LAWRENCE — Dajuan Harris Jr. is facing a Kansas basketball locker home that will look different from the one particular he just won a nationwide championship with.
So quite a few important voices and talents from that title-profitable squad are going on to specialist careers, like Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot to title a handful of. They will not be donning Jayhawks uniforms as the program looks to defend its championship. And amid these departures is Christian Braun, anyone who has been near with Harris for a long time.
Harris, who hopes to see Braun picked in the initial round of the future NBA draft, turned employed to listening to Braun’s voice all around the workforce. They just about every had their respective location on the roster the earlier 3 seasons underneath head mentor Invoice Self, even starting off the title match of the NCAA tournament with each other in opposition to North Carolina. And as Harris seems to be to do his section to fill the management openings that the natural way come up in situations like this, he will have to do so with no Braun.
But Harris isn’t shed by any signifies. Harris has been all over the method for a whilst now as a player. He’s hunting to be just one of the Jayhawks’ most important leaders this year, and absolutely will have the guidance of all those close to him as he pursues that intention.
“We were being fortunate previous 12 months that we experienced excellent upperclassmen that have been great leaders, no query, but … I really don’t know how numerous situations I stated this to you guys in the slide and preseason, Dajuan Harris’ group gained each individual working day,” Self explained. “They usually gained. He has to stage up in that spot, but he’s been carrying out it, way too. I signify, it is not like that’s a little something that’s going to be completely new to him.”
Self pointed out that exactly where Harris goes, Harris wins. That was correct in high college, when Harris gained a point out championship at Rock Bridge in Missouri. That was correct in Harris’ to start with year as the beginning level guard at Kansas, when the Jayhawks won a national title back again in April.
Harris can acquire as a vocal chief, but the track report for success is now there. Harris also won’t have to do it all alone, with Self mentioning Jalen Wilson and transfer Kevin McCullar as two other people to seem at in that area. Self said that while in some cases a team which is whole of alphas can see athletes journey over each individual other when it arrives to who’s hoping to direct, he does not imagine there will be any doubt who’s on the lookout to who on this crew this approaching season.
Bobby Pettiford Jr., a different returner, highlighted Wilson, Harris and McCullar as leaders to view for, too, in addition to Joseph Yesufu. Pettiford noted even though Harris may possibly not seem like he’s top in the identical techniques as other folks publicly, at the rear of closed doors Harris is handling his job. And Pettiford thinks Harris has the prospective to be louder, dependent on how Harris feels.
“Me and Dajuan have been talking about it,” mentioned Pettiford, who also considers Harris to be quite possibly the smartest basketball player he’s competed with. “I really do not know why, past year, everyone gave him a difficult time with how he performs. He’s variety of laid-again and just passes. But he’s, like, the heart of this crew. Like, without the need of Dajuan, I do not feel we, like, make it as far.”
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As a place guard, Harris stated the coaching workers has been preaching to him about management all the time. That was genuine when he was a freshman, and he was not even enjoying. There is generally been an work, to acquire his means to be a leader.
After redshirting the 2019-20 period, Harris started out two of 30 appearances in 2020-21 prior to starting in 39 of 40 appearances in 2021-22. He’s come to be a stalwart defender, leading Kansas in steals this past time. If his trajectory as a talent is mirroring that of his capability to guide, that’s a trend that bodes very well for the Jayhawks moving forward.
Harris’ higher university coach at Rock Bridge, Jim Scanlon, explained he saw Harris expand and experienced every single yr they were collectively there. Scanlon, who described Harris as getting most likely the greatest basketball IQ of any person he’s coached, has been so glad to see what Harris has been ready to achieve. Seeing Harris get a nationwide championship at Kansas, practically made Scanlon cry.
“I’d under no circumstances experienced any individual in that place,” said Scanlon, who regarded Harris a tranquil leader in higher college. “I’ve coached a lengthy time. So, my wife and I viewed the total tournament and we watched the semifinal sport and viewed the finals and it was just truly thrilling for us. I signify, when you have somebody there, involved, it is — you get it a small extra serious.”
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Cash-Journal. Call him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: How Dajuan Harris Jr. is searching to help direct Kansas basketball