Lawrence, Kans. has barely settled down from last season, when the 22-10 Jayhawks upset Oklahoma in the finals of the Big Eight tournament. Now comes Danny Manning, one of the country's three superfrosh (page 120), to quicken heartbeats. All this enthusiasm has coach Larry Brown protesting that 1) Kansas lost forwards Carl Henry (16.8 ppg) and Kelly Knight (seven rebounds per game) and 2) this year's squad has nine freshmen. But because one of them is Manning, Brown is being outshouted. The 6'11" Manning did little to engender calm among Jayhawk fans when he scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds in the team's first public scrimmage. He also exhibited ball-handling skills and court vision rarely witnessed in a big man so young. Brown has installed him alongside 7'1" junior Greg Dreiling in a double low-post offense. "When we shoot it I want Danny close to the board," says Brown, "and when they shoot it, I want him close to the board." Still, the Jayhawks are a mix of mostly slowdown players recruited by former coach Ted Owens and quick Brown foxes who are still a year away from maximum effectiveness. Much of the scoring void left by Henry's absence should be taken up by 6'6" Calvin Thompson, who averaged 11.3 points a game last year, and swingman Ron Kellogg, a 6'5" deadeye. There's speed at point guard with 6-foot sophomore Cedric Hunter, who's strong enough to move to shooting guard when 5'10" sophomore Mark (The Surgeon) Turgeon takes over at the point.
Brown should be flattered that Kansas fans believe he can take the Jayhawks to the Big Eight title again and beyond. But this year, even with Manning, Kansas is probably too undermanned.