Kansas coach Bill Self is hopeful that freshman Cheick Diallo will make the trip to the Maui Invitational and that a ruling from the NCAA Eligibility Center could come early next week.
Self told reporters Thursday that KU would know early Friday whether Diallo would be allowed to fly to Hawaii with the team Friday. The Jayhawks, 1-1 and on the heels of a loss to Michigan State at the Champions Classic, open the Maui Invitational against Chaminade on Monday.
Diallo has yet to be cleared academically by the NCAA Eligibility Center. If a ruling comes early next week, Diallo could potentially be eligible to play in one or more games in Maui.
Self excited for Maui tourney
In the days after Kansas’ loss to Michigan State at the Champions Classic, Self said he was disappointed that his team wasn’t able to close out the game after leading by 11 points midway through the second half. But he tried to remain positive about his team’s prospects as they prepared to head for Hawaii.
“If you get better, then the wins and losses add up, and at the end of the season we’ll be happy,” Self said. “But if you get so concerned about winning now, as opposed to the process, I don’t think that’s the best thing for your team.”
Self said he wanted his team to play well during the three-game stint in Hawaii. But he stopped short of saying that his team needed to win the eight-team tournament, which includes UNLV, UCLA and Indiana, among others. The Jayhawks last journeyed to Maui in 2011, when they finished runner-up to Duke.
“We’ve been out to Maui before and not won it, and it helped our team,” Self said. “When competition is good, you know, there’s only one team that can win it. You can play really well … and Maui’s good for us when we finish second. That team went on and won the Big 12.
“I don’t put all our stock into winning by any stretch. But I do put a lot of stock into us going and getting better. This isn’t football.”