Although there still is no official word on the season-opening event that would pit Kansas against Gonzaga and Saint Joseph’s in late November in Fort Myers, Fla., Kansas coach Bill Self said Friday that he and Gonzaga coach Mark Few were “committed to playing each other.”
“So hopefully that’ll all come to be,” he added. “I know they’re in the negotiating stages and trying to finalize some things, but we anticipate having a game with Gonzaga to open the season, but it hasn’t been finalized yet.”
Despite the fact that nothing had been “etched in stone yet,” Self added that he was optimistic that the games in Florida and the Champions Classic against Kentucky on Dec. 1 would be played.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Friday that he likes the idea of Kansas City going after the Toronto Raptors if Toronto is forced to temporarily relocate for the 2020-21 NBA season.
The potential game with Gonzaga came together quickly after last week's cancellation of several early-season events in Orlando, Fla., left both teams scrambling.
Self said when he called Few to talk about a potential game, the longtime Gonzaga coach told him he was getting ready to ring Self's line, too.
“I guess since we both have the exact same birthday (Dec. 27, 1962) our minds must think alike a little bit,” Self said. “It just seemed natural to for us to try to do something that would benefit both programs in a big way and be good for college basketball.”
Self said Friday that he was not surprised by his team being picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason poll this season, given the strength of what first-place Baylor is bringing back from a year ago.
“They’re deserving of that,” Self said. I voted for Baylor. Just being totally objective, they return the best team on paper. Of course, as we all know preseason stuff really doesn’t mean much, but I was happy that the coaches thought enough of our team to pick us second.”
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams and Baylor picked up seven first-place votes and 79 points to KU’s three first-place votes and 73 points.
“It’s going to be a great league race,” Self said. “It’ll be wide open, there’ll be ebbs and flows. There always are.”
Freshman guard Latrell Jossell is still being kept out of practices as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that has hampered him throughout the preseason.
“He’s not day-to-day,” Self said. “He’s still time away, and we hope that time is a week.”
Self said the coaching staff wanted to give Jossell’s injured ankle the time it needs to heal and was not interested in bringing him back too quickly.
“We’ll err on the side of precaution,” Self said. “But I’m hoping (to have him back) within the week.”