KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of basketball talk at Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday at the Sprint Center.
Instead there was more discussion surrounding Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and his program, which is facing NCAA allegations.
KU was notified last month by the NCAA of significant violations within its storied men’s basketball program. They include multiple Level 1 violations tied primarily to recruiting, lack of institutional control and a responsibility charge leveled against its Hall of Fame coach.
But on Wednesday, Self seemed confident in his program and, perhaps, himself.
“We’re going through some stuff now but absolutely, Kansas will always prevail, always,” he said. “And I’d like to think I will as well, but the school is more important than the individual.
“But there is 100% confidence that Kansas will prevail. And I do believe I’ve addressed the questions that’s been asked of me in every manner that I can. I don’t like it, but it’s something we’ve got to deal with.”
For the players it’s not a distraction at all.
“We try not to pay attention to the outside noise,” point guard Devon Dotson said. “I mean, we hear some of it, but that only adds fuel to fire and motivates us.”
“When we are in the gym or when we are outside apart from it, we don’t listen to the outside noise,” center Udoka Azubuike said. “We’re like a family.”
While Kansas was once again ranked at the top of the Big 12, Kansas State is predicted to be ninth in the conference.
But with forward Xavier Sneed back, there’s room for optimism.
“There’s a little pressure on him, but I’m just trying to get him to enjoy every day, make the most of it, work your butt off,” Head Coach Bruce Weber said. “That’s with all the guys, and we just got to go prove it.”
“Being more of a vocal leader is something I’ve been trying to work on, and I’ve think I’ve been doing a good job helping some of the younger guys,” Sneed said. “And if I can get some of those guys to come along, I think we’ll have a pretty good team.”
One other note, KU’s Dotson is nursing an ankle injury. He is day-to-day but expected to be back next week for the game and ready in time for Duke.