Speeding Up KU

Late Night can't get here fast enough for most KU fans. KU head coach Bill Self let fans know that fast may be the key word this season for the Jayhawks.

KU head coach Bill Self pulled up a chair and flashed an ear-to-ear grin kicking off the 2010-2011 media day festivities for the Jayhawks.

The 500 plus game winner hardly looked like a coach who's yet to hear the status of freshman stud Josh Selby or one who's facing a critical week for Kansas recruiting. Like he always done under the hairiest of circumstances, Self smiled and said he was "happy to be here."

"I really like this team and the way its coming together because we've got guys that didn't have as big a opportunity in the past and i think they are very capable of making the most of it," said Self who is beginning his eighth year at the helm in Lawrence.

This roster is laced with opportunity. Starting spots are up for grabs and new roles are yet to be defined. No longer will the guards defer to Sherron Collins and no longer will the bigs have their playing time sliced and diced because of Cole Aldrich. Someone will have to fill Xavier Henry's shoes from the outisde. KU's terrific trio is getting paid to play in the professional ranks.

"We lost two lottery picks and the winningest player in the history of the school. Kansas math is unique but usually you don't get better by losing that," Self said with a chuckle.

"I do think this 33-3 is a pretty good winning percentage i don't think this team will do that being quite candid with you. Our goal will be to win every game but that will be very difficult to do. I do think this team can be as good a team as last year's was when it counts the most."

To be that good Kansas will still need to plug holes. Without question there are minutes to be had and leadership roles to be filled on a team that Self ranks amongst the most athletic he's ever had. Yes, even rivaling that special title team from 2008.

"We're going to be more athletic that what we have been the last couple of years for sure," state Self. "It will be hard to surpass that 2007-08 team athletically but I think this team is the closest thing that we've had to doing so since we've been here."

The terms "speed" and "athleticism" were staples in Self's opening press conference as he gave fans a preview of what's to come. Sure there will be moments of kicking and screaming and a youthful roster giving fans fit - at times KU will be a work in progress. But there's no doubt these Hawks will also provide an scintillating brand of ball inside the walls of Phog Allen Fieldhouse this season.

"I think without question speed," Self responded when asked what excites him most about this year's team. "With the way this team can defend and do different things with interchangeable parts. From a raw speed standpoint, we're obviously going to miss Sherron, X (Xavier Henry), and Cole - primarily their skill set. But just from a raw athletic standpoint. I think this is going to be a team that can pressure more and play faster offensively."

At the center of a "faster" brand of KU ball is the highly touted freshman Josh Selby. Selby is expected to run the point showcasing his quickness with the ball and though he's cleared to practice and attend classes he has yet to receive the go-ahead to log game-time minutes for the crimson and blue. His eligibility remains a mystery and Self is sticking to the no comment mantra.

"We hope to have a resolution to it sooner rather than later but i don't know when that will be," said Self who did make Selby available to the media today. "Certainly we understand why this is taking a little bit of time but I do think there will be a positive conclusion hopefully shortly, but i don't know that to be a fact."

Selby was allowed to meet the press on Tuesday but Self briefed media members in attendance that he would field no questions involving NCAA eligibility.

For right now Kansas knows success on the floor this season will be accomplished by committee. There is a potential all-american and budding superstar in Marcus Morris while brother Markieff appears poised for a breakout year. Tyshawn Taylor is waiting to break out and is hungry to erase the mistakes of last season. Thomas Robinson comes in motivated and better. Mario Little and Travis Releford are ready to show people what a year of getting healthy and developing can mean to a college career. Tyrel Reed continues as this team's less heralded rock and will compete for a starting spot. Brady Morningstar will again look to provide deceptive defensive ability and critical shooting. Selby certainly brings the gaudy pedigree.

Right now its time to get ready for Late Night and celebrating what Bill Self thinks is a stable full of thoroughbreds who are ready to again contend for another Big 12 title.

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