No. 5 Kansas to Host Gauchos in Regular Season Opener Nov. 14
Ten-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Kansas begins the 2014-15 season by hosting UC Santa Barbara, Friday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on Jayhawk IMG TV/ESPN3.com. Ranked No. 5 by the Associated Press and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches’ preseason polls, Kansas is looking to win its 42nd-consecutive home opener in Allen Fieldhouse, dating back to the 1973-74 season. Since 2001-02, the Jayhawks have won their last 12 season openers. UC Santa Barbara (0-0) is coming off a 21-9 season in which it placed second in the Big West Conference with a 12-4 record. The Gauchos are not ranked heading into 2014-15.
Expectations are always high for Kansas and that is status quo for the 2014-15 season as KU coach Bill Self enters his 12th season at the helm with an 82.5 (325-69) winning percentage, the highest winning percentage in school history.
Kansas went 25-10 in 2013-14 and won its unprecedented 10th-straight Big 12 and NCAA-leading 57th regular-season conference championship. Self brings back nine letterwinners, including two starters, from the team that advanced to the round of 32 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Losing the No. 1 and No. 3 overall selections in the 2014 NBA Draft, Self looks to reload for 2014-15. Kansas returning starters are Perry Ellis, a junior forward, and Wayne Selden, Jr., a sophomore guard. Ellis is KU’s leading returning scorer at 13.5 points per game in 2013-14, and rebounder at 6.7 rpg. Selden averaged 9.7 points per game his rookie year at KU and both he and Ellis were named to the 2014 All-Big 12 squad with Ellis a third-team selection and Selden honorable mention. The duo also earned weekly conference honors during 2013-14.
Other key returnees include junior F Jamari Traylor and sophomore guards Frank Mason III and Brannen Greene. Traylor averaged 4.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 2013-14. Included was his first career double-double with personal highs in points (17) and rebounds (14) in KU’s opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament against Eastern Kentucky. Mason averaged 5.5 points and 2.1 assists last season and started three games at the point. Greene appeared in 28 games and scored 2.4 points per outing.
Sophomore F Landen Lucas (1.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg in 22 games last season) and redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson, a transfer who sat out 2013-14 but practiced with the team, will add depth to the inside. Mickelson started 25 games in two seasons at Arkansas, from 2012-13, where he averaged 5.3 points, 3.6 rebounds with 111 blocked shots. His 72 blocks in 2011-12 set the Arkansas freshman record.
Walk-on guards Christian Garrett, Evan Manning and Tyler Self also return. Garrett is the lone senior on the KU squad, while Manning, son of KU legend Danny Manning, is a junior and Self, son of the KU head coach, a redshirt sophomore. Self injured his foot in preseason practice prior to the 2013-14 season and did not play.
Excluding Mickelson, who has been in the KU system for a year, Self welcomes five newcomers to the roster, including McDonald’s All-Americans forward Cliff Alexander and guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. A power forward who was ranked No. 3 by ESPN100, Alexander was the 2014 Naismith High School National Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball USA. Oubre was ranked No. 11 by ESPN100 and both he and Alexander competed for Team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit and the Jordan Brand Classic in the spring 2014. Additionally, Oubre was invited to work at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and the adidas Nation’s camps in the summer of 2014.
Highly-rated guards Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk round out the KU freshmen for 2014-15. Graham led Brewster Academy to the 2014 national prep championship and New England prep title. At 17, Mykhailiuk is the youngest player in the Big 12 Conference. His international experience is extensive as he has represented his home country, Ukraine, for the past few years at events such as the 2013 U16 European Championships, the 2014 U18 European Championships and the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He was an opponent of Alexander and Oubre at the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit. Walk-on freshman G Josh Pollard, nephew of former KU center Scot Pollard, rounds out the Jayhawk newcomers.
About UC Santa Barbara
Located in Santa Barbara, California, with an enrollment of 20,847, UC Santa Barbara returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from a team which went 21-9 and placed second in the Big West Conference in 2013-14. The Gauchos are coached by Bob Williams who is 269-212 in his 17th season at UCSB and 458-312 in his 26th season overall. UCSB is picked second in the 2014-15 Big West Preseason Media Poll. UC Irvine is the league favorite according to the media.
Senior F Alan Williams is the top returner for UCSB as he led the nation in rebounding last season with an 11.5 per game average. The 2014 Big West Player of the Year and a two-time all-conference first team selection, Williams averaged 21.3 points per game, which also led his league. Junior G Michael Bryson was an honorable mention All-Big West selection last year who averaged 11.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Senior G Zalmico Harmon was second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last year at 4.6-to-1. He averaged 7.8 points per game. Junior F Mitch Brewe (4.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) rounds out the returning starters. Sophomore G Eric Childress (5.3 ppg) and junior F Sam Beeler (2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg) are other top returners from last season for UCSB.
