Kansas Men's Basketball to Host Washburn Tuesday in Exhibition Contest
Oct. 31, 2010
Six-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Kansas opens its 2010-11 season with an exhibition game against Washburn, located in nearby Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. The game from historic Allen Fieldhouse will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network. Kansas is looking to win its 36th-straight exhibition contest and is 21-0 in exhibition games under head coach Bill Self. Like Kansas, Washburn begins its exhibition season as well on Tuesday and is coming off a 16-14 season in 2009-10.
Kansas is the six-time defending Big 12 men’s basketball champion entering the 2010-11 season. The Jayhawks have won or tied for 10 of the 14 Big 12 regular-season titles and seven postseason titles. KU returns two starters and 12 letterwinners from last season’s 33-3 team, which went 15-1 in the conference and won the Big 12 regular-season title and the conference postseason championship. Starters returning include juniors Marcus Morris, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, and Tyshawn Taylor, a preseason all-conference honorable mention choice. Morris is Kansas’ leading returning scorer at 12.8 ppg and rebounder at 6.1 rpg. Taylor averaged 7.2 points last season and 3.4 assists in 2009-10 and has a career 8.5 ppg average. Senior guard Brady Morningstar started 34 of 35 games in 2008-09 and averaged 4.1 ppg last season. Junior forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, and senior guard Tyrel Reed were key contributors the last two seasons. Markieff averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 2009-10, while Reed averaged 5.1 points with 44 three-pointers. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (2.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg) should also see significant time on the inside. Two keys will be 2009-10 redshirts Mario Little and Travis Releford. Little is a senior guard who averaged 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 2008-09, while Releford is a sophomore guard who averaged 2.7 points in 32 games in 2008-09. Freshmen guards Josh Selby and Royce Woolridge will have the most impact of the newcomers. Selby was Rivals.com’s No. 1 rated player following the 2009-10 season. Woolridge averaged 30.2 points his senior season in high school.
Washburn returns eight players off of last season’s squad, which entered the MIAA Championship Tournament as the No. 8 seed and reached the title game coming up just short in a two-point loss to Nebraska-Omaha. En route to the title game the Ichabods knocked off No. 1 seed Central Missouri and then topped Missouri Western in the semifinals. Of the eight returning players, the Ichabods, who were 16-14 overall last season and 8-12 in the MIAA, are returning 83 percent of their scoring and 85 percent of their rebounding. All-MIAA Defensive Team standout from last season Will McNeill will not play against Kansas as he broke a bone in his foot in practice. The senior guard led the MIAA in steals and averaged 12.7 points in 2009-10. Senior forwards De’Andre Washington and Logan Stutz will anchor the Washburn scorers. Washington averaged 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds last season, while Stutz chipped in 11.3 points and five rebounds per game. Senior guards Nate Daniels (5.6 ppg), Virgil Philistin (5.4 ppg) and Jadarren Mumpfield round out the WU starters. Mumpfield is a transfer from Alabama State.
Kansas leads the overall series with Washburn 35-3, which includes four exhibition contests. The Jayhawks have won nine straight against the Ichabods. The two teams last met in the regular-season on Nov. 15, 2007, a Kansas 92-60 victory in Allen Fieldhouse. It was KU’s third game of its national championship season. The Kansas-Washburn series dates back to 1906.
–Kansas has won 35 straight exhibition contests.
–Kansas is 53-7 all-time in exhibition contests.
–Under Bill Self, Kansas is 21-0 in exhibition games, including a 6-0 record in two Canada trips – 2004 and 2008.
–Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 23 exhibition games, including its last three.
Kansas continues exhibition action when it plays host to Emporia State on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV. KU opens regular-season play when it hosts Longwood on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
Senior Guard/Forward Mario Little
“I’m very excited. It’s been a long time waiting on the bench, so I’m anxious to get out there and have fun. This is the healthiest I’ve been since I’ve been here. I’m anxious, I’m not in a hurry but I’m just anxious to get out there.”
