Since Bill Self arrived at Kansas the Jayhawks have been at or near the top of the Big 12. Minus a second place finish in his first season with the Jayhawks, Self has lead his team to a 1st place conference finish. The run amounts to seven straight and several of those have occurred following an offseason filled with talk of a Kansas demise.
Demise of course is a relative term and for Kansas basketball that would have meant a 3rd or 4th place finish but against the odds Bill Self has consistently managed to win the league and Kansas basketball has owned the Big 12. That of course brings us to the current state of the program. Following the departure of six players and five starters from last years roster Kansas looks to be back in the position of a rebuild just as they were following the championship season of 2007-2008. The biggest difference is the lack of marquee names filling the void left on the roster by those that have now departed.
In a CBSSports.com article by Jeff Goodman, Bill Self admits exactly that.
"It's fair to say there are more unknowns about this team than any team we've had since I've been here."
It's a reality that most Kansas fans are well aware of. After the Jayhawks missed on last ditch attempts at five star recruits Trevor Lacey and DeAndre Daniels most had shifted their attention to the 2012 class but Bill Self gradually filled out his roster with a group of unknowns that includes Braeden Anderson, Jamari Traylor, Merv Lindsay and former Loyola Marymount forward Kevin Young. The group isn't exactly setting the world on fire in terms of expectations.
At the same time the tone of Goodman's article is exactly the tone that should be taken when looking at Bill Self and Kansas. The Jayhawks have overcome the odds several times, Bill Self has owned the league for years and Kansas has proven the ability to identify and develop talent better than anyone in the Big 12 Conference. What that means is even though the writing seems to be on the wall and the torch looks as though it will be passed for at least one season, the rest of the league will probably take a wait and see approach before piling on.