Within minutes, possibly even seconds, of the news breaking Wednesday night that William & Mary transfer forward Jack Whitman was leaving the Kansas basketball program, eager and uneasy KU fans alike were connecting the dots to Marvin Bagley III.
Late Thursday morning, KU coach Bill Self confirmed Whitman's departure, saying, "Jack called me last night and informed me that he would not be playing basketball at Kansas for his fifth year. I do not know what his plans are moving forward. All I know is he will not be part of our basketball program. We wish Jack the best with his future endeavors.” But that confirmation did not include anything about what the Jayhawks will do to replace him.
It sounds good on the surface, replacing Frank Mason III with Marvin Bagley III, who just so happens to be the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Class of 2018.
And, yeah, there were rumors floating around earlier this week that Bagley was at least considering reclassifying into the 2017 class so he could play college basketball this season.
But the whole thing is far from a slam dunk, and there are a lot of moves that need to happen before Jayhawk fans can even begin to dream of seeing the 6-foot-10, 230-pound big man in crimson and blue next season.
Before we look at what factors are stacked against them, let’s first look at what the Jayhawks have working in their favor.
• First and most obvious is the fact that Kansas, no matter who you talk to, is one of the few true blue blood schools in the country and one that most all of the top prospects in class after class at least like to check the temperature on to see if the program might be the right fit for them. It was recently for Josh Selby, Andrew Wiggins and Josh Jackson. And, in time, it could be for Bagley, too. So it’s not as if KU fans are crazy for thinking he might come to Lawrence the way it might sound silly for fans in Boulder, Colo., to think Bagley might want to be a Buff.
• Beyond that, Bagley does already have KU on his short list of finalists. Those schools, in alphabetical order, are Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and USC. Big time programs, all of them, but Kansas is on the list.
• The big-picture timing of trying to woo Bagley to town really couldn’t be better for Bill Self and the Jayhawks, as Kansas currently has the reigning college player of the year in Mason and also just put Josh Jackson into the NBA via the No. 4 pick in the draft. Seeing that kind of exposure on the college level and path to professional ball no doubt would seem awfully appealing to a player of Bagley’s caliber. Beyond that, KU’s recent surge of putting players into the NBA — often via the draft lottery — has inspired top-tier prospects to look at KU’s ability to develop NBA talent in a fresh and more favorable light.
Now, let’s take a look at what might make this less than likely, both now and in the future.
• For one, reclassifying is not a slam dunk. It happens, but it’s not automatic and there is a process that Bagley would have to go through to make it happen. Beyond that, his family recently told Eric Bossi, of Rivals.com, that those rumors about Bagley’s reclassification were just that, rumors, and that the elite talent had not yet made any such decision. So it’s possible that all of the Bagley talk was much ado about nothing. And if that’s the case, Kansas will still continue to pursue him, but it won’t be as a replacement for Whitman this season. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish is absolutely convinced that Bagley is en route to reclassifying and Parrish said on his recent radio show that he had been told that Bagley (a) had the grades to get it done and (b) was moving forward full speed ahead. Having said that, one source familiar with Bagley's recruitment told me Thursday that it'll take "a miracle" for him to be able to reclassify and added that Duke and USC were the likely front-runners.
• Even if the reclassification comes and KU gets a real crack at him in time for the 2017-18 season, it’s not as if it’s automatic that KU would get him. Bagley already may have visited Duke, and he’s scheduled to visit USC on July 26-27 and Arizona during the first week of August, when KU is playing overseas in Italy. “The Duke visit was completely geographical and we can drive, and we chose those three because we can drive to all of them,” Bagley’s father recently told FanRagSports.com. “And then we’ll get UCLA after, and then Kentucky and Kansas. We plan to visit them all. We’re going to try to get them in the best way we can.” For what it's worth, most national recruiting analysts seem to believe Duke is the team to beat for Bagley.
• The timing of this whole thing is nuts. Because summer workouts get going almost as soon as the Jayhawks get back from Italy, it’s hard to envision them putting in the kind of work necessary to land him while they’re in Italy. Then again, three members of Self’s staff did not make the trip to South Korea for the World University Games a couple of summers ago, and given that these Italian exhibitions are much less intense and important than those games, it’s not hard to imagine someone such as assistant Kurtis Townsend staying back to make a run at Bagley if that’s on the table. Having said that, Bagley’s also the type of talent that you’d easily still welcome into your program even in September or later if that’s what it takes to get him.
