Gary Bedore’s KU Basketball Notebook

Jayhawks headed back to Canada

Kansas University basketball fans, who love to travel to see their Jayhawks, might want to consider applying for passports in coming months.

The Jayhawks, as they did in September of 2004, will travel to Canada over the Labor Day holiday weekend (Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2008) to play exhibition games against Canadian college teams.

The Jayhawks likely will be touring either Toronto or Ottawa, rather than Vancouver as they did in ’04.

“We’re in the process of trying to complete a scenario to take the team to Canada,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We can do it every four years (in accordance with NCAA foreign trip rules). We think it’s a good year to do it. It will be good for such a young team to be able to practice 10 days before the trip, then go and play good competition.”

Self said KU’s last trip to Canada was productive, especially for squad newcomers Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Alex Galindo, C.J. Giles and Matt Kleinmann.

“We had such a veteran team I didn’t feel the trip was as important for Wayne (Simien), Mike (Lee), Keith (Langford) and Aaron (Miles),” Self said. “Looking at it now, it made for somewhat of a long season for those guys. But we are going to have so many young guys next year. We’ll be as young as a team can be. The young guys will benefit the most.”

KU has signed five players so far in recruiting: Mario Little, Markieff and Marcus Morris, Quintrell Thomas and Travis Releford with the possibility of additional signees in April.

KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said the Jayhawks would play three or four games on the Canadian trip.

“The rules state you can’t leave campus until after class on Friday,” Keating said. “We could play Saturday, play two games on Sunday and one on Monday as we did last time. It’s a short trip which is why we’re looking at Toronto and Ottawa.”

¢ KU, UMass to tangle: Look for KU to play Massachusetts Dec. 13 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The contract has not yet arrived in the mail, but the two sides have agreed to play. UMass, coached by Travis Ford, is off to an 8-2 start this year.

¢ Coach wins 80 percent of games: Bill Self’s record at KU now stands at 116-29 following Tuesday’s 71-66 victory over Georgia Tech.

That’s an .800 win mark, second best in KU coaching history behind Roy Williams’ .805 mark (418-101). Larry Brown is third at .754.

¢ Collins’ son, girlfriend visit: Sherron Collins 8-month old son, Sherr’mari, and Collins’ girlfriend, Re’Quiya Aguirre, returned to Chicago on Tuesday after their most recent trip to town.

“After the game, I was like ‘Ah, he’s going so he won’t be home when I get back, but it’ll be all right,”’ Collins told “I go home Saturday to Chicago for Christmas break so I’ll see him soon. I got Christmas presents for him.”

Sports Illustrated’s story on Collins by Bill Trocchi is available at The Journal-World’s story on Collins and his son can be read here.

¢ Slick floor: KU’s basketball players found the floor at Georgia Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum slippery during Tuesday’s 71-66 victory over the Yellow Jackets.

“The guys said something about it at shootaround. I said, ‘Guys you already have (made) a built-in excuse,”’ Self said Wednesday on his Hawk Talk radio show. “But it was slick. Somebody cleaned it incorrectly or something. It was a skating rink out there. Guys were sliding everywhere.

“There were times Mario (Chalmers) got beat with the crossover. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have got beat, but it was slick. I’m not saying anything bad about Georgia Tech, (but) I’m sure their players would tell you the same thing.”

Of KU seeing a 13-point lead dip to one late, Self said: “We played not to lose instead of to win. It was good to win the game even though we didn’t perform well. I’m glad we won. It’s still a good win. It wasn’t the way it needed to go down (at end).”