Kansas Basketball: Opening Week Preview

The start of the college basketball regular season is fast approaching, with this Friday marking the beginning of a season filled with high expectations for the Kansas Jayhawks. Mere days before tipping off at Allen Fieldhouse against the Northern Colorado Bears, several Jayhawks as well as Bill Self answered a few questions from the media.

At the forefront of everyone’s mind, Bill Self included, is the uncertain status of Cheick Diallo for the upcoming year. Fans and media members alike are clamoring for any news on Diallo’s situation, let alone any sort of clearance from the NCAA. Jay Bilas even got in on the action today, championing Diallo’s cause and taking one of his trademark shots at the NCAA on Twitter. Coach Self tried to answer objectively when asked about campaigning for Diallo’s eligibility.

“[The NCAA and] member institutions are a partnership,” Self said on Tuesday afternoon. “They’re in partnership to try to work together to come out with not necessarily the answer we want, or the answer they want, but the right answer.”

“It’s beyond frustration.”

Self dismissed the notion that he and the team would need to do any sort of petitioning to make sure that Diallo is eligible for the season, as he believes the media will be doing that regardless of their efforts.

“When you see a 6 foot 9 inch kid sitting with a coat and tie on at the end of the bench, every camera that we play at is going to focus and the announcers are going to talk about Cheick,” Self said. “That doesn’t mean we’re planting seeds, that’s just a fact of the matter.”

While Cheick Diallo is certainly a major point of intrigue when it comes to KU basketball early this season, there are still games to be played. Svi Myckhailiuk took a few questions from the media about the team’s play in the first exhibition game against Pittsburg State on November 4.

“We have a pretty good team…everyone can start and coach can see who’s better and who’s better in each rotation,” Myckhailiuk said when asked about the important of exhibition games.

The sophomore from Ukraine is right in his assessment of the team’s talent, as this year’s roster is almost universally believed to be one of the strongest in recent memory at the University of Kansas. Self’s rotations will be an interesting thing to watch at the start of the year. How frequently will Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham be paired together in the backcourt? Will Wayne Selden play well in the role of a 3, or will he need to be played more at the 2? How will the plethora of talented big men on the roster fit in to each situation during a game? These are all questions which we will see answered as the season progresses, but for a team with so much talent and so many expectations, there will be demand for answers sooner rather than later.

“With Michigan State coming up soon, I just think the young guys can get out there and continue to get a feel for the game flow,” said Landen Lucas when asked about the end of the exhibition slate of games. Lucas, a junior big who will likely fit somewhere in the front court rotation throughout the season, also pointed out that it’s important for the team to continue to get a grasp on how new rules will affect the game.

“Whoever coach puts out there, I feel like [they’re] going to be ready,” Lucas said.

After wrapping up the 2015 exhibition games on Tuesday night against Fort Hays State, the Jayhawks have a two day wait before kicking off the regular season on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse. Tune in to KJHK for the call of the game and all home games throughout the KU men’s basketball season.

 

Written, edited and produced by Brendan Dzwierzynski. Interview audio recorded by Mitch Glessner.

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