KU makes top-four lists for two transfer guards

photo by: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

South Dakota State's Zeke Mayo (2) heads to the basket as Iowa State's Tamin Lipsey defends during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Omaha, Neb.

Updated 11:20 p.m. Saturday:

The college basketball season hasn’t even come to a close yet, but Kansas is well into its offseason and is already making moves in the transfer portal.

South Dakota State transfer guard Zeke Mayo, who is a native of Lawrence, and Florida transfer guard Riley Kugel have each listed KU in their top four schools in the early stages of the recruiting process.

Either would have a path to playing time for the Jayhawks next year as they look for more guards to play off the ball, with Kevin McCullar Jr. and Nick Timberlake gone and Dajuan Harris Jr. returning at the point.

Mayo posted Saturday afternoon on social media that he will choose his next school between KU, Creighton, Oklahoma and Texas, while Kugel revealed on Thursday that he is considering KU along with a formidable trio of programs — Arizona, Houston and UConn.

Mayo, who attended Lawrence High, is a significantly more familiar name for KU fans. He has played three years at South Dakota State, leading the Jackrabbits to two NCAA Tournament berths. Most recently, he averaged 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game during the 2023-24 season and was named the Summit League’s player of the year. He entered the transfer portal on Tuesday while also stating that he would give consideration to the NBA Draft process.

Late Saturday night, 247Sports reported that Mayo plans to visit KU unofficially on Tuesday.

Kugel, a native of Orlando, Florida, burst onto the scene as a freshman during the 2022-23 season, entering the Gators’ starting lineup early in Southeastern Conference play and averaging 17.3 points per game in a 10-game stretch to close the year. That brought his season average to 9.9 points on 45.6% shooting from the field and 37.6% from beyond the arc.

Kugel was expected to take a step forward as a sophomore and earned a preseason all-league nod and some NBA Draft attention, but lost his starting spot late in conference play as the Gators’ new transfers took on prominent roles. He played as few as three and six minutes in games against Alabama and Vanderbilt in February, and then did not play at all late in the SEC tournament.

He returned to score 11 points in the Gators’ NCAA Tournament loss to Colorado.

On the whole Kugel ended up with a similar average at 9.2 points but a substantially different arc to his season and far worse shooting numbers (39.4% and 31.2%).

The Arizona Daily Star reported Thursday that even though Kugel listed Arizona as one of his top choices, the Wildcats are “not believed to be recruiting Kugel.”

photo by: AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

Florida’s Riley Kugel, left, shoots past Missouri’s Aidan Shaw, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)


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