LAWRENCE — Bill Self didn’t have an update to give on withheld freshman Billy Preston when addressing the media Thursday afternoon.
But the Kansas basketball coach did still seem optimistic the matter will be settled in the near future.
“I still anticipate it being (resolved) sooner rather than later,” Self said, “but it’s not yet.”
Preston, the 6-foot-10 forward and former five-star prospect, has yet to make his in-season debut for the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks (2-0), who will host South Dakota State (3-0) at 7 p.m. today in Allen Fieldhouse. He is being withheld indefinitely from the KU lineup as administrators and the university’s compliance department seek a “clearer financial picture” on a vehicle Preston was driving during a single-car accident on campus.
Preston didn’t play in the Jayhawks’ 65-61 victory over No. 7 Kentucky on Tuesday in Chicago.
“The update is there is no update,” Self said. “I was just with our administration and there hasn’t been a conclusion to it and certainly there’s no ribbon or a bow put on it yet. Hopefully we’ll know more, but I don’t know that everybody’s on the same timeline that we’d all like for it to be going.”
The Jayhawks are preparing for the Jackrabbits as if they will once again be without the former No. 11-ranked prospect at recruiting outlet Rivals.com, who also missed last Friday’s season-opening victory over Tennessee State after missing curfew the night before and classes on game day.
“We’ve got to prepare like we’re not going to have him and it would be a bonus if we did,” Self said. “But we’ll certainly prepare like we’re not going to.”
The Jayhawks are still planning to involve Preston in practices going forward, beginning with Thursday’s first practice since the team arrived back in Lawrence at 4 a.m. Wednesday.
“Nobody’s declared him ineligible or anything like that, so I don’t know why he couldn’t practice,” Self said. “He hasn’t been declared ineligible. He’s been declared eligible by the NCAA through the initial amateurism stuff and through his grades and method qualifications, but we’re definitely going to hold him until we get to the bottom of this.”
Self, who said Preston took the decision he was informed of during the team’s pregame meal Tuesday in stride and was a good teammate on the bench, hadn’t again discussed the situation with the forward in person as of the Thursday afternoon media availability.
“It’s hard for me to evaluate how he is,” Self said, “other than the fact he’s been very positive via text or whatever.”
Self refused to provide any additional information specific to Preston’s vehicle — “When we have a resolution to it, we’ll be sure to let everyone know,” he said — but KU clarified at least part of the situation Wednesday.
Preston hit a curb Saturday afternoon on 19th Street on campus which resulted only in minor damage to his tires and no injuries or other property damage, according to a news release from KU associate athletic director for public affairs Jim Marchiony. A police report was not filed as “a police report would not be filed in a situation like this,” the release read. In Kansas, drivers are not required to contact police for any non-injury accidents resulting in less than $1,000 in property damage.
Without Preston, the Jayhawks are down to two frontcourt players — 7-foot sophomore center Udoka Azubuike, who played a career-high 34 minutes against Kentucky, and sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot.