Kevin Haskin: Chance to practice, play the best part of KU basketball’s exhibition tour

Mid-week musings: Royals HR record will be decided before playoff berth

University of Kansas players listen to their national anthem prior to the start of the basketball match between KU and an Italian selection of players, in Seregno, near Milan, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Musings at the mid-week:

 

—So, what did Kansas get from playing in overheated gyms against under-talented teams on its four-game basketball tour of Italy?

—First and foremost, it was a chance to get in 10 extra practices and bond as a team while actually in uniform playing games.

—Different combinations, including the need to play small in two games without center Udoka Azubuike, seemed to enlighten Bill Self about his squad.

—The coach predicted KU must play small at times in 2017-18, so an early look at such combinations was good.

—Then again, Mitchell Robinson is coming to KU for a visit, though there is uncertainty whether the former Western Kentucky signee will be eligible right away.

—This just in, though we heard it all last season from practice reports: Malik Newman, can, yes, make shots.

—A lighter Svi Mykhailiuk felt quicker to the rim.

—Not that he couldn’t drive it before.

—Svi veered off tackle last season for a game-winning layup against Kansas State.

—Fretting over depth inside is a legitimate concern for KU.

—Self always likes to whittle his rotation, though, and his choices could be easier with the roster breakdown.

—Welcome home, by the way. Always good to get out of the Italian heat and return to typically mild Kansas weather in August.

—How many former Kansas high school football players are asking where these temperatures were back when they engaged in two-a-days?

—Oh, but the salt tablets helped.

—A quick glance at baseballreference.com shows that Steve Balboni’s best of 36 homers in a season has been bettered 509 times in MLB history.

—Still, we all dig the long ball, even at Kauffman Stadium, which was Balboni’s home when his 36 homers set a Royals record in 1985.

—The chase Mike Moustakas is on to break that mark is seemingly a cinch, yet fun.

—The Royals are also on a record pace to top their club record of 168 dingers set in 1987.

—Anyone cut into an MLB baseball this year to see what juicy extract is inside?

—Credit KC general manager Dayton Moore. He predicted a power surge this season.

—Is that pop enough to put the Royals in the postseason?

—The question may persist long after Moustakas slugs his record homer.

—Don’t remember ever meeting a certified Wichita lineman, unless he played back when the Shockers had football.

—It’s kind of cool when your hometown is part of the lyrics to a hit song.

RIP Glen Campbell.

—The testimonials this week among Phillies teammates provided evidence of an undisputed clubhouse leader off their 1993 NL championship team.

—Kansans remember All-Star catcher Darren Daulton from his prep days starring for Arkansas City.

RIP Dutch.

—“You just can’t do that in the National Football League.’’

—Other announcers say it, but when Len Dawson does, it commands my attention.

—This will be his last season on Chiefs radio, but Lenny will forever be “The Cool.’’

—Last month, a reader who also happens to be a civil servant, educator and baseball enthusiast dropped me an email.

—He cited a line from the Nov. 15, 1999, edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal following a 17-10 loss the Chiefs suffered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

—The passage began: The Chiefs accomplished the seemingly impossible, losing a game when the other team turned the ball over six times. Believe it or not, that team was Tampa Bay.

—Then the kicker: I’d have thought Donald Trump has a better chance — ALSTOTT FUMBLES AGAIN — of being elected president than the one-dimensional Bucs would have of beating the Chiefs with six turnovers.

—The author: The late, great Pete Goering.

—Upsets happen.

Contact Kevin Haskin at kevin.haskin@cjonline.com or @KevinHaskin on Twitter.

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