• Perhaps one of the most important things to remember about this deal is that Bagley’s whole motivation for reclassifying is not because he cannot wait to play college basketball for his school of choice. Instead, it’s because doing so provides him with the quickest path to the NBA and the money that awaits there. If Bagley is able to play college ball in 2017-18, he would be eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he would at least be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick and certainly would be a surefire Top 5 choice. “I want to go the NBA,” Bagley recently told Andrew Slater of 247Sports. “That's my goal and those schools help get you there. They prepare you for that. That's why they made my list.”
• As for what he’s hoping to get out of whichever college program he signs with, Bagley said his whole mindset was focused on development. “I just want to get better,” he told Slater. “Wherever I feel like that is, wherever I feel like I'm around good people, around people who push me every day and tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear, that's where I see myself.”
At this point, it’s hard to picture exactly how all of this is going to play out. Bagley has not given any kind of time frame for a decision about his school or a decision about reclassifying and, even though there still is time to iron it all out, August is quickly approaching and things get a little tighter from there.
According to Slater’s report, Duke and now Kansas, thanks to Whitman’s departure, might be in the best shape of the bunch should Bagley reclassify because they have spots available immediately.
Regardless of KU’s chances of landing him or what his immediate future holds, this much we know: For at least the next few weeks, those interested in Kansas basketball would be wise to pay attention to whatever news comes out of the Bagley camp.
So last week news broke that Marvin Bagley III, currently the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Class of 2018 according to Rivals.com, was considering reclassifying and heading to school this Fall for what likely would be his lone season of college basketball.
Many recruiting analysts have said that Bagley is the clear-cut No. 1 player in the 2018 class and the 6-foot-10, 220-pound, 5-star prospect brings a well-rounded and explosive game to the floor every time he suits up.
As you would expect with a player of that caliber, all of the major players in college basketball are in on him and any one of them — Kansas included — would love to have him playing in their colors when he hits the college hoops scene.
At this point, Bagley has a Top 6 of Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and USC, with only a visit to Duke scheduled so far.
He grew up in Southern California and also spent some time living in Arizona. So it’s easy to see why those three schools are in play here, as well. And then Kansas and Kentucky are, well, Kansas and Kentucky so that makes sense, too.
What does not make sense is the belief that Bagley would consider reclassifying without knowing where he wants to play his college ball.
I’m not saying it’s a done deal. Not even close. In fact, Eric Bossi, of Rivals.com, recently spoke with Bagley's family and reported that they're calling the news "rumors" and saying they have not made any such decision about jumping up a class.
I don’t know the kid and barely know the circumstances surrounding his recruitment. But I find it hard to imagine that he would make a major move — or even consider one — like reclassifying in order to attend college a full year before he previously was expected to without having a pretty good feel for where he wants to go after the paperwork is done.
The guess here is that place will be Duke.
In order for it to be Kansas, the Jayhawks likely would need Bagley to decide against reclassifying and to stay in the 2018 class, which certainly is possible and definitely would give Bill Self and company more time to make their pitch and also time to find room to add him.
As of today, the Jayhawks are full and bringing on another player — whether he’s a monster player like Bagley or a 3-star big man for added depth — would require some movement on the scholarship front in order to open up a spot.
With the trip to Italy coming in two weeks and preseason camp starting shortly after their return, it’s hard to imagine anyone from the current roster moving on for one reason or another at this point.
The Bagley thing is interesting, not because it’s rare — reclassifying has become more and more common during recent years — but because he’s such a big time talent.
But his move, should he make it, probably would not mean much for the Jayhawks at this point in time. Now, if he stays in the Class of 2018, stay tuned...
The calendar may still read 2017, but, with all of its scholarships now officially spoken for, the Kansas basketball team can and has moved forward, full speed ahead in its recruitment of the Class of 2018.
Because the Jayhawks are in on almost all of the elite talent in the 2018 class (what’s new, right?), many of the names are ones which you probably already have heard.
