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5 notable storylines which have surfaced through the Kansas basketball preseason | Story of the Tait

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) box out North Carolina forward Brady Manek (45) during the first half of the NCAA National Championship game on Monday, April 4, 2022 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans .

Kansas ahead Jalen Wilson (10) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) field out North Carolina ahead Brady Manek (45) through the first half of the NCAA Nationwide Championship sport on Monday, April 4, 2022 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans .
by Nick Krug

With Kansas basketball boot camp in full swing and Late Evening within the Phog now lower than a month away, it is time to begin waiting for the 2022-23 faculty hoops season.

Sure, we are able to do this whereas nonetheless protecting the heck out of the red-hot Kansas soccer workforce, as nicely.

It is positively a bit totally different to have each sports activities matter as a lot as they do right now of yr, however that is clearly been excellent news for KU.

It is also nonetheless unknown simply how lengthy soccer fever may have a maintain on KU followers.

The Jayhawks (2-0) play at Houston this weekend and can return dwelling to play Duke at 11 am on Sept. 24 earlier than diving into convention play the remainder of the way in which.

No matter how these video games go or how lengthy folks’s curiosity in Lance Leipold’s program stays as excessive as it’s proper now, the school basketball season can be right here earlier than you understand it. And which means it’s going to be time for the 2022-23 Jayhawks to open play because the defending nationwide champs in a bit over six weeks.

Despite the fact that a number of key components of the 2022 title workforce are not on campus, there’s nonetheless a lot to love about Invoice Self’s bunch this season.

The 2022-23 Jayhawks have an excellent mixture of returning gamers and gifted newcomers and there are not less than 5 or 6 gamers who’ve an opportunity to take a significant step ahead whereas filling larger roles through the upcoming season.

I caught up with Self the opposite day to speak in regards to the roster whereas he was down in Florida recruiting and listed below are the 5 issues that stood out from our dialog.

• Dajuan Harris Jr. goes to be particular

If you happen to’ve paid any consideration in any respect, you understand that Self has cherished Harris from the minute he arrived on campus. However to listen to him speak about his level guard from him now could be a complete new factor.

Not solely does he nonetheless recognize Harris’ team-first mentality and defensive presence, however you additionally get the sensation that the purpose guard has improved his sport in each manner possible and that he’ll enter the 2022-23 season with excessive expectations for himself and the workforce.

He cannot get a lot better as a defender, however I believe there may be loads of room to enhance as a scorer and a pacesetter and it feels like we should always anticipate to see Harris shine in these areas, as nicely, within the months forward.

He is not constructed from the identical mildew as Frank Mason III or Devonte’ Graham, however it positive looks as if Self is as massive a fan of Harris as he was of these two KU greats.

• Each Zuby Ejiofor and Ernest Udeh Jr. are going to play

When speaking in regards to the two freshmen massive males, Self stated each Udeh and Ejiofor have been “forward of what we anticipated their schedule to be” and that they each would play minutes instantly. That is fairly vital information and it is probably due to their athleticism and method.

Each look like gamers who’re keen to do no matter and play wherever to assist the workforce. And so they’re each energetic and powerful across the rim and keen to study and be coached.

Udeh initiatives as a 5 and Ejiofor might be greater than a 4, however that simply means there could possibly be room for each to play significant roles. If both (or, once more, maybe each) can carry a dimension of physicality and toughness down low that others ca n’t, his position will develop into much more vital.

• For Kevin McCullar, it is all about pulling down pictures

Self knew what McCullar might do on the defensive finish when he signed him, and, throughout our current dialog, he referred to the previous Texas Tech standout “superior defensively.”

He additionally knew that, with McCullar’s dimension, expertise and flexibility, plugging him into the lineup was not going to be an issue. The man can play anyplace from 1 by means of 4 and might mix in with any type and anyone on the ground.

The largest query about simply how good he will be this season is tied to his means to shoot the ball. If he can knock down open pictures persistently, he is bought all-Huge 12 potential.

• KJ Adams is an absolute luxurious

There was plenty of speak in the summertime about whether or not Adams was extra of an inside participant or a fringe participant. He stated then that a lot of the place he suits was tied to his leap shot and Self stated this summer season that he envisioned Adams taking part in extra on the perimeter this season than he did final season, when he logged restricted minutes and infrequently on the 5.

Whereas the excellence between Adams dwelling inside or on the wing was not made any clearer throughout my current dialog with Self, one factor was — Self referred to as Adams positionless and added “how do you retain him off the court docket?”

For my cash, you’ll be able to’t. And I believe Adams may have pretty much as good of any alternative as anybody on the roster to have a real breakout season. And that is even when he would not begin.

• Lead canine position for Jalen Wilson

Final however not least, I talked to Self for a minute about Jalen Wilson, the workforce’s prime returning scorer from the title workforce, and there is nothing however excellent news there.

Self stated Wilson was “hungrier than ever” and that his versatility, angle and method have been terrific. Whereas this isn’t precisely a shock, it is positively massive information nonetheless.

Keep in mind, many of the guys Wilson got here in with and gained a title with are gone now, and it could not be loopy for him to wish a while to regulate to that. It would not sound like that is been essential, although.

From the minute he introduced he was returning to highschool, Wilson totally embraced his position as the highest veteran and workforce chief and it is clear that he desires to steer this group the way in which Ochai Agbaji led the Jayhawks final season.

Past that, clips from KU’s current practices have proven Wilson capturing the heck out of the ball, and, as you all know, that was an space he earmarked for enchancment this offseason.

Wilson’s looking at a giant season in entrance of him and he appears to be placing within the essential work to verify he delivers when issues get rolling. He’ll be the right participant to steer this workforce and it appears as if Self believes Wilson is able to tackle the duty of filling that position.

After taking this weekend off, KU will wrap up its twentieth boot camp beneath Self someday subsequent week and shortly thereafter will start the primary official practices for the 2022-23 season, which opens with Late Evening on Oct. 14 and an exhibition sport towards Pitt Standing on Nov. 3.

KU’s season opener is about for Nov. 7 vs. Omaha at Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawks additionally will face North Dakota State at dwelling on Nov. 10 earlier than heading to Indianapolis for the Champions Traditional conflict with Duke on Nov. 15.

The convention schedule continues to be not out but, however that needs to be launched quickly, probably earlier than the top of the month.

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