Campus Corner

KU straw poll: Jayhawks’ picks for best leader, defender, surprise player

KU basketball players pick their “surprise player” for this season

We asked members of the KU basketball team who they think has been the Jayhawks' surprise player in practices this fall?
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We asked members of the KU basketball team who they think has been the Jayhawks' surprise player in practices this fall?

During the last two weeks, I made it around to 11 Kansas basketball players to ask their opinions for a poll. Players were not allowed to vote for themselves.

Here are the results (Note: Some players declined to give answers for certain questions).

Question: Who is the best offensive player on this year’s team?

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Thoughts: Devonté Graham certainly has his teammates’ respect when it comes to scoring. Also, it’s probably a good sign for KU’s future that Dedric Lawson picked up an early vote (and no, it wasn’t from his brother K.J.).

Question: Who is the best defensive player on this year’s team?

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Thoughts: This one surprised me quite a bit. KU coach Bill Self has praised Marcus Garrett a lot in the preseason, but him being a top choice for the team’s best defender isn’t something I would have expected. I’m also a bit surprised that Udoka Azubuike didn’t get any votes, though it seems like there was a natural inclination for players here to think about guards when they were asked about “best defensive player.”

Question: Who is the best leader on this year’s team?

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Thoughts: This confirms what I’m sure you’ve already read. Graham has been considered this team’s leader, and his teammates agree with that sentiment.

Question: Who is the surprise player on this year’s team?

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Thoughts: More positive vibes here for Garrett, who should get lot of minutes as a backup wing and “small ball” 4. Lagerald Vick nearly split the vote, as teammates seem to agree with Self’s assessment at Late Night in the Phog that Vick is “one of the most underrated players I would think in our league, without question.”

Question: If you couldn’t play for KU, which Big 12 team would you most want to play for?

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Thoughts: I mostly ask this question to see get a glimpse at which Big 12 school KU players respect the most (and it is often the one players take the longest time answering). It’s clear, from the results, that many Jayhawks admire what Iowa State has built in recent years.

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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