After two summer practices in preparation for the team's exhibition games in Italy, Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self gave an update on the team's progress.
Off of the court, he's seen senior point guard Devonte Graham take the top leadership role and he believes the summer practices help set a tone for younger players entering the program.
"This is Devonte's team," Self said. "We want other guys to be leaders and all those things, but everyone is going to look to Devonte."
Self said he plans to play everyone during the exhibition games in Italy in August, but will likely play eligible players together and transfers together.
Despite losing national player of the year Frank Mason III, star freshman Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas, Self believes the Jayhawks have the pieces for another strong season.
"Udoka being healthy, Billy Preston is a talent, Devonte and Malik together is a little different than Frank and Devonte, but still I think there's a chance this team could be pretty good," he said.
After practicing against the Kansas men's basketball team, including a scrimmage in Bill Self's camp game, former KU guard Elijah Johnson is happy with what he's seen from the Jayhawks' backcourt.
Headlined by Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman, Johnson believes there's tons of potential for the upcoming season.
"I think we've got some weapons," Johnson said. "Although a lot of people haven't been on the floor for us yet, I think coach will whip them up. I don't think this team is going to be one step behind any other team."
Johnson played overseas in several countries last season, finishing in Turkey, which gave him an opportunity to face off against former teammate Tyshawn Taylor — where they both scored more than 30 points.
Back in Lawrence for a pair of scrimmages, former Kansas guard Mario Chalmers had an opportunity to run up and down the court against many of the current Jayhawks.
That included matching up against KU's potential starting backcourt of Devonté Graham and Malik Newman, who impressed him with their play.
"They are going to be great. I have high expectations for both of them, especially Malik Newman. They’ve got to pick up the slack from Frank (Mason) and they are two good guards that we need up top.”
Back on the court after a transfer season, Kansas redshirt sophomore Malik Newman was thrilled to return to action in a scrimmage against former KU players Wednesday afternoon.
Newman, who transferred from Mississippi State, scored 18 points in the scrimmage at Horejsi Center. With high expectations for the upcoming year, Newman was happy to showcase some of the skills he's been working on.
"I just feel wiser," Newman said afterward. "I'm more confident. I think I'm probably the most confident that I've ever been right now. I just feel like the guys that I have around me, they want me to succeed and I want them to succeed."
Newman is expected to headline KU's backcourt alongside senior Devonte Graham. Newman averaged 11.3 points during his freshman season at Mississippi State.