Kansas University junior basketball forward Kevin Young — who sat out last season while working as a student assistant coach at Barstow (Calif.) Community College and earning his associate degree at San Bernardino CC — says he’s had no problem re-adjusting to the demands of major-college basketball.
“I think I’ve been fine,” Young said, issuing an emphatic “no” when asked if he’s come close to hitting the proverbial wall this comeback season. “Conditioning has not been a problem for me.”
Young — who combined for six points and three rebounds while playing 23 minutes in Big 12-opening victories over Kansas State and Oklahoma — scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds while logging 21 minutes in Wednesday’s 81-46 rout of Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
“I thought he played well. He was the best player off the bench, without question,” KU coach Bill Self said after his Jayhawks improved to 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the league.
“He put the ball down and got it to Thomas (Robinson) for an easy basket. I thought he locked in and played well. It was one of his better games.”
Young, who played two seasons at Loyola Marymount before last year’s layoff, scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds in 24 minutes in a 78-67 win over Ohio State on Dec. 10 in Allen Fieldhouse. He had 13 points and seven boards in a 100-54 home win over Towson on Nov. 11.
“I just see it as a good game,” Young said of Wednesday. “I think I played a lot better. There’s always room for improvement. We’re just all trying to keep the team as successful as we can.”
Young likes the fact KU won back-to-back games at Oklahoma and Tech after a home victory over Kansas State.
“It was a victory we needed,” he said of Wednesday’s rout. “These road games ... they mean a lot. We need to take them one at a time and get as many as we can.”
Young has high expectations for a KU team that plays host to Iowa State at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“We need to get better — a lot better,” Young said. “I think we are still trying to find ourselves as a team a little bit. If we work out the edges, the sharp edges, we’ll be good.”
Young said he’s feeling positive about his role.
“I am fine with the minutes I get,” said Young, who has averaged 4.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 10.9 minutes per game in 15 games. “Coach knows what he is doing. Like I said before, he played the game, and he’s coached a long time. He knows what he is doing.”
One-game suspension for Petteway: Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie on Thursday announced a one-game suspension of freshman Terran Petteway.
The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Galveston, Texas, was ejected for throwing a punch that connected with KU’s Conner Teahan in Wednesday’s game. The foul was a Flagrant 2 foul, which, per NCAA rules, is cause for ejection from a game.
“No one could have a greater appreciation for playing hard more than I do,” Gillispie said. “Our success will be determined by playing hard at the highest level. However, we do not and will never condone an emotional outburst of the physical nature like what happened last night. We will learn how to compete extremely hard in a sportsmanlike manner and represent the Red Raiders in a way of class. That being said, Terran knew he acted wrongly and was immediately apologetic. He understands that he must suffer the consequences for his actions. We will all use this as learning experience and move forward in a positive way.”
Petteway will miss Saturday’s game at Texas A&M.
More on Wednesday’s road blowout: The 46 points allowed were second-fewest allowed by KU in a Big 12 game in the nine-year Self era. KU surrendered 45 versus Colorado (69-45) on Feb. 16, 2008, in Allen; 46 to Nebraska (92-46) on Feb. 17, 2007 in Allen; 46 to Colorado (75-46) on Feb. 14, 2007, in Boulder; and 46 to Missouri (79-46) on Feb. 18, 2006 in Allen. ... The 35-point win over Texas Tech was not only the biggest league road win for KU in the Self era, but biggest overall for KU since a 58-22 win over Missouri on Feb. 23, 1910 in Columbia. ... It was KU’s biggest overall win on the road since a 39-point decision over SMU (97-58) on Jan. 7, 1995, in Dallas. ... The 35-point road-win tied a conference record for margin of victory. Oklahoma State beat Texas A&M, 100-65 on Jan. 3, 1998 in Stillwater.
Fans up for honor: KU’s student section has been nominated for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. Fans can vote for KU at facebook.com/ILoveCollegeHoops. The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award is presented through a partnership of The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and Atlanta Tipoff Club. It is “dedicated to celebrating fans that love college hoops and provide support to their college basketball team with devotion and passion.”
“We’ve known for a long time that KU’s student section is the best in the country,” KU’s Self said in a release. “It would be neat if our fans visited the I Love College Hoops Facebook page and make sure our students win this award.”
The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award will be determined through two rounds of public votes, combined with voting by the Naismith Awards Board of Selectors. About 80 schools representing 21 conferences are vying for the title.