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Kansas point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. not planning to alter approach even if his role in KU's offense increases

Guard Dajuan Harris Jr. drives the ball during the team scrimmage at the annual Bill Self Basketball Camp on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas basketball point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. has a stated goal of finding a way to be more aggressive on offense this offseason.

But his plan has nothing to do with scoring more points, being the man or hogging the spotlight during his fourth season as a Jayhawk.

“A lot of people think I really can’t score, but I have to show them this year that I really can,” Harris said during a break at Washburn basketball camp in June. “Just looking for my shot more. That’s all it is. Getting stronger and being more aggressive.”

Rare is the point guard on a national title team that does not steal headlines, but Harris is comfortable operating in that space.

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Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) puts a shot over Oklahoma guard Umoja Gibson (2) ...

He knows his importance. He feels the love from his coaches and teammates. And, even as a reigning champion, Harris’ focus for the 2022-23 season remains way more on making another run at a title than on elevating his status as a household name throughout college basketball.

“I’m just happy to be out there,” Harris said. “Whoever coach puts me out there with, I’ll try to get the job done.”

Baylor guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell received plenty of love both during and after their national title run in 2021. Two years before that, in 2019, Virginia guard Kyle Guy’s story was one of the best and most popular to tell during the Cavs run to the title.

And there’s little doubt that a year later, had the NCAA Tournament not been canceled, KU’s Devon Dotson would’ve received all kinds of attention, as well.

Look at last year, too. After Remy Martin transferred to KU from Arizona State, many assumed that Martin would be the Jayhawks’ starting point guard. All he did was enter the season as the Big 12 Conference’s Preseason Player of the Year.

So, yeah, the spotlight tends to shine bright on guards in Harris’ shoes. But the soft-spoken, win-at-all-costs competitor from Columbia, Missouri, could not care less about how much individual attention he receives. He would much rather win games and please his coaches and teammates than read his own headlines. His goals this offseason have been tied directly to that.

“We lost everybody, so I’ve got to be one of the biggest leaders on the team,” he said, noting that Jalen Wilson’s return would be huge in that area, as well. “I’m a point guard, and that’s what coach has preached all the time since I’ve been here. Even my freshman year, when I wasn’t even playing, he was trying to make me a good leader.”

For many players, being a good leader means taking command and calling the shots. But Harris is just as happy leading by example and producing quietly as he is barking orders. That approach makes his words mean more when they are heard.

No one has seen more of that side of Harris than his close friend Christian Braun, who is starting his professional career with the Denver Nuggets at the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, after being the 21st overall pick in last month’s draft.

“He’s the biggest cheerleader for everybody,” Braun said of Harris during the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament run. “He’s also competitive and wants to be out there, but he’s just a winner and will do whatever it takes to win.”

With guys like Braun, Martin, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack no longer on the KU roster, that will be decidedly harder than it was in the past. But Harris isn’t worried about that either, even if he will be playing without Braun for the first time in years.

“It is going to be different,” he said. “But I’ve been here for (a long time), too, so I know everything — where to go, what to do — so I’ll be straight. I won’t miss him.”

Comments

Jackson Coleman

If you've watched that second even half a few times (haven't we all?), you can see that Juan had as much to do with that win as anybody on the team. Slo-mo would probably reveal a half-dozen turnovers by him and just as many stops. UNC only scored 29 points in the half, and here's the man who caused that.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Jackson - Absolutely.

It’s fun to rewatch the news conference and see David and Ochai immediately point to the other end of the podium (Dajuan) even before the reporter finished asking the question about the turnaround. There was another time when someone broke out to tell Juan that they were saying good things about him. He just said “Thank You.”

To me, he’s the silent assassin.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Lee Short

Can't imagine how high he would go in the NBA draft and how good KU would be if Harris kept his defense where it is and played as well as a healthy Remy Martin, the MOP through the first 4 games of the tourney.

The ncaa website has the last 3 minutes you can watch. As warranted, the announcers had really high praise for Remy.

Harris has so much potential, just needs more confidence and aggressiveness.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Rodney Crain

Lee - You need to turn on Closed Captioning. The announcers actually chuckled that Self was willing to live with his weak defense because he was scoring. It was right around the play where Remy was so out of position on defense he had his back to the Carolina player he was guarding at their 3pt line. He just threw his hands up wildly as he ran by him. It was pretty funny. Yes, them laughing was indeed warranted.

March Madness Youtube channel has free full replay of All 6 KU games in the tourny, full press conferences, and highlights. 16 videos.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Lee - Most of the second half is available as well as most of the other tourney games and even the big 12 tourney.

Coach commented at times during the year that Remy had the unique ability to create offense for himself when everything else broke down. Most players, even really good players, don’t have that ability.

Regardless, the nba considers both to be undersized. The great news is that Juan still has 3 years to play at KU if he wants to. With nil, that might be better than pro for him.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Rodney Crain

Late June Remy worked out for the Lakers where is he playing now? I can't find any info on where he is?

Can Remy use his unique ability to play professionaly overseas? That might be the question.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Matt Tait

No question he'll find a place to play... The Philippines and Australia are two top options, but I haven't been able to find out much yet either.

Checked in with him and his dad the other day but didn't hear back. I'll find something. I'm as interested in that as I am the future of almost any of those guys from last year's squad. Probably mostly because it's such an interesting situation and largely unknown right now.

3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Rodney Crain

Thanks Matt, Australia would be a good choice.

3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Lance Hobson

Just stay in bounds Dajuan. Geez.

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Chad Smith

Juan will need to score more. But so too will yesufu, clemence, and adams. I think they are all ready for the challenge. Juan is a valuable player and having Wilson there as a co-leader will be vital for the upcoming season, where everyone will be targeting KU to knock them off, as is always the case, but even moreso after having won a championship.

Juan seems like he's ready to elevate.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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