The much anticipated, though unofficial, start to the 2013-2014 Kansas Jayhawks basketball season begins tonight with an exhibition game against the Pittsburg State Gorillas at 7:00 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks return just two players who averaged double digit minutes a year ago. Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe scored 5.5 points a game while averaging 19.4 minutes. He also averaged 3.1 assists and 1.5 rebounds on outing a year ago.
Sophomore forward Perry Ellis put up 5.8 points a game while seeing 13.6 minutes of action per game. He added 3.9 rebounds per contest last season.
Of course, this season isn’t about the returnees, at least not yet. It is about the incoming class of 6 freshmen and one senior transfer. Tonight is their debut in “The Phog” in a game setting.
Attention, both local and national, will be shining on this team all season. At the center of all this hype and attention is super frosh, Andrew Wiggins. Before even playing a second for Kansas, Wiggins has been dubbed the Preseason Player of the Year by CBSSPorts.com. The young Jayhawks will need Wiggins to be a s good as advertised.
Wiggins is far from being the only talent to make his debut tonight. Tarik Black, a senior transfer from Memphis has 102 games of experience under his belt, 60 of those as a starter. Center Joel Embiid, who made ESPN’s final Top 50 prospect list a year ago, coming in at number 6, and Wayne Selden, number 14 on ESPN’s list, will both add talent and athleticism to the line up.
Other freshmen playing in front of the home crowd to tonight include Wichita native Conner Frankamp (#46 ESPN’s list), Brannen Greene, and Frank Mason. Every one of them will bring a terrific skill set to the floor.
This should be an exciting, deep team as Bill Self will try to mold them into a championship level unit. Self and the Jayhawks will be trying to extend the streak of shared or outright Big 12 Conference regular season championships to 10 this season
This game is an exhibition and will not count as an official contest. Even though the stats won’t count, fans are eager to catch a glimpse at Bill Self’s most ballyhooed recruiting class.
Tonight should be the very first step in what promises to be a very exciting year with an incredibly talented bunch of youngsters.
You can catch the game on Time Warner’s Metro Sports.