No change in Preston’s status, Self says, but tight end to join KU hoops roster

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Kansas sophomore football tight end James Sosinski will be officially added to the Jayhawk basketball roster before Wednesday night’s game against Washington, coach Bill Self said on Monday’s Hawk Talk radio show.

“We’ve decided he’s going to suit up for us. He’ll travel with us,” Self said of the 6-foot-7, 260-pound forward who averaged 19.1 points and 12.6 rebounds per game his freshman year at South Mountain Community College in Arizona.

“That doesn’t mean you should expect him to get in the game, stuff like that,” Self added. “He wouldn’t play ahead of other guys yet. Who knows if a month from now if we’re playing somebody and they are hurting us and we need to steal a couple of minutes because they’ve got a big guy laying on us, maybe he can neutralize that. Maybe he can go out and foul the heck out of somebody really hard. I think he can be an asset.”

Sosinski, who figures to help strengthen a KU frontcourt that has two eligible scholarship players in Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot — walk-on Clay Young has been used as well — practiced with the basketball team Thursday and Friday. He did not make the trip to Miami for KU’s game against Syracuse on Saturday.

“I’m really impressed with him as a kid. He seems bright. He’s picked up stuff even though we haven’t thrown anything at him hardly, pretty well,” Self said of Sosinski, a Chandler, Ariz., native. “I think he’ll know his role.”

Frontcourt player Billy Preston, a 6-10, 240-pound freshman forward, has not played in any of the Jayhawks’ seven games as KU looks into the financial picture surrounding the vehicle he’s been driving this semester.

“He (Sosinski) is one heavy body you can put down there who can lean on him (Azubuike) and probably be just as strong and have even a better base than Doke, to kind of push him out,” Self stated. “I think this is good for Udoka.

“I noticed today (Monday at practice), when James would screen somebody it was different than when some other guys screen you. He’ll hit you. He really has done pretty well.”

Self explained Sosinski really will be needed at shootarounds on road trips.

“When we go places and shoot on the day of the game, to get our seven guys who are playing the majority of the minutes out there … they’ll be guarded by Clay, (Chris) Teahan and three managers. Getting a big guy (Sosinski) out there who can at least lay on Doke will be an asset for us,” Self said. “He is a good player. He’s a nice young man. I think he’ll be good for us.”

Meanwhile, Self said he is not expecting 6-10 freshman Preston to available for Wednesday’s 8 p.m. game against Washington at the Sprint Center.

“Nothing has happened in the first four hours of this (working) day to my knowledge,” Self said around 3 p.m. Monday. “This is something our people have worked really hard on. We think it’ll come to a head soon. Hopefully it’ll come to a head in a way that we held him out for precautionary reasons. We just don’t know that yet.”

Self explained: “It’s unfortunate because the way this system is set up and the way we’re attacking this and when I say attacking I mean that in the literal sense, we are trying to resolve this as quickly as possible. It’s just not going to be something that happens as quick as we want it to happen.

“We are very hopeful we are nearing the conclusion to the point where maybe we can find something out in the relatively near future, but I don’t think it’s going to be by Wednesday.”

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore


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