And while there still may be a long way to go before anything is closed to finalized with any of those players, the Jayhawks are off to a good start in their pursuit of the next crop of Kansas basketball players.
Here’s a quick look at some recent news from a couple of KU’s key targets in the class:
• Immanuel Quickley – 5-star point guard, ranked No. 15 by Rivals.com
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound lead guard from John Carroll High in Bel Air, Md., recently made news by narrowing his list down to a final four. Along with Kentucky, Maryland and Miami (Fla.), the Jayhawks made that cut and appear to be in as good of shape as anybody in the pursuit of Quickley, who actually already has made an unofficial visit to Lawrence.
"I think those four schools fit me the most as a person and as a player," Quickley recently told Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. "I think off and on the court those schools fit me the best."
As for his specific stance on the Jayhawks, Quickley had this to say: "Coach Bill Self is great on and off the floor. I really liked the feel of Allen Fieldhiuse when I visited. The feel there was cool to see."
Quickley told Daniels that he was now in the process of scheduling official visits to his final four and that he would like to make a decision before he begins his senior year of high school.
• Marvin Bagley Jr. — 5-star forward, ranked No. 1 by Rivals.com
The 6-foot-10 big man from Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, Calif., has narrowed his list to a final six full of some of college basketball’s biggest power players.
Kansas is on that list, along with Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and USC.
Through the first few sessions of the Nike EYBL tournament, Bagley has backed up his Rivals ranking, averaging 25 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks in 30 minutes per game.
There has been some talk of whether Bagley might want to reclassify and join the 2017 class, but the athletic big man told Zagsblog over the weekend that he was not worried about reclassifying and would let his future play out however it was supposed to.
As for his specific thoughts on each of his finalists, Bagley delivered similar thoughts on each of them while talking to Zagsblog.
“They’re all great schools,” he said. “I could say the same thing about each of the schools. They’re all great. They speak for themselves. They’re in the tournament. They play in big time tournaments and games every year on ESPN.... I’m looking for somewhere I could go and get better. That’s my main focus. That’s what I tell everybody. It’s not about the name. It’s not about all the news and the hype. It’s about where I can go and get better. Wherever that place may be out of my list is where I’ll go.”
• Quentin Grimes, 5-star combo guard, ranked No. 12 by Rivals
Andrew Slater, of 247 Sports, recently caught up with the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, for an update on the current status of his list.
Grimes is the rare top tier prospect to not have at least two of the three or four top college programs on his offer list. That’s not to say he’s being ignored. Far from it. But, according to the Rivals data base, Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina all are absent from his offer list, leaving Kansas as the biggest blue blood program pursuing him, with Arizona, Florida and five other Big 12 schools also in pursuit.
Grimes recently told Slater that he was in the process of narrowing his list down to eight and then would like to get it down to a final five in the next couple of weeks.
In his lengthy interview with Grimes, Slater points out that Duke has made contact during recent weeks but it’s clear that Arizona and KU have stood out as much as anyone.
“Coach Self called and said I'm a top priority and that he plays a lot of guards and sees me bringing in something different than the other guards because of my size,” Grimes told Slater. “He said they’re known now for their guards, but that I would be unique because of being able to play point guard at that size.”
Grimes said he views himself as a scoring point guard and is looking forward to surrounding himself with lots of talent in college so he can showcase both his scoring and passing skills.
It’s no secret that Lexington, Ky., has become to one-and-done college basketball players what Cancun, South Padre Island and Daytona Beach are to spring breakers.
And it’s not exactly breaking news that Kentucky coach John Calipari has figured out how to coach these players, be it one or two of them or a team with six or seven.
This weekend’s news that Kevin Knox was joining the Wildcats gives Kentucky a whopping seven of the top 28 players in the 2017 class, according to the 247 Sports rankings (see Tweet below for details).
Seven. That’s five starters and two more off the bench. Basically, that’s the entire KU rotation from the 2016-17 season. And, any way you slice it, that’s downright impressive.
I’m sure there are KU fans out there who rolled their eyes at that last sentence and thought to themselves, big frickin’ whoop. But if you’re one of them, ask yourself this question: If KU had signed seven of the top 28 players in this (or any) recruiting class wouldn’t you be (a) ridiculously fired up and (b) more inclined to call the feat impressive?
