Kansas basketball receives commitment from Towson sharp-shooter Nick Timberlake

Pittsburgh's Jamarius Burton, left, reacts as Towson's Nicolas Timberlake (25) grabs the ball after a foul was called against Towson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 63-59. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Kansas men’s basketball program picked up its first commitment from the transfer portal on Wednesday night, with Towson guard Nick Timberlake choosing the Jayhawks.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior combo guard announced his decision on his Instagram and Twitter pages, posting a photo of himself and his parents, with a second image of him in a blue, No. 25 Kansas jersey standing in a sunflower field amidst four national championship trophies.

In the blue sky behind it all is the word, “Committed” in all caps, with the caption reading, “Rock Chalk Baby.”

Timberlake entered the portal when it opened on March 15 and he was in Lawrence for an official visit by Easter weekend.

He also visited Connecticut last weekend and revealed last Sunday that it was “decision week,” but he did not tip his choice or his announcement date while doing so. Timberlake also visited North Carolina during the transfer portal process.

Known as a gifted offensive player, Timberlake shot 45.5% from the floor last season, including 41.6% from 3-point range on 92 makes in 221 attempts. He also shot 85% at the free throw line.

Kansas coach Bill Self has said throughout the past few weeks that KU needed to add shooting and size, and Timberlake brings both to the roster.

With the departures of Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick, Joe Yesufu and the expected departure of Kevin McCullar Jr., the Jayhawks will be looking to replace 206 of their 251 3-point makes (82%) from last season.

Timberlake made 78 3-pointers during the 2021-22 season and 92 this season, topping 40% each time.

After initially topping out at No. 18 in the 247 Sports transfer portal rankings, the four-star prospect settled at No. 25.

National recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, of 247 Sports, noted on Wednesday that Timberlake reminds him a little of West Virginia guard Erik Stevenson.

“Watching Timberlake on film, one of the things that most stands out is that he is able to catch, keep the ball high and get a shot off in a hurry,” Bossi wrote. “Athletically, Timberlake isn’t bad either. He is a real threat as a lob catcher, has just enough wiggle off the dribble to mix things up and he plays with real confidence. It wouldn’t be out of line to think that Timberlake could have an impact similar to the one Erik Stevenson had at West Virginia last season — even if they have a little bit of a different style.”

For what it’s worth, Stevenson finished his first season at WVU ranked eighth in the Big 12 in scoring at 15.4 points per game. Timberlake, in Year 5 at Towson, averaged 17.7 points per game.

A native of Braintree, Massachusetts, Timberlake appeared in 122 games at Towson, — the same school that former KU guard Frank Mason III had committed to before coming to Kansas — making 90 starts in that time, while averaging 12.5 points per game for his career.

During the most recent season, he averaged 17.7 points per game while playing an average of 36 minutes per outing. He was a first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association pick as both a junior and a senior and was named to the CAA all-tournament team. He also won the CAA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award during the 2019-20 season.

While the competition he faced in the CAA is nowhere near what he will see in the Big 12, Timberlake has seen top-level talent throughout his career, with games at Virginia, Clemson, Ohio State and Pitt, and others against Xavier, New Mexico, Wake Forest on neutral courts, as well as three games this season against the College of Charleston, which won the Colonial Athletic Conference and earned a national ranking and a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament while winning 31 games on the season.

With Timberlake on board, the Jayhawks are now up to 10 known scholarship players for the 2023-24 season — returners Dajuan Harris Jr., KJ Adams, Ernest Udeh Jr., Zuby Ejiofor and Kyle Cuffe Jr., along with incoming freshmen Marcus Adams Jr., Elmarko Jackson, Chris Johnson, and Jamari McDowell.

The Jayhawks are likely to add at least two more players from the portal and could add up to three if Cuffe, who Self said recently was still weighing his future plans, elects to enter the portal before the May 11 deadline.


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