness to deny passes on the perimeter but at times struggles defensively in the lane. He is ripped and ready to rumble and when he takes it to the rim the court shakes.

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Number 7: Kevin Young

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Greg Bartram - USA Today Sports

Kevin Young is an extremely great player who plays as a senior and leads by example. He is the energizer bunny, the spark plug, the energy drink and the hustler for the Kansas Jayhawks. This ranking might be a little low for him but he has been inconsistent in a few games. He does crash the boards, defends well, and is a rebounding machine. He is Mr. Nitro who can dunk with authority with a smile on his face. When Young is on fire it is hard to stop him. He does need to work more on his defense and holding onto the ball.

His senior leadership makes him an impact player for the Jayhawks. He has proved to himself and to us that he is capable of producing a great scoring night. He takes the pressure off of Jeff Withey when he is on fire and he brings energy to the team when they are struggling. Young plays with passion and emotion. The Jayhawks depend on him each and every game to bring the thunder.

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Number 6: Perry Ellis

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John Rieger - USA Today Sports

Perry Ellis is one of the best freshmen in the nation. He is a Kansas boy raised and born there. The Kansas Jayhawks were so happy, happy, happy when he decided to commit to playing for them. Coach Bill Self has really been on Ellis this season and the reason is what you are seeing from him now. He is starting to really be this talented player we all knew he would be.

Ellis has finally been more aggressive scoring the ball. He has a great touch for a big man and his rebounding skills are excellent. He has been efficient in his shot selection and is finally finding his role on this team. Ellis has been a great scrapper going after every lose ball while muscling up against bigger players. He is a very nice player that needs to find his mean side. Look for him to be in the starting line-up before the season is over.

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Number 5: Elijah Johnson

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Greg Bartram - USA Today Sports

Elijah Johnson the floor general for the Kansas Jayhawks. Johnson has filled the hole of point guard this season. The hole was left there when Tyshawn Taylor graduated and was drafted in the NBA. Johnson has big shoes to fill and has been very inconsistent this season doing that. He has had some great games where he controlled the tempo of the game and got his teammates involved but other games his silly mistakes have hurt this team. Sometimes he throws out wild shots and makes silly turnovers and other times he is being the senior leader he needs to be.

Johnson just hasn't been the point guard the Jayhawks thought he would be. He has a trouble holding onto the ball and has more turnovers than any other player on this team. His best game so far was against Baylor at home. He was aggressive on drives and defended well. When he gets his stuff together and starts driving to the rim he will be unstoppable. Look for him to finally hang on to the ball and be the point guard we need to finish the season strong.

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Number 4: Naadir Tharpe

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Denny Medley - USA Today Sports

Naadir Tharpe has been a surprise player this season for the Kansas Jayhawks. The game against American was his break out performance. He played with passion and was very unselfish by handing the ball off to his teammates 12 times. He has become a spark plug off the bench and at times a better floor general than Elijah Johnson. He has been very consistent in the past few games and aggressive shooting the three. He has been holding onto the ball and not turning it over. Against Kansas State the other night he made two crucial free throws to seal the win in Manhattan.

Tharpe is becoming a well rounded player on both sides of the ball. He can play great on defense especially when Coach Bill Self gets on him. He is being primed to start next season and become a real leader for the Jayhawks. Self at time has put him in with the starters and takes out Kevin Young because of his speed, confidence, and consistency.

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Number 3: Jeff Withey

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Denny Medley - USA Today Sports

Senior Jeff Withey has truly been a leader on the court this season. He is one of the leading shot blockers in the nation and blocks a shot in about every game. He is aggressive on the offense getting easy baskets and won't let teams finish their shots when they come to the rim. He leads the team by his example on and off the court. Withey believes that the Kansas Jayhawks should win and does whatever it take to get that done. He knows how to play with fire in his steps by either rebounding, crashing the boards, altering the opposing team shots, throwing out the loose balls to his teammates, by swatting shots with power, and playing with passion.

Withey has at times bailed out Kansas with his defense and his thinking process. He gets his teammates the ball at the right place at the right time. He turns opposing shots away and finally plays with emotion and passion. He can also be quick as a gazelle and steal the ball away and than pass it out. He can thrown down the ball with authority and can even play great when he is sick. Withey is an improved player this year and has already left his mark at Kansas.

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Number 2: Travis Releford

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John Rieger - USA Today Sports

Travis Releford has been the most complete player for the Kansas Jayhawks this season. He has played some great games willing Kansas to a win by his leadership on the court. Releford walks and walk and talks his talk. This past Tuesday night at Manhattan against Kansas State, Coach Bill Self said that Reelford had one of his best games as a Senior.

Releford has been the one consistent Jayhawk on both sides of the ball even if Self has to chew into him during the game. He loves to play basketball and is so passionate about it even during practices. He is very aggressive on defense and usually defends the best shooter on the other team and keeps him form scoring his average. His quickness on the transition has helped this team win games. He is also a pick pocketer by stealing the ball and is sneaky as a ninja. His ability to drive to the rim reminds me more and more of Keith Langford.

Without Releford on the court and without his abilities the Jayhawks wouldn’t be in the position they are this year. He has proved the critics wrong and has stepped up to the plate by his charisma, emotion and efficiency. It will be hard to replace him next year on this squad. He will one day have his jersey retired and hanging in the rafters on AllenFieldhouse.

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Top Ranking Player: Ben McLemore

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John Rieger - USA Today Sports

The top power ranking goes to no other than freshmen sensation Ben McLemore. Ben is an outstanding player who you love to watch play ball. His smile and passion for the game is contagious. Just like Jamari Traylor, McLemore had to sit out last year because of NCAA issues. Sitting out last year was very beneficial to him by helping him learn Coach Bill Self system. He spent the time improving himself on both sides of the ball. He spent time working hard and getting better at his game every day. He took being out in a positive way and is showing that this season. McLemore has still a lot of untapped potential inside ready to explode and by March we might see how talented this young man is.

McLemore can do it all: dunk, rebound, steal, pass, shoot, scrabble and play great defense efficiently. He has played some great games like his 33 point game against Iowa State where he shot the tying three to take the game into overtime. He makes plays no one else can do and doesn't get rattled doing it. He has become the go to guy for Kansas who needs the ball in his hands at crunch time. He is very excited to play for the Jayhawks and his passion for that is displayed on the court and on the camera. He has been named Big 12 rookie of the week twice and Big 12 player of the week once. He leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring and ranks second from the free throw line. He has flashes of brilliance and also has some great dance moves.

McLemore also brings emotion and passion to every game and ever practice. He can be unstoppable at times and is very unselfish. He loves to get his teammates involved in the game and is always humble. He is an awesome player who can bring this team to the National Championship this year. Some sources believe that he will be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft if he declares to move on from Kansas. Right now his focus is the next game and what he can do to make sure the Jayhawks win. One day his jersey will be hanging in the rafters and we will be watching him play in the NBA. Hopefully for Jayhawk fans that will be 3 years from now. McLemore can tear it up on the court and is ready to win the Big 12 again this year. Look for him to be a dominant player when March Madness comes. McLemore should win player of the year this season. He has already left his footprints in Lawrence and has become the fans favorite player. If you have never had a chance to watch him play, take a moment to turn on a Kanas game and see who the most important player for the Jayhawks is: Ben McLemore.

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