/2021 Big 12 Tournament: Kansas to be without David McCormack, Tristan Enaruna due to COVID-19 protocols
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2021 Big 12 Tournament: Kansas to be without David McCormack, Tristan Enaruna due to COVID-19 protocols

USATSI

Kansas coach Bill Self announced Tuesday that his No. 11 Jayhawks will be without starter David McCormack and reserve Tristan Enaruna in this week’s Big 12 Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols, dealing a significant blow to the second-seeded team ahead of the league’s postseason. Self said McCormack and Enaruna — who are roommates — are expected to be cleared to return next week ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

“Both went into the COVID-19 protocol here semi-recently and will not be available to us through the Big 12 tournament,” Self said. “We certainly anticipate having them next weekend, but not this weekend.”

McCormack is the team’s second-leading rebounder and scorer on the season and the team’s most relied-upon interior presence. He’s averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Enaruna has appeared in 25 games this season but has played sparingly, averaging fewer than 10 minutes per contest.

By virtue of securing the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas, a No. 4 seed in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology, earned a first-round bye. It is set to face the winner of No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 10 Iowa State. The Jayhawks will face either Texas or Texas Tech should they advance with a chance to secure a spot in the title game.

It’s unclear who will fill McCormack’s place in the starting rotation, and Self did not divulge that information. But it could be a multi-man plan to fill the void, with 6-foot-8 senior Mitch Lightfoot serving as a more traditional big and 6-foot-8 freshman Jalen Wilson perhaps playing as a small-ball five in guard-heavy lineups.

“It does change a lot,” Self said. “We’ve gotten better playing through David the second half of the season. He’s been really good for us.”