Rock Chalk Jayhawk: KU basketball traditions fill ‘The Phog’
Kansas’ freshmen men’s basketball players made it back to town in time to attend the school’s annual “Traditions Night” festivities Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
“All the freshmen have reported and are here and certainly attending the student events that take place before school starts. I’m excited about all of our freshmen,” 17th-year KU coach Bill Self told The Star after speaking to about 3,000 first-year KU students who congregated in the west stands. Football coach Les Miles and athletic director Jeff Long also made comments to the crowd.
“I think they all have a chance to make an impact this year. It remains to be seen what extent, what role,” added Self, who was able to coach freshmen Christian Braun, Tristan Enaruna, Michael Jankovich, Issac McBride and Jalen Wilson four hours a week during June and July — while summer school was in session.
“I believe this will be one of our more solid freshman classes, but I don’t think you’ll see the star power that you may have seen initially when you had Joel (Embiid) and Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins), Ben McLemore and Kelly Oubre. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another Devonté (Graham) or Frank (Mason) or Svi (Mykhailiuik) in the mix.”
One additional freshman could be joining the squad in the near future. Dajuan Harris, a 6-foot-1 point guard out of Columbia’s Rock Bridge High, who orally committed to KU on July 16, reportedly has passed the three summer classes he needed for admission to KU.
If Harris, who helped Rock Bridge win the Missouri Class 5 state title his senior season and helped MOKAN Elite to a Peach Jam AAU title this past summer, is admitted to KU, he will redshirt this season — practice but not play in games until 2020-21. If he is not admitted to KU, he’ll attend Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita for a prep school year.
Self cannot comment on Harris’ situation in accordance with NCAA recruiting rules.
The Jayhawks, including graduate transfer guard Isaiah Moss, the former University of Iowa player who has reported to campus, will start training Monday — the first day of the 2019-20 semester, Self said Saturday night.
Starting Monday the drills will consist of “strength and conditioning and also on the court,” Self said. “We get four hours a week on the court that we’ll certainly utilize, hopefully get their bodies in shape and feet in shape enough that we can actually start Boot Camp and start practicing literally two weeks from now.”
KU’s two-week Boot Camp will start Sept. 9, Self indicated.
Strength coach search moving quickly
KU is relatively close to hiring a new strength coach, Self said Saturday. The coach will replace Andrea Hudy, who recently accepted a job with the University of Texas.
“We have not found a replacement yet. I’m in the process of interviewing some people and really excited about the candidates I visited with,” Self said. “I’m very excited and certainly hope we can conclude this process sometime next week and have a decision.
“We’ve had a lot of interest. There have been three or four certainly in my mind that have put themselves in a position to warrant interest on both sides.”
Self was asked by the host of the Traditions Night program what KU tradition means to him: “There are several that are terrific. None can be experienced more than at an athletic event. Without question the best tradition we have is the Rock Chalk Chant because that means victory,” he said.
Football team plays at ‘The Booth’
KU athletic director Jeff Long may have come up with a nickname for David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. “We need all of you to buy your student passes ... you’ve got to get into what we call ‘The Booth’ — ‘The Booth,’’’ he told KU’s newcomer students at Traditions Night. “Be here for coach (Les) Miles. We’ve already seen how the students support coach Self in Allen Fieldhouse. We need all of you here at ‘The Booth’ next week,” Long added.
KU opens the football season against Indiana State at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, perhaps soon known as “The Booth.”