A new basketball season is right around the corner, and Jayhawk fans should expect a few new things from this year’s team. Coming off of a devastating National Championship loss to Kentucky last year, coach Bill Self’s squad is hungrier than ever for not only another National Championship appearance, but a title. After winning the title in 2008, Kansas wants to win their second championship in five years, and with Bill Self coaching, their is a great chance KU could earn another title. Self has won 476 games in his career. He is also only 49 years old. Bill has won an average of 84 percent of games he has coached at Kansas, putting him on track to achieve the most wins of all time in NCAA history. The 2012 Kansas basketball team has the right coaching and attitude, but lacks the needed experience.
This is a relatively young team. Led by only four seniors, this team may struggle. The Jayhawks will be centered around Elijah Johnson, a three point specialist, Jeff Withey, a possible All-American center, and Travis Releford, who can control the momentum of any game. Kansas basketball will be a small team height wise. There is one true center on the team in Jeff Withey, and he can not play the entire game. However,
Kansas is stacked in the guard position, and has plenty of talent. Freshmen Jamari Traylor and Ben McLemore, who were both suspended by the NCAA last season for eligibility reasons, are dynamic players who can play both ends of the floor with ease. What Jamari Traylor lacks in height, he makes up for in his 220 pound frame. Ben McLemore is one of the most athletic players to come to Kansas. He can leap in the air for rebounds like a forward, and drive to the basket and finish like the guard he is.
There are no major injuries on this Kansas squad. Forward Kevin Young broke his hand a few weeks ago, but is expected to be fully recovered by the start of the season. Other than Young’s minor injury, the team will be ready to go versus Southeast Missouri State on November 9th.
Kansas’ non-conference schedule this year is easier than in years past. Only three preseason ranked teams are on the Jayhawks’ schedule. The first test for Kansas will be when they take on Michigan State in Atlanta, Georgia. However, the toughest test will take place in Columbus, Ohio, where the Jayhawks will face off against Ohio State. This will be a revenge game for the Buckeyes, as they look to avenge the losses they suffered against Kansas in both the regular season and the Final Four last season. Kansas will have a few competitors for the Big XII Championship this year. The most likely of teams to dethrone Kansas this year is Baylor. They beat Kansas in Waco, Texas, last season. These two teams, in the end, will be duking it out for the top spot in the Big XII.
This should be an exciting year for Kansas basketball. There is a legitimate chance that the Kansas Jayhawks could end the season with their sixth national championship in school history. The coaching is there, but is the maturity in the young players? Maturity comes with time, so time will ultimately tell.