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Monday Morning Wheaties

4 min read

It’s our first all-basketball edition of Monday Morning Wheaties of the year and there was no shortage of players to pick up the honors this week, with the KU men winning two games and the KU women picking up a pair of 20-point victories, as well.

You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.

Each Monday, we take one last look back at the week that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.

So, be sure to come get your Monday morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.

Picture on the box

• Junior forward KJ Adams – We’re going with KJ Adams for a second consecutive week, and not just because Kansas coach Bill Self said after Saturday’s win over Mizzou that Adams has been the Jayhawks’ best player for the last three games. Instead, because he simply earned it. He was great offensively, when the Tigers dared him to be and decided to take away Hunter Dickinson down low. He was terrific defensively, with his chase-down block being the signature play of the game. And he once again brought raw emotion to the floor all night long, which not only fired up him and his teammates but also Allen Fieldhouse, as well. It really seems as if Adams has hit the point where he’s ready to turn the corner to his next phase. It should be fun to see what that looks like when he gets all the way there.

KU junior KJ Adams reacts to a big play vs. Mizzou. [Chance Parker photos]

A full bowl

• Freshman guard S’Mya Nichols – KU’s fabulous freshman guard set a career-high in scoring twice this week. First, she scored 20 points in a mid-week win over Houston Christian. And she followed that up by dropping 23 points in Sunday’s win over Wichita State on the road. Nichols, whose season is being chronicled by Wave the Wheat in “The S’Mya Diary,” has gotten her KU career off to a fabulous start and appears to be getting more and more comfortable with her role and college basketball each week.

• Senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. – It’s impossible to watch what the Kansas basketball team is doing and not be appreciative of and impressed by what the senior guard is doing. McCullar ranks just behind big man Hunter Dickinson in scoring at 19 points per game — which ranks third in the Big 12 — and he’s also still doing so much more. His defense remains elite, with active hands, excellent anticipation and all-out competitiveness aiding him there. And his court vision, intensity and willingness to attack anywhere and anybody and leadersship also have unfolded at a very, very high level thus far. On Saturday, in the Jayhawks’ 73-64 win over Border War rival Missouri, all of that looked like this: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. He did also have 3 turnovers and shot just 4-of-15 on the day. But when a guy can do that and still put up those numbers in the end, you live with how he got there.

Nighttime snack

• Senior center Hunter Dickinson – Mizzou did everything it could to take Dickinson’s low-post scoring away. But they had no answer for his size on the glass. He finished with a game-high 16 boards, with five of them leading directly to put-backs and easy baskets. Dickinson’s 13 points kept him in place as KU’s leading scorer to date, and he’s now up to 12.6 rebounds per game. His rebounds-per-game average currently leads the Big 12. And he’s just 0.2 points per game out of first place on the conference’s scoring list. Not bad.

• Senior center Taiyanna Jackson – After missing KU’s mid-week win with an illness, Jackson was back on the floor in a big way during Sunday’s rout of Wichita State. The KU center recorded her fifth double-double of the season against the Shockers, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 boards to go along with 6 blocks. She played just 30 minutes and also took just 7 shots. For what it’s worth, the box score shows that the Jayhawks started five guards in Jackson’s absence against Houston Christian earlier in the week. But it’s debatable whether senior transfer Ryan Cobbins is actually a guard, given the way she plays so big and battles inside game in and game out.

Parker Braun (center) claps from the KU bench during the Jayhawks' home win over Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023 at Allen Fieldhouse. [Chance Parker photo]

Drink the milk

• KU senior Parker Braun – He played just 5 minutes in the win over his old team, but talk about packing in a lot in a little bit of time. Not only did Braun make both shots he took, including a lob from Dajuan Harris Jr., but he also blocked two shots. After the first block, he even channeled his inner-Christian Braun…. Sort of. He wasn’t vocal about it and didn’t scream like some sort of demon was trying to escape his body. But he did shake his head with conviction, and, for Parker, that’s pretty demonstrative behavior.

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