Kansas Basketball Prepared for European Trip

July 31, 2012

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Kansas men’s basketball will embark on a four game exhibition trip to Switzerland and France August 5-14. Several members of the team and head coach Bill Self sat down to share their thoughts on last season, the upcoming trip and looked ahead to the 2012-13 campaign.

The KU contingent will stay three nights in Zurich, Switzerland, playing two games against the Swiss National Team Aug. 7 and 8 at Fribourg Arena in Fribourg, Switzerland. The Aug. 7 contest is slated to start at 7 p.m. local time, which is noon in Kansas (Central time). The Aug. 8 game will begin at 5 p.m. Swiss time or 10 a.m. in Kansas.

On Aug. 9, the KU party will travel to Paris, France, where it will stay for five nights. In between the sightseeing, etc., KU will twice play AMW Team France, a squad consisting of French A and B professionals, as part of EURO JAM PARIS 2012. Playing at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, the Jayhawks and French pros will play Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. France time (1 p.m. in Kansas) and Aug. 12 also 8 p.m. in France. The EURO JAM PARIS 2012 event runs from Aug. 11-15 with Virginia, Colorado and Penn State women’s team also participating.

Under head coach Bill Self, who enters his 10th season at Kansas with a 269-52 record while at KU and 476-158 in 19 seasons overall, Kansas returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 32-7 (16-2 Big 12) team which won its eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament title game in New Orleans.

Three seniors comprise the returning starters in guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford and center Jeff Withey. Johnson is KU’s leading returning scorer averaging 10.2 points per game in 2011-12, while Releford scored 8.5 points per contest and averaged 4.2 rebounds per outing. Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 Conference single-season blocked shots record with 140 blocks last year while he averaged 9.3 points per game. Withey’s 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per contest make him the leading returning stat leader in those categories. Other KU regulars from last year include senior forward Kevin Young (3.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and junior forward Justin Wesley (1.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg).

Kansas has 10 freshmen on its roster this season with two – Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor – who were NCAA partial qualifiers last season. The duo are redshirts for 2012-13 and practiced with the team following the fall 2011 semester. Both know Bill Self’s system, will have an immediate impact on the rotation and could crack into the starting lineup.

Six of the other eight freshmen on the roster are on scholarship: guards Rio Adams, Milton Doyle and Andrew White and forwards Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas and Zach Peters. All come to Kansas with high accolades and should add to the Jayhawks’ team effort from the start.