KJHK hit the road to Kansas City for Big 12 Media Day this Tuesday. Here’s some notable quotes from Kansas head coach Bill Self and freshman standout Josh Jackson.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team is picked to win the Big 12 pretty much every single season. That’s what happens when you win the conference in 12 straight seasons.
Thus, when the expectations for this year’s team came up at Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday in Kansas City, MO., it wasn’t something that head coach Bill Self was too worried about.
“I don’t know that we spend a lot of time trying to temper the expectations,” he said. “I think we use the expectations as motivation to perform or to prepare to perform at a very detailed and rapid rate.”
Self pointed out that this year’s team in particular is well-suited to deal with such high expectations, thanks to the high amount of veterans with experience occupying the squad.
“I think our guys have been around enough and our newcomers have talked to the older guys and they know all this hype and all this talk really doesn’t mean anything,” he said.
One of those newcomers, perhaps the one with the highest expectations, is forward Josh Jackson. Jackson was the number-one rated recruit in the country for this year’s freshman class.
Jackson reiterated Self’s point that the veterans on the team have helped the underclassmen, particularly senior Landen Lucas.
“[Lucas] has so much wisdom and just always knows what to say at the right time,” Jackson said. “So we definitely look to Landen for a lot of advice at times when we don’t know what to do.”
Not only does Lucas make life easier for Jackson off of the court, but point guards Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham make life easier for Jackson on the court with their ball handling and playmaking skills.
“It helps me out a lot. It makes me be able to spread the floor a little more and do what I’m good at as far as cutting to the basket and sneaking behind the defense,” he said.
Jackson also said that Andrew Wiggins, the last number-one recruit to play for the Kansas Jayhawks back in the 2013-14 season, has reached out to him to provide guidance on how to deal with all of the hype. Jackson said Wiggins’ main message to him was to stay focused on his goals.
Regardless, with Kansas being unanimously picked by the coaches to win the conference for the 13th straight season, it’s clear that Bill Self should have something to be excited about.
“I feel excited and still anxious and a little nervous going into the season because we don’t know how things are going to progress and how pieces are going to fit, ” Self said. “But certainly very optimistic.”