I’m not saying landing one-fourth of the best players in all the land in the 2017 recruiting class guarantees Calipari’s Wildcats a thing. It doesn’t. You never know how these things are going to play out. Some could become busts or get injured. Others could fail to crack Kentucky’s rotation and become two-, three- or even four-year players. It happens. And not just at Kentucky. Look no further than Carlton Bragg Jr., for proof of unfulfilled potential happening at Kansas during recent years.
Beyond the fact that landing all of those talented prospects does not guarantee Kentucky a thing is the realization that there is more than one way to skin a cat and programs all over the country — really good, really successful, really attractive programs — tend to prove that year after year.
Kansas is one of them. Again, I can all but guarantee you that if the Jayhawks had landed seven of the 28 best players in any recruiting class, the coaching staff would be jacked and the fan base would be clearing calendars to make sure they were off of work, in Lawrence or both during Final Four weekend. And those are just the humble ones. The more braggadocious KU fans already would be boasting about the Jayhawks being a lock to win the 2018 national championship.
And maybe they would win it. Maybe Kentucky will. Who knows? And that is the beauty of it all.
Right now, on May 8, 2017, the Jayhawks and Wildcats — as always — are among the betting favorites in Las Vegas to cut down the nets next April in San Antonio, separated at the top by just a couple of spots on the future betting odds.
One of them will be looking to do so with a team full of freshmen. And the other will be trying to do it with a mixed bag of four-year players, veteran transfers and talented newcomers.
Again, I’m not saying one way is right and the other is wrong. But, for my money, I sure like the roster construction KU coach Bill Self seems to shoot for — a couple of talented and proven veterans mixed with a few program guys all buoyed by highly rated incoming freshmen like last year’s Josh Jackson and this year’s Billy Preston.
There’s just something cool about a roster that has a little natural order to it.
Just look at the work the KU coaching staff did on the recruiting trail this year alone. The 2017 class includes a potential one-and-done player in Preston, a likely multi-year player in combo guard Marcus Garrett and a graduate transfer in Jack Whitman. Three players from various different places coming together to join the Jayhawks.
Beyond that, Self and company also brought in three more transfers in Memphis’ Lawson brothers and former Cal point guard Charlie Moore and their future paths at Kansas also figure to run different courses.
Bringing in that kind of diversity helps with roster balance and, perhaps most importantly, helps ensure that each future team will have at least a couple of veterans with the potential to become key leaders.
Could you even imagine the Jayhawks knocking on the door of national titles during the past couple of years without guys like Perry Ellis or Frank Mason? No chance.
Time will tell if that knock is answered in 2018. But, with Devonte’ Graham leading the way and the KU roster filling out from there, the Jayhawks certainly will have all of the pieces they need to make it happen.
In other, somewhat related recruited, we received another Trevon Duval update over the weekend and, believe it or not, it seems like the 5-star point guard’s big announcement is finally coming.
After revealing two weekends ago that he would make a decision, “soon,” Duval took that one step farther this past weekend by telling Krysten Peek, of Rivals.com, that he would announce his decision date in the next “couple days.”
Who knows if that means we’ll know where he’s headed by the end of the week or not, but it seems like we should at least know when he’s going to tell us.
Let me start by saying that I don’t know all of the details or exact plans that currently are in place for the Kansas men’s basketball team, which on Tuesday added another transfer — William & Mary forward Jack Whitman — and yet still appears to be open to adding Class of 2017 big man Jeremiah Tilmon or 5-star point guard Trevon Duval, should either player choose Kansas.
But you know who does know the ins and outs of everything going on?
Yep. The same guy who so many of you put your complete and undying faith in to lead your favorite basketball program has all the answers, knows all the options and no doubt has a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C for every possible scenario you can think of and even a few you haven’t.
That does not mean any of it is going to be easy. Juggling a roster from year to year and managing recruiting for a team that hundreds, if not thousands, of young athletes want to play for never is. And it becomes especially tricky if Tilmon or Duval were to choose Kansas at the end of their recruitment.
But, you know what? Even if that were to happen Self would figure it out.
And there are a million ways for him to get it done.
A huge percentage of KU fans who made their thoughts known on Twitter on Tuesday jumped to the (very logical) conclusion that the addition of Whitman spells the end of Svi Mykhailiuk.