On post play:
I’ve been playing the post because I think we’ve only got Thomas and Marcus right now, so I’ve been out there helping out and just trying to make guys better. We’ve been doing a lot of running. Coach hasn’t really slowed down practice because we’re short of men, so we’ve still been running and doing all of the same stuff we’ve been doing.”
On whether or not he starts against Washburn:
“It’s not a big deal. I think everybody wants to start but everybody can’t start. So it’s not a big deal, but we’ve all been working hard so I feel like anybody can start.”
Sophomore Guard Travis Releford
On biggest adjustment this year without Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins:
“Coming together and playing without those guys and knowing everybody’s role on the team.”
On the camaraderie among the guys:
“It’s good because on and off the court, we’re with each other 24/7 so we’re connecting really well.”
On his role on the team:
“I’m just a guy to knock down open shots, create open looks for my teammates and to defend.”
On the starting lineups:
“No not yet. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow right before the game.”
On if it’s a big deal to start:
“No not really. I’m just going to do whatever it takes to help my team win.”
On how he feels to play after a year of redshirting:
“I’m very excited. Sitting out is tough and I have my chance this year to play so it will be fun.”
On focusing on his shot:
“Talking to Coach Self, that is one of the things that he said that I need to improve on and if I wanted to get out there and play then that would be one of the things I need to work on. Mostly it’s confidence in my shooting. I felt like I could shoot it but I wasn’t too confident in it and now I have a lot of confidence in shooting the ball.”
Sophomore Forward Thomas Robinson
On how practices have been going:
“Practice has been tough. There’s still a lot of stuff we need to put in. It’s been a lot of teaching basically, going over everything and trying to get ready for tomorrow (Tuesday) night.”
On the emphasis in practices:
“Defense. We’ve really been going over defense. People are judging us as being a fast team this year so we need to use our athleticism on defense and get points off of it.”
On whether he’s ready for the season to start:
“I want to play against somebody besides (my teammates.) We’ve been beating up on each other so it’s time for the season to start.”
On who’s been surprising a practice:
“Royce Woolridge has been one of the surprises in practice. He gets to the basket at will. He’s a very good player.”
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On what he hopes to get out of the first game:
“I think it’s always good to get some experience under the lights to get out the nervousness and some of those things. I want to see how our guys react. The majority of the guys are back (from last season) and Josh (Selby) won’t play, so Royce (Woolridge) is really our only newcomer. We don’t really have that many guys that haven’t been in the lights before, but I think it’ll be good.”
On what he thinks about the team:
“I like our team. I don’t necessarily like how we played the last few days. Certainly we have to pick up some things from a leadership standpoint and an intangibles standpoint. I think we’re going to be good, but I don’t think we’re close to being good yet. We don’t value the same things that I think are really important for us to value, but I don’t know how many teams do on Nov. 1. This is going to be a fun team.”
“They’ll give us a good game. We were preseason No. 1 one year and we only won by (nine). I think it’ll be a good game. One of their key performers broke his foot, which is too bad, because I hear he’s a terrific player. Still, though, they have a majority their guys back, 85 percent of their scoring and rebounding and some nice new pieces so they’ll be good.”
On Travis Releford and Mario Little after each redshirted last season:
“They’ve done well. They were on the court the whole time last year, but they didn’t play in the games. Mario can score and Travis has been good. As a matter of fact, I don’t know who I’m going to start tomorrow, but both of them are in consideration for that.”
On Royce Woolridge’s role with this team:
“I think it’s too early (to know his role on this team.) We’ll play him in the exhibition games and then we’ll decide later on if a redshirt would be a possibility. He’s going to be a guy that really helps our program over time. I don’t know if he can really have a huge impact right now. A lot probably depends on Josh Selby’s situation, but Royce is coming along nicely.”
On Jeff Withey’s status:
“He’s coming along too slow. We thought he would be 100 percent healthy and full speed by now. The injury was six weeks ago and he’s still at least a week away, maybe two weeks away from being where we want him to be. It’s not from lack of trying. He’s just sore. He needs repetitions as much anybody because missing practice this time of year is like missing all of your two-a-days in football. It’s going to take you two of three times as long to come back and get into the flow from this point forward because you don’t practice as much.”