Two Kansas University basketball players appear to be ahead of the rest in early-season running for the Jayhawks' most-improved-player award.
"I'd say Darnell," KU coach Bill Self said Monday night on his Hawk Talk radio show.
He was referring to senior forward Darnell Jackson, who ranks first on the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and third in scoring (11.5 ppg) after putting up marks of 5.5 points and 5.1 boards a year ago.
"But from the start of the season to now, I'd say Cole. I think he has improved the most since school started," Self added of Minnesota big man Cole Aldrich. "He was behind. He's catching up fast."
Aldrich averages 3.6 points and 3.4 boards while coming off the bench to the tune of 9.5 minutes a game.
"Rebounds per minute, Cole is as good as we have," Self said of the 6-foot-11, 240-pounder, who has 44 boards in 123 minutes. "He replaced Darnell from last year in rebounds per minute."
Jackson has 85 rebounds in 297 minutes.
Self did want to mention one additional player in the "most improved" category.
"Also, I think Mario has gotten better every year. His stat line and production has been as efficient as any guard I've had in a long time," Self indicated.
Junior Mario Chalmers is KU's second-leading scorer at 12.3 points a game. He has 61 assists against 26 turnovers and 40 steals in KU's 13 games, all victories.