Beauty, eh?

Considering it's September, the Kansas men's head basketball coach is very pleased with where his team is at after two early weeks of practice made possible by the ultimate four-game road trip to the Great White North.

"We have played close to excellent,” Bill Self said.  “We haven’t even talked about defense yet, believe it or not.  We have just been trying to get guys to get the feel of what we want to do offensively.  I think offensively we look pretty good and defensively we try hard, we just don't know what we are doing.”

And although he’s got plenty of time to sort it out, the big question mark still remaining for Self is, who’s the frontrunner for the second starting “big” spot?

"I don't have any idea, I imagine we will start Moody one game, but I would anticipate all six big guys starting on the trip. We play four games, so I don't expect him to play all four. I would anticipate rotating them all to see some different combinations. But they are all about even to be honest,” Self said.

One thing is for sure, though: the team is ready to play someone other than each other.  And although four wins is expected by most, the Jayhawks are paying the proper respect.

"The team that we play in the first game (University of British Columbia) split with Hampton a couple of weeks ago, and Hampton won 19 games last year, so I would anticipate that there will be some tough competition.  And the team we play the last day (Simon Fraser) beat Hampton as well."

Another answered question seems to be the probable redshirt candidates, too. "We are for sure not going to play Kleinmann and Jeremy (Case). Moulaye (Niang) is going to play and I have to visit with one other guy.  But I anticipate that Jeremy and Matt are the only two that don't play. There may be one more, but I will know more about that after today."

"Matt's been great, but he's probably not going to be able to play much except for in a certain role as a freshman. We talked about, would you rather substitute age 23 for 18 and the obvious answer is yes if you are not going to play much at age 18,” Self said.  “And I’ve talked to Jeremy (Case) about that as well. We are not 100 percent positive on Jeremy but I think we are leaning that way if he doesn't emerge to become one of the top five in our rotation."

The unique double-header that faces the Jayhawks on Sunday presents an interesting challenge.  Self anticipates going to his bench very early and very often.

"We will probably play a majority of the reserves both games and the starters one game. Each game you can maybe have eight or nine guys that we will use."

"I would say that all five of our freshmen are a little bit better than I thought they were. I thought they were good players but I thought it would take them a little bit longer to kind of get a feel for it,” said Self, “but they have caught on quickly."

But once all the back bacon’s been eaten and it’s time to come home, what’s a successful trip for the coach?

"Safety, health, win four games. The biggest thing is, we don’t want to become a team in September.  That doesn't help us at all.  But usually you become a team at some point in the season, and it usually happens either when you’ve gone through a lot of stuff or when you get away from everybody else,” said Self.

He continued, “It would be nice to grow together as a group and learn to lean on each other and enjoy each other and understand what it takes to win, because this will all be new to the young guys.  So, I want us to play well.  I kind of want to develop a depth chart in my mind.  But the biggest point is, I want them to have a good time, stay healthy, have a positive experience and hopefully gain some confidence.” Top Stories