On the eve of another basketball season, Kansas head coach Bill Self met with the media as he prepares to embark on his 10th campaign as coach of the Jayhawks.
Kansas will open its season Tuesday night with an exhibition against Emporia State in Allen Fieldhouse.
But, with the season beginning Self turned his attention to his very young team that features four seniors and a whopping seven true freshmen, nine overall, if you count guard Ben McLemore and forward Jamari Traylor, who both sat out last year. Overall, it’s an interesting dynamic for Self, who is excited about the team’s potential.
"It's the hand we've been dealt and I like our hand," Self said.
As for the youth, Self said he couldn’t remember having this many freshmen. As for an early comparison, he added that this team right now reminds him of the 2005-2006 squad that featured freshmen Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright, which won the Big 12 title.
Youth will be on display early in on the frontline, as Traylor will be in the starting lineup. Self said Traylor earned the start because of his aggressiveness in practice on both ends of the floor. He then added that freshman Perry Ellis will be the first big off the bench.
Looking at the team itself, Self feels they have great defensive potential, but they must develop an aggressive mindset. He hopes that will change as the season progresses.
"We don't need blenders, we need guys who will take charge," Self said.
McLemore’s debut will be one of the highlights of the game against Emporia State. On the wing, he’ll be who eyes are on and with good reason. Self says separation between McLemore and the other wings is fairly large. Andrew White will be first off the bench there.
Finally, Self admitted that turnovers will likely be high Tuesday night. That’s to be expected with a young team developing and finding it’s own chemistry and identity.