The Norman Transcript

Sports

November 6, 2013

Jayhawks don’t rebuild, but reload

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Expectations never change at Kansas.

It doesn’t matter that the Jayhawks lost the seventh overall choice in the NBA draft in Ben McLemore, or a bevy of seniors led by 7-footer Jeff Withey, a second-round pick in April’s draft.

In fact, expectations may be higher than ever this season.

The Jayhawks will begin pursuit of their unprecedented 10th consecutive Big 12 championship by leaning on perhaps the most heralded freshman class that coach Bill Self has assembled during his decade-long tenure in Lawrence. It’s led by Andrew Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 overall recruit, and includes two other potential one-and-done stars in Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid.

“There’s as much hype around this year as any,” Self said, “and it’s a large part because of the unknown. We’ve had other good players and other good teams returning. This team hasn’t proven itself at all. But the unknown of having a good recruiting class has everyone pretty excited.”

McLemore averaged more than 16 points during his only season at Kansas, while Withey rewrote the record books when it came to blocked shots. But after reaching the national title game two years ago, the Jayhawks took a step backward last season.

Sure, they shared the regular-season Big 12 title with Kansas State, and then ran roughshod through the league tournament. But they were ousted by Michigan in overtime the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, a frustrating end to what had been a solid season.

The loss stung even more when folks realized just how much talent was departing — along with McLemore and Withey, the Jayhawks also lost veterans such as Elijah Johnson. But any angst over the future turned to excitement when the low-key Wiggins made his intentions official.

The silky-smooth 6-foot-8 swingman was the final addition to the incoming crop of freshman, and easily the biggest name. Self compared his game to that of Tracy McGrady, and Wiggins has already created the kind of buzz around town not felt since Danny Manning arrived in the 1980s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU womens gym Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

Facebook