KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNT)- Kansas basketball is ranked No. 1 in the country in college basketball’s Preseason AP Poll for just the fourth time ever.
With the return of an elite defender in Kevin McCullar Jr., an elite passer in Dajaun Harris Jr. and a 7-foot-2 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year in Hunter Dickinson- this might be one of the most highly anticipated seasons in Jayhawk basketball’s rich history.
With anticipation comes expectations and with expectations comes pressure. Bill Self was quick to remind reporters, at Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City on Wednesday, there is always pressure to succeed for KU men’s basketball.
“Being preseason number one, people say with all that talent, does that put more pressure on you? I personally don’t think so,” head coach Bill Self said. “I think we’d be putting pressure on ourselves regardless. I think from our fanbase standpoint, the way I’ve always thought is, our fanbase thinks we have better players than everybody else anyway.”
Players agree. Even in year one with Kansas, Dickinson is developing an understanding of just how high the standard is.
“The intensity for Kansas basketball, the investment, like I said earlier, has been off the charts,” Dickinson said. “Everybody’s eager for the season to start because this is what they live for.”
Dajaun Harris Jr. on the other hand, enters his fifth season with Kansas, and his fourth taking the floor. He says the top preseason ranking changes nothing from a preparation standpoint.
“It doesn’t matter. The expectations are high, they’ve always been high,” Harris Jr. said. “It’s just another year. So basically, we just got to be ready to come in every game.”
KU opens regular season play at home on November 6 against North Carolina Central.