LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) No. 1 Kansas opens 2018-19 exhibition play when it hosts Emporia State on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN+. For more information on accessing the broadcast, visit KUAthletics.com/JTV. Kansas is 85-9 in exhibition contests, including 54-2 under head coach Bill Self. This will be the first exhibition game of the season for both Kansas and Emporia State.
Kansas is No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll entering 2018-19. It is the third time in school history the Jayhawks have entered the season No. 1 with the others in 2004-05 and 2009-10.
This will be the fifth exhibition game in the Bill Self era that will be played in the month of October with three of those in the last two seasons. KU hosted Emporia State, Oct. 30, 2012; Pittsburg State, Oct. 29, 2013; played Missouri in Kansas City, Oct. 22, 2017; and hosted Pittsburg State on Halloween 2017.
Kansas is 85-9 all-time in exhibition games, including 54-2 in games under head coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks have won 27-straight exhibition contests and 48-straight inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks are 20-3 all-time against Emporia State, including an 8-0 record in exhibition games.
Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from the squad that claimed the Jayhawks' 14th-consecutive Big 12 regular-season title, the Big 12 Championship title and advanced to school's 15th Final Four.
Junior center Udoka Azubuike is KU's leading returning scorer (13.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.0) from last season. Lagerald Vick is the lone senior on the KU roster and averaged 12.1 ppg last season.
Junior forward Dedric Lawson is the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, is on the preseason All-Big 12 First Team as well as an Associated Press preseason All-American. Azubuike was an honorable mention preseason all-conference member, while Quentin Grimes was the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year and honorable mention all-league.
For the third time in school history, Kansas enters the season No. 1 by Associated Press, in the AP's preseason poll released Oct. 22. KU was also preseason No. 1 by AP in 2004-05 and 2009-10.
Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season's 31-8 team, which won the Big 12 race with a 13-5 conference record. Besides the league regular-season title, Kansas also won the Miami Hoophall Invitational, the Big 12 Championship and advanced to the school's 15th Final Four.
Senior Lagerald Vick and junior Udoka Azubuike return as the starters. Vick is the lone senior on the team and he averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season in earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. Azubuike, an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2017-18, is KU's leading returning scorer at 13.0 ppg and rebounder at 7.0 rpg. He led the nation and set the KU and Big 12 single-season record for field goal percentage at 77.0 percent in 2017-18.
Sophomore guard Marcus Garrett (4.1 ppg, 3.4 ppg) started seven games last season. Other KU regular returners include junior forward Mitch Lightfoot (3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 blocked shots per game) and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa (4.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Three transfers from last season will have an immediate impact in 2018-19. Redshirt junior forward Dedric Lawson is the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and on the Preseason All-Big 12 First Team. He averaged nearly a double-double in his two seasons at Memphis before coming to Kansas. His brother, K.J. Lawson, is a redshirt sophomore who also came from Memphis. He averaged 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds at Memphis in 2016-17. Redshirt sophomore guard Charlie Moore started every game in 2016-17 while at California and averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists.
Three of Kansas' 2018-19 freshmen were McDonald's All-Americans last year. The Woodlands, Texas, guard Quentin Grimes heads the list as he is the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The other two are guard Devon Dotson, from Charlotte, North Carolina, and forward David McCormack from Norfolk, Virginia. Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji is a Kansas City product who has also shined in the preseason.
ABOUT EMPORIA STATE
Located in Emporia, Kansas, with an enrollment of 5,732, Emporia State coach Craig Doty in his first season at ESU. Doty amassed a 49-22 record in two seasons at NAIA school Rock Valley College. Picked 11th in the 14-team MIAA preseason coaches' poll, the Hornets return six players from last season's 9-19 squad and have seven newcomers.
Senior forward Hassan Thomas leads the returners after averaging after averaging 8.0 points and 4.8 rebounds last season. He was ranked seventh in the MIAA in offensive rebounding. Senior guard transfer Sawyer Glick headlines the newcomers. He is a graduate transfer from NCAA Division II Elite Eight team Barry and started 31 of 32 games for the Buccaneers last season. He averaged 13.8 points per game with three 30-point games. He ranked 10th in the nation last year with 103 made 3-pointers.
