On the eve of his first NCAA tournament game here, Kansas coach Bill Self praised Wichita as a great basketball town and Wichita State as a great program.
"My perception of Wichita as a basketball city has been very, very high going way back, you know?" Self said Wednesday at a pre-practice news conference at the Intrust Bank Arena.
Thursday's first-round matchup against Penn will be the first time Self's brought his Jayhawk team to Wichita, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been paying attention.
"This has been an unbelievable basketball town over time," he said. "And certainly, as you know, us recruiting Perry (Ellis). Perry was obviously one of the best players that we've had in my tenure at Kansas and he was from Wichita."
Ellis, a 6-7 power forward who played high-school ball at Wichita Heights, led Kansas to four NCAA tournaments and an appearance in the Elite 8 in 2016. He now plays professional ball in Italy.
Self said Wichita has a "terrific name nationally basketball-wise" and gave credit to the resurgence of Wichita State Shocker basketball in recent years.
"The success Wichita State's had, which is incredible, certainly has put Wichita on the map nationally, not just with recruiting but with the quality of play here in town," Self said.
In this year's tournament, Kansas is a No. 1 seed.
Wichita State is seeded No. 4 and plays Marshall University on Friday in San Diego. Kansas State is a No. 9 seed and plays Creighton on Friday in Charlotte, N.C.
"I think that Kansas as a whole, when you have three Division I schools and all three have done as well as they've done, I think it's made a pretty good name for basketball in our state," Self said. "Although most of the kids that play at the three universities are not local kids. Most of them are probably from somewhere, another state."