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November 12, 2009After almost a month of practices and two exhibition games, Kansas coach Bill Self has already seen rapid development in his three freshmen, especially forward Thomas Robinson.
"I think his entire game has improved," Self said. "I thought all along that his motor was good and I think he is going to be more skilled than what I had thought. He is still green. He is still a baby colt and he is going to make some mistakes."
"We will have to give him a chance to play through some of those mistakes."
Robinson, who has been working with assistant coach Danny Manning, unveiled a spin move on Tuesday against Pitt. State that he had just recently learned.
"I was real surprised," Robinson said. "I didn't know my feet could move like that."
Professor Self graded his three freshmen on how they performed defensively after two exhibition games.
"They would probably be C's as college defenders but they are a lot better than when they first got here," Self said. "All three have the potential to be great defenders. Xavier could be a lockdown defender. I think Elijah could be a lockdown and I think Thomas could be a guy that could guard the best post player."
Tomorrow night's opener against Hofstra, Self will have to make his final decision on which players will redshirt this season. As of right now, it looks like Mario Little will likely sit the season out.
"Even though it is not 100 percent, that is what he wants to do and that will guarantee graduation for him," Self said. "I think it will be good for him although he has been one of our better performers in practice so far."
The verdict on Travis Releford will likely be a game time decision.
"We will go through practice today and maybe into tomorrow to see what Travis is going to do."
Weird quote of the day
When it comes to trying to figure out a player's personality, different coaches look at different traits. Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil used to say he would sometimes evaluate a player on how easily they laughed. For Bill Self, it's their smile. All three freshmen pass the test, but can they beat out one former player?
"I recruited Darnell [Jackson] because I liked his smile - and he had a nice butt to be honest with you," Self added.
Bill Self on Hofstra: "They only return about five or six guys off of last year's team so they got a lot of newcomers but they do return about five guys who played a lot of minutes and three guys on the perimeter and Jenkins is a strong guard that has got size - he is built like Sherron but taller - he is really a nice player. I think we will have our hands full guarding him."