Friday, July 21, 2017


Tom Keegan: ‘Stache in the Pan gone; time to fantasize about getting Marvin Bagley on board

Duke's Chase Jeter, rear, Matt Jones, left, and William & Mary's Jack Whitman (41) reach for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016.

Duke's Chase Jeter, rear, Matt Jones, left, and William & Mary's Jack Whitman (41) reach for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016.


If Jack Whitman’s departure from the Kansas basketball program were nothing more than a convenient means of clearing a roster spot for the possibility of landing Marvin Bagley III, then that would have happened much later, so it’s not that.

This time it actually does appear to be Whitman’s decision and not one he was talked into, although based on the lack of buzz he created during his summer in Lawrence and the ho-hum, so-long statement from coach Bill Self, it doesn’t appear anybody tried talking him out of it, either.

Whitman didn’t look as good in the Bill Self Basketball Camp scrimmages against big-time athletes as he did executing nice footwork for buckets on YouTube in Colonial Athletic Association games.

Self coaches hard and if he doesn’t like what he sees, he coaches harder to see if maybe he can reach some untapped potential and coax it to the surface.

At that point, the player either doesn’t have any more talent in him and all the challenges in the world won’t bring it out, or he doesn’t have it in him to push himself hard enough to deliver what the coach wants to see. So the coach pushes harder and it becomes a drag for the player, so the player decides he doesn’t fit and quits.

It could be something as simple as that.

If only it were as simple as subtracting Whitman and adding Bagley, the No. 1-ranked high school basketball recruit in the Class of 2018, who is trying to reclassify to the Class of 2017.

It’s not, of course. It seldom is when recruiting the best of the best.

Based on his YouTube clips, Bagley’s worth whatever hurdles must be cleared, including the dreaded NCAA Clearinghouse.

Bagley’s first two scholarship offers came from Northern Arizona and Arizona State when he was in seventh grade and stood 6-foot-8.

Unlike some tall grade-school phenoms, Bagley, now 6-10, didn’t stop improving. In the summer leading into his sophomore season, he received offers from Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari. He handles the ball like a guard, shoots well from the perimeter, isn't allergic to the paint and plays with a spark that suggests he loves the game. Why wouldn't he love a sport he plays as if born to perfect?

He’s left-handed, so you’ll hear comparisons to Chris Bosh, but Bosh didn’t have his footwork.

In order to reclassify, Bagley will need to gain credits in six core classes this summer, produce transcripts to the Clearinghouse’s liking from his three different high schools, take standardized tests, etc.

Then, there is the matter of Duke wanting him, not to mention Arizona, Kentucky, UCLA and USC.

Bagley could make Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or UCLA the No. 1 team in the preseason poll.

A starting five of Devonté Graham, Malik Newman, Svi Mykhailiuk, Bagley and Udoka Azubuike would have NBA size, serious skill and speed fortified by a bench that leads with Billy Preston and Lagerald Vick. Close your eyes, drop your head back and hear the roar in Allen Fieldhouse.

As basketball fantasies go, pretty exciting stuff. Most who track recruiting closely believe that if he can pull it all together to the satisfaction of the NCAA Clearinghouse, Bagley will choose Duke, but with Kurtis Townsend on the case for Kansas, it’s too early to count out the Jayhawks. Plus, Bagley’s from the Phoenix area, Josh Jackson’s current place of employment. What does that have to do with it? Maybe nothing, but it can't hurt.

No Bagley means finding someone who can fill the role that Dwight Coleby and then Whitman couldn’t talk themselves into wanting.

It’s a tough time to go shopping for basketball talent, even in the role-player department. But there must be someone out there who would be happy to use his quick, long, muscular frame to rebound, block a shot here and there and commit enough hard fouls to reduce traffic in the lane.

Whitman made enough of a mark in his summer in Lawrence that he will be remembered, if only for being the guy with the mustache, forever to be known as the 'Stache in the Pan.


Barry Weiss 2 years, 6 months ago

well, its hard to be too bummed about this departure when we never even got to see him in action with our team. I'm sure Coach will come through, he always does. He is in the HOF.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 6 months ago

For those who wondered about another transfer who never played a game for KU. "Evan Maxwell, who left KU last December, halfway through his redshirt season after transferring from Liberty University, has surfaced at NAIA school Indiana Wesleyan" according to KU Hoops. His unexpected departure cleared a scholarship for Sam Cunliffe. It will be interesting to see what Self has planned with Whitman's scholarship.

Robert Brock 2 years, 6 months ago

Meanwhile, what is Jerrance Howard up to? Not much, it appears. Recruiting at KU has fallen.

Mike Greer 2 years, 6 months ago

I almost forgot, we're KU, we should have recruits knocking down the door, heck, no other schools are out there looking for the top talent. Do you really believe that? If we don't have the #1 recruiting class every year then recruiting has fallen and someone's head should roll?

I really don't see Whitman's departure as a recruiting failure.

Any idea why Calipari gets 5 of the top 10 guys every year, because they all know that the only 5 guys better than them left for the NBA and he has no choice but to play them. No issues on playing time there. And he still only has one NC at UK.

Jeremy D. Morris 2 years, 6 months ago

Love the nickname, Tom!

‘Stache in the Pan...that's funny!!

Dale Rogers 2 years, 6 months ago

If Bagley really wants to improve, to develop even further, as he was quoted as saying in another article, then Kansas is the obvious choice for him. Hudy, Self, Townsend. And then there is Allen Fieldhouse and the adoration of many citizens of Lawrence, and, of course, KU fans throughout the world.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 6 months ago

I think duke was the favorite when and because they were the only team with an open roster position. Not so fast my friend.

Joe Ross 2 years, 6 months ago

It might be the case that any current basketball players (or those who play in 2017-18) on college teams would be grandfathered in under the current OAD rule if the NBA raises the age mandate, effectively creating a 2AD rule. The thinking there would be a 2AD rule imposed on a player who completed one year in CBB under the presumption that the OAD rule applied may have forfeited opportunities in the D-league (G) or playing overseas, raising fairness questions. Bagley might consider reclassification for this reason alone, as the pendulum is moving toward increasing the age-limit mandate and all parties (NBA, NCAA, and coaches) seem to want that to happen.

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