It doesn’t. In fact, I would not be surprised if the two situations are not related in any way, shape or form.
Svi, as you know, is testing the waters of the NBA Draft and has gone about it without hiring an agent, leaving open the possibility for his return to Kansas for his senior season.
Svi might very well stay in the draft. A killer showing at the combine (May 9-14 in Chicago) surely would help inspire him to do so and, if that were to happen, his departure would free up a scholarship and make things much, much easier.
But the thing about Svi and this Whitman news that doesn’t make sense to me is that absolutely nothing has changed on Svi’s end to make me think that he has made any kind of decision to leave. The combine hasn’t even started yet and we’ve heard all along that the whole point of Svi testing was to find out what NBA people think of him at the combine.
While we’re on that topic, I also found it funny how many people thought Svi merely being invited to the combine signified that he was gone. Everything I had heard was that everyone involved — Self, Svi, his teammates, his family — fully expected him to get that invitation and the news that it came was merely confirmation of something they already were planning for anyway. Remember, that was the whole reason he decided to test in the first place.
OK. So back to the situation at hand, where KU might be running out of scholarships.
If Svi returns for his senior season — which I still fully expect — then KU’s 13 scholarships are spoken for and Whitman, who told me tonight that he was coming on an athletic scholarship, would put KU one over the limit.
What happens then?
A bunch of things could and I’ll quickly outline them here. I haven’t heard anything concrete about any of the following scenarios being in the works or anything like that, but, having seen these types of things happen elsewhere throughout the years offers proof that they are possible solutions.
Beyond that, it all goes back to what we started with at the beginning of this blog. Bill Self knows his way around these situations like the ushers at Allen Fieldhouse. He’s not going to get into a situation where his back is against the wall and he doesn’t know what to do. He always knows what to do, often well before he ever needs to do it.
With that in mind, here are a few scenarios that could open up space for Whitman, if necessary, or Duval or Tilmon, should either (or both... Gasp!) pick Kansas.
• It’s rare, but one of the players currently on scholarship could offer or elect to pay his way for one year. Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson, who might soon be a millionaire anyway, could be a candidate to do it. So could Mitch Lightfoot, who so clearly loves KU and probably would both not mind and benefit from being around here as long as possible. Why would Lawson do it, you might ask? Good question. And I’m not saying he would. But he might. And it could be to help his younger brothers have a better path to a bluebood program like Kansas down the road. You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours, you know? Long shot, maybe. But it has happened.
• There’s always a chance that Whitman himself could wind up paying his own way. I know he said he was coming on scholarship, but he’s not exactly the one with the best leverage here. Let’s say the Jayhawks learned they were getting Duval. (I still don’t see it happening, for what that’s worth). In an effort to make room for him, they could ask Whitman if he were interested in footing the bill for his time at KU. As a graduate transfer, I don’t think he has to be enrolled in a full 12 hours of graduate school to be eligible, so the financial burden might not be that bad. Plus, if it were to play out this way, he’d still be getting an opportunity to play at Kansas. Not many people are going to turn that down, especially competitors who want to test themselves at the highest level like Whitman does.
• It’s also possible someone else could transfer out, opening up another spot with the scholarship they would leave behind. If I were to make a guess about a leading candidate for this option, I’d have to say it’s senior-to-be Dwight Coleby. I don’t know where he’s at in terms of graduation, but if he’s close, maybe he could knock out his remaining hours this summer and go the grad transfer route himself. Instead of being one of five — or possibly even six — big men on a roster, he surely could find another good program that would make him one of three or four. I like Coleby. He’s a great dude, a terrific teammate and I think a bunch of people would love to see what he could do if fully healthy. But he also wants to play and if he thinks his chances of doing that are better elsewhere it could wind up being mutually beneficial for him and the program.
• Another rarity here, but what about academic scholarships? I’m not knowledgeable enough about Whitman, Duval or Tilmon’s academic standing to know whether either player would be a candidate for that — and therefore could essentially walk on while having school paid for via academics — but, unless there's a rule against it, it’s something that surely has been done. I'll have to look into it at the Div. I level. I know for sure that it happens at lower levels of college athletics all the time.
