Portal entry deadline passes without departures from KU men’s basketball

Kansas head coach Bill Self tries to put some fire into his players during a slow stretch in the second half against Kansas City on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 at Allen Fieldhouse. Photo by Nick Krug

The transfer portal officially closed Wednesday night. After having eight players decide to enter last offseason and seven ultimately depart, the Kansas men’s basketball team is poised to emerge unscathed from this year’s cycle.

All indications are that KU has successfully retained every possible player from last season’s roster, with the exception of freshman Johnny Furphy, who is currently in the NBA Draft pool and still has four weeks to withdraw his name and return to school.

That means that starters KJ Adams, Hunter Dickinson (who only recently declared his official intention to return) and Dajuan Harris Jr. will all certainly be back for the Jayhawks, along with reserves Zach Clemence, Elmarko Jackson and Jamari McDowell.

The prospect of retaining Jackson and McDowell, who will be sophomores next year, is particularly momentous for KU after it lost its entire 2022 freshman class during the 2023 offseason. Gradey Dick went into the NBA Draft and Zuby Ejiofor, MJ Rice and Ernest Udeh Jr. transferred to St. John’s, NC State, and TCU, respectively.

Other portal entries last year included Kyle Cuffe Jr. (Syracuse), Cam Martin (Boise State), Bobby Pettiford (East Carolina) and Joe Yesufu (Washington State). Clemence initially planned to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, but reversed course and returned to KU over the summer with a plan to redshirt during the 2023-24 season. He did so, impressing coaches in practice all the while, and will be back next season to provide frontcourt depth.

Pettiford has since transferred to High Point, while Yesufu is uncommitted in the portal.

The only significant offseason loss for KU this time around (Furphy pending) has been a player not yet on the roster, point guard Labaron Philon, who was signed to join the Jayhawks next year but backed out and committed to Alabama instead.

They still have two incoming freshmen, center Flory Bidunga and Rakease Passmore, and since the portal opened have acquired four transfers: Riley Kugel (Florida), Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State), AJ Storr (Wisconsin) and most recently Rylan Griffen (Alabama). All but Kugel have signed financial aid agreements.

Even with the portal’s closure, the offseason may not be done for the Jayhawks, who last year saw their roster continue to change in August and into the fall. For one thing, they still await Furphy’s decision. In addition, the KU coaching staff, which has not yet maxed out its scholarship slots, has reportedly continued to make contacts with various transfers, most recently Jordan Ivy-Curry, formerly of UTSA and previously committed to Virginia Tech.

There may even be more transfers yet to come despite the portal’s official closing, as not only do schools occasionally take time to officially input players’ names into the database, athletes from schools that have experienced coaching changes get 30 days following the change to enter the portal.


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