Despite losing All-American forward Thomas Robinson to the NBA draft, and senior guard Tyshawn Taylor and several other key pieces from last year's national runners-up, Kansas is still expected to be ranked in the top 10 when preseason polls are released.
The Jayhawks return shot-blocking center Jeff Withey, senior guards Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson, and role players Kevin Young and Naadir Tharpe. They'll be helped by one of the nation's top recruiting classes, headlined by Kansas high school standout Perry Ellis.
Also eligible this season will be Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, a pair of highly regarded recruits who were forced to redshirt last season because of issues with their academics.
“The key to our team,” Self said, “will be how quickly our young guys come around. We have a bunch of them. How aggressive they are, and if they understand the type of aggressiveness and attitude you have to win at this level, at a high level.”
Self also dealt with some staff turnover in the offseason.
Assistant coach Danny Manning left to take over the program at Tulsa, where Self once served as coach, and director of basketball operations Barry Hinson was hired to coach Southern Illinois.
Former St. John's coach Norm Roberts has returned to Self's staff as an assistant coach after serving in the same capacity last season at Florida. Former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler has replaced Hinson as the director of basketball operations.
“I think one of the great things about coaching is turnover. It's exciting when you have turnover amongst your staff, even if you don't want to lose guys,” Self said. “When guys get opportunities, it's because the players have done a good job and performed well.”