KU coach Bill Self confident freshman forward Billy Preston will be back but unsure of when

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest.

Chicago — Shortly after his team survived a scare from seventh-ranked Kentucky despite using basically just six players, Kansas coach Bill Self offered a little more information into the traffic incident that kept freshman forward Billy Preston in street clothes.

Preston, KU announced prior to tip-off, was held out because of a single-car traffic accident he was involved in on Saturday, one day after serving a one-game suspension for missing curfew and class ahead of the Tennessee State season opener.

As is protocol, the incident was reported to KU's compliance office and that's when things began to get murky.

“They started doing the checking on the car and wanted to get a clearer picture of how some things were done and we couldn't get it cleared up,” Self said. “That's basically all there is to it.”

Self said KU officials spent the better part of Tuesday attempting to gain clarity so Preston could play. But when that did not happen, Self had no choice but to keep his five-star freshman on the bench.

“I'm out of it,” Self said, before adding, “I am confident it'll get cleared up. But I don't know the time frame and they haven't clued me in.”

Asked if the issue in question was something that should have been addressed prior to the accident or the start of the season, Self again said that question should be posed to KU's compliance office.

“(The car) was registered,” he said. “Everything was good. But they dove into it a little bit deeper. That doesn't mean that something wrong has been done.”

With the issue in limbo, Self's lineup shrunk basically to six players. Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot was the seventh man on Tuesday night but he played just six minutes in the KU victory.

“It did hurt,” Self said of not having Preston. “I think it would've been nice if we could've played seven guys instead of six. But our guys rallied around it.”

Whether Preston will be in uniform in time for KU's next game — 7 p.m. Friday at Allen Fieldhouse vs. South Dakota State — remains to be seen. But whether he is or isn't, Self said one thing already is crystal clear about the 2017-18 Jayhawks.

“We're gonna be a team, until everything gets situated and we can get to Christmas, when (we) have a chance to have two more players join the team — Sam (Cunliffe) and if Silvio graduates and qualifies, which he's on pace to do that — if that's the case that would change your depth situation and everything immediately. Until then, I can't see us being much more than an hour-and-15, an hour-and-30 practice team a day.”

Rather than sulk and pout while missing what, no doubt, would have been a highlight of the season for him, Preston was active on the bench.

“We'd spent all day trying to figure out if there was a way we could get it done where he could play,” Self said. “I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Billy. He was a great teammate on the bench and our guys will rally around him. But certainly it was disappointing, very disappointing.”

Added 7-foot sophomore Udoka Azubuike of Preston's presence Tuesday night: “Yeah, yeah, yeah; he was on the bench cheering on the team and all that stuff. He was doing his part.”

As for how the Jayhawks (2-0) survived without the extra big body? Azubuike grinded through a career-high 34 minutes to the tune of 13 points and eight rebounds and the KU guards gathered 31 of the team's 39 rebounds to tie Kentucky on the glass.

“In basketball, stuff happens,” Azubuike said. “It happens a lot. So we've just gotta be prepared for every game. I kind of knew in the back of my head that my teammates were relying on my heavily.”

By the Numbers: Kansas 65, Kentucky 61

By the Numbers: Kansas 65, Kentucky 61


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kentucky

Comments

Yonatan Negash

Billy Preston get your act in gear.

We've seen this script play out before and it never ends well for the player.

You've got to get it together man.

Whatever is going on with your situation is impacting a whole team and that's irresponsible.

Frankly speaking, it's a headache Kansas can do without.

You're not the first to act irresponsibly and won't be the last.

Those that made it through were able to figure it out fast and those that didn't are no longer part of the team.

Humility is a good quality to have, you should try it. Walk to class or take the bus if you have to.

You don't need a car. You want a car but you don't need a car.

You can choose to make curfew if you want to. You don't have to miss curfew if you don't want to.

Embrace the power you have, the power of choosing to do the right thing.

What you don't realize is the basic things that are being asked of you are exactly that, there simple and basic.

All it takes is a little bit of maturity and responsibility on your part to make it work.

Trust me there have been many before you that made it through just fine and if you trust the process everything will work out

Best of Luck

1 month ago

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Joe Joseph

The morality police have arrived!!

