The do-everything sophomore is gone. Enter another sophomore forward who can do it all
At the Amaré Stoudemire Skills Academy in Phoenix last summer, Kansas senior Sasha Kaun glanced at the court and did a double take. Was that his 6' 9" sophomore teammate Darrell Arthur, who was supposed to be training with the U.S. under-19 team in Dallas at the time? No -- it was the camp's host. "Darrell and Amaré both have similar body types," says Kaun. "They can play the post real well, and Darrell is really aggressive. He tries to dunk everything, just like Amaré."
Arthur is a long way from becoming an All-NBA force like Stoudemire; the Jayhawks would be happy if he just developed into an All-America. His left leg now fully healed from a stress fracture that was diagnosed in July, Arthur will be the only new starter for the two-time defending Big 12 champs. Coach Bill Self hopes that with the increase in playing time comes maturity and consistency: Arthur's three highest scoring games as a freshman (including 19 points in an upset of No. 1 Florida) all came in November, and that initial success went to his head. "Every time I got the ball I was just shooting it," he says. "I'm going to look for my teammates more now."
That would be a good idea, since Kansas remains one of the most talented teams in the country. Leading scorer Brandon Rush, who tore his right ACL in a pickup game last May, is still recovering from surgery, but when the junior is healthy, the Jayhawks will have the nation's deepest backcourt, with senior Russell Robinson, junior Mario Chalmers and sophomore Sherron Collins. They also have plenty of size up front, with Arthur, the 6' 11" Kaun, 6' 8" senior Darnell Jackson and 6' 11" freshman Cole Aldrich, a McDonald's All-American.
Kansas lost do-everything sophomore forward Julian Wright, who was taken 13th by the New Orleans Hornets. But Arthur is a capable replacement. "Darrell's more of a natural scorer than Julian was, but he can do a lot of other things too," says Self. "I've talked to him about how he can impact the game on every possession without shooting. Playing defense, rebounding, running, shot blocking -- he does a little of everything. He's been terrific [in practice] and has a chance to be a serious producer for us." -- Ted Keith
Issue date: November 19, 2007