Originally published November 11, 2012 at 12:22p.m., updated November 11, 2012 at 11:31p.m.

Kevin Young practices, is scheduled to play against Michigan State on Tuesday

Teammates say senior forward to provide much-needed energy to Jayhawk attack

Kansas University seniors Kevin Young, left, and Travis Releford joke around during the annual men's basketball media day on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University seniors Kevin Young, left, and Travis Releford joke around during the annual men's basketball media day on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kevin Young, who flat-out loves to run, just might help wake up Kansas University’s sleepy offense Tuesday night.

At least, that’s the hope of the Jayhawks, who welcomed the 6-foot-8 senior string bean to practice Saturday and are elated he has been cleared to make his season debut against Michigan State on Tuesday in Atlanta (6 p.m., Georgia Dome).

“I hate not having Kevin on the court,” KU senior point guard Elijah Johnson said Sunday. Young missed KU’s two exhibition games and Friday’s regular-season opener against SE Missouri State after breaking a bone in his right hand at practice on Oct. 25.

“When Kevin is on the court, it’s somebody I feel I try to keep up with,” Johnson added. “He’s so far ahead of the game. He just never stops. Whenever Kevin is on the court, that gives me extra momentum.”

Freshman guard Ben McLemore also enjoys running the court with Young, who averaged 3.4 points and 3.0 boards off the bench last season, his first since transferring from Loyola Marymount.

“I think it’ll mean a lot to get Kevin back,” McLemore said. “Definitely the energy on the floor will change. I think that’s the big thing. He brings us aggression on the defensive end and offensively.”

KU’s offense accounted for 88 points against Emporia State on Oct. 30, then sputtered to 62 points on Nov. 5 vs. Washburn and 74 on Friday vs. SE Missouri State.

“This sounds weird ... Kevin’s our best talker,” Self said, who said Young’s presence had been missed. “He can direct traffic from talking. We’re the quietest team. That’s going to get us beat, just how quiet we are. He’s also the most active. He’s the most energetic guy we have by far and the best talker. Talking automatically brings energy as well.

“I’m sure he’s going to help us. Now, physically, he only weighs 210 pounds or whatever, but he tries so hard.”

Young, who will be wearing a padded glove to protect his hand (it resembles a weightlifter’s glove, with the fingertips cut off), says he has been “focusing on keeping our energy up the whole game. I do run a lot and I do talk a lot. I think it’ll be pretty easy to help the team push the energy level up.”

Young explained how he hurt his hand.

“In practice, Drew (Andrew White III) was running toward the rim for a rebound. It was a long rebound. I started to run behind him and put my hand up. He ran into it,” Young said.

Of his hand, he said: “It feels pretty good. Pretty good. I have to get to feeling comfortable with the glove on and make sure it doesn’t get hit.”

Good for the soul: The Jayhawks practiced in their practice facility adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon, then flew to Atlanta, where they will practice today.

“We’re going to a soul-food restaurant,” Self said of Sunday night reservations at Paschal’s in downtown Atlanta.

Red-shirt: Barring any change of heart, freshman power forward Landen Lucas will red-shirt this season.

“(It’s) just what I mentioned. We’re planning on red-shirting him unless something changes in the next week or two,” Self said Sunday. “Injuries (to big men) would dictate that. That’s what we are planning on doing.”

Freshman forward Zach Peters, who has not practiced all season because of a rotator cuff injury, also is a likely red shirt since he still has not been cleared to practice.

Finger’s fine: KU freshman Jamari Traylor, who suffered a bloodied finger in Friday’s victory over SE Missouri, is fine. “I thought he ripped a nail off. He got a hangnail, little difference,” Self said. “He’ll tape it up and be fine.”

MSU update: Michigan State sophomore reserve guard Travis Trice suffered a possible concussion in Friday’s 66-62 season-opening loss to Connecticut in Germany, the Lansing State Journal reported. Trice, 6-foot from Huber Heights, Ohio, was hit in the nose on an apparently inadvertent head butt by Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier in the second half. MSU coach Tom Izzo told the paper Trice may have a “bad concussion.” ... The No. 14-ranked Spartans were to fly to Atlanta today after returning to Michigan from Germany on Saturday. “There’s been people that say practice right away and at least get an hour in, an hour and a half to get the jet lag out of you and then come back later that day,” Izzo said. “I’m still calling some teams that have recently gone (overseas) in the last year or two in the NBA to see what they’ve done. But as far as prep work, it’ll be all done on the plane (an eight-hour flight) and when we get back.”


Kevin Dongle III 8 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see KY gonna be ready for Tuesday. Well need him for a lot of reasons. Energy. Experience. Rebounding. He's probably the best or second best rebounder on the team. Bmac's been impressive crashing the glass lately, though.

kufaninmo 8 years, 11 months ago

This kid can definitely play, he might be our 'glue' this season. so glad he's finally out there.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe we should nickname him "Elmers"!!

RJ King 8 years, 11 months ago

Elmers or KY . . . definitely want to choose one or the other.