1 month ago

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Gerry Butler

It's really sad when certain kids need to be policed. - -Time to put the big boy britches on Billy has to realize his decisions, his actions not only effects him but also effects this team - -time to grow up make wiser choices.

1 month ago

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Joe Joseph

He deserves the discipline and I'm sure he regrets his decision.

I'm not going to judge a college freshman for skipping a class and breaking curfew, when I was guilty of skipping many a class and never once had to follow a "curfew" since becoming an adult.

Stones and glass houses.

1 month ago

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Bryce Landon

Nothing wrong with that, especially after all the off-court distractions from last season.

1 month ago

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Dale Rogers

This reminds me of the comments back when Bragg was accused of pushing that girl down the stairs. People here were calling for his dismissal from the team, talking about how he was a liability, etc..... lo and behold the video showed the girl was lying and Bragg was innocent. Come on people, maybe Preston took money or the car. And maybe he didn't. Maybe the holdup is his parents are being uncooperative for a reason. Maybe it's nothing like that. Let's give this kid the benefit of the doubt until this investigation is complete.

1 month ago

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Yonatan Negash

Too many maybe's are never a good sign.

Two questions for you:

1. What ultimately ended up happening to Bragg?
2. Don't you think this much drama, this early in the season is a cause for concern?

1 month ago

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Dale Rogers

I'm not disagreeing that the early signs are ominous but I also don't believe in convicting someone until all the evidence is in and, in this case, investigators have spoken. Hopefully he's not another Bragg and hopefully this is the end of the drama. Lots of "hopefully" there, too.

1 month ago

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Joe Joseph

I trust Self knows Preston's side of the story and that he wouldn't allude to Preston's debut unless he was confident everything would check out.

This certainly makes Preston's curfew/missed class look a bit suspicious, however. It does seem awfully convenient that he was held out of the first and only prior regular season game as his eligibility has now come into question. Self doing his due diligence? Or just a freak coincidence?

Regardless, I hope Preston is cleared and able to play ASAP. This team needs him.

1 month ago

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Bill Pitcher

How do you have a one-car accident on Jayhawk Boulevard?

1 month ago

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Gerry Butler

Exactly. - -This might not be good. - -They talk about getting a better picture of the financial of the car. - -There was nothing else Coach could do but suspend him for the game. You can't take that chance play a kid and then later find out he is ineligible - -for maybe impermissible benefits. - - Like you said a one car accident. - Was there drinking involved - -where the car come from? - -Same song 2bd verse. - Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be another year like last year.

1 month ago

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Eric Bernauer

Many have mentioned drinking. Texting is just as likely to cause an accident and is much more prevalent.

1 month ago

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Dale Rogers

Latest info is he hit a curb and damaged tires. No other damage. No police report required. I just finished reading that article, which was attributed to the KU Athletics Dept and possibly to kuathletics.com (I have not checked there). So about all I can think of that would trigger an investigation into the financial aspects of the car is that its value exceeds what a college student would be expected to own and they are trying to confirm his ownership is legit and it was not a gift from Adidas or some agent or booster.

1 month ago

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Steve Johnson

Here we go again, the focus will be a one and done who is more of a distraction to the program and team. Obviously his priorities are not aligned with the program. Find a replacement for him and let him go play in the D league like many others have done.
He is not the savior of the team. He is one piece that is hurting the program.
Why doesn't the program assign a mentor that shadows the freshmen 24/7, it is obviously needed.

1 month ago

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Andy Godwin

When the compliance office gets involved it could mean they are assessing for inappropriate benefits, i.e., remember Cliff Alexander. Hopefully, everything is above board regarding funds to buy and insure the car.

1 month ago

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Dale Rogers

Exactly what I think, too.

1 month ago

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Barry Weiss

How on earth could it take days to find out facts about this car? Good grief, this sounds fishy. I am encouraged by Coach's comments. I don't think he would have made them (even though they don't tell us a lot) if he did not have a feeling this will be cleared up. Still, this thing is fishy.

1 month ago

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duke hester

Preston. Looking very much like the Cralton Bragg story! Not impressed that he has not accepted the KU mantra. I’m sure he’ll play, I’m sure he’ll do something delightful, just so bad to have someone so immature do Irresponsible things

1 month ago

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Alan Dickey

KU can win all or almost all of our games through December 21. But, beyond that, we're likely going to need add Preston and/or De Sousa to have enough depth to make a strong run during December 29 through March/April. Cunliffe hopefully will help as well, but we need another quality big or two. I hope Preston hasn't blown his spot, and, if so, I sure hope De Sousa can become eligible.

