LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) The No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks will get their final tune-up prior to the start of the 2018-19 regular season when the Washburn Ichabods come to Lawrence for an exhibition contest on Thursday, Nov. 1. Tip-off from Allen Fieldhouse is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN+. For more information on accessing the broadcast, visit KUAthletics.com/JTV.
Washburn is coached by former KU guard and staff member Brett Ballard, who is in his second season with the Ichabods. Ballard played at KU in 2000-01 and 2001-02. The 2001-02 team is the only team in Big 12 history to go undefeated in conference play at 16-0.
Ballard was on Bill Self's staff at KU for seven years (2003-10) and was Director of Basketball Operations those final two seasons.
Kansas is 86-10 all-time in exhibition games, including 55-2 in games under head coach Bill Self. Following their 93-55 win against Emporia State (10/25), the Jayhawks have won 28-straight exhibition contests and 49-straight inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks are 37-3 all-time against Washburn, including a 7-0 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 and is on the preseason All-Big 12 First Team. 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 and No. 1 in the USA TODAY Coaches' polls. KU was also preseason No. 1 in both polls in 2004-05 and 2009-10. KU was also No. 1 in the coaches' preseason poll in 1996-97.
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.
Located in Topeka, Kansas, with an enrollment of 7,002, Washburn opens the season at Kansas, and is competing in its first exhibition of the season. The Ichabods are coached by former KU guard Brett Ballard, who is 22-10 after his opening season at Washburn in 2017-18 and 55-40 in his fourth season overall.
Tabbed third in both the MIAA preseason coaches' and media polls, out of 14 teams, Washburn returns two starters and nine letterwinners from last season's 22-10 team which lost in the finals of the MIAA Tournament and in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. Seniors Javion Blake David Salach are the Washburn returning starters. Blake is a guard who averaged 14.3 point, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season. Salach is a forward who averaged 6.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest in 2017-18. Senior guard Tyas Martin (10.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and sophomore guard Tyler Geiman (4.5 ppg) are other regulars from last season. Sophomore forward Will McKee (3.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg) is slotted to start for Washburn along with the aforementioned.
Kansas leads the overall series with Washburn, 37-3, which includes a 7-0 record in exhibition play. The series dates back to 1906 and Kansas won the first six meetings. Washburn's three wins game in 1913, 1928 and 1944 with all three victories in Topeka. Since 1944, Kansas has won 11 straight against Washburn, which includes seven exhibition battles.
In the last meeting, Kansas defeated Washburn, 92-74 on Nov. 1, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. Eventual 2016-17 national player of the year Frank Mason III led KU with 21 points, while Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk added 16 and Josh Jackson had 14 points in the win. Current KU senior Lagerald Vick, then a sophomore, had nine points, while Udoka Azubuike, then a freshman, scored five points to go along with two blocked shots. Mitch Lightfoot, also a freshman in 2016-17, pulled down seven rebounds to pair with his three points.
Washburn is coached by former KU guard and staff member Brett Ballard, who is in his second season with the Ichabods. Ballard played at KU in 2000-01 and 2001-02. The 2001-02 team is the only team in Big 12 history to go undefeated in conference play at 16-0. Ballard was on Bill Self's staff at KU for seven years (2003-10) and was Director of Basketball Operations those final two seasons.
Washburn assistant coach Joe Balestrieri was a basketball manager at Kansas from 2007-10. He was named head manager his senior year.
Kansas is 87-10 in exhibition history and has won 28-straight exhibition contests dating back to 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 60-5 in exhibition contests played in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won the last 49 exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse beginning in 1994. With the 100-54 win versus Pitt State (10/31/17), Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 29 exhibition games, including 13 under head coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks are 55-2 in exhibition play in Self's 15-plus seasons at KU.
The 121st season of Kansas men's basketball will officially get underway when the No. 1 Jayhawks face No. 10 Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic in Indianapolis, Ind., on Nov. 6. The contest will start at 6 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPN. Kansas is 3-4 in the Champions Classic, which includes a 1-1 record against Michigan State. Michigan State leads the overall series with Kansas, 7-6, but the Jayhawks have won two of the last three meetings.