Kansas super-senior forward Cam Martin figures to make his season debut on Saturday at Missouri, KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self said Wednesday on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show.
Martin, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound native of Yukon, Oklahoma, who redshirted at KU last season after transferring from Missouri Southern State University, has not played in No. 6 KU’s first nine games because of a separated shoulder he suffered at practice on Oct. 25.
Self noted that Martin “has been cleared to practice.”
“He’s practicing this week,” Self said. “I think Cam will play. Now, whether he plays much or whatnot depends how sore he is. I anticipate him being available to us.
“That doesn’t really mean a lot as far as guaranteeing playing time. ... He’s had a good week or so of practice. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do to help us.”
Martin, the second-leading scorer in Missouri Southern State history, told media members in October he was hurt when he fell on his shoulder after trying to block a shot by freshman forward Ernest Udeh with both hands during some 1-on-1 time. The Jayhawks have gone 8-1 in his absence.
Bobby Pettiford listed ‘day-to-day’
KU sophomore backup point guard Bobby Pettiford, who suffered a hamstring injury early in KU’s loss to Tennessee on Nov. 25 and missed the rest of that game and the next two games, is listed as “day-to-day,” Self told The Star after the Hawk Talk show. Self was not asked a question about Pettiford during the hour-long broadcast.
The Jayhawks apparently did not have a stellar practice Wednesday as preparation for Saturday’s game at Missouri (4:15 p.m. at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, ESPN) nears.
Self was a few minutes late for Hawk Talk.
“I apologize. We had a little longer than scripted practice,” Self said to host Brian Hanni. “It means you probably end it before you want to and you get everybody in the locker room and you talk a lot longer than they want to hear. That’s probably what it meant today.”
Overall it’s ‘been a good week,’ Self notes
KU will have a nine-day stretch between its last game (91-65 win over Seton Hall on Dec. 1) and the Mizzou game.
“It’s been OK,” Self said of the current stretch of practices. “We were off Friday, practiced Saturday and Sunday hard, walked through everything on Monday, were off Tuesday, practiced hard today.
“It’s been a good week. We’ve not exactly accomplished everything I had hoped after watching practice today. Hopefully we’ll improve on things the next couple days so we’ll be prepared to play well. When you look at the whole month of December, we have ample practice time (five games all month). We’ve got to figure out how we are going to guard a ball screen. We haven’t done a good job on it at all. We’ll get better. It’ll just take some time.”
The Tigers are undefeated and playing at home
Self’s early take on (9-0) Missouri: “Coach Gates (Dennis, first year at MU) has done a great job in a short amount of time. They won at Wichita State (88-84, OT). Winning at Koch Arena (in Wichita) is hard for anybody at any time.
“We’ll have to do a really good job welcoming the atmosphere (sold-out Mizzou Arena). Embrace it, love it. In all honesty that’s what we have to do. Embrace it, know there will be some tough moments. It’s a long game. Make sure we are disciplined enough to play aggressive, take good shots, not give up easy baskets. It should be a fun game. No question our guys will have fun playing in it.”
White House trip a long shot to happen
It looks as if the 2022 NCAA champion Jayhawks will not be recognized at the White House in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t think so,” Self said in response to a fan’s question on Hawk Talk. “That was one of the great experiences we had, was taking the team to the White House in ’08 (after winning NCAA crown). With the COVID and everything I think they are backed up pretty good. And so I know that we have reached out and requested and told them that we wanted to do so. I don’t think there’s been much response on behalf of the White House personnel to get back with us to let us know if that’s possible.
“Obviously it’s not possible now until the summer or the spring (with several members of the 2022 team playing pro ball and KU busy in its 2022-23 season). And I’m sure they’ll get caught up … skipping a couple years and starting fresh in ’23 or whenever it is. I wish that would happen. I don’t think it’s going too, though.”
Self did not blame anybody for the situation.
“Also, this not a knock to anybody. The presidents that were in office, the prior president (Donald Trump) and then of course President Obama and President Bush (are) huge sports fans. I mean huge sports fans. And so that was a big deal to them to have that happen with President Trump and President Obama and President Bush obviously. With all that our President presently has going on right now and with the health situation and COVID and all the things, I don’t know if it’s quite as big a priority as maybe it has been with the past administrations.”