UCSB defeated Point Loma 70-54 in its lone exhibition game with Williams leading the way with 20 points and 19 rebounds. Freshman G Gabe Vincent scored 13 points in the victory.
Kansas won the only meeting with UC Santa Barbara, 72-52, in the opening round of the Wolf Pack Holiday Classic, Dec. 20, 2003, in Reno, Nevada, in Bill Self’s first season at Kansas. KU is 5-2 all-time versus current membership of the Big West Conference with a 3-1 record versus Long Beach State and 2-1 mark against Hawaii.
In the Polls
Kansas men’s basketball enters the 2014-15 season at No. 5 in both the Associated Press the USA Today Coaches’ polls. This marks the third-straight year, and the fifth time in the last six seasons, that the Jayhawks have entered the season No. 7 or higher by AP and the ninth time in the Bill Self era that the Jayhawks start the season slotted seventh or higher. Self, the three-time national and five-time conference coach of the year, is entering his 12th season at KU where he has a 325-69 (82.5 percent) record. Additionally, this is the 23rd time in the 26-year history of the coaches’ poll the Jayhawks have been ranked.
Last season, KU entered the season No. 5 by AP and ended 10th and No. 6 in the coaches’ poll and finished at No. 14. The Jayhawks were ranked in the top-10 on 14 occasions by the AP and 13 weeks by the coaches during the 2013-14 season.
In 2014-15, Kansas could potentially play nine games against teams ranked in the preseason coaches’ poll: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 7 Florida, No. 10 Texas (twice), No. 14 Iowa State (twice), No. 18 Michigan State and No. 19 Oklahoma (twice). Along with KU, Michigan State is competing in the Orlando Classic, Nov. 27-30.
Kansas’ 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule possibly includes 13 opponents which advanced to the 2014 postseason (10 NCAA, three NIT), including five that won their way to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 or farther.
The 10 NCAA participants on the KU schedule for 2014-15 include Big 12 foes Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas. Kansas’ non-conference opponents which went to the NCAA Tournament are Florida and Kentucky and, potentially, Tennessee and Michigan State. Kentucky and Florida each advanced to the 2014 Final Four, while Michigan State went to the Elite Eight and Iowa State and Tennessee the Sweet 16. Big 12 member West Virginia participated in the 2014 NIT as did KU non-conference opponents Georgetown and Utah. Tennessee and Michigan State are potential opponents in the 2014 Orlando Classic, Nov. 27-30.
Besides the Orlando Classic, Kansas will play Kentucky in the fourth-annual Champions Classic with this year’s site being Indianapolis on Nov. 18. For the second-straight year, the Jayhawks will face Florida in the Big 12/SEC Challenge with this season’s meeting on Dec. 5 in Allen Fieldhouse.
This will mark the fourth-consecutive year of Big 12 Conference round-robin competition to determine one true champion in men’s basketball. Kansas went 16-2 in winning the title in 2012, tied Kansas State going 14-4 in 2013 and won it outright with a 14-4 record in 2014. The Jayhawks have won 10-straight Big 12 regular-season titles, which ranks tied for third all-time in NCAA Division I history.
For the ninth-straight year, and 15th time since the inception of the Big 12, KU will be featured on ESPN’s Big Monday four times: Jan. 19 vs. Oklahoma, Feb. 2 vs. Iowa State, Feb. 16 at West Virginia and Feb. 23 at Kansas State. In the Big 12 era, Kansas is 52-17 all-time on Big Monday (29-1 at home and 3-16 on the road), including 33-9 under Self.
Historic Allen Fieldhouse Celebrating 60 Years
Kansas enters the 60th season in historic Allen Fieldhouse, which has been deemed the greatest place to watch a college basketball game. The Jayhawks have sold out of 212-straight games in the Fieldhouse and are 713-109 (86.7 percent) all-time in the facility. At 175-9 (95.1 percent) in 11 seasons, Self has won more Big 12 titles (10) than lost home games (9) in Allen Fieldhouse.
Home Sweet Home
Since his arrival at KU, Bill Self is 175-9 in games played at Allen Fieldhouse for a 95.1 winning percentage which includes four undefeated home seasons. Self’s Big 12 conference titles (10) are more than his home losses while at Kansas (9). Included was a school-record 69-game home-court winning streak which led the nation for more than two seasons and ranks 11th all-time in the NCAA records book as well as a 33-game home-court winning streak that ended Feb. 2, 2013, tied for fourth -ost in KU history. Kansas is 117-3 in Allen Fieldhouse in its last 120 games. Kansas is 713-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse in regular-season games and won No. 700 in building in the 2013-14 season opener against ULM on Nov. 8.
