Kansas City, Mo. (KSNT) – KU men’s basketball has its challenges this year, even though it’s coming off a national championship.
“Last year, you kind of had security blankets with guys that had played in your program,” head coach Bill Self said. “Now, I’m nervous because you don’t have those same security blankets. I think I probably am a little more into this year than what I was last year.”
Dajuan Harris and Jalen Wilson are those security blankets now. They’re helping the freshman get up to speed, while trying to improve their own game.
“Me and J-Will coming in and leading, just trying to help the younger guys because we’re not experienced right now,” Harris said. “We have a lot of players that played last year, but they really didn’t play.”
Self and the Jayhawks’ three veteran players represented KU at Big 12 media day in Kansas City. One of the veteran players is redshirt-senior Kevin McCullar, who joins the Jayhawks from Texas Tech. He’s on a new team, but, as a senior, he’s already having to assume a leadership role.
“Transferring anywhere different is just transferring,” McCullar said. “You’ve got to make the best decision for you, and whatever the best game plan is and where you fit in the best. Kansas was the best place for me.”
The goal for the whole team is clear, from the seniors to the freshmen.
“I want to accomplish another championship,” Wilson said. “Being able to reach that moment is very special. It’s a lot of happiness. Having the opportunity to do it again, I don’t want anything less than that.”
They knowing trying to repeat can be even harder than the first championship.
“People already wanted to beat us anyway,” Harris said. “They want to beat us even more, now, after that national championship, so we’ve just got to be ready.”
KU gets its first competition Saturday when the Jayhawks scrimmage Illinois.