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Q&A with Rock Chalk Talk

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NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I talked with Mike from Rock Chalk Talk. If you want to read my answers to his questions, check it out here.

Will Billy Preston play this season?

No.

Sorry, that was a short answer. No, I don’t expect him to. For those who don’t know, Preston was a 5-star PF recruit, #11 overall in the 2017 class. In early November, he was involved in a single car accident on campus; as the university sought “a clearer financial picture” regarding the vehicle, he was held out of games but has been practicing with the team. Kansas turned its findings over to the NCAA on or around December 20, and has been waiting for a response since that time. Preston’s mom recently lashed out on Twitter, but still no news.

I’m guessing - just a guess - that the NCAA is trying to decide if whoever owns the car has been involved with the family long enough for it to be a permissible benefit.

When do you think the Big 12 streak will end?

If it doesn’t end this year, I’m guessing it will end just two or three years after Self retires. Due to what I think is kind of an odd shift in recruiting (toward transfer players, three of whom are sitting out this year and one who left campus after a week this summer), this is Self’s thinnest roster since he’s been at Kansas - and the Jayhawks are all alone in first place after six games. Since coming to KU, Self has been a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament - and the last time he wasn’t a 1 or 2-seed was 2009. He’s just been so consistent. Better get him this year, or you may never get him.

Who do you think will go pro after this season?

Svi Mykailiuk and Devonte Graham are seniors, so they’re gone regardless. The only others that have a chance of going pro, in my opinion, are the above mentioned Billy Preston, Lagerald Vick, Udoka Azubuike, and Malik Newman. I don’t see Azubuike or Newman showing up on any mock drafts anywhere, so to answer the original question, the safe bets are Preston and Vick.

*Mitch Lightfoot played crazy well against TCU. Is that sustainable, and what exactly happened?

What happened was Udoka Azuibuke foul trouble leading to Mitch Lightfoot’s season-high in minutes played. KU needed him to step up that night, and he responded. Mitch is an energy guy who has a knack for blocking shots (tied with Azubuike for the team lead), and it turns out he has a decent offensive game, too. He can even pop a three if you leave him open at the top of the key (5-12 from behind the arc so far). As to whether or not it’s sustainable? I really don’t know. If Preston ever gets cleared, Mitch pretty quickly becomes the second big off the bench instead of the first.

Do you think David Beaty will get fired after this season? Would you have fired him after this season?

Yes.

And yes.

Charlie Weis and Turner Gill both got canned after winning more games in less time than David Beaty. Kansas is currently in its worst three-season stretch in school history, and that’s not hyperbole. I’d like to see Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger (a K-State grad) fired first, but Beaty is part of the problem too. There are repeated questionable fourth-down playcalls, bad clock management, and players are constantly out of position, unprepared, and not developing in their time in Lawrence. The coaching staff can’t even figure out who the best quarterback is on the roster. There are blown assignments on defense, missed blocks on offense, and recruiting Texas is supposed to be this staff’s strong suit. There is currently just one recruit from the state of Texas verbally committed to next year’s class. If you want to read more up on it, feel free to read about how Sheahon Zenger is killing the Kansas football program.

If Bill Self leaves in the next couple of years, who would you want as KU’s next coach?

Brad Stevens is the dream hire, but I assume you want me to pick someone realistic. Bill Donovan is probably also a pipe dream. I would say someone like Tony Bennett and Sean Miller would be guys you have to call. Farther down on the list might be Archie Miller, Chris Mack, Buzz Williams, and Larry Krystkowiak. If Kansas alum Jerod Haase wins at Stanford, he could work himself into this conversation as well.

Do you have confidence if Kansas has to play zone, and do you think the Jayhawks should play zone or man-to-man against the Bears?

Kansas has been playing more zone this season because of depth issues, and because for some reason, the Jayhawks have been having trouble defending pick-and-roll offenses. Guys have been helping too far and leaving shooters open on the perimeter, and for whatever reason Bill Self can’t get them to stop to do it. I want Kansas to play man to man as much as possible; after all, Self is an expert at throwing in different types of zones during a game as a change up.

How far does Kansas advance in the NCAA Tournament?

If I would have answered this question on Monday afternoon, I would have said there’s no doubt that they bow out in the second round or possibly the Sweet 16. The win at West Virginia was really impressive and shouldn’t be understated, however, I’m not sure that it changes the ceiling - or the floor - for this team. They’re still eminently capable of a Final Four run. They’re also a 4-25 game from behind the arc away from a second round exit. Personally, I will probably play it safe and predict a Sweet 16 exit, just because this team is so reliant on jump shooting.