Kansas coach Bill Self was all smiles when speaking about the Jayhawks’ 2023-24 roster on Thursday.
“I really like our roster a lot,” Self said on the Field of 68 Podcast hosted by college basketball analysts Jeff Goodman and Rob Dauster. “We only have 11 on scholarship, but I like our roster. It’s a good blend. We’ve got basically seven vets and four newbies.”
Self was excited about the potential of KU’s four incoming freshmen: Elmarko Jackson, Marcus Adams, Chris Johnson and Jamari McDowell.
“I think it’s a good balance because our freshmen or soon-to-be freshmen are talented,” Self said. “They’re good players. A couple of them, I really believe we will see them playing at the highest level in two or three years without question.”
Still, Self emphasized the balance between the roster was the main draw.
“Still to have a Kevin McCullar, a Dajuan Harris, a KJ Adams, a Nick Timberlake, a Hunter Dickinson and Arterio Morris and now Kevin back in the fold — that’s some experienced guys to go along with four talented freshmen,” Self said.
Although the flashiest acquisition of the offseason was Dickinson, Self believes Morris could be an X-factor for the Jayhawks.
Self emphasized that although Morris didn’t see much playing time at Texas, the former five-star guard has great potential.
“He kind of settled into the fourth guard (role at Texas), “ Self said. “I have had a lot of guys be a fourth guard when they get here and end up being NBA long-term players. I think of him being one of those guys.
“I see him as the guy that, if he plays well for us, I think he could be as talented as any guard in our league.”
Morris is currently in the midst of an ongoing legal matter in Texas. He is awaiting trial on a misdemeanor assault charge and, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has an upcoming trial date of June 14 in Texas.
Self believes Morris is eager to focus on basketball.
“I think he’s thirsty,” Self said. “I think he’s hungry. Obviously, he’s been through some stuff. Been humbled — some things like that which will also add to his chip on the shoulder to want to show everybody what he’s capable of doing.”
Self also spoke glowingly about Parker Braun, brother of former Kansas player and current Denver Nuggets wing Christian Braun.
“People are sleeping on this guy,” Self said. “I mean, he’s 6-foot-10. He’s an athlete. He’s probably more athletic than Christian. ... He can do a lot of things — he can run.
“Granted, his role won’t be nearly as big as what (it) would be if he was starting and playing 30 minutes a game. I look around and I am thinking, ‘Wow, that’s pretty good at that five spot.’”
Ultimately, Self said Braun will be pivotal in letting Kansas play a variety of lineups.
“You can play in different ways,” Self said. “You can play small when you play big at the five. You can play KJ at the five some and play extra small — or you can play Parker. He can move around and play anywhere on the floor. He’s really a four-man playing the five.”