Originally published October 17, 2012 at 01:36p.m., updated October 18, 2012 at 12:00a.m.

KU ranked No. 7 in first USA Today coaches poll and other Big 12 Media Day notes

Kansas head coach Bill Self laughs during a video skit showing his home run during the Celebrity All-Star Game.

Kansas head coach Bill Self laughs during a video skit showing his home run during the Celebrity All-Star Game.


— The Kansas men's basketball team is ranked No. 7 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll released Wednesday.

Indiana took the top spot with 21 first-place votes, followed by Louisville (five first-place votes) and Kentucky (five first-place votes).

“It’s preseason so it doesn’t mean too much, but it is definitely an honor to be ranked seventh,” senior center Jeff Withey said.

Ohio State and Michigan rounded out the top five, followed by N.C. State, KU, Duke, Syracuse and Florida.

Baylor (No. 18) and Texas (No. 25) were the only other Big 12 schools to make the rankings.

USA Today preseason coaches poll

  1. Indiana (21)
  2. Louisville (5)
  3. Kentucky (5)
  4. Ohio St.
  5. Michigan
  6. N.C. State
  7. Kansas
  8. Duke
  9. Syracuse
  10. Florida
  11. Arizona
  12. North Carolina
  13. UCLA
  14. Michigan St.
  15. Creighton
  16. Memphis
  17. Missouri
  18. Baylor
  19. UNLV
  20. San Diego St.
  21. Wisconsin
  22. Gonzaga
  23. Notre Dame
  24. Florida St.
  25. Texas

Others Receiving Votes — Saint Louis 58, VCU 40, Cincinnati 33, Murray St. 30, Kansas St. 13, St. Mary's 11, Tennessee 10, New Mexico 10, Pittsburgh 9, Minnesota 9, Marquette 8, Stanford 7, Butler 6, Oklahoma St. 6, Colorado St. 4, Middle Tenn. St. 3, St. Joseph's 2, Miami (FL) 2, Drexel 2, Georgia 2, Marshall 1.

Senior class: KU senior point guard Elijah Johnson is a big fan of Jayhawk seniors Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young.

“There’s no negative energy,” he said. “The only negative energy that came from the seniors was coming from me before we went to Europe (in August for four games). Coach nipped it in the bud. I feel I learned lessons about me being an older person wanting to help our freshman class.”

Johnson’s mistake earlier this summer was “wanting to be positive so bad that it turned negative. I wanted my message to get through to people so bad that I was attacking them rather than coaching them. They (freshmen) didn’t know. I didn’t know when I first got to Kansas. Coach said, ‘That’s not the way we do it.’ He didn’t have to say much to me. I think he said one thing to me, and I cleaned it up.”

Of Johnson, Self said: “He is a different guy from a leadership standpoint. Elijah is ridiculously bright and a deep thinker. He gets it. The next step he has to take obviously is from a vocal leadership, being positive. I think it’s just a matter of time before he gets comfortable in those shoes.”

Bill Self on team chemistry: “Our older guys like our younger guys. They (freshmen) defer. They are the most unselfish group to a fault.”

Self on his contract extension: “I can’t see myself coaching anywhere else right now, in college for sure. As far as the NBA goes, there’s only 30 jobs. I hate to say this: I’ve got a better job than three-fourths of them. I’ve got one of the best jobs basketball has to offer. I can’t see wanting to be anywhere else.”

Withey on wearing his letterman’s jacket to Media Day: “I knew we were going to get dressed up a little bit. I knew it was going to get cold in the Sprint Center. I thought I’d put the old letterman jacket on. It’s more for special occasions, I’d say. When I first got it a couple years ago, I wore it around campus but it’s been in the back of the closet.”

Travel woes: West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on geographic difficulties his team faces: “They asked me who our rivalry in the conference was going to be, and said it’s probably Iowa State. They are the closest. Only 853 air miles. We came out to Wichita last year and had mechanical problems on the plane and didn’t get in until 4:30 Wichita time, 5:30 our time, then played the next day, played a heck of a game, an overtime game. Then we had some problems getting back. We didn’t get back until 5 a.m., and that was a Thursday night. Then we turned around and played Miami at 1:30 Saturday afternoon at home and were fortunate enough to win both games.”

