Perry Ellis, who came off the bench in Kansas University’s two exhibition basketball games, will start today’s 7 p.m. regular-season opener against SE Missouri State, KU coach Bill Self said Thursday.
Ellis, a 6-foot-8 McDonald’s All-American out of Wichita Heights, will be joined in the lineup by freshman Ben McLemore and seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey.
“It (starting) is something we’re not worried about. We’re just trying to win,” Ellis said. “One goal: Everybody wants to win.”
Lucas sits tonight: Freshman forward Landen Lucas will not play tonight to keep a red-shirt option open.
“He may not play Tuesday (vs. Michigan State in Atlanta), because he’s definitely a guy that we are strongly considering red-shirting,” Self said. “We visited with Landen and his family about it, and they are in agreement with that. It’s not 100-percent sure, because he could still play two weeks from now, but our thinking is, right now, put a red shirt on him.”
Self was asked if a red-shirt year would be used to work on the 6-10, 240-pounder’s body.
“It’s to really replace age 23 with age 19,” Self said. “He’s going to be a much better player then than he will be now. You don’t red-shirt guys that you don’t think can play, because I do think he does have a future here impacting our ballclub.”
Self said freshman forward Zach Peters (6-9, Plano, Texas) was feeling a little better, but remains out because of a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder.
“I’m not going to make a decision now on what we’ll do with Zach, but if he can’t get back soon, we have no choice but to red-shirt him,” Self said, “because he’ll be so far behind, he won’t be able to catch up.”
Senior forward Kevin Young, who had a brace on his right hand Thursday, is to return to practice Saturday and may play Tuesday vs. MSU.
T-Rob penalty: Former KU forward Thomas Robinson of the Sacramento Kings has received a two-game suspension for elbowing Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko in the throat.
“I saw it (replay). It looks like he got him pretty good,” Self said. “I didn’t see what led up to it. I saw the play. From the appearance I saw it looked like to me he (Robinson) knew what he did was dead wrong as soon as he did it.”
Self on his freshman class entering the opener: “I would say I’d be concerned about a couple of their mind-sets. Because I think confidence is pretty shaken right now in a couple of them based on ... not really from the first game to the second game, just based on over the last two weeks of practice maybe haven’t played as well as what they’d hoped or what we had thought they could. But that changes all the time with freshmen. I mean, that always changes. I think Jamari (Traylor) and Ben and Perry are fine, and those three guys would be the three freshmen that you would think had the biggest impact in what we’re doing right now.”
More honors: Johnson and Withey were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 for the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Athletics Club announced Thursday.