Hofstra Preview

News and notes on KU's regular-season opener against Hofstra Friday night in Lawrence (7 p.m. CT), while wondering if sophomore forward Marcus Morris will thrill the Allen Fieldhouse crowd with another electrifying dunk.

Marcus Morris' impressive thunder slam off the fast break against Pittsburg State three nights ago was No. 1 on ESPN's top plays Nov. 10. Morris said after the game he's much more athletic this season, boosting his vertical leap from 28 inches a year ago to now 34 inches.


This will be the first meeting between Hofstra and Kansas. Hofstra, located in Hempstead, N.Y., is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and will be facing a top-ranked team for the first time in men's hoops. The Pride finished 21-11 last season (No. 5 in CAA at 11-7), their fourth 20-win season in the last five years. Hofstra has won 102 games the past five years (20.4 per season), the highest total in the Metropolitan New York area, ahead of Rider with 85 wins.

Hofstra returns just two starters and five of 13 letterwinners from last season. The Pride are led by junior guard Charles Jenkins, who averaged 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 2008-09, one of only six players in the nation who averaged at least 19 points, four boards and four assists per game last year. Jenkins won the Haggerty Award last season as the top player in the Metropolitan New York area, the first sophomore since Chris Mullin of St. John's in 1983 to earn the honor.

The Pride's other returning starter is junior guard Nathaniel Lester, who averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. Other returnees include senior guard Cornelius Vines (10.5 ppg), junior forward Greg Washington (5.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and senior forward Miklos Szabo (4.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg). The remainder of the squad is comprised of six freshmen and one junior college transfer.

Head coach Tom Pecora enters his ninth season at Hofstra with a 136-111 record. He passed Villanova coach Jay Wright last year to become the fourth-winningest coach in Hofstra history. Pecora served seven years as Wright's assistant before taking over as head man.


Kansas has won 36 straight home openers, dating back to the 1973-74 Final Four season...The ‘Hawks have won their last seven consecutive season openers since 2001-02... KU coach Bill Self will be aiming for his 170th win at Kansas. In six seasons at Mount Oread, Self has posted a 169-40 record, a glossy .809 percent.


Junior center Cole Aldrich showcased some improved passing skills against Pittsburg State in KU's last exhibition game Tuesday night. He recorded three assists, along with three blocks, one steal and 10 points.  Self wasn't too worried about Aldrich getting just one board in 19 minutes during the 103-45 blowout victory.

"I thought Cole played really good," Self said. "He needs to get more than one rebound, but he played good offense and he really passed the ball out of the post. He did some really good things."


Junior guard Conner Teahan played against Pitt State, forgoing a redshirt year. He played well in 15 minutes, scoring seven points on 2-of-4 shooting from three-point range and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. He also added a rebound and steal.

"It's always fun playing," Teahan said. "I got a couple of minutes the first half. I was happy about that. I'm constantly trying to get better. I'm never really satisfied. I just want to help the team. Whatever I can do to help the team is something that's going to make me happy. I think I did a pretty good job, so I'm pretty happy with that."

Teahan hopes to get off to a strong start this season after struggling with his shot last year. He was 4-of-22 from the field and just 2-of-17 from three-point land last season. During his freshman season in 2007-08, Teahan scorched the nets, shooting 16-of-27 from the field and 12-of-20 from three-point range.


Self is hoping for another rockin' crowd tonight as KU officially kicks off the season.

"Hopefully the crowd will be really into it," Self said. "I thought the crowd (for the Pittsburg State game) was great for an exhibition game. We were up big and they stuck around. We were playing Pittsburg State, and nothing against Pittsburg State, but it was a Division II school and we had over 16,000 people in the stands."

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