1 month ago

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David McNickle

Post player that doesn't like to play in the paint. Suspended for not going to class and missing curfew and already an on-campus incident. C'mon kid. Chose the right path.

1 month ago

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Lance Hobson

At least he didn’t get caught shoplifting in Italy. This kid’s priorities are being a kid. A dumb one. To play for KU you need to be a man.

1 month ago

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Creg Bohrer

I hope I'm wrong but I bet Billy may never suit up for us this year.. Sounds like impermissible benefits is what they're looking into.

1 month ago

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Barry Weiss

that's exactly what I am worried about.

1 month ago

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Ryan Zimmerman

"a clearer financial picture specific to the vehicle" means

1. His Car. Minor incident. Shake it off
2. Borrowed Car from a friend
3. Borrowed Car from someone he definitely shouldn't have
4. Got car and owns it from someone he definitely shouldn't have
5. Evaluating the damage
6. How does a college kid afford this car?

Which is it? Hopefully Billy's tweet attached screenshot says it all and makes light of it. Still needs to get it in gear but hopefully is approach shows it's "1" above

1 month ago

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Creg Bohrer

He needs to realize that we don't know him, but he's not made a very good impression so far.

1 month ago

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Craig Carson

Im with Billy on this one..none of us even know him as a person but we have a comment section full of people who want to demonize him and ASSume that he did something wrong..how about we let all the facts come out before we label him as a "distraction"

1 month ago

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Barry Weiss

hello Mr Preston, there is nothing comical about this matter and you should not love it. Please accept the honor that goes with representing the University of Kansas on the basketball court and conduct yourself accordingly.

1 month ago

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Creg Bohrer

Exactly..

1 month ago

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Harlan Hobbs

Sounds like we have a few Woodward and Bernstein wannabees. Just let the matter play out.

1 month ago

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Allin Herring

Enough is enough. How many more years do we have to deal with Bill's new recruits "issues"!!
Can Self not recruit kids with good grades and NO issues. Maybe we need to start doing a deep dive on the 2018 class now! We are already in a poor position of having only 8 scholarship players (who's decision was that) we do not need one of our limited Bigs Having "issues"

1 month ago

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DeMarcus Addison

Can we stop comparing him to Bragg....players have done worse in the past and stayed on the team and contributed....Morningstar, Tyshawn, Morris twins etc....some of you older KU fans are showing your ignorance

1 month ago

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Joe Joseph

My God, thank you.

1 month ago

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Jonathan Allison

I posted this on another article, but there was the incident when Markieff Morris was in a car wreck... He was driving Tyshawn Taylor's car, but it was registered to Scott Pollard. Pollard sold it to Taylor who never updated the registration. It ended up being no big deal, but was almost a big deal because if the car belonged to Pollard it could have been considered impermissible benefits.

Of course there was also the incident before Brannen Greene's frosh season where he got busted for a hit and run driving a car that belonged to some other 25 y/o Lawrence resident. I don't think that anything major came of it from an eligibility standpoint, but it caused a stir.

1 month ago

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Gerry Butler

LMAO check this out - -let me borrow a phrase from Billy. - - -seeing you ( DeMarcus making opinions on " older People " when you don't even know us roflmfao. - -speaking of ignorance - -how the hell ya doing? - -Business good ?

1 month ago

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Yonatan Negash

Something else to consider, it's a bad time to have all this negativity around the program.

Let's not forget the recent FBI investigation is probably why KU to taking extra precaution.

Nonetheless, why put yourself and the program in a predicament to look bad?

That's more puzzling to me than anything. This is an extremely sensitive time in college basketball, you've got to be careful.

1 month ago

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Robert Brock

Kid’s a turkey.

1 month ago

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Mike Greer

Some of you guys crack me up, you actually want Coach to win a national championship with alter boys. If the team isn't in the final four you're pissed, and if Coach gets guys that make that possible they need to survive the Spainish Inquisition. These are young men but still right out of high school, minor screw ups have to be expected. Hopefully this isn't a major screw up, like a gifted car, but college kids today drive way nicer cars than when I was in school.

1 month ago

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