Bill Self Hopes Vaccines and Boosters Keep KU Basketball Taking a COVID Break This Season


Associated press

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State on Saturday, February 13, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. Kansas won 64-50. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

As cases of COVID-19 among NFL, NBA, NHL and college basketball players in recent days have games postponed and rescheduled, the Kansas basketball head coach, Bill Self, touches wood while feeling “lucky” that the Jayhawks have not yet encountered such problems.

“We’ll probably have to deal with it at some point this year. I hope not, ”Self said in an interview with reporters on Friday. “I’m just glad we’re vaccinated and boosted, and hopefully that’s enough to get us through.”

Self said in the KU team that almost everyone has been vaccinated and given a booster, only “a couple” are left in need of a booster.

“We’re in pretty good shape there,” he added.

Last March, KU encountered problems with COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the Big 12 tournament. David McCormack, Tristan Enaruna and Jalen Wilson had to take time off the team as the Jayhawks prepared for the tournament. the NCAA. McCormack joined just in time to play in the first round of March Madness, while Wilson returned on the day of KU’s second round loss to USC.

Self said he feels good with the Jayhawks now, but expressed concern about how players across the country continue to perform positively, leading to saves and cancellations.

“I think it’s one of those things that you have to deal with and do with and not try to deal with the unmanageable – and not get too frustrated when the going comes,” Self said.

Both Ohio State and UCLA have encountered cases of COVID-19 this week, which has led those programs to call off high-profile clashes with Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively, in Las Vegas. Now the Wildcats and Tar Heels will face off at the CBS Sports Classic, which was supposed to be a doubles program with UCLA-UNC and Ohio State-Kentucky.

At this point, there is no daily testing protocol in place for NCAA athletes and coaches like there was last year. Self told KU, such tests are only administered when someone is showing symptoms.

The NBA implemented new COVID-19 protocols this week that include an increase in daily testing. Self does not believe such measures are looming for varsity sports, due to the expense of daily testing.

“We will take whatever precautions medical staff tell us to take,” Self said. “But the last (season) was so unknown. No one was vaccinated last (season).

KU senior David McCormack said players have heard before about Self and the KU staff to be safe and smart when players go their separate ways and are away from the squad for next week’s vacation.

McCormack said players have been and will continue to be proactive and responsible when it comes to the pandemic.

“Pay attention to what actions you take, where you are going and how you can distance yourself, just keeping in mind that you don’t want to sit down unnecessarily,” he said.

Self said he is not worried about college basketball as a sport at the moment as teams and games are affected by positive cases and epidemics. But he believes some teams could encounter “week-to-week” situations this season if cases continue to emerge.

“If we want to get it, we’re going to get it. And you just hope that doesn’t knock you out a lot, because hopefully the symptoms are asymptomatic or very few, ”Self said.

“We did everything we could to prevent it,” he added.

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