No. 3 Kansas to Open 2021-22 Against Michigan State in Champions Classic


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Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 3 Kansas men’s basketball opens the 2021-22 season when it plays Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 9. The contest will tip at 6 p.m. (Central) from historic Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be televised on ESPN.

Beginning in 2011, the Champions Classic is a neutral site doubleheader series featuring men’s basketball powers Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State. Kansas is 5-5 in the Champions Classic and the Jayhawks have won four of their last five appearances in the event after last year’s 65-62 win against Kentucky in Indianapolis. KU is 1-2 versus Michigan State in the Champions Classic.

Kansas returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 21-9 team that finished second in the Big 12 with a 12-6 record. KU advanced to its NCAA-record 31st-consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks welcome 10 newcomers, including four transfers. Kansas is the preseason favorite in the Big 12 for the 19th time in the 26-year history of the conference.

Senior guard Ochai Agbaji led KU in scoring last season at 14.1 points per game. Senior guard Remy Martin, a fifth-year transfer from Arizona State, is the 2021-22 Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year as voted on by the league coaches. Joining Martin on the six-member preseason all-league team are KU seniors Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack. Agbaji and McCormack (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 2020-21) are returning KU starters as are redshirt-sophomore Jalen Wilson (11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and junior Christian Braun (9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Wilson will not play against Michigan State due to a suspension.

Last week, Kansas posted an 86-60 exhibition win against Emporia State on Nov. 3 in Allen Fieldhouse. Agbaji led four Jayhawks in double figures with 17 points, including five three-point field goals on seven attempts. McCormack had 16 points with a team-high eight rebounds, while Remy Martin scored 15 points and Braun had 10.

Kansas will return home on Friday, Nov. 12, to host Tarleton State, at 7 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won a mind-boggling 48-straight home openers beginning in 1973-74 under head coach Ted Owens.


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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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