Kansas is Preseason Big 12 Favorite
For the 13th time in the 19-year history of the Big 12, Kansas men’s basketball has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference regular-season championship as the league released its coaches’ preseason poll Oct. 9.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams in the poll and KU received six first-place votes. Texas (3) and Oklahoma (1) garnered the other first-place votes and were picked to finish second and third, respectively. Kansas State and Iowa State came in fourth and fifth in the predictions. Baylor and West Virginia tied for sixth, while Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech rounded out the poll.
Kansas has won, or tied for, 14 of the 18 Big 12 regular-season titles, including the last 10 consecutive, a streak which ranks tied for third all-time in NCAA Division I history. Overall, KU has won an NCAA-best 57 conference regular-season championships. Last year KU went 25-10 overall and won the league race by two games with 14-4 record.
Historically, the preseason favorite has gone on to finish first in the regular-season 11 times, which does not include 1996-97 as a coaches’ poll was not conducted. Kansas has been the preseason favorite in 10 of its 13 Big 12 regular-season titles, missing 1996-97 (no poll), 2005-06 (third) and 2010-11 (second).
Ellis and Alexander Earn Preseason Big 12 Honors
Junior F Perry Ellis and freshman F Cliff Alexander were named to the 2014-15 Preseason All-Big 12 Team in a vote by the conference coaches the league announced Oct. 3. Ellis was named to the five-person All-Big 12 team, while Alexander was named co-Preseason Freshman of the Year.
From Wichita, Kansas, Ellis (6-8, 225) was one of two players who were unanimous selections for the preseason all-conference team, joining West Virginia senior guard Juwan Staten. Staten was also named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. Ellis, one of two KU returner starters from last season, is Kansas’ leading returning scorer at 13.5 points per game and rebounder at 6.7 rebounds per contest from 2013-14 where he earned All-Big 12 Third Team honors. Joining Ellis and Staten on the coaches’ Preseason All-Big 12 Team were Iowa State junior forward Georges Niang, Kansas State sophomore guard Marcus Foster and Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield.
A 6-8, 240-pound power forward from Chicago, Alexander was ranked the No. 3 overall recruit in the class of 2013-14 by ESPN100 and No. 4 Rivals.com following his senior season at Curie High School. Alexander averaged 25 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots his senior season and was named the 2014 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year in addition to his many high school All-American honors. Texas freshman Myles Turner joined Alexander as the Big 12’s co-Preseason Freshman of the Year in the coaches’ vote.
All-time High 17 Jayhawks on NBA Opening Day Rosters
An all-time high 17 Kansas men’s basketball players appeared on NBA opening-day rosters for the 2014-15 season as the NBA opened regular-season play. Paul Pierce of Washington has the most tenure of the Jayhawks in the NBA, entering his 17th season and his first with the Wizards. Pierce is teamed with Drew Gooden on the Wizards. Gooden is in his 13th season in the NBA. Fourth-year twins Marcus and Markieff Morris are the only other KU teammates on an NBA roster with the Phoenix Suns. Markieff played his entire first season in Phoenix, while Marcus joined his brother late in the 2013 season from Houston.
Four Jayhawks from Kansas’ 2008 NCAA National Championship team remain active in the NBA with Cole Aldrich (New York), Darrell Arthur (Denver), Mario Chalmers (Miami) and Brandon Rush (Golden State).
Thomas Robinson (Portland) and Jeff Withey (New Orleans) were part of KU’s NCAA runner-up team in 2012, while Kansas 2002 and 2003 Final Four standouts Nick Collison (Oklahoma City) and Kirk Hinrich (Chicago) return for their 12th seasons in the NBA.
KU second-year players include Ben McLemore with Sacramento and Withey. Xavier Henry begins his fifth season in the NBA and his second with the Los Angeles Lakers.
KU’s second-only No. 1 NBA Draft selection, joining Danny Manning in 1988, Andrew Wiggins is one of three NBA rookies from the 2013-14 Kansas team. Wiggins is with Minnesota, while Joel Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick, is with Philadelphia and Tarik Black with Houston.
Kansas’ 17 players in the NBA are the most among the Big 12 schools.
Kansas will face top-ranked Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will be televised on ESPN and will be the second of a doubleheader (Duke-Michigan State) with an approximate start time of 8 p.m. (Central). KU will return home on Monday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. to host Rider in the opening round of the Orlando Classic. The Rider game will be televised on Jayhawk IMG TV/ESPN3/ESPN Full Court. KU will then head to Orlando, Florida, for bracket play in the Orlando Classic. KU will face Rhode Island at 1:30 p.m. (Central) on Thanksgiving Day and either Tennessee or Santa Clara the following day, Nov. 28, at 11 a.m. The event concludes on Sunday, Nov. 30.
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