Men's Basketball to Open Exhibition Season
Nov. 1, 2006
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Kansas opens exhibition play against in-state foe Washburn Thursday at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV. KU has won 24 straight exhibition games dating back to 1995 and is 42-7 overall in exhibition competition. The Jayhawks have also won 24 consecutive exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse. Washburn opens its exhibition season at KU and is coming off a 10-16 record in 2005-06. The Ichabods – an NCAA Division II school – finished ninth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) with a 4-12 record in 2005-06.
Kansas enters 2006-07 as two-time defending Big 12 champion having tied Oklahoma for the 2005 crown and Texas last season. KU went on to win the 2006 Big 12 Championship in Dallas by defeating Oklahoma State, Nebraska and then-No. 8 Texas. Kansas, the unanimous Big 12 preseason pick by the conference coaches, returns five starters from last season’s 25-8 and 13-3 Big 12 team. Leading the way for KU are Big 12 Co-Preseason Players of the Year Brandon Rush and Julian Wright. The duo is the first sophomores to earn such an accolade in the 11-year history of the conference. Rush led Kansas in scoring at 13.5 points per game and rebounding with a 5.9 average last season. The 2006 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Rush was also the first freshman in league history to be named All-Big 12 First Team. Wright averaged 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. He was an all-tournament selection at the Big 12 Championship as well. Other returning starters include guards Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers and center Sasha Kaun. Robinson is a junior who averaged 9.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season. Chalmers was the Big 12 Championship’s Most Outstanding Player as he was second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game and led the conference in steals with 2.7 per contest. Kaun started all but four games and averaged 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Junior forward Darnell Jackson was a top reserve last year averaging more than 15 minutes per game. Expect a trio of freshmen to make an immediate impact as well. Guards Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar and forward Darrell Arthur all come in with high credentials.
Washburn got a jump on the season by going 4-0 in preseason exhibition play in China from August 12-21. The Ichabods won by an average of nearly 50 points in victories against Zhejang University, Zhejang Normal University and Shanghai Normal University. Washburn returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last season’s 10-16 team. Junior forward Brady Sisk led Washburn last year with14.4 scoring 5.7 rebounding averages. Junior forward Dylan Channel is another returning starter who averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 points per game last year. Junior guard Andrew Meile averaged 8.6 points and led the team in assists with 66 last season. Sophomore forward Paul Byers rounds out the returning starters having averaged 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season.
Kansas is facing Washburn for the third time in exhibition play and the 34th time overall. KU has won the last six meetings dating back to 1944 and leads the series with Washburn, 30-3, including a 2-0 record in exhibition play. In their last meeting, Kansas defeated Washburn 79-70 on Nov. 14, 2004. The series dates back to 1906 with KU’s longest winning skein at 15 games from 1929 to 1944. The teams met twice in the 1990s and this will be the fourth meeting since 2000.
Kansas plays its second exhibition game of the season when it plays host to Emporia State on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Tip from Allen Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air on Jayhawk TV. KU last faced Emporia State during the 2004-05 exhibition season – a Kansas 115-70 win.