Following Saturday’s rare home loss at the hands of Oklahoma State, Kansas coach Bill Self has been question time and time again about the team’s guard situation and the recent struggles of senior Elijah Johnson.
Johnson endured a 3-14 shooting performance, as well as four turnovers at critical times during the Jayhawks (19-2, 7-1) 85-80 home defeat, which snapped the team’s 33-game home winning streak, as well as an 18-game winning streak, which dated back to November. Some were calling for the benching of one of the team most vocal leaders. Self quickly put that notion to bed during his weekly press conference on Monday.
“He’s my guy,” Self said. “I’m not pleased with how he’s played. He’s not pleased with how he’s played. He hasn’t played as good as he’s capable of playing, but I think most quarterbacks are judged by their records rather than their stats and I think in our situation, you should judge our point guard by his record rather than his stats.”
Self emphatically continued to defend Johnson comparing statistics from a year ago to this year, which are very similar and left no doubt that he intends to stay the course.
“He is my guy, I’m going to ride him, it doesn’t make any difference what happens statistically, as long as I know he’s trying and cares, he is my guy and will remain my guy, period.”
In addition to the guard play and ball handling struggles of late, a big story is the impact of the home loss, which still has some stunned after expecting victory no matter what. Self looked at the positives, which could bode well moving forward to Wednesday road matchup with TCU.
“I think losing at home, to be honest with you, was good for us,” Self said. “If I was going to pick to lose on the road or at home, I would pick at home, because it would definitely be more of a humbling experience than it would be if it didn’t happen at home.”
Though, no one enjoys losing, there was a sense that Saturday’s loss could end up being a turning point for a team that may have started to believed that it was invincible after many close calls.
“Hey, I don’t want to lose, don’t get me wrong, but for our team and our mindset and our psyche, I think it was probably good for us to be humbled,” Self said.
Wednesday’s game at TCU begins a stretch of three games in six nights for the now fifth ranked Jayhawks. After a road contest at Oklahoma, Saturday, Kansas will return home for a Big Monday matchup with Kansas State.