October 18, 2006

KU must remain focused

Expectations are always high in Lawrence, and this year is no different. With an experienced group of players coming back and a talented group of freshman on campus, many media outlets expect Bill Self's Jayhawks to content for a National Championship. After back-to-back opening round NCAA Tournament losses, the Hawks have the talent, experience, depth and athleticism to cut down the nets this year.

"Everybody in our camp is very excited about the prospects of this upcoming season," said Self. "I am really proud of how we played last year, especially after starting off very slow. We played at a very high level for the vast majority of the season, only to come to a sudden halt in the NCAA Tournament.

"I do believe that will be great motivation for these young guys," he added. "I was really proud with how we played for the most part. We have most of our guys back and have made some key additions; it should make for a fun year."

Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Brandon Rush, Julian Wright and Darnell Jackson are the key returning players from last years squad.

However, Self made it perfectly clear that a number of first year players must step-in right away and take on major roles. Don't be surprised if all three freshman, Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar crack the rotation.

"I think one thing that is perceived when we recruit players is that they are going to step in and have an unbelievable impact, and that is not always the case," said Self. "These guys, primarily Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur have a chance to make an immediate impact, and I don't think Brady Morningstar is far away.

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