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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 Thursday.
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, 13 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.
The Jayhawks were selected as the league favorite by the coaches, the Big 12 announced Thursday morning. But Texas was right behind them. KU received six first-place votes and 78 points overall, while the Longhorns earned three first-place votes and 74 points.
Oklahoma came in third, receiving one vote for first place and 67 points.
Ukrainian 17-year-old Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was so excited to play basketball at Kansas that he forgot to pack a basic necessity: pants.
When the 6-foot-8 guard, who likes to be called Svi, arrived in Lawrence, he needed to go shopping. Svi’s roommate, junior Evan Manning, said sophomore Wayne Selden and himself took Svi shopping at Urban Outfitters.
“We had to get him some pants,” Manning said. “He didn’t have many dress clothes or anything like that. So he had to get all hooked up with that. He doesn’t have much clothes to go out and eat with or hang out in at night, so we had to get him caught up.”
Svi said he showed up in Lawrence with only athletic gear to play basketball with because that’s all he cares about. Everyone on the team said Svi is really dedicated to playing basketball, and a lot them have funny stories of his love for the sport. For instance, junior Perry Ellis said Svi injured his leg on his recruiting trip on May 16, but still went to the gym everyday to shoot around.
…Manning has helped Svi acclimate to his new lifestyle as any good roommate would. Besides helping Svi get a new wardrobe, Manning said Svi asks a lot of questions about living in Lawrence and speaking the English language. Svi knows Ukrainian, Russian and French, as well, but he said French was the hardest language to learn.
…Self said Svi doesn’t speak or understand English as well as Embiid did, but the difference between Embiid and Svi is Embiid acted like he didn’t understand English, and Svi acts like he does understand.
“Joel [Embiid] understood [English] perfectly, but he always acted like he didn't,” Self said. “He was a master of that.”
…At the age of 17, Svi becomes the youngest player to ever play in the Big 12 conference. Despite still being a teenager, Manning said Svi is really mature.
“If I were to meet him and not know anything about him, I would think he’s a lot older than he is,” Manning said. “Physically, he’s a pretty strong dude, but the way he acts around people, he’s a really classy guy.”
…Self said Svi will be a big part of this Kansas team no matter how well he can communicate, and Oubre said Svi’s English won’t matter come game time.
“He doesn’t have to speak the best English because his game speaks for itself,” Oubre said.
Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis and freshman forward Cliff Alexander have been named to the 2014-15 Preseason All-Big 12 Team in a vote by the conference coaches the league announced Thursday. 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 who was named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Ellis said. “But for me, that’s something I try not to worry about. I just try to go out there and I play. I can’t control that, I don’t want to think too much about it also, so I just try to go out there and do the best I can.”
Alexander and Ellis were the only Jayhawks that landed a preseason honor, and coach Bill Self said he was shocked by the lack of Kansas mentions.
“The one thing that I was really surprised at is that not one of our players got a vote other than Perry,” Self said. “We didn’t even have an honorable mention guy other than Perry. That may be something that we tell our guys because we have plenty good enough players that should at least receive some consideration.”
Alexander said the honor does mean something to him, but that he doesn’t put too much focus into it. Myles Turner, who almost joined Cliff in Lawrence, but chose the Longhorns instead, was the other freshman named. Alexander said he’s looking forward to matching up with him when Kansas plays Texas Jan. 24.
“It would have been [nice] if he came here, but he did his own thing,” Alexander said. “Now I just got to go at his head.”
Late Night in the Phog is quickly approaching and Kansas is soon to embark on the challenge of extending its 10-straight Big 12 Conference Championship run. On Wednesday, the men's basketball team revealed the new behind-the-scenes home of where the Jayhawks will start their journey – their locker room.
Major KU basketball facilities renovations were completed in October 2009, a project consisting of new locker rooms, meeting rooms, the players' lounge and a practice facility. After five seasons in the new digs, KU and Dimensional Innovations, an Overland Park, Kansas, design and fabrication company, joined forces to give the clubhouse and locker room an ultramodern facelift as the Jayhawks enter the 2014-15 season.
"Dimensional Innovations came to us and made a presentation with their expertise and also incorporated our ideas," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "We thought we had it pretty good before, but this is so much better."
Boot camp over!
@WayneSeldenJr #KUCMB #HsO pic.twitter.com/Hq6Jzq0Nv4
Done with boot camp #OnlyTheStrongSurvive #KUCMB
Boot camp is finally over! Ready for the season! #HsO
Man!! Bootcamp is a wrap!!
Bill Self’s 2014 Basketball Boot Camp is over. ... sort of.
Self’s 16 Kansas University players successfully completed a series of timed sprints and other drills from 6 to 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, with the 12th-year coach stating “the guys did great in making their times. I was very impressed with all of them.”...
Now, in the wake of intense early-morning conditioning the past week and a half, Self today and Friday turns the reins over to Marine Eric Kapitulik, who is bringing “The Program” to town.
“The Program” is a physically and mentally grueling two-day regimen that many schools in the country have had their athletes participate in, including Notre Dame, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas, to name a few.
…“It doesn’t have anything to do with me or our staff. It’s a Marine basically showing our guys some things I think he’s probably learned throughout his time that makes them more mentally tough and more of a team,” Self said.
“One thing with so many young guys and not a senior on scholarship on our team, we need to develop some leaders. Certainly we’ll rely on some really young kids to be in different roles, to be different-type leaders. This will teach us how to be better leaders, how to be better teammates, how to pull together when things get a little fragmented,” Self added.
…As far as the traditional Self Boot Camp, Self said scholarship freshmen Cliff Alexander, Devonté Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Kelly Oubre Jr. all performed well.
“I’d say on a scale of 1 to 10, they were all 8s and 9s. They were good. All of them made their times without any problems,” Self said. “They didn’t just get through it, they tried to really push through it. Svi, Devonté, Kelly and Cliff showed me a little bit more than what I thought they would have this early in their careers from a mental-toughness standpoint.”
The University of Kansas men's and women's basketball teams will ceremoniously tip off their 2014-15 seasons at the 30th annual Late Night in the Phog Friday, Oct. 10, in Allen Fieldhouse.
The 2014 Late Night in the Phog, presented by Hy-Vee, will run from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m. Admission is free and will remain a ticketless, first-come, first-served event; no re-entry passes will be distributed. Doors will open at 3 p.m., and children 12 and under will not be admitted without an accompanying adult. The Fieldhouse doors will be closed when the arena reaches capacity.
Kansas Athletics has announced it will take extra steps to ensure the fun and safety of all attending fans:
With school in session Oct. 10, university parking lots will be restricted by permit until 5 p.m., with the exception of Lot 90 located across Naismith Drive from Allen Fieldhouse; that lot will be available for public parking at no charge starting at noon. Public parking will also be available in the parking garage just north of Allen Fieldhouse for Late Night in the Phog after 5 p.m.; cost will be $5 per vehicle.
As is the tradition at Late Night, fans are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items, which Kansas Athletics will donate to "Just Food" of Douglas County. Just Food will also be outside Allen Fieldhouse taking cash donations for those not able to bring a food item.
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel will oversee the television production of Late Night, which will be seen live on the Jayhawk TV Network, including ESPN3. Nate Bukaty and former men's basketball guard Greg Gurley will serve as hosts. Additionally, 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City and KLWN Radio in Lawrence will provide coverage of the festivities.
KU Athletics: Everything you need to know about Late Night in the Phog