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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bill Self opens Big 12 Media Day today at Sprint Center

Kansas head coach Bill Self calls a play during the second half on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self calls a play during the second half on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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— Kansas University’s Bill Self will be the first of 10 league coaches to speak at Big 12 Media Day this morning in Sprint Center, which, of course, is located in Royals-crazed Kansas City, Missouri.

The Royals are in the midst of their second-straight baseball playoff run. KU, meanwhile, has won 11 league titles in a row entering the 2015-16 season.

“It’s hard,” Self said, asked how difficult it is to repeat in sports. “What Dayton (Moore, Royals GM) has done and everybody over there with that team is nothing short of miraculous. To think we (Royals) have been on the outside looking in for so many years, now everybody’s chasing us. It’s cool, exciting to see.”

On Kansas City skipper Ned Yost, Self said: “I don’t know him, but what a job he’s done. Guys seem to be having so much fun. Hopefully we’re the same way. Sometimes when you win a lot it creates pressure because of expectations. How do you handle that and still have fun? Our guys have done a good job. They are serious, without question, but are out there having a good time. Certainly our fans make it extra special to play at KU.”

Self and Jayhawk players Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III and Hunter Mickelson most assuredly today will be quizzed about the pressure they may feel in going for yet another crown.

“We want them to feel pressure,” Self said, “because pressure usually creates more energy and better performance. We talk about it openly. We don’t talk about so much winning 12 in a row. What we do talk about is being champion every day and being Big 12 champions every day. That’s how we break huddle after practice: ‘Big 12 champs.’ There’s a subliminal message being sent to these guys. They talk about it among themselves a lot. They don’t want to be the team that doesn’t win one.

“Last year, what a job our guys did to win the league when it was so competitive and we were so banged up down the stretch,” Self added. “Having to come basically 20 down in the second half to beat West Virginia without Perry (knee injury). Those are great things. I think it (league dominance) is taken for granted around here, which is rightfully so, because these guys have experienced quite a bit of success.”

The Big 12 has been called potentially the second-toughest league in the country this season behind the ACC.

“Our league didn’t do as well in the tournament last year — obviously as well as we thought we could and potentially could,” Self said. Iowa State lost to UAB and Baylor lost to Georgia State in the second round. KU lost to Wichita State in the third round. West Virginia lost to Kentucky and Oklahoma fell to Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

“Our league was the most balanced league in the country. Nobody argued that. There were more good teams in our league than any other league. We did not have an exceptional team (in league). We had an unbelievably good, well-balanced league that had to come to play every night. I think our league will be great. Stop and look at it with the potential of having two to three teams preseason Top 10 (KU, ISU, OU). I don’t think our league will take a step backward at all,” Self added.

Lightfoot chatter: An Arizona recruiting website, pointguardu.com, says Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-8 forward from Gilbert (Arizona) Christian High, will choose KU over Arizona, Stanford, St. John’s and Utah on Saturday.

“Mitch Lightfoot will be heading to Kansas now that Lauri Markkanen has chosen Arizona,” the website tweeted on Monday.

Markkanen, the 6-10 son of former KU player Pekka Markkanen, committed to Arizona on Sunday. Lightfoot is ranked No. 117 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com.

“Lightfoot is an athletic frontcourt player who has a nonstop motor and some faceup skill,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He’s scheduled to announce his decision on Saturday. Lately, most talk has centered around the Wildcats and Jayhawks, and with just under a week to go it looks like it would be a surprise for Lightfoot to pick a school outside of those two.”

Wild quote: Former KU assistant coach Alvin Gentry spoke to reporter Alex Risen of ABC 36 in Lexington, Kentucky, before the recent New Orleans-Sacramento game at Rupp Arena in Lexington. In a quote getting a lot of play on Twitter, Pelicans coach Gentry said: “I was at Kansas. Great program. This place is Kansas on steroids.”

Comments

Phil Leister 5 years, 11 months ago

If I were Lightfoot, I'd commit to KU as soon as I could. As a recruit ranked outside the top 100, commit while the offer is still there.

Cameron Schienebeck 5 years, 11 months ago

If by "on steroids" Gentry is referring the the legality of the Kentucky program he is absolutely correct.

Jaston Archie 5 years, 11 months ago

Well Kentucky is going to need more than steroids to beat KU in the Fieldhouse. We'll see what the Kentucky players say about The Phog after they get annihilated, probably "I never played in an environment like that." "that was the loudest place i have ever been in in my life." "that was like Rupp on steroids." I expect the Fieldhouse to not only be loud but hostile, and the team to play with a massive chip on their shoulder bc of last year. I predict a blowout of at least 15 points. RCJH!

Gerry Butler 5 years, 11 months ago

my question is, If Lightfoot commits has what does that do to our other possible big's recruits? BOLDEN. AZULIBULKE, HERARLD does it hurt or or help ? I realize it wouldn't effect Azulibulke and possibly HERARLD, I know these spellings ate incorrect but hey I apologize not one of my strong points, but you get who i'm talking about, personally this is the least of the ones I would like to see us get, not really sure how he is going to help for sure looks like a 4 year player, just don't really see a lot of upside to this if he does sign, someone help me probably looking at it all wrong its been known to happen from me before ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Ron Sterling 5 years, 11 months ago

Although Lightfoot has been up and coming in the rankings, it doesn't seem like he's likely to break out the same way Sacha Killeya-Jones or Wenyen Gabriel have, so I doubt his commitment is gonna scare off anyone. As for whether or not signing a lower ranked player hurts or helps, I don't really know. I think it's far more important that Bolden knows he can come in, start (at the 4 which he'd prefer), and get drafted in the lottery in a year or two, and I hope that's the idea that Self is selling. Great amenities, great college experience, history of lottery bigs, and the red carpet for PT.

Eliott Reeder 5 years, 11 months ago

I like Lightfoot's personality, he's been a Jayhawk all his life, born in KC. He's a good get. Two years of Hudy-ization and he'll be solid. Just needs to add about 15-20 lbs of muscle...

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