Whether or not Jamari Traylor occupies a spot in the starting lineup all season is still very much unknown. However, looking ahead to Tuesday's exhibition opener, Traylor, according to Bill Self, has earned a starting spot.
"Well, Jamari is going to start tomorrow (Tuesday against Emporia State)." Self said on Monday afternoon. "He's played the hardest and the last week he's played the best of the other guys. He's going to start tomorrow and then Perry Ellis will be our first guy off the bench (out of the bigs). What I want to see Jamari do is be able to do it in a game and not just practice.
"There's no pressure in practice and if you miss a shot it's no big deal," he added. "You know, Jamari has played just one year of basketball, really, ever, so we talk about kids from overseas coming over and have only been playing two or three years - he's played less than those kids. I just want to see how he reacts to a game type situation."
Tuesday night's exhibition opener against Emporia State can't arrive soon enough for Traylor, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Chicago, Ill. Traylor, who averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game for IMG Academies during his final year of prep hoops, committed to Self and the Jayhawks on May 18, 2011.
While Traylor had envisioned himself playing an important role as a freshman, shortly before the start of the 2011-12 season, he was deemed a partial qualifier, and was forced to miss the entire season. Traylor, along with Ben McLemore, was allowed to practice at the conclusion of the first semester, but couldn't travel with the team.
With the start of the 2012-13 season looming, Traylor, it appears, is determined to make up for lost time.
"He's competing hard," Self said when talking about Traylor. "He's playing to his athletic ability and he's competing hard. I've said that a lot - I'd like to have our team play to their athletic ability - this team is fairly athletic. Them playing to their athletic ability will definitely show up on the defensive end as much as anything and rebounding. He is relentless.
"He'll go after the ball. Jamari, last year, he guarded Thomas Robinson every possession, and Ben guarded Tyshawn Taylor every possession," he added. "Tyshawn loved it, because he would actually take it personal if Ben made him look bad. Thomas loved it, because Jamari did make him look bad some, and if they played four days, Jamari may get the best one out of four, and then the other three Thomas let him know that he was still not quite there yet."