Kansas leads the overall series with Emporia State, 20-3, which includes an 8-0 record in exhibition play. The series dates back to 1904 with the Hornets winning the first meeting in Emporia. ESU's three wins came in 1904, 1916 and 1947. Since 1992, Kansas has won 10 straight in the series with all of those meetings in Allen Fieldhouse.
Two seasons ago, Kansas defeated Emporia State, 104-62, on Nov. 6, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU's Lagerald Vick started the contest and had seven points and four rebounds. Udoka Azubuike came off the bench to score 13 points with seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Mitch Lightfoot was 4-for-4 from the field, scoring 12 points and had four boards.
Kansas is 86-9 in exhibition history and has won 27-straight exhibition contests starting Oct. 30, 2012. Last season, KU posted a 4-0 exhibition record while touring Italy in August and defeated Missouri, 93-87, in the Showdown for Relief at Sprint Center on Oct. 22, Pittsburg State, 100-54, on Halloween and Fort Hays State, 86-57, on Nov. 7.
Kansas is 59-4 in exhibition contests played in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won the last 47 exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse beginning in 1994. After the 100-54 win versus Pitt State (10/31), Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 29 exhibition games, including 13 under head coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks are 54-2 in exhibition play in Self's 15-plus seasons at KU.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD...
Make Kansas 87-9 all-time in exhibition games ... Extend Kansas' home exhibition winning streak to 49 games dating back to the 1994 season ... Give KU its 28th-consecutive exhibition victory ... Make Kansas 21-2 against Emporia State, including 9-0 in exhibition games ... Improve Kansas head coach Bill Self to 55-2 in exhibition play while at KU, including 31-0 in Allen Fieldhouse ... Make KU 60-4 in exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD...
Break KU's 48-game home exhibition win streak, marking the first loss in an exhibition game in Allen Fieldhouse since a 93-82 loss to Australia on Nov. 9, 1993 ... Give Emporia State its first win against Kansas in 11 tries ... Make the KU-ESU all-time series 8-1 in exhibition meetings ... Drop Bill Self to 54-3 in exhibition play while at Kansas, including 30-1 in Allen Fieldhouse ... Give KU a 59-5 record in exhibition play at Allen Fieldhouse and 86-10 all-time exhibition record.
KANSAS NO. 1 IN PRESEASON ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL
For the third time in poll history Kansas men's basketball enters the season No. 1 by Associated Press (AP), as the AP released its poll Oct. 22. Kansas received 37 of a possible 65 first-place votes from the AP panel. Kentucky is ranked second and had 19 first-place votes, while Gonzaga, Duke and Virginia round out the top five of the AP preseason poll.
All three times KU has been No. 1 in the preseason have been in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks were tops entering the 2004-05 season and also in 2009-10. Additionally, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 180 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
The AP ranking marks the sixth-consecutive year the Jayhawks have been preseason ranked fifth or higher and the fourth straight at No. 4 or higher. KU was No. 4 in last season's AP preseason poll, No. 3 in 2016-17, No. 4 in 2015-16 and No. 5 in 2014-15 and 2013-14. It is also the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that the Jayhawks have entered the season No. 7 or higher by the AP.
Under 16th-year and Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self, this is the 13th time that Kansas enters the season ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press preseason poll and historically, the No. 1 ranking marks the 21st time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas will enter the season seventh or higher.
Last season, KU entered the year No. 4 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 4. The AP's final poll is released prior to the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks have been ranked No. 8 or higher in each of the last 49 AP polls over the past three seasons. Kansas will potentially play 10 regular-season games against teams ranked in the AP preseason poll, including four in the top 10: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Tennessee (potential NIT), No. 9 Villanova, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 12 Kansas State (twice), No. 13 West Virginia (twice) and No. 20 TCU (twice).
PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12
Kansas' Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Udoka Azubuike each garnered recognition on the 2018-19 Preseason All-Big 12 Team as voted on by the league's men's basketball coaches, the conference office announced Oct. 17.
Lawson was named the 2018-19 Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, while Grimes was dubbed the league's preseason freshman of the year. Lawson was also a preseason all-conference first-team selection, while Azubuike and Grimes secured preseason honorable mention honors. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes in the selection process.
Joining Lawson on the five-member 2018-19 Preseason All-Big 12 Team are: Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Barry Brown Jr. (Kansas State), Dean Wade (Kansas State) and Sagaba Konate (West Virginia). In addition to Azubuike and Grimes, student-athletes receiving votes and thus honorable mention included: Cameron Lard (Iowa State), Alex Robinson (TCU), Kerwin Roach II (Texas), Jericho Sims (Texas) and Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech).
PRESEASON BIG 12 POLL
For the eighth-straight season and 18th time in the 23-year history of the league, Kansas topped the men's basketball Big 12 Preseason Poll, announced by the league office Oct. 19. The Jayhawks received all of the possible nine first-place votes in 2018-19 for the fourth-consecutive season.
KU has captured 18 outright or shared Big 12 regular-season championships in the previous 22 campaigns. The program's 14 consecutive, from 2005-present, and 61 overall conference titles are both NCAA records.
Kansas State was picked second in the preseason poll followed by West Virginia in third. TCU and Texas tied for fourth to round out the top five. Other placings were 6. Iowa State, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Baylor and 10. Oklahoma State.
Historically, in the previous 17 occurrences Kansas has been named the preseason favorite, the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season on 15 occasions. This includes the first preseason poll in 1996-97 in which only a media poll was conducted.
PRESEASON NATIONAL HONORS
Kansas was well represented on the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Starting 5 awards released Oct. 15-19. Of the five awards announced, which consisted of 20 candidates per category, Kansas had one student-athlete on four of the five honors lists. Freshman guard Devon Dotson is up for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, freshman guard Quentin Grimes for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, redshirt junior forward Dedric Lawson for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award and junior center Udoka Azubuike for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.
Historically, Kansas has had numerous student-athletes named as candidates and finalists, including last year with Devonte' Graham being a Cousy finalist. In 2017, Frank Mason III was the recipient of the Cousy Award.
KANSAS FROM DOWNTOWN
In 2017-18, Kansas led the Big 12 with 10.0 3-point field goals made per game and a 3-point field goal percentage at 40.1. Kansas made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 19 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks were 17-2 in games where they made 10 or more threes.
The 2017-18 team was the third KU squad to make 300 3-pointers in a season and last season's Jayhawks crushed the single-season school record for 3-pointers made, 391, and attempted, 974, surpassing 2016-17's record-setting marks of 318 made and 787 attempted. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2018-19
Lagerald Vick has 775 career points heading into his senior season. Vick scored 266 points his sophomore year and 470 points last year. Should he reach 1,000, he will become the 61st Jayhawk to reach the milestone.
Vick has 101 career 3-pointers made and is 25 shy from cracking the KU top-20.
Udoka Azubuike has 78 career blocked shots and his 60 last season were the most since Joel Embiid swatted 72 in 2013-14. Azubuike is 22 shy of becoming the 20th player in school history to record 100 blocked shots.
Not far behind Azubuike's blocked shots is junior Mitch Lightfoot with 65 career swats in two seasons.
Azubuike has a career field goal percentage of 75.4 as he is 233-for-309. The KU career field goal percentage record, with a minimum of 500 attempts, is 62.0 by Mark Randall (643-for-1,037 in 1987, 89-91).
Kansas is 11 wins shy from winning its 1,100th conference game. All-time, the Jayhawks are 1,089-364 in league play and are 302-64 in the Big 12.
Kansas will conclude exhibition action when it hosts Washburn on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN+. This will be KU's 41st meeting all-time with Washburn and the eighth in exhibition play. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 37-3, with the most recent meeting coming on Nov. 1, 2016. Kansas won that match-up, also in exhibition play, 92-74, in Lawrence.