In last night's 94-59 exhibition win over Pittsburg State, Rod scored his KU-career high 11 points in 17 minutes. However, it's his defense that has kept him in Self's vision. KU coach Bill Self on Thursday said, “He probably deserves to start, but I like him in the role he’s in, coming off (the bench) and giving us energy, changing the pace of the game.” With Brandon Rush still on the shelf recovering from his torn ACL, Stewart will continue to pick up extra minutes. Don't forget about his versatility. In times of need last year, he was called upon to play Power Forward, at 6'4. “I love playing defense,” Stewart said. “I always have loved defense. I get high on locking a man up. My strength is defense. At practice I go against guys like Mario (Chalmers) and Sherron (Collins), but I’ve also guarded Darnell Jackson). It makes me a physical player.”
KU's three point shooting expertise was on display again, led by Chalmers 4-5 and Collins 3-4. Collins led the Hawks in scoring with 18. Big man Darrell Arthur added 12, but only had two at the half. According to my spies at the game, it was almost as though they forgot the offense must run through the man they call "Shady" first and foremost. Self must have beaten that back into their heads at the half, as Shady pounded Pitt State for 10 second half points. More good news for Jayhawk fans, Highly touted Freshman Center Cole Aldrich looked much more agile and aggressive than most fans thought, scoring eight points in 17 minutes. Coach Self loved it: “The guy I was most pleased with tonight was Cole,” Self said. “Cole has been battling against Sasha (Kaun), Darnell (Jackson) and Shady (Arthur) every day. You see today when he doesn’t have to play against them, he looks better. You saw him at Late Night. He’s improved a lot already in a short period of time."
It was only one preseason game against an inferior opponent, but judging from what we saw and what I've read this morning, the Jayhawks looked loaded, and that was without their first-team all-American candidate Rush. A guard rotation with studs Chalmers, Collins, and the heart and soul of the team, Russell Robinson to go along with Stewart. If anyone should go down, you've got Senior three-point specialist Jeremy Case and Freshman Tyrel Reed waiting in the wings. The frontcourt has a four man rotation for the second year in a row with Senior Sasha Kaun and Arthur starting, backed up by my boy D-Jack, and Aldrich. Any coach in America would kill for this kind of depth.
We will give you a full team preview sometime before the regular season starts November 9th. But we cannot wait.... Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
(quotes courtesy of kusports.com)