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.
In an age when so much communication is non-verbal, from games played with remotes to thumbs, not voices, doing the talking on phones, it has become increasingly difficult to find people in any walk of life comfortable locking eyes and speaking with strong voices. Graham does both.
The Marines who worked with the Kansas basketball team named Graham the team’s best leader, and coach Bill Self took it a step beyond that.
“He’s probably as popular as any student is on campus,” Self said. “I mean, everybody knows him. Everybody likes him. He’s got potential to be a great leader, and he’s really a good basketball player.”
If there’s been one theme during the Jayhawks’ first week of official practice, it’s been Self’s praise of Graham, a 6-foot-2 guard who spent last season at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., the same prep school that produced former Kansas players Thomas Robinson and Naadir Tharpe.
“I think he’s more ready to play right now than any freshman point guard we’ve signed in a while,” Self said this week.
So take that into consideration, but remember it’s still early October. Because as Kansas prepares for its annual “Late Night in the Phog” festivities on Friday night, there’s another storyline emerging: The Jayhawks are so deep in the backcourt, that even Self isn’t quite sure who will end up earning the major minutes.
“To be quite candid,” Self said, “it’s a coin flip.”
Self revealed Tuesday that he attended Game 7 of the 1985 World Series at Royals Stadium with San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford.
At the time, both Self and Buford were part of Larry Brown’s coaching staff at KU.
“R.C. and I jumped in his Jeep Cherokee. … We went and bought a keg of beer, and we put it in the back. And we said, ‘Let’s just try to get a ticket,’ ” Self said. “And we drove right to the front of the building, and it was the bottom of the first, and the guy was saying, ‘Face value.’ And we bought two tickets, parked right there in front of the building and went in and sat about 10 rows up right off the right-field line.
“I got kind of spoiled then, and I certainly am spoiled now. It’s fun to watch.”
Here’s the original article that was written in 2008 about this story
Alongside the most prominent men's basketball coaches in the Midwest, Kansas head coach Bill Self participated in the American Cancer Society's seventh annual Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Reception Tuesday evening inside Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.
A year ago, the event celebrated the 20th anniversary of Coaches vs. Cancer. In 2014, all those in attendance again paid tribute to contributions made by cancer survivor, Hall of Fame coach at Missouri and Coaches vs. Cancer Founding Father Norm Stewart and his wife, Virginia, who were unable to attend on Tuesday. Stepping in, their son, Lindsey, spoke to the crowd on behalf of his parents and extended the family's sincere gratitude for making the foundation the enormous success that it has been.
During the evening's main event, emceed by Time Warner Cable's Dave Stewart, he announced that last year the Kansas City-area raised nearly $4.5 million to combat the disease. In the existence of Coaches vs. Cancer, a remarkable $100 million has been raised to "Finish the Fight" – which Stewart noted was this year's theme.
"This is a cause that touches everybody, almost on a daily basis," Self said. "For a Kansas guy to say, Norm Stewart is one of the coolest coaches that this profession has ever had and he was the ultimate competitor. To see how he took something that affected him personally and how he's flipped that into helping so many others, and the sacrifices that he and so many others have made to help the American Cancer Society – it's pretty remarkable."
10/8/14, 12:50 AM
Guess what yall...I played in my 1st NBA game today. It was awesome by the way. I might be able to do something at this level
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
“I’m a really big character guy,” said Brown, who plans to set up more visits later. “I want to be in an environment where the coaches treat every player the same way. I don’t want better treatment because I play more. The walk-ons and the guys who don’t play as much have a big role too.”
Late Night in the Phog visitors: Jaylen Brown, Carlton Bragg, Brandon Ingram, Tyler Dorsey, Stephen Zimmerman, Marcus LoVett, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum, Schnider Herard, Trae Young, Mitch Ballock, Kobi Simmons, Tyler Cook, Marques Bolden, Troy Brown and Nick Rakocevic.
My Late Night in the Phog videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on YouTube