The Kansas basketball team came up short in its exhibition opener against Illinois, 82-75. In front of a crowd of over 10,000 fans in State Farm Center, KU and the Fighting Illini raised over $1 million for the Maui Strong Fund as the island of Lahaina continues to work its way back from a series of deadly wildfires in August.
So, I welcome you all to the first edition of breaking down our player’s games into three tiers. Big Jays, who balled out, stepped up and led the team. Baby Jays, who had some nice moments and potentially played their role. And lastly, the No Jays for those players who didn’t have their best game or struggled to contribute.
Tier 1: Big Jays
1. Kevin McCullar Jr.
McCullar led the Jayhawks with 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting, adding eight rebounds and one assist along with three turnovers. He played a little under 35 minutes and gave his usual hustle and strong defense despite getting banged up at the end. Kev looks to be the next Kansas basketball senior to take a leap in his last ride. He hit two out of three shots from deep, which is promising. We will need Kev to be that guy who can get his own and knock down shots all year for this team to reach its goals.
2. Hunter Dickinson
Hunter dropped 22 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks to go with one turnover. The big man played almost 35 minutes and was fairly inefficient, going 9-for-20 from the field. The positive was he didn’t have his best game, rushed some shots, and still put up those numbers. He will lead Kansas basketball in scoring all year and the attention he will draw down low will lead to open looks for his teammates.
3. KJ Adams Jr.
KJ was active and all over the floor and will be a force on short rolls to the basket. KJ played 36 minutes and was 6-for-10 from the field. KJ poured in 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and had two turnovers.