Those are just a handful of possibilities that could — again, could — make it all work and those are just the ones I can think of. As mentioned twice above, there’s no doubt that Self and his associates at KU know of at least a few other avenues that were not outlined here.
Regardless of how it all plays out, know this: Self’s got it 100 percent under control. And there is no scenario possible in which he’s going to head into summer workouts or the first practice of the season with one or two too many guys and have to ask for a show of hands of those willing to volunteer to give up their scholarship.
Self’s way too good of a general manager to let that happen. So you know if he took Charlie Moore and if he took Jack Whitman, he’s got a plan at the ready for a way to move forward in case he needs to take someone else in the coming days or weeks.
So sit tight, breathe easy and let’s see how this thing plays out. Fascinating stuff.
It’s still early, and there’s a lot of basketball to be played and recruiting to be done before anything becomes official.
But the Kansas basketball program already seems to be in better shape than ever for 6-foot-8 forward Chandler Lawson, one of the top players in the Class of 2019.
Lawson’s two older brothers, Dedric and K.J., just recently became Jayhawks, furthering the younger Lawson’s love of a school that already registered high marks on his radar.
“I always liked Kansas," Chandler Lawson recently told Matt Scott of TheShiver.com. "They have always been on my list. Now they have made a way for me.”
With Dedric and K.J. transferring to KU from Memphis during the offseason, the two older Lawson brothers will have to sit out the 2017-18 season and first will be eligible during the 2018-19 season. That will be Chandler Lawson’s senior season in high school.
Because Dedric has the potential to turn pro after his first season in Lawrence — after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis last season, he probably could be a first-round pick in this year’s draft — it’s a bit of a longshot that the trio will ever play together in Lawrence should Chandler decide to commit to KU.
But the odds are better that Chandler, a 4-star prospect currently ranked No. 34 in the 2019 class by Rivals.com, and K.J. would get a chance to play together as Jayhawks if the younger Lawson elects to come to Kansas.
Regardless of what the future holds for his own career, Chandler told Scott that he would be keeping a closer eye on the Kansas program now that he has two terrific reasons to pay even more attention than he already did.
"I think it's great for them," Chandler told Scott of his brothers heading to Kansas. "I think it gives them a better chance at their future. They can be around more people that are focused on basketball, and be around more people that want to get better and make each other better.”
If Chandler does wind up joining his brothers as Jayhawks a couple of years from now, all eyes then would shift toward the 2021 class, where Jonathan, the youngest of the Lawson brothers, already has opened eyes as one of the most talented players in the country in that class.
It might still be a couple of years still before any of them can suit up in crimson and blue when the games count for real, but there’s no disputing that the Lawson name is one worth committing to memory for fans of Kansas basketball.
Both Dedric and K.J. will be eligible to play with the Jayhawks this summer in Italy and also will be allowed to practice with the team throughout the 2017-18 season. Chandler told Scott he likely would make his way to Lawrence for a few games next season and may even make it to Late Night in the Phog, where his brothers would be able to participate in the team scrimmage that kicks off the 2017-18 season.
At this point in the recruiting game, with the 2017 class preparing to finish out high school and report to its chosen schools in just over a month, most of the focus is on the Class of 2018 and getting things lined up to make a run at the next crop of top talent.
There are, as always, a few in the Class of 2017 who remain undecided and none are bigger than 5-star point guard Trevon Duval, who has been on the Kansas radar for a long time and has pulled KU fans — as well as those at finalists Arizona, Baylor, Duke and Seton Hall — through weeks of waiting and wondering.
Duval, who is ranked as the No. 4 overall player in the class by Rivals.com, initially said he would like to commit and sign sometime in April. But it’s May. And he’s still undecided. Or, perhaps more likely, if he has decided he has yet to make that decision public.
That all may be changing soon, though — perhaps as soon as any day this week.
Over the weekend, Duval told Jason Jordan of USA Today that he was close to ending the madness and announcing his decision.
“I’m ready to get it over with. I’m gonna do it soon,” Duval told Jordan.
Soon, of course, is a relative thing and Duval technically has until the end of the spring signing period on May 17. But something about this latest batch of news sure makes it sound like Duval is ready to make his decision known.
