By Rustin Dodd
Kansas marked the official start of basketball season on Friday by handing out the championship rings from its ninth straight Big 12 regular-season title last season.
The post-practice ring ceremony also featured a familiar face when former KU guard Ben McLemore showed up to claim his title ring before reporting to his first training camp with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
McLemore, who averaged 15.9 points as a redshirt freshman in 2012-13, was selected by the Kings with the seventh overall pick last June.
As for the Jayhawks’ first official practice, KU coach Bill Self told reporters that his young team is a little behind where KU was last year, when the Jayhawks were led by a corps of veterans.
“I thought we showed our age today,” Self told reporters after practice.
The Jayhawks will practice a few more times before the annual “Late Night in the Phog” event on Friday. While Late Night usually marks the beginning of practice, an altered schedule has allowed teams to begin practice two weeks earlier than normal.
“Today wasn’t very good,” Self said. “Today our kids tried hard, but I think we realize we have a long ways to go before we’re a good team.”