Freshman McCormack making early impact at KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - Leading up to Late Night in the Phog, Bill Self was asked about his team's leadership.

"I think David McCormack deserves as much credit as anybody," Self said. "He's made everybody get out of their comfort zone because he tries so hard. David, in his own way, has been a terrific leader because he's made those other guys be better."

It's not too often you hear a freshman mentioned as a leader. But the rapid talent turnover in college basketball forces many high-profile programs, like Kansas, to trust talented first-year players in key roles.

At KU's media day on Wednesday, Self said he already sees a lot of maturity in McCormack.

"I think he's beyond his years on the court from an IQ standpoint, but well beyond his years off the court too," Self said.

When McCormack heard how Self praised his efforts, it just made him want to work harder.

"I just see myself as a very hard worker, a hustle player," McCormack said. "What other teams don't want to do in terms of talking or diving on the floor for loose balls, anything of those sorts, that's the type of person I am."

"He always goes hard every time during practice and his intensity is really high," junior center Udoka Azubuike said.

At times, it might just be a little too high.

"Sometimes, you got to learn it before you go a thousand miles an hour," junior forward Mitch Lightfoot said.

"Sometimes, he can lose the ball because of his intensity and his energy," Azubuike said. "I tell him all the time, you just got to slow down and let it come to you."

"It takes some time to learn the system at its fullest," Lightfoot said. "But David does a great job of bringing that intensity. He brings it every day, that's for sure."

Self said the former four-star recruit obviously won't beat out Azubuike to start. But he expects McCormack to "give a lot of good minutes."

Whatever the plan is, the freshman seems mature, confident and ready.

"I know my worth," McCormack said. "I know how I play and I just want to keep adding on to those capabilities."