Posts tagged with Kansas
Kansas football players weren't surprised when junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. was recently named the Big 12's preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The Jayhawks, and opponents across the conference, saw Armstrong's ability to disrupt plays throughout the 2016 season and they expect him to only improve this fall.
"First of all, his work ethic is crazy," KU linebacker Joe Dineen said. "Nothing he's got is just because it fell in his lap. He's worked for everything that he has gotten. But he's got speed, strength, all of the moves you need. He's legit D-end and he's going to find himself in NFL one day getting paid to do that."
Armstrong finished his sophomore season with 10 sacks, the most by a KU player since 2008, and 79 total tackles. He was one of three unanimous preseason all-Big 12 selections, and the only unanimous choice on the defense.
"He's got really long arms, really good size," said Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown, a unanimous preseason all-Big 12 pick. "His first step is really good. He's a guy in college that you very rarely see."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."