Posts tagged with Basketball

A look inside of a KU basketball summer practice

Preparing to play four exhibition games in Italy next month, the Kansas men's basketball team is conducting two practices per week.

With several newcomers, the practices are an early opportunity for the Jayhawks to learn how to play alongside each other.

"I'm not saying this is going to help us win one more game," Kansas coach Bill Self said, "but you would think if you do something in the summer, you should be probably a week or two ahead when games start in November. But that's probably about the extent of this.”

The Jayhawks are allowed 10 practices ahead of their trip to Italy.

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Bill Self talks about summer practices, upcoming trip to Italy

After two summer practices in preparation for the team's exhibition games in Italy, Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self gave an update on the team's progress.

Off of the court, he's seen senior point guard Devonte Graham take the top leadership role and he believes the summer practices help set a tone for younger players entering the program.

"This is Devonte's team," Self said. "We want other guys to be leaders and all those things, but everyone is going to look to Devonte."

Self said he plans to play everyone during the exhibition games in Italy in August, but will likely play eligible players together and transfers together.

Despite losing national player of the year Frank Mason III, star freshman Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas, Self believes the Jayhawks have the pieces for another strong season.

"Udoka being healthy, Billy Preston is a talent, Devonte and Malik together is a little different than Frank and Devonte, but still I think there's a chance this team could be pretty good," he said.

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Malik Newman discusses lessons learned from Mason, Graham in redshirt season

Expected to become one of the team's leading scorers in the upcoming season, Kansas sophomore guard Malik Newman did his best to learn from his teammates last year.

That included picking up things from national player of the year Frank Mason III and returning senior Devonte Graham during practices. As a transfer from Mississippi State, Newman was ineligible to play last year.

"Just being able to control the pace of the game; toughness," Newman said. "Just the leadership that those guys brought and the respect that they had."

In addition to what he learned, he spent extra time working on his ball handling. He had a chance to bring the ball up the court in various scrimmages last month, and plans to help Graham at point guard when the team plays in Italy in August.

"I always play with the ball in my hand and I've always been comfortable with it," Newman said. "But I think last year I took a bigger step as far as playing with the ball in my hands."

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Dedric Lawson looking forward to pushing teammates in practice, trip to Italy

Kansas junior forward Dedric Lawson, a transfer from Memphis, isn't eligible to play during the upcoming 2017-18 season, but he has plenty of motivation to bring his best to practice each day.

Lawson is one of three KU transfers — along with his brother KJ Lawson and point guard Charlie Moore — who will sit out all of next year because of the NCAA transfer rule.

"You have to push the players that are playing this year," Lawson said Tuesday before the team conducted one of its practices in preparation for exhibition games in Italy. "That's what me, my brother and the other guys, like Charlie Moore, we've been doing. Just competing with them, making them guys get better every day. Just giving them a better look."

Last year, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Lawson averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds during his sophomore season at Memphis.

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Self comments on not resuming rivalry games against Missouri

Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self responded to comments from Missouri's ex-chancellor R. Bowen Loftin on Tuesday, which cited Self as the main reason for the lack of Border War rivalry games.

"I'm shocked that he would think I would be involved in a football negotiating deal to try to play a game in Arrowhead," Self said. "He may have got me confused with the football coach."

The Border War, once known as the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi River, ended in 2012 when Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.

"I still feel the same way that I have," Self said. "Nothing has changed in my regard. I'm sure there will be a time where Kansas and Missouri play again. I don't know when that time will be."

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Mitch Lightfoot is excited, ready for bigger role in sophomore season

Preparing for a bigger role in his sophomore season, Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot wants to continue adding strength and adding to his game.

Showcasing his touch from behind the 3-point line, Lightfoot scored 22 points in Bill Self's camp scrimmage on Wednesday at Horejsi Center.

"I talked with coach (Self) after the season, I'm going to have to be able to stretch the floor," Lightfoot said. "As a stretch-four man, that's a big part of my game. But I also have to be able to guard the big guys. I was guarding Udoka (Azubuike) in there and stuff like that. I have to be able to do both."

Confident in KU's frontcourt — Lightfoot, Azubuike, Jack Whitman, Billy Preston — Lightfoot said depth won't be an issue in the upcoming season.

"He's picked up where he left off, if not more," Lightfoot said of Azubuike. "Athletic as all gets out. I think he's just going to be a monster this year."

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Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston discusses his role, adjusting to the college level

After scoring 17 points in Wednesday's camp scrimmage at Horejsi Center, Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston talked about his role of playing in the paint and on the perimeter.

"Coach (Bill) Self in practice don't let me take any breaks," Preston said. "Any time I'm just roaming around the perimeter, any time I find myself doing that, he's the first to say something to me, get me in a position he needs or he feels would be best for the team."

Preston showcased all parts of his game Wednesday, hitting a 3-pointer, mid-range jumpers and driving to the rim for dunks.

After a quiet performance in last week's scrimmage, he admitted he made it a focus for himself to play better.

"Last week, I was kind of nervous," Preston said. "First time playing with the guys, playing against the alumni. I didn't play so well, but this following week, I made a commitment to myself to play harder and better."

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Malik Newman, Udoka Azubuike lead Jayhawks in camp scrimmage

Playing for the second straight week in a camp scrimmage Wednesday, Kansas sophomores Malik Newman and Udoka Azubuike made several highlight-reel plays to lead the Crimson squad to a victory against their teammates.

Heating up from behind the 3-point line, Newman scored a team-high 21 points while Azubuike added 18 points with his dominance in the paint.

Check out more highlights from the intrasquad scrimmage provided by Devonte Graham, Billy Preston, Mitch Lightfoot, Charlie Moore, Lagerald Vick and others.

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Billy Preston, Marcus Garrett highlight KU’s camp practice

It may have been mostly drills, but Kansas freshmen Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett made several highlight plays in a practice in front of Bill Self campers on Tuesday at Horejsi Center.

Along with plays from Preston and Garrett, check out a few of the highlights provided by seniors Devonte’ Graham and Jack Whitman, juniors Lagerald Vick and Dedric Lawson, sophomores Udoka Azubuike, Malik Newman, Mitch Lightfoot and Charlie Moore.

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Eljiah Johnson praises KU’s backcourt; details overseas game vs. Tyshawn Taylor

After practicing against the Kansas men's basketball team, including a scrimmage in Bill Self's camp game, former KU guard Elijah Johnson is happy with what he's seen from the Jayhawks' backcourt.

Headlined by Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman, Johnson believes there's tons of potential for the upcoming season.

"I think we've got some weapons," Johnson said. "Although a lot of people haven't been on the floor for us yet, I think coach will whip them up. I don't think this team is going to be one step behind any other team."

Johnson played overseas in several countries last season, finishing in Turkey, which gave him an opportunity to face off against former teammate Tyshawn Taylor — where they both scored more than 30 points.

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