Jayhawks’ Bill Self talks new season, expectations at Big 12 Tipoff

Jayhawks

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — After a disappointing end to the 2020-2021 basketball season, the Kansas Jayhawks are reloaded and ready for a deep run this season.

The Jayhawks participated in the Big 12 Tipoff event on Wednesday and Thursday, and Head Coach Bill Self is optimistic they will live up to preseason expectations.

“I’m excited. I like our team. I think we’ve added some experience. We’ve added some athleticism. Hopefully some shooting,” Self said. “The league was so terrific last year, of course, with Baylor being the elite of the elite, I think this year’s league has an opportunity to be every bit as good as what it has been in the past. I know everyone is looking forward to that challenge.”

Last season, the Jayhawks finished second in the Big 12 behind eventual national champion Baylor. They finished in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a blowout loss to Southern California, 85-51.

Being picked as the preseason favorite this year doesn’t change the team’s mindset, though, according to Self.

“Everybody to me looks good on paper,” Self said. “We probably look as good as anybody on paper because we’ve returned guys where most of the other programs don’t return as many guys. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Over the offseason, Kansas added a few transfer players, one of them being Remy Martin, who Self is particularly high on.

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

Last season at Arizona State, Martin averaged 19 points, two rebounds, and three assists per game.

In addition to the transfers, the Jayhawks have a starter returning, Ochai Agbaji, who withdrew his name from the NBA Draft.

Agbaji was instrumental in the success of the 2020-2021 season and will be a welcome sight on the sidelines this coming season, averaging 14 points per game last season.

“You have a lot of threats on the floor, so defenses have to respect that,” Agbaji said. “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.”

The Jayhawks will open the 2020-2021 season against Michigan State on Nov. 9 in the State Farm Champions Classic, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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