Three weeks into the school year, Bill Self likes what he’s seen from his Kansas basketball freshmen during limited individual workouts/team drills.
“They are three great looking freshman physically. All three look good,” Self, KU’s 14th-year coach, said of Udoka Azubuike, Josh Jackson and Mitch Lightfoot. Self was speaking in the Memorial Stadium football press box on Saturday after a halftime appearance (at the KU-Ohio game) on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
“We’re certainly a long ways away from being able to tell anything. In the limited time we’ve had with them, I think they’ve all done well,” Self added.
NCAA rules dictate coaches can work with players up to two hours a week until the start of official preseason practice, which for KU is the Oct. 1 Late Night in the Phog.
Recently, Kansas assistant athletic director/sports performance Andrea Hudy said 7-foot freshman center Azubuike had lost 27 pounds since arriving on campus for summer school in June and weighed about 275.
She also said 6-8 wing Jackson had gained 17 pounds of muscle and weighed about 207, while 6-8 forward Lightfoot, who arrived weighing about 206 was a solid 210.
Meanwhile, sophomore forward Carlton Bragg who added 26 pounds since the end of his freshman season, stands 6-10 and weighs 247 pounds.
“Carlton is bigger and stronger than he was last year,” Self said. “Of course we need him to have as big a year as anybody. He’s got to be a guy that can score inside for us. Certainly a stronger body will help him do that.”
Self said junior transfer Dwight Coleby, who had left knee surgery last Oct.17, has been practicing and also playing in the squad’s unsupervised pickup games.
The 6-9, 240-pound, former Mississippi forward said on an August podcast in his native Bahamas that his surgery was for a torn ACL, torn meniscus and a micro-fracture.
“He’s doing fine,” Self said Saturday. “He’s been totally cleared and released to do everything He is doing everything. He doesn’t have his confidence or explosion back yet with his knee. He is going through everything. He has been given a clean bill of health. Now he just has to get that (confidence) back.
“He’s a great kid,” Self added. “His knee hasn’t responded in a way where he’s confident yet, where he can really explode off of it.”
Self comments on Armed Forces Classic
It was announced on Thursday that KU’s Armed Forces Classic game against Indiana on Nov. 11 in Honolulu would be moved from a hangar at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the 10,300-seat Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus.
“We’ve known for a long time it would be played at Stan Sheriff Arena,” Self said. “The biggest thing about that (announcement) is they flipped us from the first game to the second game. That makes us catching our flight to New York very tight. That could be a killer for us because we can’t miss that flight to New York (after the game).”
Kansas, which will meet Indiana about 8:30 Central time on Nov. 11, will head straight from Hawaii to New York, where the Jayhawks meet Duke on Nov. 15 in another late game (approximately 8:30 p.m., Central). Michigan State plays Arizona at 6.
Coach likes his squad
Self commented on his 2016-17 Jayhawk team during his halftime interview on the Jayhawk Radio Network. After mentioning losing the likes of Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden, Cheick Diallo, Brannen Greene and Jamari Traylor off last year’s 33-5 team, he said: “Our returning players are really good. These guys can play. Throw in the recruiting class … we have some immediate impact with Udoka. Everybody’s talking about Josh. We have a chance to have a team that is veteran-heavy but maybe our most talented players will be youngsters.”
Self will hold an in-home visit Monday with P.J. Washington, a 6-7 senior forward from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, Rivals.com reported Saturday. Washington is ranked No. 17 nationally by Rivals.com. … Coaches from KU and Wake Forest traveled to Orlando, Fla., on Friday to watch a workout of Chaundee Brown, a 6-5 senior who is ranked No. 39 in the Class of 2017. Wake Forest coach Danny Manning had an in-home visit with Brown’s family later that day. Brown, who recently visited KU, also has Maryland and Florida on his list. There’s been recent speculation it may be a KU-Wake battle for Brown.