From the sound of things, I don’t think the Jayhawks are expecting Duval to pick KU. There’s no doubt that they’d love to have him and, if he does want to play for Kansas, there’s also no doubt that they’d make it a priority to find him a spot.
The idea of pairing Duval with Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman in KU’s backcourt remains awfully appealing.
Right now, though, with junior Svi Mykhailiuk preparing to go through the NBA combine May 9-14 in Chicago, the Jayhawks are in flux. If Mykhailiuk stays in the draft, Kansas would have one more scholarship to give before the 2017-18 season. If Svi elects to return for his senior season, Kansas is full.
There are always ways around this situation, particularly for a player of Duval’s caliber. But all indications right now are that Duke is the definite leader for Duval and Kansas won’t have to make any moves any time soon.
If Svi does decide to leave early, look for Kansas to use his scholarship on another big man, unless of course Duval decides that Lawrence is the place for him and then it’s an easy decision.
The waiting continues for now, but, at least today there does actually appear to be an end in sight.
Maybe it was just the name playing tricks on my brain or it might’ve been the sly smile and smaller frame.
Either way, the first person who came to mind when I began looking into new Kansas point guard Charlie Moore was none other than Nic Moore.
You remember Nic, the former SMU point guard who led the American Athletic Conference in scoring as a senior and, the summer before that, joined the Jayhawks to bring home the gold medal from the World University Games in Korea.
That Moore started every game of the tournament that summer and this Moore might very well do the same thing when he becomes eligible for the Jayhawks during the 2018-19 season.
Both players carried a listed playing weight of 170 pounds, with Nic Moore standing two inches shorter (5-9) than Charlie Moore, who is listed by KU at 5-11.
Regardless of the specifics of their frames, their games seem awfully similar, with both guards liking to play as fast as possible and attacking the defense both to score and pass.
Although Charlie Moore hails from Chicago, which has produced some of the baddest dudes to play college and professional basketball over the years, Nic Moore came from not-too-far-away Winona Lake, Ind., which is just 122 miles east of the Windy City.
While Charlie Moore was talented and mature enough to start at point guard for Cal last season, there likely will be at least a little bit of a gap in the kind of leadership delivered by the two players. At least initially.
By the time Nic Moore joined forces with the Jayhawks for a summer, he was a grown man who had played a bunch of college basketball and had no problem taking control and running the show in Korea. He fit KU coach Bill Self’s need for that team to perfection and it seems like Charlie Moore might be ready to do the same when it really matters.
After a year in the program, watching Devonte’ Graham lead the 2017-18 team and learning both the game and the Kansas culture from Self and his staff, Charlie Moore figures to be a much more polished and mature player ready to contribute big things for the Jayhawks for the next three seasons.
What Charlie Moore lacks in veteran presence — at least at the moment — he makes up for in scoring ability. In just his second college game ever last November he scored 38 points against UC Irvine and finished the season with 13 games of 15 or more points.
Nic Moore, while capable of scoring in bunches at SMU, played more of a facilitator role during the World University Games and the newest Jayhawk point guard could find himself inheriting more of a hybrid role of the two styles.
Much like many of Self’s point guards in the past, it seems likely that Charlie Moore will be asked to score when the opportunity presents itself while setting up others the rest of the time.
Nic Moore was a born leader and carried himself with a ton of confidence. Hailing from Chicago, I’m sure Charlie Moore has plenty of confidence himself. The key for him will be bringing that to the floor day in and day out and using it to inspire peak performance and improvement in those around him.
People more familiar with both players probably could find more differences in their games than I’ve spelled out here. But I think there are enough similarities to make this a fairly decent comparison.
If you’re looking to compare Charlie Moore to Jayhawks that you might be more familiar with, consider him to be a combination of Russell Robinson and Devonte’ Graham.
Here’s a quick look at some recent highlights from both players so you can see the similarities a little more clearly.
In past years, the Memphis-to-Kansas pipeline may have delivered Tarik Black and Lagerald Vick, but that seems tame compared with what’s going on today.
According to Evan Daniels of Scout.com, KU coach Bill Self has secured a commitment from California transfer Charlie Moore, a 5-foot-11, former four-star prospect in the Class of 2016, who averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists per game for the Bears last season.
Moore played in 34 games during his lone season with Cal and averaged 29 minutes per game during his freshman season.
