The day has finally come! I am officially counting down the hours until KU tips off mid court for a good 2 hours of pure enjoyment! Well, let’s hope so at least. KU has their first exhibition game tonight against Pitt State and I am hoping it will have a happy ending like the last 37 times. The start of basketball is something I look forward to every year. It seems like eternity waiting after the NCAA Tournament is over for the next year to begin. This season, or as Coach Self would say this ‘process’ should be an interesting one. Kansas has a young team this year, a lot of new faces, and a few returning who need to work on their level of dependability. Regardless of the ranking (pre-season 13th) I still come ready to cheer the hawks on tonight! Missing three leaders on our team will be an adjustment, but I do feel the decision to suspend Taylor and Johnson was the right one. T-Rob will be missed, again no reason to risk potential serious injury during pre-season play. (Can I get a “Conner Teahan” shout out?) This season I ultimately hope that the Hawks can pull it together, play as a team, play solid, practice the fundamentals, and stay out of trouble. They have to play smart, rely on each other, and Tyshawn needs to mute the (Dun, Dun, Dun) sounds of the Sports Center Highlight Reel in his head when he has the ball. We have talented players they just need to make smart decisions on the court and play to their full potential. We have seen Self take young teams and make them into something great; I have complete faith he can do it again. So many people want to count Kansas out this year, but I think this year of growth will be exciting, frustrating at times, but in the end the results over time will be proof of why we have so much tradition. And confirmation of why Kansas fans are the best in the country!
On a final note, I still don’t understand all of these players leaving early or skipping college all together to spring to the NBA. There are so many years of development they miss – on and off the court. A prime example would be, most recently, Josh Selby. A kid with tremendous talent, grave desire, and potential to be an incredible competitor; however, he pranced onto the college court and couldn’t compete at a high level right off the bat. Mostly because he faced bigger challenges, taller players, and a totally different atmosphere. And yet, he chose to skip out on the rest of college to move up another level with ever larger scale talent. The 3 pointer he used to be able to easily drain in High School over the top of a five-foot-nine coach’s son doesn’t work as easily as top NCAA defenders. He needed that time to develop and get used to bigger talent, learn how college works, and get his feet wet with what happens when you are desired in college bars by the so called ‘jersey chasers.’ Instead, he chose to forgo the rest of his college time and possibly a prominent NBA career be a practice dummy or bench warmer for a little cash. Or worse case, like this year an NBA lockout with no chance to play. It will never make sense to me! I understand the possibility of getting injured and losing money by waiting, but I will always believe the experience and maturity they gain in college would be a better decision in the long run.
That’s my 2-cents, so let’s end with a ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK, GO KU! One final thing, a shout out to the best PG ever… Jacque Vaughn.