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Fresh-faced Jayhawks hope to defend national title entering 2022-23 season

Star-studded freshman class carries high expectations entering upcoming basketball season in Lawrence
Posted at 5:36 PM, Oct 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 18:41:30-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Last year’s wins won't count on this year’s schedule.

The old coaching adage holds true for the 2022-23 Kansas Jayhawk Men’s Basketball team, who carry a sizable chip on their shoulders despite winning it all just last season. But it will be harder this time around.

“We basically return two guys that have played any meaningful minutes off a team that won a championship last year,” Bill Self told reporters Tuesday, entering his 20th season as head ball coach in Lawrence.

“It's a whole new ballgame,” Self said.

Junior forward Jalen Wilson and redshirt-junior guard Dajuan Harris are the sole returning starters for Kansas after losing a bulk of senior leadership to the NBA or graduation, including the likes of Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Christian Braun.

Both Wilson and Harris feel the pressure is on them to step up for the team to repeat as national champions.

'I have score now," Harris said, "We were seven, eight deep last year so I didn't really have to score last year. This year, I feel that I really have to score now."

Despite the keys losses, players still feel confident that the team can still repeat as national champions especially with additions from a star-studded freshman class that include the likes of Gradey Dick and Ernest Udeh Jr. The Jayhawks will also have a new veteran presence too with senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr, who transferred from Big-12 rival Texas Tech.

"Me, Kevin, Gradey alone it's like 6-7, 6-8 all across the board," Wilson said, "With our versatility being able to run fast, switch the ball, switch the ball screens, we'll be able to do a whole lot of things."

“This team just winning the national championship last year, expectations could never be higher,” incoming freshman Udeh Jr said.