Notebook: Kansas’ Remy Martin feeling great, healthy after heavy Big 12 minutes

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas guard Remy Martin (11) drives against TCU guard Mike Miles (1) during the first half on Friday, March 11, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Remy Martin scored 10 points and took 10 shots in the Kansas men’s basketball team’s 75-62 win over TCU in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament on Friday at T-Mobile Center and said he feels completely healthy after missing a significant portion of the season with a bone bruise in his right knee.

Martin, the senior guard who transferred to Kansas from Arizona State after last season, played 18:45 in the victory for his greatest workload since he played 22 minutes against Texas Tech on Jan. 24.

That was before he missed seven games to recover from the knee injury, which had limited him since early January.

He had not scored as many points or taken as many shots since Kansas’ game against Dayton on Nov. 26.

“I felt great,” Martin said. “I felt great just being out there, doing anything I can to contribute to the win. Every time I go out there, I try to give my best. I’m here to win. I’m here to win a national championship. I’m here to win a tournament. Anything I do to help the team, I’m fully invested in, so it felt good to be out there and just have fun and see Ochai (Agbaji)’s dunk and Mitch (Lightfoot) shooting 3s. That’s fun. I went out there and had fun and so I had a great time.”

Martin played 11:47 in Kansas’ quarterfinal win against West Virginia on Thursday but three minutes in the second half.

Coach Bill Self said Wednesday, following the Jayhawks’ first practice at T-Mobile Center, that “it would be nice to give him some major minutes” during the Big 12 tournament.

Martin played the final 4:15 of the first half against TCU after Dajuan Harris Jr. picked up his second foul, a stretch of 6:25 midway through the second half and then the final 3:20.

“My knee’s 100%, you know, so I just — I love this month. This month is for champions, and I enjoy being out there on the biggest stage and playing with the Kansas uniform, so I’m ultimately ready to go out there and play. I feel great, and whatever I can (do) to help, I’m willing to do.”

No rest for the weary

Self said that playing in the title game is not as much of a disadvantage as it may be in conferences such as the Big Ten or SEC, which conclude their tournaments on Sunday.

Baylor, which lost in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday, and Auburn, which was defeated Friday in the SEC quarterfinals, are like Kansas: potential No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. They will have extra rest, whereas the Jayhawks will continue playing.

“You play on Sunday, turn around and leave on Tuesday, and Monday has to be an off day because your guys are exhausted,” Self said. “There is an advantage of ending on Saturday, in my opinion. To me, it doesn’t come into play. But if we played on Sunday and played on Thursday (in the first round of the NCAA Tournament), it would almost be like, ‘Well, if it didn’t go great on Saturday, that would be OK.’

“But I think the way our tournament is set up, I think it’s set up perfectly for the four teams in the semifinals not to worry about that at all.”

Kansas will be playing in the Big 12 championship game for the 15th time since the conference was established prior to the 1996-97 season. It has won the tournament championship in 11 of its previous 14 appearances.

Self upset by Missouri coach’s firing

Self said he was disappointed by Missouri’s decision to fire coach Cuonzo Martin on Friday. Martin was 78-77 over five seasons and played a role, along with Self, in reinstituting the “Border War” series in men’s basketball, beginning with an exhibition game that raised $1.75 million for hurricane relief in October 2017.

Martin’s firing came one day after Kansas State and Bruce Weber decided to part after 10 seasons.

“I hate that,” Self said. “I know schools and businesses have to make decisions that are hard to make, and many times unpopular — or, maybe they do it because it is popular. That’s two coaches in the last two days that basically have been our biggest rivals, and I personally don’t like that.

“I feel bad for Cuonzo. I did not know that (he was fired). I think he’s a really good coach, I think he’s a better guy, and I’m sure he’ll land on his feet.”

This and that

By scoring 22 points, Agbaji moved into the top 20 in scoring in school history with 1,554 points. He surpassed Calvin Thompson, who scored 1,548 points from 1983-86. With a pair of 3-pointers, he also moved into a tie for fifth, matching the 236 made by Kirk Hinrich from 2000-03. … Redshirt sophomore forward Jalen Wilson matched a season high with five assists. … Super senior Jalen Coleman-Lands played only 1:31, his least work in a game this season. … Kansas improved to 49-12 all time in the Big 12 tournament, and it has reached a conference tournament championship game for the 23rd time. … TCU was trying to reach a conference tournament final for the first time since 1997, when it lost 89-68 to Utah in the WAC title game.


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