Kansas basketball coach Bill Self recently had a discussion with one of the team’s newcomers about the most important aspect of the Jayhawks’ summer exhibition tour to Italy.
That would be the 10 practices held in Lawrence prior to the early August trip — practices that some of the first-year Jayhawks deemed more difficult than did the veteran players.
“I said, ‘How many times do you think we practiced for this (four-game tour)?’’’ Self related of his first question to a Jayhawk newbie.
“He said, ‘I don’t know, countless (times).’
“I told him, ‘Ten times. During the course of the season we’ll practice 150 times or whatever it is, maybe 100 times.’ I said, ‘How hard were the (pre-Italy) practices?’ He said, ‘Gosh, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’
“The veterans said to that, ‘What do you mean? We haven’t even had a practice yet. This is like pick-up ball,’’’ Self exclaimed in speaking to ESPN radio’s Seth Greenberg on Wednesday’s “Courtside with Greenberg and Dakich Show.”
While Self conceded the 10 practices were not nearly as difficult as regular-season workouts, they did serve a purpose.
“Nuts and bolts … yes we got some stuff in,” Self said.
“I think it was valuable as far as playing with others and sharing it. I think little things like that to kind of get the young guys’ attention on what we expect and the culture (at KU) are very positive. I think it was a positive trip,” he added of a trip in which KU won four exhibition games by lopsided scores.
Self gives coaching advice to twins
Self fielded a July phone call from former KU forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris, who were preparing to coach “Team FOE” against “Jim Boeheim’s Army” in the $2 million winner-take-all “The Basketball Tournament.”
“They actually did, believer it or not, call me,” Self said of the NBA players. “They said, ‘Coach, tell us again how we beat a 2-3 zone.’ They were playing Boeheim’s Boys (who play zone).
“We went over a couple things, simple things,” Self added. “From what I was told the first 30 minutes they executed. The last 10 minutes they fell apart. That’s what zones do sometimes, get you standing and thinking.”
Team FOE, which included former Jayhawks Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor and Mario Little, blew a 25-point lead and fell to Boeheim’s Army, 72-67, in a tourney quarterfinal game shown on ESPN.
“Those guys (twins) are fun to be around. It’s good to see some of our ex-guys do well in that tournament,” Self said.
Mighty early bracketology
KU has been accorded a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament in August bracketology projections by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi released Thursday.
KU is projected to play Idaho or Lamar in the first round in March in Wichita with the winner meeting the winner of the Oregon-Florida State game in a second-round contest. Other No. 1 seeds were projected to be Duke, Arizona and Kentucky.
Wichita State was given a No. 3 seed in the South Regional, while Missouri was a No. 11 in the East. Kansas State did not receive a bid in Lunardi’s projections.
Dotson nets new offer
UCLA has offered a scholarship to Devon Dotson, a 6-1 senior point guard from Providence Day High School in Charlotte, N.C., Rivals.com reported on Thursday. Dotson — the No. 33-ranked player in the recruiting class of 2018 according to Rivals.com — will visit KU on Aug. 25-27. He has a list of KU, Florida, Maryland, Miami, Ohio State, USC and UCLA. Dotson averaged 24.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists a game his junior year in high school.
Locke cuts Kansas
Noah Locke, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard from McDonogh High School in Owings Mills, Md., has eliminated Kansas from his list of schools. Locke, the No. 75-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2018 according to Rivals.com, will visit Ohio State, Providence, Xavier, Michigan and Florida, his mother told Zagsblog.com. Others eliminated were Virginia and Maryland. He averaged 18.2 points and 1.6 assists per game in 16 games this past AAU season for Team Melo.
Duke eliminates Jayhawks
David Duke, a 6-4 senior point guard from Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., who is ranked No. 46 in the Class of 2018, announced on Twitter that he has a final five of Villanova, Florida, Indiana, Providence and Virginia Tech. At one point, KU was on his list of schools.