RJ King 8 years, 11 months ago

“He can direct traffic from talking. We’re the quietest team. That’s going to get us beat, just how quiet we are."

Makes me think that Tyshawn was underrated / under-appreciated in the talking category.

Mick Allen 8 years, 11 months ago

Ty was under appreciated in several categories including getting to the rim, defense, improved three point shooting etc.

milehighhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Tough not to root for him-Young embodies Hustle!

bradynsdad 8 years, 11 months ago

If I'm not mistaken isn't Joel embiid supposed to announce this week?

Boouk 8 years, 11 months ago

Huge upgrade over Jamari Traylor. Great to get Kevin back for MSU.

hawk316 8 years, 11 months ago

Considering how little basketball Jamari has actually played (a couple of years or so?), he may yet develop into quite a force before he's done. In the meantime, I'm glad we have KY available to deliver lots of energy.

RJ King 8 years, 11 months ago

Give him the hair, Bill.

Hustle > Hair.

It's a win-win.

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Delilah cut Sampson's hair, and look at what happened. If Young's hair adds to his game, let him wear it long. Having lost their 1st game to an unranked UConn, Izzo will have his team fired up. KU will need anything and everything to beat MSU. Even if it's by a hair. :>)

Welcome back, KY.

chriz 8 years, 11 months ago

So Kevin Young seems to be the "gel guy" this year. That would make him the KY gel, right? :) (Sorry, I couldn't let that one go.)

Cole Hogan 8 years, 11 months ago many times has this joke been said now?

Eric J. Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm just surprised I haven't see any KY Jelly jokes yet...

Cole Hogan 8 years, 11 months ago

I do believe crhiz was referring to this. hence the KY gel...

Kye Clark 8 years, 11 months ago

Glad to have him back. I've been wondering how the rotation will look with him back. Still might not know Tuesday, as I'm not sure how much he'll play. The thinking going into the season was that he would start opposite Withey in the post. After two exhibition games and the regular season opener, I think it will be hard to keep Perry out of the games. So...does KY spell both of them, and perhaps even Releford at the 3, to get his minutes? How many minutes are we thinking from him once healthy? 20? 25? Traylor's minutes might take the biggest hit, but I've actually been pretty impressed with him as well. Should be interesting.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Among his many positive attribute, Kevin doesn't attempt trifectas often. That will be an added plus after our opening game performance.

5% is nice for a sucks for a shooting percentage!! The scary thing was that 5% was at home in Allen....shooting in a dome on the road is always just a tad bit harder.

I guess we can asssume Landon is not playing again. Too bad about Zach because he would be just the "enforcer" we'll need against Ratso's DefCon defense!!

Allen Shepard 8 years, 11 months ago

It was still abysmal, but we actually shot 9%... Did you tune out before the second, late three?

Brian Stoops 8 years, 11 months ago

Interesting to hear Self make a comment on someones hair

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months ago

Sasha Kaun played with a military style cut for 3 years, and his Senior year he came out with curly locks looking like a wild-man.

Sherron had some wild styles during his junior year.

Withey just plays much better when his hair is out of his eyes.

I wonder if any players have pushed Self to repeal his headband ban since Tyshawn's sophomore season?

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months ago

I didn't read anything about Self commenting on Young's hair yet, what did he say?

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Haircut did not seem to help Rio Adams from first to second exhibition game. I think I would leave KY's hair be. Wouldn't wish to take a chance that he suffer the Samson Syndrome. He has developed the classic UCLA look from back in Wooden's Dynasty Days. Am happy to see him return to the lineup as the squad can use his energy and example.

bradynsdad 8 years, 11 months ago

Really good to see Mannings Tulsa squad kill again last night. Seems to have that team headed in a good direction.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Dan the Man and Larry Brown both got off to winning beginnings in C-USA. I'd like to have a ringside seat for their eventual head to head.

Mel Clare 8 years, 11 months ago

Be an interesting year if we redshirt Lucas and Peters............2 big bodies 6'9 and 6'10 with really no heigth on the bench (everyone else is 6'8 or shorter) if Withey goes down or in fowl trouble.............

Will make for a REALLY solid team next year though!

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months ago

Withey just needs to stay away from the fowl then. He really should stick to red-meat this year anyway.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Foulest of the fowl>the Mighty JAYHAWK!

Mel Clare 8 years, 11 months ago

LOl........did not catch it.....just goes to show you that I am an avid waterfowl hunter!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry..Jeff isn't a chicken and he won't be hen-pecked. even if he lays an egg in a game or two, He'll be talkin' turkey over all the positive things he will do, yet he won't duck any questions. We'll all be able to take a gander at his senior year which may give us goose bumps when all is said and done. The last thing we should do is pidgeon-hole his abilities...let your imaginations take off and fly.

There will be no swan dive by the Jayhawks this year!!!

RJ King 8 years, 11 months ago

nice squawk, Oak Hawk. (Hope you didn't ruffle any feathers.)

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Nice one, Oakville.

