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.”


Gil Ek 1 year, 5 months ago

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


mikehawk 1 year, 5 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.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 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.


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

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


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 months ago

In further Embiid news, now it looks like he's going to announce tomorrow. Originally, his announcement was scheduled for Thursday. This gives me further confidence that we're going to land him. We should know for sure tomorrow afternoon.


HawkKlaw 1 year, 5 months ago

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


dylans 1 year, 5 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...


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 months ago

Just a quick heads up, I've got some sources now indicating that Embiid is in fact going to commit to KU this week thanks to the work of Norm Roberts. I won't call this a done deal just yet, but I'm thinking there is something like a 70% chance this is the gonna be the case. He was supposed to watch Florida this weekend, but canceled on them and has purportedly been in contact with Roberts. I'll let you know if I get a more solid confirmation than that or we'll see when the end of the week arrives.


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 5 months ago

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


Mel Clare 1 year, 5 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!


bradynsdad 1 year, 5 months ago

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


REHawk 1 year, 5 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.


Brian Stoops 1 year, 5 months ago

Interesting to hear Self make a comment on someones hair


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 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!!


Kye Clark 1 year, 5 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.


chriz 1 year, 5 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.)


RJ King 1 year, 5 months ago

Give him the hair, Bill.

Hustle > Hair.

It's a win-win.


Boouk 1 year, 5 months ago

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


bradynsdad 1 year, 5 months ago

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


milehighhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Tough not to root for him-Young embodies Hustle!


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 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.


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