Jayhawks to Face Hofstra in Regular-Season Opener Friday at 7 p.m.
Nov. 12, 2009
Five-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Kansas opens up the 2009-10 season by hosting Hofstra. No. 1/1 Kansas is looking to win its 37th-straight home opener at Allen Fieldhouse dating back to the 1973-74 season. Since 2001-02, the Jayhawks have won their last seven consecutive season openers. In tune ups, KU won both its exhibition contests with a +48.5 scoring margin. Hofstra is coming off a 21-11 season in which it placed fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with an 11-7 record in 2008-09.
Top ranked Kansas returns its top nine scorers, including all five starters, from last season’s 27-8 team, which won its fifth straight and ninth overall Big 12 regular-season championship. The Jayhawks advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 before falling to eventual NCAA runner-up Michigan State. Senior Sherron Collins and junior Cole Aldrich are the Big 12 Preseason Co-Players of the Year for 2009-10 and were named Associated Press preseason All-America Nov. 2. Collins led KU in scoring last season with 18.9 points per game, while Aldrich averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds. Both Collins and Aldrich were All-Big 12 First Team selections last year. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor is a returning starter who averaged 9.7 points and 3.0 assists per game in 2008-09. Sophomore Marcus Morris is another returning starter who averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds his freshman year. Kansas’ top reserves from last year include Tyrel Reed, Markieff Morris, Mario Little and Travis Releford. Expect freshmen guards C.J. Henry, his brother Xavier Henry, Elijah Johnson and freshman forward Thomas Robinson to also vie for playing time for KU.
Located in Hempstead, N.Y., Hofstra returns five letterwinners and two starters from last season’s 21-11 team, its fourth 20-win season in the last five years. The Pride finished fifth in the CAA with an 11-7 record. Hofstra is facing a top-ranked team for the first time in men’s basketball. Junior guards Charles Jenkins and Nathaniel Lester are the returning starters for the Pride. Jenkins, the 2010 CAA Preseason Player of the Year, averaged 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists last season. With 1,065 career points, Jenkins is only the second player in school history to have 1,000-plus career points entering his junior season. Lester scored 6.6 points with 4.3 rebounds per outing in 2008-09. Senior guard Cornelius Vines was a top sub last season with a 10.5 scoring average. Senior forward Miklos Szabos (4.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and junior forward Greg Washington (5.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) are also back. Following the Kansas contest, Hofstra will compete in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Kansas and Hofstra are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. Kansas has only faced one other opponent from current membership of the Colonial Athletic Association. KU defeated Towson 87-61 in Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 19, 2006. The game was part of the Las Vegas Invitational which KU went on to win.
Kansas hits the road to face Memphis in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase in St. Louis on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The game is a rematch of the 2008 NCAA National Championship game. Two days later, KU will host Central Arkansas in the second game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. The Central Arkansas game will tip at 7 p.m. and be televised on Jayhawk TV.