We all hope the Jayhawks will be at the top of the pecking order come April. Let the opposition all eat crow, and may each go home to roost with a lose.

And then there's the old standby bumper sticker: "Honk if you root for the Jayhawks." Or, "Honk if you are a Jayhawk." HOONNNKKK!!!

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 11 months ago

Peters is done for the year. Our big situation is critical with only an injury away.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe only five fouls away would be an even more appropriate apprehension!!

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 11 months ago

That was easily worth a thumbs up. Five fouls would be enough to most likely take us out of a least early in the season. I remember Wayne's shoulders never seemed to fully heal and probably cost him a lucrative NBA career. Fortunately, money is not where his priorities lie.

I think redshirting Peters is the best decision for the long run but will make things just a little harder this year.

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't think the situation in the front court is that critical. Lucas clearly wasn't a significant part of the plan this year otherwise he wouldn't redshirt this year. KU still has 5 players in the front court with Withey, Ellis, Young, Traylor, and Wesley. Self's never gone more than 4 deep in the front court once he's gotten his rotation set so Lucas wasn't going to play anything but garbage minutes this year anyway. Besides, if there's a long term injury in the front court, Self always has the option to burn the Lucas' redshirt to fill the void.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Thx,'ve proved to be a pretty reliable source...hope you're right!!!

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

Embiid did have KU at the top of his list after his visit to Late Night and nothing has come out from anybody associated with him since then that should've led people to believe otherwise. I will say though that I'm very glad that he's committing now and not the spring because I don't KU could land him if he was a spring commitment with as many games as Billy Donovan likely would've gone to if Embiid was an option.

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Agree. Mahalo for the heads up, kD. If Embiid really did cancel his Florida visit, and if he still plans to announce this Thursday, it seems logical that Florida, whom I thought would be KU's biggest hurdle, has been eliminated. If so, can you imagine the crowd in AFH chanting the name "Jo Jo" once again?

It also poses a huge question: What's the possibility that one of the remaining top bigs for 2013 will still consider signing on? Could work either way: They may see this Jayhawk class as something special and want to be a part of it, or it may scare them away because playing time will be at a premium. Either way, I see Embiid choosing KU as a "no lose situation" for KU.

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

If Embiid does commit to KU as expected, it really doesn't change that much as far as recruiting an elite big man goes. Embiid is the only player signing in the fall that KU has a chance with, I think most people would be shocked if Tyler Roberson committed anywhere but Villanova at this point, and players like Wiggins, Randle, and Gordon are all signing in the spring. With the rest of the elite bigs that have KU on their list signing in the spring, roster situations will be clearer and KU will probably have a better shot at landing someone because of that. Even if KU doesn't have the scholarship at the time, there's ways around it such as someone not in the rotation transferring somewhere they can get more PT (Lucas), or rescinding Frank Mason's offer. What happens in the spring is all speculation at this point until we get to the end of the season and know who goes and who stays.

dylans 8 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone have access to jayhawk slant? There is a new article about Tyler Roberson and his recruitment. Looks like something is happening, which may be nothing. A KU coach is supposed to be heading to NJ today...

HawkKlaw 8 years, 11 months ago

This is great news! Good to have KY back. We sorely need his energy off the bench.

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Coach Self gave a little nudge to Embiid that if he wants to be a Jayhawk, he better not wait too long? If any of the other bigs Self has been recruiting has been serious about signing on, the dominoes could start falling for them. Doesn't sound like Self is willing to take chances and wait, only to lose out like last year. "A bird in the hand...", as they say.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months ago

Hey, I must have missed Self's comments about KY's 'fro, somebody please fill me in!

nostradavid 8 years, 11 months ago

Bill just said that "his hair is too long", with a smile.

nostradavid 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Kevin is getting some 70's nostalgia. He could be channeling Rick Suttle.

nostradavid 8 years, 11 months ago

Old folks telling me my hair was too long always made me feel great!

Jack Wilson 8 years, 11 months ago

kD is earning his pay today. Good stuff from kD, Aloha, and Texas above.

It will be interesting if the move might prompt a midseason transfer by Lucas. He'd be eligible after first semester next season. Perfect timing. All of the logic kD stated above for a transfer fits like a glove. And to be a further "yes" man, slim to none that Mason decommits.

Bagging Embiid paves the way for a run at a Randle, Johnson, etc. in the spring. Lucas has to be looking at that, too. It also means Roberson is out .. of course, unless something unexpected happens, like a Mason decommit.

mikehawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Kevin Young brings something with the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. The parts include a very active body, short memory when he gets chewed out for a dumb move or foul, is fearless, plays his best in big games, doesn't seem to have an ego, and apparently, he talks a lot on a quiet team. Sounds like his teammates may look to him for leadership in some ways, also. He has "6th man" written all over him.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

If Kevin is not hampered with the hand injury, I look to see him gaining attention as one of the best 6th men in the nation. He is a very promising insert at the 3 or 4 position, and can even relieve Jeff when Self sees the need to play shorter and faster.

Gil Ek 8 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Young is just trying to put a little weight on with the hair.

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