Graduation: Self indicated that fifth-year senior Releford will graduate in December.

“He’s improved his stroke. His confidence level is sky-high. He can guard anybody. He’s the best around at stealing extra possessions and everybody loves him. That’s not a bad combination for a kid” Self said. “He’ll go down as one of the most fun kids I’ve coached.”


Sam Constance 1 year, 6 months ago

Kansas is in a good spot at 7th. For those that think we should be lower, I can only wonder who you think should take their spot.

Our four seniors are going to give us a considerable advantage in terms of collective chemistry compared to a lot of teams, but not all. I think that will help when the going gets tough as well as in terms of bringing along the newcomers. Keep in mind that McLemore and Traylor, though newcomers on the court, will have been a part of the chemistry that led to that tournament run, even though they weren't contributing in games.

All that being said, players will be learning new roles, which can always affect these sorts of things, especially when the new roles being learned are there because one of your departures created such an advantage in strategy. Robinson was such a dominant and relentless rebounder that he really allowed Self to leave crashing the glass to just one guy so that the other four guys could get into place on defense or move quickly up the court on offense.

One thing's for certain--the only reason this season won't end in at least a tiny bit of a letdown is if they win the whole shebang. And I only say that because the emotional connection of last season's team is going to stick with me a for a long, long time, and I suspect the 2011-12 Jayhawks will end up going down as one of my favorite Jayhawk teams to watch.

So here's to hoping for a national championship, but keeping an open mind and preparing to enjoy yet another great ride at the hands of Coach Self.


PittsburghJayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Dukie V of all people has us at #4, behind Louisville, Indiana, and kenstinky


wildjayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Ku is about right, for no one knows what the other teams have for sure. Looks like we have a bunch of know nothings on here that really don't know a thing but, likes to flap their jaws with their brain not in gear.


Steve Kubler 1 year, 6 months ago

“It’s preseason so it doesn’t mean too much, but it is definitely an honor to be ranked seventh,” senior center Jeff Withey said.

I'd like to have heard his tone of voice, I can not imagine Jeff or any of the seniors will accept being 7th gracefully. His mouth said honored but I hope he was thinking 'pissed off" at the rating. Jeff always plays better when he's mad, perhaps we should collect some of the troll droppings from this board and tweet them to him throughout the season.

Lets get this season going, my throat has healed, my blood pressure is under control and my wife has forgiven me for last years moments of insanity. I'm READY!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

Preseason polls are like swiss cheese..they're full of holes and smell after a little while.

Now haikus, on the otherhand, are precise pieces of truth:

Kansas at seven The journey starts to the top Slow, but steady, slow.


William Blake 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh my gosh! 7th? How is that going to impact us reaching the Final Four again? We have to come from behind!!!!

; )


joeloveshawks 1 year, 6 months ago

I think we are perfect at #7. Some of the teams in front of us are based on potential and some are based on returning most of their starters. We will be right there in the top #5 shortly I feel. It is wide open this year in college b ball. There are no truly great teams.


bennybob 1 year, 6 months ago

Bill Self has 3 talented seniors that proved last year they know how to accept there roles and thrive in them for the betterment of the team.

He'll also be relying on 3-4 freshman to make significant contributions early which is alot to ask.

7 seems about right to me


brooksmd 1 year, 6 months ago

Geez, as much as I hate Cali-sleazy, I can see at least 1 SEC game I'll be rooting for Kenstinky.


phogphan2000 1 year, 6 months ago

KU is in for a serious test and the toughest game on the slate @OSU, even if it wasn't such a revenge game. Remember how Sullinger kept throwing up shots and missing against Withey last season? Well imagine playing the same team, except with Deshaun Thomas taking all those shots and Amir Wiliams (better defensively) filling in the paint for OSU instead of Sullinger. Then you've got the athlete that is Thompson coming in for Buford. Don't underestimate that team, they bring a whole lot back. They are another example of having a hard time recruiting when you bring back legit starters at every position, just like KU a year ago. Having Thompson, Williams, Ross, Scott all back as Sophomores to go with Juniors Craft, Thomas, Smith and Senior Ravenel should be a sound 8 man rotation even after having a couple guys transfer out.

