KU enters new season looking to newcomers to fill voids

KU head coach Bill Self speaks to reporters at Big 12 Media Days.
KU head coach Bill Self speaks to reporters at Big 12 Media Days.(Brandon Zenner)
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KWCH) - Expectations are always aplenty for the Kansas Jayhawks.

Coming off a national championship season with just two players with meaningful contributions back from that team, fifth-ranked KU is turning up the heat in practice, according to players.

“I mean, he’s coaching us harder than he did last year’s team,” guard Dajuan Harris said Wednesday at the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tipoff at T-Moble Center in Kansas City, Missouri. “He just wants us to come in everyday, be prepared and be ready to go.”

Self said it’s by design because of the lack of experience, losing players like Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and David McCormick.

“Last year, going into it, you got kind of security blankets with you know guys that have played in your program,” Self said. “Now I’m nervous because we don’t have those same security blankets.”

With incoming transfer Kevin McCullar Jr. and returner Jalen Wilson starring around Harris, Self will largely look to players in bigger roles or newcomers to fill out the roster. He also says it’s on experienced players to lead the way.

“It’s hard to understand what it takes to win a championship if you don’t know,” Wilson said. “And obviously that was us last year. It takes every day in practice and all the little things.”

The Jayhawks were picked second in the Big 12 preseason poll behind Baylor. But they know the target that’s already on their back due to the name on the front of their jersey will only be bigger this year.

“Us being Kansas, we’re already trying to get everybody’s best games,” Wilson said. “We get on the road - they might not sell out a game, but when we come there’s gonna be sold out, hostile environment, and that’s why we come to Kansas.”