After nearly three weeks of grueling practices the Kansas Jayhawks can’t help but feel….bored. They’re tired of pounding on each other at this point and are ready for some real opposition. KU gets that chance for the first time this season on Thursday when they take on Pittsburg State.
"I don't think Coach (Henry) Iba will try too many trick defenses, but I would like to see us guard motion. We know they are going to run some form of motion so we definitely need to practice against that. Our guys will be excited to play and it should be fun. I just want to see where we are when the lights go on,” said head coach Bill Self at Monday’s press conference.
The main core of this Kansas team is experienced so with just a few youngsters to break in, this Kansas team should be more polished at this stage than any that Self has had at KU.
“I think we are doing okay,” Self remarked. “We are not further along than some teams because I think defensively we are not where we should be and our attention to detail is bad. But we've only been practicing for two weeks and I think our effort and attitude has been pretty good."
Kansas’ presesason rankings are high. Most magazines and media outlets feel KU is a top five team but a lot of that depends on how Brandon Rush’s return goes. Self has praised Brandon’s progress since the summer and KU’s leading scorer will have the green light for contact very soon.
"He's doing great and hopefully he can get into some contact drills in the very near future. When he plays with contact, he'll have a yellow jersey on and he may get hit a little bit, but guys will be aware that when he's in their area, to let him go,” said Self. “He hasn't shown any signs of being tentative or anything like that when he's been out there. He's been pretty good."
KU fans may have to wait for Rush’s first appearance of the season, but the Jayhawks have three guards that are as good as any in the nation, and will be fun to watch. Once again Self has a roster that will allow him to mix and match combinations. A prominent fixture will be the trio of Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, and Sherron Collins on the floor together.
"I wouldn't trade them for anybody,” Self stated. “Our guards can match up with anybody. All three of them are good and all three can play together if we can rebound. There's no reason those three can't have as much success as any other threesome out there."
Two months ago Kansas fans were probably getting a bit antsy about recruiting but prior to the early signing period the action has really heated up for Self and the Jayhawks.
There’s no doubt over the summer with only one commit from the class of 2008, and having to sign a monster class, KU was lagging behind some other big schools. But once Self and his staff could bring some top recruits to Lawrence for visits, the commitments have been flooding in. The Jayhawks definitely have more momentum after receiving word from power forward Quintrell Thomas last week, and now the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff are set to don the crimson and blue.
This recruiting class has a chance to be among the nation’s best with J’Mison Morgan and Willie Warren still a distinct possibility.