In general the coaches seemed to give a lot more respect to returning players than freshmen, except in the case of UK which doesn't jive at all with the other rankings. If UK and UCLA had the top2 classes, but UCLA brings back a bundle of big men and UK brings back basically nothing, why rank UK so high and UCLA so low? They both have transfers coming in to take over the point, UCLA has the better prospects coming in to play the 2 and 3, has the Wear twins and Josh Smith back starting ahead of Parker, while UK has a young frontcourt in Wiltjer, Cauley, Noel. I just don't see why there would be such disparity in expectations.


Kevin Huffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Ohio State #4?! DEFINITELY too high!


jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

Baylor--Word is out on Scott Drew--a talent squanderer facing a conference full of coaches--Self, Barnes, Ford, Kruger, Hoiberg--each who have forgotten more ball than Drew ever knew. Overrated.

UNLV--Tarklite will look nicer on the outside, but be dubious underneath--alas this team is way underrated.

San Diego State--Fish specializes in getting them, coaching is an after thought--still maybe a bit underrated.

Wisconsin--Bo knows bang ball, so by definition underrated.

Gonzaga--the little school that could no longer can. Overrated.

Notre Dame--Underrated, but not detested nearly enough for conference straddling. Good rank though.

Florida State--Underrated--Self's old mentor keeps revealing that he taught Bill quite a bit, too.

Texas--Barnes is not a great coach, but he's way better than this--this is just sports writers sour grapes about overrating him too many years and now they are like a bunch of jilted lovers massively underrating him.


jaybate 1 year, 6 months ago

Indiana--good team, lost little, recruited well, Crean gets browny points for saving IU--deserves Uno.

Rickyville--good team last year, some coming back, pile of recruits, people starting to forget Rick's mattress olympics--2 is justified.

Konvictucky--ringed, reloaded--why not.

Ohio State--exposed last year, Matta can't coach, a few recruits ain't gonna make Thad get it--overrated.

Michigan-Belhein got a lot out of a little last year, and this year he brought in more--five is right.

NC State--Self with Skeletons, a heckuva coach, a big haul of recruits--watch out.

Kansas--it will be tough not to have a let down after last year's emotional rescue, all depends on Perry and Kevin at the 4--can they create an All Committee American? If yes, then the rank is deserved. If know, Self finally reveals he is human.

Duke--Consonants likely disillusioned and a little uneasy after Lance Thomas bow shot--it wil probably make him even more willing to cheap shot when down 3. Solid rank.

Syracuse--pedophilia allegations receding mean Jim can go back to sleeping on the bench and letting the kids play zone.

Florida--Donovan is due. Maybe a little underrated.

Arizona--stumpy can't coach, everyone else has learned to All Star wrestle, too--maybe back to Xavier?

UNC--give Roy a break on the big C and he knocks off NCSU twice, splits with Duke and ties for title. Rank a little low.

UCLA--dead man coaching, Fouland's brought in the class that the AD needed to go get a good coach to replace him. Underrated on talent, overrated on coach. About right.

Michigan State--Ratso keeps finding it harder and harder to win big when everyone is practicing in helmets and shoulder pads, too. Yes the talent is down a bit, but Ratso could beat Stumpy at UA and Fouland at UCLA with four brownies and a Mafia Hitman. Slightly underranked.

Creighton--ridiculously overrated.

Memphis--Pastner can't even pull it together with ridiculous Dad wires to AAU talent and a school that doesn't care if he cheats or not. An average coach doing average things. About right though on the rank.

Missouri--Might amount to something if Haith would ever get off the phone and Mike Anderson would get him some more players. Overrated.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

Starting 5 + (subs): Withey (Lucas, Traylor, Peters, Wesley) Ellis (Young, Traylor, ?Wesley) Releford (AW3) BMac (AW3, EJ, ?Rio) EJ (Tharpe, ?Rio)

What could be better than UNC-level transition ball ability + Self-level defense. As usual, this team gets better with each week, and my personal prediction is this team will get better quicker than last year's team. Also, look to see EJ turned loose with Sherron/Tyshawn level of freedom from BigBill. EJ has earned it, and has the ability to cash any check he wants on the hardwood.


phogphan2000 1 year, 6 months ago

I'll share the top25 I put together once NBA draft entries were finalized. Probably needs a little tweaking, and this poll makes me wonder if I snubbed FSU, but this is about how I feel teams should do coming into this season.

