Tharpe's rise will fuel Kansas 

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
12:23
PM ET
Naadir TharpeDoug Pensinger/Getty ImagesWith a young team around him, Kansas junior guard Naadir Tharpe must be a leader this season.
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The smile, plastered on his face every time I’ve seen him, is gone. So, too, is the trepidation that comes with playing basketball at Kansas. Also history are the thoughts of bolting for more playing time elsewhere.

Jayhawks point guard Naadir Tharpe finally looks and feels as if he belongs in Lawrence.

In the effort of full disclosure, I’ve known Tharpe for about six years. He grew up about 30 miles away in Worcester, Mass., and spent three years at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. I was with Tharpe the first time he ever tried Chinese food in Las Vegas and have seen him play countless occasions.

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