College Basketball Insider

Has a team with eight freshmen ever been ranked preseason top five? KU could be first

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Bill Self and John Calipari were in between games at the Nike Global Challenge, and they used that time to talk about last season's title game, debate scheduling philosophies and generally just chit-chat. Then the Kansas coach asked the Kentucky coach to remind him how many freshmen the Wildcats would have on their roster.

"I've got four," Calipari said.

"I've got eight," Self countered.

"You have eight!?!" Calipari asked, and I think this is probably a fact that's been lost on those outside of the state of Kansas -- that the Jayhawks will have eight freshmen this season.

"Eight freshmen," Self said. "And [four] seniors."

Which leads to a simple question: Has a team with eight freshmen ever been ranked in the top five of a preseason poll? I'm going to assume the answer is a negative. But the Jayhawks could really be the first -- for what it's worth, we have them fourth in the preseason Top 25 (and one) -- considering they return Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey and Travis Releford, and add, among others, McDonald's All-American Perry Ellis and redshirt freshman Ben McLemore.

McLemore is a 6-5 guard.

My colleague Jeff Goodman projects him as a future lottery pick.

"He's competitive," Self said. "And really talented."


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
 
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