Kansas Men's Basketball to Host Idaho State in Season Opener

Nov. 17, 2005

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Tonight’s Game
It’s opening night for Kansas as the Jayhawks are looking to win their fourth-straight season opener against the Idaho State Bengals Friday night at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. A KU victory would give the Jayhawks 14 wins in their last 15 season-opening games and mark Kansas’ 33rd straight home-opening win. Both KU and Idaho State won their exhibition contests in preparing for the season opener.

About Kansas
Kansas enters 2005-06 as defending Big 12 champion having tied Oklahoma for the 2005 crown. KU went 2-0 in exhibition games with a 96-62 win against Fort Hays State on Nov. 9 and a 73-47 victory versus Pittsburg State Nov. 14. Sophomore C.J. Giles paced KU averaging 17 points with five blocked shots in the two exhibition contests. Sophomore Sasha Kaun averaged 15 points and freshman Brandon Rush 11 for KU. Rush averaged seven rebounds in the two games while sophomore Darnell Jackson pulled down seven boards against Pittsburg State. Giles had six rebounds per exhibition contest and also led the team with five blocked shots. Sophomore Russell Robinson had 13 assists in the two exhibitions. The Jayhawks are young as 11 of the 14-member roster consists of freshmen and sophomores. Though young, KU is extremely athletic and has a lot of depth. Inside, senior Christian Moody (6-8) is the lone returning starter from 2004-05. Moody averaged 5.8 points last season. Sophomores Kaun (6-11), Giles (6-11), Jackson (6-8) and freshman Julian Wright (6-8) provide match-up problems for opponents. There are eight interchangeable perimeter players that will allow KU to play both big and small. Hawkins (5-11), senior Stephen Vinson (6-2) and freshman Mario Chalmers (6-2) will handle point guard duties. Robinson (6-1), sophomore Jeremy Case (6-1) and sophomore Rodrick Stewart (6-4) and freshmen Micah Downs (6-8) and Rush (6-6) will be playing the off guard and wing positions. Jackson will miss the first nine games of the season and will return Dec. 22, while Stewart will be eligible after the fall semester Dec. 19.

About Idaho State
Like KU, Idaho State went 2-0 in exhibition play defeating Fresno Pacific 82-56 on Nov. 7 and Montana Tech 88-64 on Nov. 14. Against Montana Tech senior forward Tim Henry and senior guard David Schroeder who each scored 20 points led the Bengals. Schroeder also led the team with seven boards for the game. Idaho State returns two starters and five letterwinners from last season’s 9-18 team. The Bengals finished eighth in the Big Sky Conference with a 3-11 record. Senior forward Slim Millien (6-7) is the leading returning scorer and rebounder from last year at 11.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard/forward Logan Kinghorn is also a returning starter having scored six points per game last year. Of ISU’s eight newcomers, four were redshirts last season and seven of the eight are transfers. Idaho State was chosen to finish last in the Big Sky Conference by both the media and coaches. Last season’s last-place team – Montana State – placed second at season’s end.

The Coaches
Kansas coach Bill Self enters his third season at KU with a 47-16 (.746) record. Overall, Self enters his 13th season with a 254-121 (.677) record. In 2004-05, Self won his fifth league title as a head coach in the past seven years with the other two being second-place finishes. He won two titles at Tulsa (1999, 2000), two at Illinois (2001, 2002) and a share of the Big 12 title at Kansas in 2005. A 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Self recorded his 250th career win at Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2005. His win against Colorado last season marked his seventh straight 20-win season as a head coach and eighth overall. He is a four-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003), and The Sporting News named him National Coach of the Year in 2000. In addition, Self has led three different teams – Tulsa, Illinois, Kansas – to the NCAA Elite Eight over the past six seasons and has a 13-7 NCAA Tournament record. Last season Self coached his third league player of the year in the last five seasons in Wayne Simien. In the spring of 2005, Self was named to the USA Basketball Competition Committee, appointed by the NABC. Self was a volunteer assistant at KU in 1985-86 and a seven-year assistant at OSU before head coaching stints at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois prior to KU.

Idaho State is coached by Doug Oliver who is 75-120 in eight seasons with the Bengals. Oliver has guided Idaho State to top three finishes in the Big Sky Conference in three of the last five seasons. Oliver was named the 19th head coach in Bengal history on March 5, 1998, after 12 seasons as the top assistant at Pac-10 power Stanford University.

The Series
Kansas is meeting Idaho State for the first time in men’s basketball. KU will also face Western Illinois (Dec. 3) and Northern Colorado (Dec. 22) for the first time this season. Kansas is 5-0 all-time against members of the Big Sky Conference.

KU-ISU Connections
–Idaho State sophomore Doug Hardy and KU freshman Mario Chalmers were high school teammates at Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska. Both played under current KU Director of Basketball Operations Ronnie Chalmers.
–Kansas play-by-play broadcaster Bob Davis will be squaring off against Idaho State broadcaster and son Steven Davis. Bob is in his 22nd year of calling play-by-play for KU football and basketball. Steven worked this past summer for the Idaho Falls Chukars baseball team in the Rookie Pioneer League as publicist and broadcaster. With Idaho State football at Cal Poly in its season finale, ISU officials asked Steven Davis to call play-by-play for the Bengals in the basketball opener.