1) IU

2) NC St.

3) Ohio St


5) KU

6) UofL

7) UK

8) Michigan

9) Arizona

10) Duke

11) Baylor

12) UNC

13) Missery

14) Syracuse

15) Minnesota

16) Michigan St

17) Gonzaga

18) Florida

19) UNLV

20) Memphis

21) SDSU

22) Creighton

23) Wisconsin

24) Texas

25) VCU


RogersState80 1 year, 6 months ago



Steve Gantz 1 year, 6 months ago

A little surprised at Indiana at #1. I think the media is always smitten by Indiana like they are Notre Dame. Our ranking is fine. Does anyone remember our last ranking last year entering the tourney? Probably was around there, and well, we darn near won it all.


Nathan Scholl 1 year, 6 months ago

While I will not post my comment in a HUGE FONT to get my point across, it very well may be true that KU is ranked a little high TO START THE SEASON. But never doubt Self. We may struggle early with some frosh jitters, but expect this team to be fully in the hunt for their 9th Straight Big Twelve title and their second consecutive Final Four and hopefully National Championship. 7 is a show of respect to Bill Self and what he has done at KU. I agree it may seem like a slight even, to some, but it's fair. Don't pay attention to rankings anyway until tournament time!! Rock Chalk! Best school, best fans, best Coach. Stay classy Jayhawk Nation!


Ferd Magellan 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh, and the coaches who gave UK 1st place votes need to walk off a bridge.


Ferd Magellan 1 year, 6 months ago

IU is going to drop quite a bit. I know they return everyone, but I can't say I was all impressed with that unit last year outside of a couple of games.

I think KU struggles early while the underclassmen learn their roles, but climbs back up in the top 5-10 by season's end.


Ron Prichard 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree that KU is more talented this year and I think we will be better, but I can't believe people are complaining that we're #7 in a PRE-season poll. We lost our two best players and our first player off the bench. Honestly, I'm pretty surprised we're #7. Much of our talent is unproven which usually results in a lower ranking.


Charles Logan 1 year, 6 months ago

KU can't keep a leg up on Mizzou in the polls by beating them in the fog now.... I guess that's Kentucky's job.


Jayhawk470 1 year, 6 months ago

Only #7? For a team that finished as national runner up and has more talent than that team? And a team that we beat in the Sweet 16 is ranked ahead of us? Are these numbnuts pollsters even doing any research before they issue their rankings?


parrothead8 1 year, 6 months ago

It's not where you're ranked in the first poll, but where you're ranked in the final poll. Last year, KU started at 13 and finished at 2.


JayhawkRock78 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree, 7 is a great spot to start. I sure hope Withey becomes the big man he showed us a few times last year!


milehighhawk 1 year, 6 months ago

We have a lot more horses this year, but there can be only one T-Rob.

7th is perfect to start off the season: In the discussion without a ton of pressure.


Benjamin Piehler 1 year, 6 months ago

Why Barnes is still at UT, I'll never know. Sure he can recruit...


Jay Dogger 1 year, 6 months ago

I've never followed the ACC very it unusual to have NC St. ranked above North Carolina? Isn't that like K-State ranked above us?

I was a little surprised Michigan St. was ranked that low.

Arizona ranked 11 after not even making the tourney...Sean Miller can recruit but can he coach??? I would love to watch them bomb.


beware0fph0g 1 year, 6 months ago

Some lost, deep thoughts:

  • OSU at #4 is much too high. UK at #3 is too high. I'd have both of them around 10...but I don't know which teams should take their spot.
  • Michigan and NC State are going to be good this year.
  • OK State will crack the top 25 by the beginning of Big XII play.
  • WVU will make noise come tourney time.
  • 7 is a good place for us to start. Gives the newbies something to work on out of the gates, but gives us some of the respect we should be getting.

Sandeep Kalburgie 1 year, 6 months ago

7 is too high for this year's BB squad. IMHO!


clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 6 months ago

when you see nc state ahead of KU the picture of Self laughing makes more sense


Joe Satterwhite 1 year, 6 months ago

Crazy how they have OSU and Michigan ranked ahead of


fearthephog512 1 year, 6 months ago

No. 7 is a good place to be. Not too high, not too low and keeps us hungry for the No. 1 spot. Rock Chalk!


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