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KU basketball makes long-awaited return versus Washburn

LAWRENCE, KS. —No. 3 Kansas opens up their 2016-2017 exhibition season this Tuesday at home when it hosts the Washburn Ichabods inside Allen Fieldhouse at 7pm.

The Jayhawks will look to build on a 33-5 season that featured an Elite 8 appearance and a 12th straight Big 12 conference title. Coach Bill Self has quite the arsenal of weapons and it all starts in their backcourt.

Kansas returns the dynamic guard tandem of Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, as well as forwards Carlton Bragg and Landen Lucas, while at the same time adding the highly touted freshman guard Josh Jackson.

Three of the returnees earned Big 12 recognition in 2015-16, including Mason III being named to the All-Big 12 second team, while Graham and Lucas earned all-conference honorable mentions.

The Jayhawks will lean even more on these players as they try to replace the likes of Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Brannen Greene and Wayne Selden Jr.

Junior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and sophomore Carlton Bragg and will also be important pieces to the Jayhawk puzzle as they replace the departed players from last year. Sophomore Lagerald Vick also figures to play an increased role off the bench.

Top recruit Josh Jackson has also earned some Big 12 hype, being named Big 12 newcomer of the year by numerous media outlets. Jackson rounds out a freshman class that includes 7-foot center Udoka Azubuike and 6-8 forward Mitch Lightfoot. KU head coach Bill Self’s recruiting class was named 6th best according to ESPN’s “2016 Basketball Class Rankings.”

Kansas’ first exhibition opponent, the Washburn Ichabods, return all five starters from last year, including the 2016 MMIA freshman of the year in sophomore guard Javion Blake, plus the defensive player of the year, junior forward Brady Skeens.

These five starters lead Washburn to a 15-13 record a year ago, while going 11-11 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Washburn is led by head coach Bob Chipman, who announced that this year will be his last after 37 years as the Ichabods head coach.

Kansas leads the Washburn series 37-3 and is 78-9 all time in exhibition games.

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Feature photo courtesy of Ryan Schreiber.