Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Kansas basketball team closing in on the end of boot camp 2022

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) gets set for tipoff against Creighton on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) gets set for tipoff against Creighton on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.


After seven grueling days, the Kansas men’s basketball team has reached the finish line of its annual boot camp.

Barring something unforeseen, the Jayhawks will wrap up this year’s preseason conditioning grind after Wednesday morning’s session.

After Day 1 last week, Kansas coach Bill Self said things had gone “just OK,” and that he expected the Jayhawks would improve as the camp progressed.

Junior forward Jalen Wilson on Monday said that was exactly what happened.

“It’s actually gone really well,” Wilson told the Journal-World. “This is my fourth one now, so I’m pretty good on everything we do and it’s been pretty easy. When I was a freshman, I definitely was (less comfortable).”

Boot camp is always the biggest test for the newcomers, and this year that featured four scholarship freshmen, transfer Kevin McCullar Jr. and walk-on Wilder Evers.

Junior point guard Dajuan Harris, who also is a veteran of past boot camps, said he and Wilson talked about helping the new guys as much as possible long before the event began.

“Oh yeah,” Harris said. “We just tried to make sure we had everybody wake up on time and come in here and compete. Me and J-Wil are just trying to lead the way and help the young guys so they can get through it all.”

The early wake-up calls typically came around 6:30 a.m. and occasionally earlier. Regardless of when the alarm sounded, it was crucial for everyone to be in the gym and ready to go by 6:50 at the latest. Wilson and Harris said newcomers and veterans alike did fine in that area and it was clear that everyone was ready to work each day.

Boot camp is not about basketball. At least not directly. Instead, it’s about the Jayhawks pushing their minds and bodies as far as they can go so that they’ll be ready to handle the practices and games ahead.

Harris said his favorite part of this year’s session was how hard everyone worked. As the defending national champs, the Jayhawks know they have an even bigger target on their backs than normal. They also have fresh memories of what getting to the top feels like and want to do whatever they can to get back there in 2023.

“Even though we’re not doing any defense or basketball drills, we’re just in here working as hard as we can and everyone’s competing in the conditioning drills,” he said.

For Wilson, it’s always been the mental part of KU boot camp that was the toughest.

“With boot camp, you don’t know what’s next,” he said. “But as we’ve been through it, I know every drill, I know what’s next, I know the order. The new guys are like, ‘Man, I don’t know what’s next.’ But you can understand the kind of wide-eyed look, but everyone’s been good. The energy’s been really good. This is definitely up there with one of the best boot camps.”

The next key date for the Jayhawks is the official start of practices in early to mid-October. After that, the Jayhawks will host the annual Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 14 in anticipation of the Nov. 3 exhibition contest against Pitt State at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU reportedly also will face Illinois in a so-called “secret scrimmage” in late October. They played a similar game last season at Tulsa, and the scrimmages are not open to the public or the media nor are statistics or a final score officially recorded.

After all of that, KU will open the regular season against Omaha on Nov. 7 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bryce Landon 1 week ago

So when does the full schedule come out? It should have been released by now.

Matt Tait 1 week ago

Any day is the line. It used to come out in late August and it's been later and later every year. The weird COVID year didn't help the timeline, but it seems like you should get used to it being mid-to-late September moving forward.

Dirk Medema 1 week ago

We’re just waiting on the conference portion of the schedule?

Dirk Medema 1 week ago

I’m really encouraged by the leadership JWil is showing. Ochai2.0. Not ostentatious, but rallying the troops. And with great support first from the silent assassin, Dajuan, and the aRemy, McCullar. Remy was high octane, “instant offense” (quoting Chris Teahan and Mitch from a post-season podcast) and a demonstrative bundle of energy. Kevin onthe other hand is a diesel, known for his D, and initially seemingly even quieter than Dajuan and out of the spotlight. In the recent article about the group that went to the charity benefit, after a couple guards got things started, JWil looked to Kevin and made the commitment of five each. JWil was the one to speak about it, and I didn’t even notice Kevin in the photo, but Kevin was who JWil looked to first for support.

It’s probably good that there aren’t quite as many newcomers this year, because we don’t have nearly as much senior leadership. Fortunately, we do have great seniors that seem to have learned from great examples.

Blake Brown 1 week ago

It's always super exciting to move into the onset of a Kansas basketball season. We're blessed, at least so far, to have something to shout about on the gridiron. It certainly does not take away or dilute the anticipation of the National Champs returning to the court and is a happy add on for all things KU.
As with most teams, most years, this basketball squad has lots of new chemistry to sort out and blend in with the inevitable, "where will we be when it all comes together? And when will that be?" Will we be able to compete against teams with true bigs? Which freshman will stand out? How will McCullar fit in? Point guard back up? On and on......

Robert Brock 6 days, 23 hours ago

I’m curious to see how Bobby Pettiford looks. He hardly played last season, due to injury, so I hope that he is ready to go now. He might be Harris’ backup at PG.

Dirk Medema 6 days, 22 hours ago

BP is definitely PG#2.

Coach was really high on him before he got injured. Remy and Joe filled in some last year, but Remy is obviously gone and Coach has made it clear that he views Joe as a 2G.

Ted Hume 6 days, 6 hours ago

Matt- why did you guys stop providing the team roster on the site. Would love to see it back!

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