The first preseason poll of the 1998-99 men's college basketball season is hot off the presses.
In what some may deem a slam to Kansas University's program -- the country's winningest program in the 1990s -- the current issue of Slam magazine ranks the Jayhawks 19th.
Duke is No. 1, followed by Connecticut, Michigan State, Stanford, Maryland, Kentucky, Temple, Washington, Tennessee and Arizona.
``Won't Roy Williams be happy to see that. Now if he wins 30 games he won't be hung in effigy by a bunch of farmers who don't know a good thing when it hits them in the overalls,'' Slam magazine writes, commenting on high expectations of KU fans.
Slam says KU will still win the ``pathetic Big 12,'' with its starting five of ``Ryan Robertson, Kenny Gregory, Lester Earl, Ashante Johnson and Eric Chenowith. (The lineup) doesn't exactly stink, but all the talk of Final Fours and national championships will have to die down a year or so.''
Status quo: KU's jerseys will look quite similar to last year's with one exception. A small patch, with the letters ``KU'' will be on the front of the jersey where the v-neck comes together. Nike, for the second year, will produce the uniforms.
Fieldhouse changes: The Allen Fieldhouse court will be ready for KU's home volleyball opener against San Francisco on Sept. 18. The outline of the state of Kansas remains at center court, but it is no longer yellow and now contains the state flag within its borders.
Also new to the court will be the lettering ``Allen Fieldhouse.'' And the words ``James Naismith Court'' will be larger this year and a natural wood color instead of white.
Construction on the building will continue probably until Late Night With Roy Williams on Oct. 16. Wider doors are being created along with installation of an elevator, additional restrooms and concessions.
No date change yet: Look for Nov. 17 or 18 as the new date for the KU-Pennsylvania game in Philadelphia, with an announcement slated for the near future. The game was originally set for Nov. 16.
100 year video coming: A video, ``Kansas Basketball: A Century of Tradition'' will be on sale in November. The video is nearly two hours long and will chronicle KU's first 100 years of hoops.
Campus visits this weekend: If it's football season, that means it's time for some high school preps to visit campus. Andrew Gooden, 6-9 from El Cerrito, Calif., will make his official visit to KU for this weekend's KU-Oklahoma State game. Nick Collison, 6-9 from Iowa Falls, Iowa, will be here on his fourth unofficial visit to KU. Recruiting expert Bob Gibbons now predicts Collison will choose Kansas over Duke. ...
Hinrich visits ISU unofficially: Kirk Hinrich, 6-3 from Sioux City, Iowa, made an unofficial visit to Iowa State last weekend. He's also considering Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Kentucky.
Hinrich committed to ISU slightly more than a year ago, but withdrew the commitment when former Cyclone coach Tim Floyd accepted the Chicago Bulls' head coaching job.
``I liked him,'' Hinrich told the Ames Tribune, referring to new coach Larry Eustachy. ``He's a nice guy. He's similar to coach Floyd. Maybe they made the right choice bringing him in.''
While on campus, Hinrich also met ISU president Martin Jischke. Later, he joined some current Cyclones in a pick-up basketball game.
Oral commitments: Brian Wethers, 6-4, Murietta, Calif., to California; Kevin Gaines, 6-3 of Las Vegas, to Michigan; Majestic Mapp, 6-2, Bronx, N.Y., to Virginia; Jason Williams, 6-2, Metuchen, N.J., to Duke.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is email@example.com