Passmore ready to compete at KU

photo by: Henry Greenstein/Journal-World screenshot

Kansas guard Rakease Passmore speaks to media on Sunday, June 9, 2024, at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.

Incoming freshman Rakease Passmore watched Kansas’ spree of offseason acquisitions just like everyone else.

At one point, the Jayhawks had four off-ball guards and wings — Riley Kugel, Zeke Mayo, AJ Storr and Rylan Griffen — committed to join the team for Passmore’s first season in Lawrence. But Passmore, despite his similar positional fit, didn’t waver in his pledge to come to KU.

“I’m always confident in myself,” he said. “Everybody probably thought I was going to hit the decommitment, but I had confidence in myself, and even though I seen everybody transfer in, I still wanted to come be a part of this.”

Passmore, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound wing originally from Palatka, Florida, is a four-star prospect, but he isn’t the best-regarded freshman in his own two-man class — that would be center Flory Bidunga. (The Jayhawks did end up losing one freshman, point guard Labaron Philon, amid the offseason string of transfer commitments; Philon ultimately committed to Alabama.) And given that Mayo, Storr and Griffen ultimately made it to campus, he’s even further from being the Jayhawks’ most highly touted new piece.

He says, though, that having all those high-level players on the roster will only make him better.

“Every time I get competition, I always go past where everybody (thinks) I will,” Passmore said.

The freshman is already making a strong impression, on his veteran teammates for one thing.

“He does a lot of things well,” forward Zach Clemence said. “He can really shoot. He’s really athletic, too, if you haven’t seen him scrimmage.”

Plenty of members of the public and the media did indeed get the chance to see Passmore scrimmage, last week at the Bill Self Basketball Camp, and he didn’t disappoint, hitting four 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 16 points for the winning team before the scrimmage was cut short due to Elmarko Jackson’s injury.

“It was a great experience to play the older guys, and everybody on my team,” he said. “It was definitely fun to perform like that.”

But Passmore said the knock-down shooting he displayed wasn’t even an accurate depiction of the skill set he typically brings to the table. He hopes to supply strong defense and a burst of energy when he takes the court.

“I’m more of a power athlete, as most people say,” he said. “I’m just, like, getting developed (in) how to shoot the 3-ball and stretch the floor.”

The question is just how much he will be able to see the floor in the first place as a freshman. Passmore said he expects to primarily play as a 2-guard and secondarily as a 3, and even with Jackson’s season-ending injury he’ll still face competition from all those transfers as well as the likes of incoming sophomore Jamari McDowell.

In the recruiting process, Passmore said, the KU staff told him he bore a bit of a resemblance to Ochai Agbaji in terms of his scoring and aggression. That’s high praise given that Agbaji finished his career as a four-year starter, first-team All-American and national champion.

“I got to put in a lot of work to catch him, though,” Passmore said.


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