Self says defense deficient so far at KU hoops practices: “We just don’t guard.”

By Gary Bedore

Coach Bill Self likes what he’s seen from his Kansas basketball players effort-wise one week into the 2017-18 preseason.

“I think they are trying real hard,” Self said Friday after the Jayhawks’ fourth practice since last Saturday night’s Late Night in the Phog. “That is probably the most pleasing thing. They are working.”


He said the Jayhawks overall have had “two pretty good practices, one average one and one really, really bad one. I think they’ve done OK so far.”

The squad has been substandard in one area.

“The disappointing thing,” Self stated, “is we should be better defensively than what we are. Obviously losing Frank (Mason) and Josh (Jackson) are big losses on that end, especially. We just don’t guard. We are not disciplined enough yet to finish possessions. Hopefully we’ll get there. We are a ways away from being decent defensively.”

As far as individuals … some of the more experienced players, so far, have embraced leadership responsibilities.

“I think our veterans are doing well. I think Devonté (Graham, senior), Svi (Mykhailiuk, senior) and Lagerald (Vick, junior) are probably the best ones (leaders) we have right now,” Self said.

“They are doing fine,” he added of the entire group of players. “We are obviously a mile away from being able to play. I think we have to get some post guys to have some consistency, and I think we’ll be OK.”

Prefacing his statement with a “knock on wood,” Self said the health of the squad was good.

“We haven’t had anybody miss (a practice),” Self said.

Self said the squad would take a day off Saturday then “go probably Sunday through Wednesday, probably take off Thursday then go Friday through Sunday and regroup after that.”

The Jayhawks will play their first exhibition game Oct. 31 against Pittsburg State. KU will meet Fort Hays State on Nov. 7, then open for real against Tennessee State on Nov. 10. Those games will all be at Allen Fieldhouse.

Jermain Harris to Rhode Island

Jermaine Harris, a 6-8 senior power forward from Clinton (Md.) Christian High, who had previously scheduled an official visit to KU for this weekend, on Friday orally committed to Rhode Island over Xavier and West Virginia. Harris,’s No. 76-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2018, dropped off KU’s radar following the commitment of a pair of power forwards — No. 25-ranked Silvio De Sousa and No. 33 David McCormack.

Quentin Grimes at USA camp

Quentin Grimes, who will make an official recruiting trip to KU on Oct. 13-15, will be one of 54 high school players participating in the ninth-annual USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp on Saturday and Sunday at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Grimes, a 6-5 senior combo guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, is ranked No. 11 in the recruiting Class of 2018 by Other KU targets attending camp include high school seniors Romeo Langford and Zion Williamson, junior Zach Harvey (of Topeka Hayden), junior James Wiseman and sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim.

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