Chalk up another transfer for the Kansas men’s basketball team. And this one will be eligible next January after sitting out the second semester this season and first semester next season.
Arizona State freshman Sam Cunliffe on Saturday afternoon confirmed that he had committed to KU to continue his college basketball career.
Originally the No. 36-ranked player in the Class of 2016, Cunliffe, from Rainier Beach High in Washington, chose Arizona State for the opportunity to play for ASU coach and former Duke star Bobby Hurley. However, despite starting 10 games this season and averaging just under 10 points per game, Cunliffe decided to look around for another place to play.
That’s when the 6-foot-6, 195-pound shooting guard, who has AAU ties to current KU freshman Mitch Lightfoot got involved with Kansas and, after visiting Tuesday for the KU-K-State game, Cunliffe made a quick decision to join the Jayhawks.
“I prayed about it a lot. I slept on it. But I also went out to Kansas and saw the way they played,” Cunliffe told Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com. “The way they played was the biggest thing. They’ve got a lot of talented players out at Kansas. The way they move the ball and the way they are coached and the way the players act, both on and off the court, it’s just something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Although he will not be immediately eligible, Cunliffe will officially become a part of KU’s 2017 recruiting class, which already includes Top 10 forward Billy Preston and Top 30 combo guard Marcus Garrett, with the likelihood of more to come.
Matt Scott, recruiting analyst for TheShiver.com, told KUsports.com that Cunliffe's addition figures to bring the Jayhawks added "toughness" and a player who is a "great athlete and potentially a really good defender."
Despite sitting out initially, Cunliffe will be allowed to practice with the Jayhawks this winter, throughout the summer and during the first semester next season. Cunliffe told Wildeboor he planned to move to Lawrence late next week.
It’s clear that getting to campus as quickly as possible is a priority for the shooting guard who seems more than a little eager to get started with his new coach and team.
“Coach Self was a big influence on my decision,” Cunliffe told Wildeboor. “He was straight-forward with me and straight up. He will tell you everything that you need to know and he’s honest with you. That’s what I really like about Coach Self.”