LAWRENCE, Kan. (KWCH) -- KU tips off its Big 12 slate tonight in Austin, as it looks toward its record 14th-consecutive conference championship.
However, Head Coach Bill Self didn't provide the ringing endorsement fans would want to hear.
"This team is not even close to a championship-caliber team," he said, as the team returned to practice this week.
The No. 11 Jayhawks lost two games in a row during non-conference play, first to Washington and the second to a ranked Arizona State. They finished non-conference play 10-2.
Self said the team has the pieces and the potential to compete, but the identity and energy isn't there at the moment.
"We make so many mistakes and our energy level is still average and we've got to get some individuals pumping some energy into the room," he said. "I like the guys a lot but a 'State of the Union' to me would be, we're still a big-time work in progress. We haven't even developed an identity yet."
Kansas finally saw 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward and five-star prospect Silvio De Sousa Tuesday on campus. The front-court threat received academic clearance to join KU early and immediately begin practicing with the team. He is unavailable in the opener Friday night, but Self hopes to see him on the court Tuesday January 2nd against Texas Tech.
Billy Preston is still not able to play, but the situation is out of the team's hands.