Kansas, K-State ready for basketball season as Jayhawks lead Big 12 preseason poll

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the 10 coaches gathered yet again for another Big 12 Media Day, two things were true.

One, it’s the beginning of the countdown to changes in the conference once Oklahoma and Texas leave, currently slated for 2025. Second, once again, KU found itself on top of the Big 12 Preseason Poll. 

Kansas head coach Bill Self doesn’t really think too much of it, though. Championships aren’t determined on paper, but he said his team can go 10 deep. And with newcomers like Remy Martin, the Jayhawks are looking to pick up the tempo.

“Remy is a guy that adds an energy, a speed, a fun way that others will enjoy playing with him,” Self said. “I think he’s pretty good at playing fast and can create some plays that you can’t coach.”

Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack are returning upperclassmen. They’re excited about the Jayhawks piecing together newcomers and freshmen with upperclassmen like themselves.

“You have a lot of threats on the floor, so defenses have to respect that,” said senior guard Agbaji. “Say we have Christian Braun on the outside, Jalen outside of the wing or Remy at point guard.  That’s a lot of threats around me and around David.”

“Having a lot of older guys, having a lot of veterans, makes a big difference,” said senior center McCormack. “You have someone who knows the game, you have someone who can easier accommodate to what coach wants. They know how to win, they know how to score. So, to have young guys, it’s easier to have them adapt.”

There was no update on any timeline on KU’s NCAA violations. KU picked up another 4-star commitment from Ernest Udeh, Jr. He’s one of the top recruits at the center position. 

When asked about the ongoing NCAA investigation, Athletic Director Travis Goff said “I think it’s more optimism than it is concern. There are some real important conversations going on and necessary conversations taking place — a constitutional review that’s going to happen this winter. You have to take stock in where you’re at as an athletics department and evaluate the things you want to invest in and get better at and improve upon. For the most part, positive change has occurred, and positive change will continue to occur.”

For the Kansas State Wildcats, they’re trying to build off some late season momentum after a disappointing season.

“We’ve added some really nice pieces, we’ve got good energy, really, really positive energy,” said K-State head coach Bruce Weber. “They’ve worked really hard and I think we have a nucleus. But we’ve got to prove it on the court.”

He’s hopeful Mike McGuirl can lead the team to a better season

“We started to become the team we knew we could be, but it wasn’t enough and the focus this offseason was getting better every day. We’re at this point where I feel like we’ve got better but we still need to get better,” said guard McGuirl.

“The other day during an intrasquad scrimmage he went 13 for 17. His efficiency is better, he understands the game, he feels more confident,” Weber said. “It doesn’t matter, Saturday, Sunday, I go in my building, the odds are Mike McGuirl’s in there.”

“The new additions, the three new guys, it’s more like everybody’s happy,” sophomore guard Selton Miguel said. “Happy to be there. So, whenever everyone is happy, it’s fun to improve.”

KU starts the season vs. Michigan State November 9 and K-State starts the season November 10 vs. Florida A&M.

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