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KU’s Bill Self impressed with freshman Joel Embiid

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013, at 12:21 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, at 9:54 a.m.

Embiid impressive

Kansas coach Bill Self has consistently said his six-man freshman class has the potential to be the best recruiting class he’s ever assembled. He’s already impressed with 7-foot freshman Joel Embiid, a Cameroon native who played his high school ball in Florida.

Self said Embiid, who played soccer as a boy, has the best feet of any young big man he’s coached.

“I think it kind of reminds me a little bit of (Hakeem) Olajuwon early in his career,” Self said. “I’m not saying he’s Olajuwon; I’m not saying that at all. But (there are) some similarities when (Olajuwon) was real raw and he was young — but was always light on his feet. And I think Joel is the same way.”

• Freshman point guard Frank Mason may have been the least heralded member of the recruiting class, but Self said Mason has the skills and toughness to push junior Naadir Tharpe for minutes.

“There’s no question that Frank can push Naadir, ” Self said. “No question. And Naadir knows that. Frank’s talented. He’s tough. He’s a pit bull. He’s probably as competitive as anybody we have. But does he know how to lead? Those are the questions that need to be answered.”

• KU will begin practice Friday, which is two weeks earlier than usual. It means some added practice time for the young Jayhawks, who have eight newcomers on the roster. Self said he could envision a player or two opting to redshirt but those decisions would come closer to the start of the season.

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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