Perhaps no college basketball program is being talked about more right now than Kansas – and not for the best reasons.
Last week it was announced that the NCAA had issued several Level 1 violations to the men’s basketball program. Naturally, that created a bit of a storm amongst KU fans and college basketball fans in general.
There have been a lot of opinions on both sides of the aisle from KU fans to media pundits to rival fans in Manhattan, Kan. and Columbia, Mo. Many KU fans are of course concerned about the potential punishments the NCAA will issue in the spring and rival fans are hoping the KU pedestal comes crashing down. No doubt that this issues weighs even heavier on KU coaches and possibly the players with the future so unknown.
But the fact of the matter is this: the NCAA hasn’t issued any penalties yet, those penalties aren’t expected to be known until after this season, and if/when the penalties are announced, they will not affect this year’s team and their potential accomplishments.
For the coaches, this may be the most difficult to block out but all they can do at this point is let the athletic department submit their reply to the NCAA and await word. It’s not cut and dry when it comes to what penalties may be issued so why fret about the what-ifs? This team has the potential to be great so their attention should be on the players and helping them help this team reach their potential. Bill Self appears poised to do just that.
#KUbball coach Bill Self says he doesn’t think the looming NCAA case will be a distraction for his team & adds that it will motivate him personally to coach & work harder than ever before. More to come…
— Matt Tait (@mctait) September 26, 2019
For the players, they also need to block out the outside noise and focus on what they need to do. I don’t imagine that will be a problem for players like Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, and others who have NBA aspirations after this season. It also shouldn’t be an issue for Silvio De Sousa, who has as much reason to play angrier and harder than anyone on the team after his issues with the NCAA.
Opposing fans will surely come up with clever chants and taunting tactics on the road, like our friends at Iowa State have done. But at the end of the day, this team will have more talent than perhaps any team they’ll face this season and winning should be the only thing on their minds.
The sky is the limit for this team as long as their focus is on the court and not off it.
For fans, prepare to hear from your annoying K-State and Missouri neighbors even more than you’re used to. Of course they are loving the idea that KU might be hit with major penalties and lose scholarships, get a postseason ban, blah blah blah. Nothing would make them happier.
But nothing has happened yet and you know what the best response to pestering is? Winning. And this team should do a lot of it. Again, whatever is going to happen is going to happen after this season so enjoy this year’s team and root your heart out because if the penalties do come through, your team may not look as strong for the next few years.
There are a lot of unknowns right now, but what is known is that this KU team is stacked, hungry, and one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Atlanta this spring. Let’s focus on that potential and enjoy the ride this season because it could be a special one and one we might not see again for years to come.
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