Moore confirmed the news shortly after Daniels’ report via a Twitter post of him in a KU jersey — wearing No. 13 — with the words "New Chapter" written below the photo. Shortly thereafter, KU coach Bill Self offered his thoughts on the news via press release, signifying that the transfer was official.
"Charlie started at Cal this past year and averaged just over 12 points a game as a true freshman," Self said. "We think after a year sitting out that he'll be much like (KU sophomore transfer) Malik Newman will be for us this year, ready to make a serious contribution to our program."
Before heading to Cal, Moore, a Chicago native, had committed to Memphis and then-head coach Josh Pastner. Once Pastner left for Georgia Tech, Moore elected to head west and now is looking to return closer to home to be closer to his ailing father in the Windy City.
Called by Rivals.com during his recruitment, “a dynamo who can score,” Moore carries a toughness typical of Chicago prospects and is known for his explosive abilities and on-court personality.
He joins former Memphis standouts Dedric and K.J. Lawson in electing to transfer to Kansas, which, one year from now, will give Self three players who at one time seemed to be well on their way to starting together for the Tigers in Tennessee.
"We're excited about all three of these prospects," Self said in the release. "They've all had successful starts to their college careers at different institutions. Certainly, the transfers became so attractive to us, in large part because we will have guys in our program who will be ready to contribute in a year. We could lose multiple guys next year, so I think this is a great fit for the University of Kansas. Not only will we get better down the road but this will certainly make us better in practice next year."
With the grant-in-aid agreements signed by all three players, Self was able to comment for the first time on the Lawson brothers, whose decision to transfer away from their native Memphis was highly publicized a couple of weeks ago.
In 2016-17, Dedric Lawson (6-foot-9, 236 pounds) led the AAC and was 19th nationally in rebound average at 9.9 boards per game. His 19.2 scoring average was second in the conference and he was fifth in the league with a 46.1 field goal percentage. Dedric recorded 19 double-doubles on the season which was 11th nationally and tops in the AAC. Dedric scored a career-high 35 points against Iowa on Nov. 26, 2016.
"Averaging almost 20 points and 10 rebounds last year, Dedric is one of the best big-man prospects in the country," Self said. "He was a double-double machine last year."
Self also said Dedric's brother, K.J. Lawson, who averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds as a small forward at Memphis last season, would add a lot to KU in the coming seasons.
"He's a very competitive athlete who we feel will add to our culture here," Self said.
According to a Tweet from college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein, Kansas and Illinois have emerged as the two favorites to land Cal point guard Charlie Moore, who plans to transfer in the offseason.
Moore, a 5-foot-11, former four-star prospect in the Class of 2016, averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists per game for the Bears this season. He played in 34 games and averaged 29 minutes per game during his freshman season.
Moore originally committed to Memphis prior to last season but backed out of that commitment when then-Memphis coach Josh Pastner left for Georgia Tech.
That sent Moore to Cal, where he played one year for Cuonzo Martin, who left this offseason to take over at Missouri. Despite praising Cal’s promotion of assistant coach Wyking Jones into the head coach’s office, Moore elected to transfer in order to be closer to his ailing father, who, in 2015, suffered a stroke.
“After many discussions with my family, I’ve made the decision to transfer to be closer to home,” Moore said in a statement earlier this month. “This was an extremely difficult decision for me, but the opportunity to be closer to my family is one that I feel is necessary for me at this time. I am grateful for my first year at California and for teammates, who became my brothers.”
Called by Rivals.com during his recruitment, “a dynamo who can score,” Moore carries a toughness typical of Chicago prospects and is known for his explosive abilities and on-court personality.
Although Rothstein’s report merely mentioned KU as one of two frontrunners for Moore, there’s a lot about the link to Kansas that makes sense.
For one, signing with KU would give him the opportunity to play with former Memphis players Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who also are transferring to KU this offseason. Although the trio never played together at Memphis, the Lawson brothers no doubt had an impact during Memphis recruitment of Moore.
For two, with KU losing Devonte’ Graham and possibly Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk following the 2017-18 season, the Jayhawks will be looking to restock the cupboard with guards heading into the 2018-19 season, when Moore would become eligible after sitting out in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.