Bill Self uses baseball history to make point

February, 22, 2011
2/22/11
7:31
PM ET
Kansas, for all the winning its done this season, has dealt with numerous players being in and out of the lineup, whether it's been because of legal issues, maturity issues, or suspension.

The latest situation involves guard Tyshawn Taylor being suspended indefinitely for violating team rules on Monday. Elijah Johnson stepped into the lineup against Oklahoma State that night and scored 15 on 5-of-6 shooting.

That Johnson was given an opportunity to play and came through at a time when Taylor had put himself in a bad situation gave Self the opportunity to use a baseball reference to send a message, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
"We have had some guys step up. Sometimes when you hear the Wally Pipp story all the time on that situation. I’m not predicting anything like that. Guys need to be ready when their number's called. We’ve been pretty fortunate that they’re ready."

Unfamiliar with this Wally Pipp character? He's the New York Yankee who, as the legend goes, took a day off and ended up losing his spot to Lou Gehrig for good. Being Wally Pipped isn't a good thing, in other words.

While Self doesn't name names in the quote, it's clear that by referencing Pipp he wants everyone to know his players should make the most of the playing time they have and not take it for granted, unless they want someone else to take their spot.

In Johnson's case, a nice game was rewarded with a statement of support that seemed to indicate more playing time could be in store for him.

"I'm not going to make any brash statements on who's going to be our starter, but the ball is definitely in (Johnson's) court. He has a chance to be if he continues to perform like that," Self said, according to the paper.

All this puts the pressure on Taylor to perform once he returns, and on any Jayhawk in the future who thinks his role on the team is a certain thing.

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