Probabilities of a potent double-post offense featuring Marija Zinic and Danielle McCray are problematical for Bonnie Henrickson these days.
Henrickson will go into her third season as Kansas University women's basketball coach with an air of uncertainly surrounding Zinic, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, and McCray, a 5-10 freshman.
"I have anxiety about how dependable Marija can be," said Henrickson, just returned from two weeks on the road recruiting. "She hasn't been consistent. It's been frustrating."
Henrickson based her assessment on Zinic's spotty play in unsupervised pick-up games. Zinic started slowly last year, too, but wound up as the Jayhawks' fourth-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer, even though she didn't start a game.
With preseason drills scheduled to begin Oct. 13, Henrickson also has concerns about McCray, although for a different reason. The centerpiece of Henrickson's seven-member freshman class is still in a comeback mode after undergoing shin surgery.
"She's behind everyone else," Henrickson said. "She missed three and almost four weeks because of the shin procedure."
McCray had off-and-on lower-leg woes during her standout basketball and track career at Olathe East High, then the nagging problem worsened under the increased offseason college workout load.
"She couldn't run because of the pain," Henrickson said. "It finally became unbearable."
Zinic and McCray are the leading candidates to replace Crystal Kemp as the Jayhawks' go-to inside player. Kemp was KU's leading scorer (18.6) and rebounder (8.4) as a senior last season. The 6-2 Kemp is still in school, but will graduate in December and already has signed a contract to play professionally in Romania next winter.
Henrickson also needs to come up with outside shooters to replace guards Erica Hallman and Kaylee Brown, who combined for 120 of KU's 147 three-point goals last season.
Lindsay Ballweg, a 5-10 freshman out of Overland Park Aquinas High, is regarded as one of the leading candidates to fill that role.
"Lindsay is doing well," Henrickson said. "She's handled the conditioning part much better than I would have thought."
One thing is certain. With half of the 14-woman roster composed of freshmen, some of the first-year players will have to contribute.
"I've been pleased with all seven of them," Henrickson said. "They've been low maintenance. I haven't had to discipline anybody. They've all been going to class. They've all been really good."
KU officials have announced that 24 of the Jayhawks' 31 games will be televised, including all 18 in Allen Fieldhouse. Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 will do 11 games, including exhibition contests against Fort Hays State on Nov. 1 and Washburn on Nov. 5. Four will be on national cable networks Fox Sports and CSTV.
"That's great exposure for our program," Henrickson said. "It's part of our growth. A lot of recruits will get to see us play."
The KU women will participate in Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 13 in Allen Fieldhouse.