Some of the most-heralded freshmen in college basketball, for various reasons, missed their season-openers earlier this week — among them Duke's Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead, Arkansas' Nick Smith and UCLA's Adem Bona. That's not ideal. But one five-star freshman who debuted as planned is Kansas guard Gradey Dick — and his season-opening performance was both historic and encouraging for a KU program trying to become the first back-to-back national champion in men's basketball since Billy Donovan's Florida Gators did it in 2006 and 2007.
Dick took 13 shots in Monday's 89-64 victory over Omaha, made nine of them and finished with a game-high 23 points, two rebounds and two steals. The 6-foot-8 McDonald's All-American made four of the six 3-pointers he attempted and generally looked great as one of three new starters for the Jayhawks. Dick's 23 points were the most in any KU debut since Xavier Henry scored 27 in 2009. Dick's nine field goals were the most in any KU debut since Carl Henry made 12 in 1982.
"He's a terrific kid — goofy too," said Kansas acting coach Norm Roberts, who is running the program while Hall of Fame coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend serve self-imposed four-game suspensions to start this season. "So, he's a terrific kid. He doesn't worry about anything. He just thinks about the next shot going in. And he's gotten better and better [in recent months]."
Dick will play his second game as a Jayhawk Thursday night when Kansas hosts North Dakota State inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU remains No. 8 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Jayhawks' first real test should come Tuesday when Kansas plays Duke in the Champions Classic.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Drew Timme finished with 22 points and three steals in Monday's 104-63 win over North Florida. The Zags' next game is Friday against Michigan State.||--||31-6|
|Armando Bacot finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in Monday's 69-56 win over UNC Wilmington. The Tar Heels' next game is Friday against Charleston.||--||20-13|
|Marcus Sasser finished with 21 points and three assists in Monday's 83-36 win over Northern Colorado. The Cougars' next game is Friday against Saint Joseph's.||--||33-4|
|CJ Fredrick finished with 20 points and three assists in Monday's 95-63 win over Howard. The Wildcats' next game is Friday against Duquesne.||--||22-12|
|Mark Mitchell finished with 18 points and two assists in Monday's 71-44 win over Jacksonville. The Blue Devils' next game is Friday against USC Upstate.||--||27-9|
|Ricky Council finished with 22 points and three rebounds in Monday's 76-58 win over North Dakota State. The Razorbacks' next game is Friday against Fordham.||--||22-14|
|Adam Flagler finished with 21 points and eight assists in Monday's 117-53 win over Mississippi Valley State. The Bears' next game is Friday against Norfolk State.||--||23-11|
|Gradey Dick finished with 23 points and two rebounds in Monday's 89-64 win over Omaha. The Jayhawks' next game is Thursday against North Dakota State.||--||28-8|
|Tyreke Key finished with 17 points and four rebounds in Monday's 75-43 win over Tennessee Tech. The Vols' next game is Sunday against Colorado.||--||25-11|
|Jaylen Clark finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in Monday's 76-50 win over Sacramento State. The Bruins' next game is Friday against Long Beach State.||--||31-6|
|Arthur Kaluma finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in Monday's 72-60 win over St. Thomas-Minnesota. The Bluejays' next game is Thursday against North Dakota.||--||24-13|
|Tyrese Hunter finished with 18 points and five rebounds in Monday's 72-57 win over UTEP. The Longhorns' next game is Thursday against Houston Christian.||--||29-9|
|Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in Monday's 88-53 win over Morehead State. The Hoosiers' next game is Thursday against Bethune Cookman.||--||23-12|
|Wendell Green finished with 16 points and four assists in Monday's 70-52 win over George Mason. The Tigers' next game is Friday against South Florida.||--||21-13|
|Emanuel Miller finished with 19 points and five rebounds in Monday's 73-72 win voer Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Horned Frogs' next game is Friday against Lamar.||--||22-13|
|Armaan Franklin finished with 21 points and four rebounds in Monday's 73-61 win over North Carolina Central. The Cavaliers' next game is Friday against Monmouth.||--||25-8|
|Azuolas Tubelis finisehd with 23 points and six assists in Monday's 117-75 win over Nicholls. The Wildcats' next game is Friday against Southern.||--||28-7|
|Caleb Daniels finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds in Monday's 81-68 win over La Salle. The Wildcats' next game is Friday at Temple.||--||17-17|
|Wade Taylor finished with 18 points and five rebounds in Monday's 87-54 win over UL Monroe. The Aggies' next game is Friday against Abilene Christian.||--||25-10|
|Jett Howard finished with 21 points and five assists in Monday's 75-56 win over Purdue Fort Wayne. The Wolverines' next game is Friday against Eastern Michigan.||--||18-16|
San Diego St.
|Darrion Tramel finished with 18 points and three steals in Monday's 80-57 win over Cal State Fullerton. The Aztecs' next game is Friday against BYU.||--||32-7|
|N'Faly Dante finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Monday's 80-45 win over Florida A&M. The Ducks' next game is Friday against UC Irvine.||--||21-15|
|Brandon Miller finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds in Monday's 75-54 win over Longwood. The Crimson Tide's next game is Friday against Liberty.||--||31-6|
|Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points and three assists in Tuesday's 84-53 win over Milwaukee. The Boilermakers' next game is Friday against Austin Peay.||--||29-6|
|DaRon Holmes finished with 13 points and five rebounds in Monday's 73-46 win over Lindenwood. The Flyers' next game is Friday against SMU.||--||22-12|
|Justice Sueing finished with 20 points and two assists in Monday's 91-53 victory over Robert Morris. The Buckeyes' next game is Thursday against Charleston Southern.||--||16-19|