Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Self says McCormack, Enaruna will not play in Big 12 tournament because of COVID-19 protocol

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) turns for a shot over Washburn forward Jonny Clausing (42) during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) turns for a shot over Washburn forward Jonny Clausing (42) during the first half on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas basketball coach Bill Self announced Tuesday that the Jayhawks will be without junior forward David McCormack and sophomore wing Tristan Enaruna for this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

Self said both players had entered into COVID-19 protocol but did not reveal whether either tested positive for COVID-19 or was in the protocol for something else, like contact tracing.

Enaruna and McCormack are roommates and Self said no other Jayhawks were deemed to be in jeopardy of missing this week’s action at T-Mobile Center.

"That's not a call that I make," Self said. "That's our medical staff and the county or municipal COVID restrictions and guidelines. So yeah, we're good in that regard."

Self said KU knew about the status of the two players prior to Tuesday and that all indications from medical professionals were that both Enaruna and McCormack would be back in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament next week in Indiana.

"The guys have done a great job to date, or just to a couple of days ago, and certainly I don't hold anyone responsible for something that is obviously easily spreadable and those sorts of things," said Self, who has praised his team for staying pause- and COVID-free throughout the 2020-21 season.

The Jayhawks (19-8 overall, 12-6 Big 12) are the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament and will play the winner of Wednesday’s 7-10 game between Oklahoma and Iowa State at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Self said he had an idea of how he would replace both players in the lineup, but added that he had not fully committed to any one plan of attack, be it starting Mitch Lightfoot in McCormack's place or playing small, with five guards, as the Jayhawks have done on occasion throughout the season.

The Kansas coach also noted that seldom-used freshman big man Gethro Muscadin also could be used if foul trouble or matchups dictated it.

"Absolutely," Self said. "We can certainly do that and have confidence in him to do that. But, minus the foul situations, we actually played some of our best ball this year when we played small. We haven't practiced that a lot. But (at) all the recent practices we put a lot of time in on that."

After averaging 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in 18 starts last season, McCormack bumped his numbers to 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this season. He also ranks third in the Big 12 with six double-doubles and he reached double figures in scoring in 17 games, including 11 of the last 12.

Self said both Enaruna and McCormack were in good spirits regarding the recent setback.

"I think Dave and Tristan are both down and disappointed," Self said. "More probably Dave is, because Dave has been such a contributor and all those things. But I think they've taken it very maturely and positively."

Self said both players have shown the attitude of telling their teammates to "go take care of business and we'll see you next week."

"So I don't see it as a total downer for them because there is the opportunity to come back," Self added.


Jeff Coffman 1 year, 8 months ago

This isn't a biggie...if we win or get to the final, i think we end up as a 3 seed, otherwise we are a 4 seed. Without our big guy if we lose in the first round, we don't lose our 4.

All-in-all, it'll be a different tourney to watch (both of them).

W Keith Swinehart II 1 year, 8 months ago

Disappointing for both. They lose some momentum. But season was good. They can play in the big tournament. And they will be rested. Win the Big 12 without them.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 8 months ago

Damn it, D-Mac is one player we absolutely cannot afford to lose!

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm suspecting they tested positive. Otherwise, if contact tracing, couldn't they be reinstated after three negative tests?

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 8 months ago

that was my thought too. They have a couple days to get cleared if they are in fact covid negative. So, to rule them out for the week they must be covid positive.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 8 months ago

It's 3 tests in a normal week. If they are known to come in contact with someone who was positive, it's 7 consecutive negatives, hence the "back for the NCAA tournament" timeline. If they were positive, it's 10 days minimum.

Given this info, they came in contact with someone who later tested positive but have not tested positive themselves. As long as they don't test positive in the next 7 days, they are clear to play.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 8 months ago

Mitch is going to really have to step up....unless we blow it in the first game badly, I don't see this negatively affecting our seeding for the NCAA. Joe Lunardi has us on the 3 line playing Grand Canyon in the first game right now. If ISU wins against OU, and then we lose to ISU, that might drop us a line, but that's probably it.

We don't have them next week, it's going to be a short March.

RJ King 1 year, 8 months ago

It won't be a big deal to affect our seed - should be 3 or 4, probably 4. But I sure hope other team members continue to test negative. The alternative would be a game changer in the worst way.

Benjamin Shear 1 year, 8 months ago

Thus began the rise of Gethro Muscadin....but seriously, it's out of everyone's hands. Nothing to do but play basketball as best you can.

David Davison 1 year, 8 months ago

We've had bench guys come in and make big impacts in the past...

Edward Daub 1 year, 8 months ago

I will "dub him" Gethro "Bodine" Muscadin(e)...

Dirk Medema 1 year, 8 months ago

We could likely play our way up the ladder but it seems pretty established that teams aren’t penalized for CV positive tests. It will be well known/documented that we’re without David in particular.

It will be interesting to see what other teams get effected in the next month.

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