Basketball vs. Southern Utah-jalen three 2.jpg

Junior guard #10 Jalen Wilson celebrating during the basketball game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Southern Utah Thunderbirds in Allen Fieldhouse on Nov.18 2022.

After missing the first four games due to a self-imposed suspension, Kansas coach Bill Self will return to the bench heading into the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. 

Self is looking forward to making his return to coaching and getting to do so against some tough teams, the first being the North Carolina State Wolfpack. 

“I'm obviously excited to be back in paradise, in this tournament. We haven't been here in a while,” Self said. “I think 2013 was the last time we were here, and certainly excited to come back to not only be here in the Bahamas and Atlantis but also to be with my team and playing in what is a very, very strong competitive field. The field is even better than the ranking, so it's going to be a good three days that will learn a lot about our team.”

Two notable players to watch are graduate guard Jarkel Joiner and sophomore guard Terquavion Smith.

“Their two guards are probably going to be as explosive of guards as we could possibly go against this year,” Self said. “Texas is the only team in our league that I've seen so far that has explosiveness in the backcourt like NC State.”

For the Jayhawks, the player in all of the spotlight is redshirt-junior forward Jalen Wilson, who’s even getting thrown into the national player of the year discussion. 

“Jalen is kind of in that mold. I mean, he's put himself in the conversation to be one of the best players in the country right now,” Self said. “He's averaging 24.5, nine and 4.5, which I don't know if anybody in America can boast those numbers this early. But, it's also early, and it's also different competition, and things have a way of leveling out, but he's been great for us.”

This will be the 13th-ever meeting between these two teams, where Kansas leads the series 11-1. On neutral courts, the Jayhawks are 4-0 against the Wolfpack. 

Tip-off is set for Nov. 23 at 11 a.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.