June 26, 2006
The expectations couldn't be any higher in Lawrence, Kan. With 10 players coming back, two McDonald's All-Americans and one prep school standout coming in, the Kansas Jayhawks will be one of the early favorites to cut down the nets in Atlanta, Ga. Bill Self told Jayhawk Slant that this team has a chance to be extremely special.
"The team has great potential if we work hard," said Self. "One thing that will always be key is if you shoot the ball well. It will be hard to shoot it better than we did last year. Brandon Rush shot 47 percent and Mario Chalmers and Jeff Hawkins both shot better than 40 percent during league play. A year older doesn't necessarily make you a lot better percentage shooter like that.
"From a talent standpoint and a strength standpoint, there is no question that this should be a team that can do a lot of different things, has a lot of interchangeable parts and should be fun to watch," he added.
Along with Rush and Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun, Julian Wright, Darnell Jackson and C.J. Giles, seven of KU's top performers, are all back again for another year. When you add Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar to the mix, what you get is a team loaded from top to bottom.
When it comes to NCAA Tournament play, the last two years have been extremely unkind to the Hawks. This year's squad will be faced with a great deal of pressure to perform throughout the month of March. Having lost to Bucknell and Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the last two years, KU certainly has something to prove.
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