Sunday, May 5, 2019

KU target, grad transfer Rayjon Tucker closing in on a decision after Kansas visit

Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker (3) shoots over Nevada's Cody Martin (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Reno, Nev., Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker (3) shoots over Nevada's Cody Martin (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Reno, Nev., Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.


Shortly after his visit to Auburn last month, Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker declared the Tigers as the team to beat in his recruitment.

Over the weekend, the Kansas basketball program, along with the city of Lawrence and KU’s campus, got their shot at impressing Tucker, who appears to be zeroing in on making a decision about where he’ll send his final season of college basketball next season.

Over the weekend, Tucker told John Martin, who covers Memphis for The Athletic, that he would make a decision in the coming week between his five finalists — Auburn, Kansas, Memphis, Iowa State and West Virginia.

The 6-foot-5, high-scoring, high-flying combo guard now has made visits to four of those five programs — and has said he plans to visit Iowa State before he makes a decision — was in Lawrence over the weekend and essentially live Tweeted his visit on Twitter.

Included in Tucker’s updates were notes about which Lawrence hot spots he was headed to — he visited The Hawk twice — and requests for any fans of Kansas basketball to show up and show him some love.

There were no reports about how many people actually made Tucker’s acquaintance, but Twitter was buzzing with KU fans trying to talk Tucker into returning to Lawrence for good sometime in the near future.

So why all the fuss around Tucker, who played one year at UALR and started his career at Florida Gulf Coast? The answer is simple and has two parts.

First,’s Caleb Friedman, among others, calls Tucker “arguably the most talented transfer on the market this offseason.”

Second, his size, experience, position and primary strengths — scoring and 3-point shooting — would fit in well with the Kansas roster.

After setting a school record for 3-point makes in three consecutive seasons from the 2015-16 season through 2017-18, KU’s 3-point production dipped substantially in 2018-19.

The Jayhawks, as a team, made just 260 triples last season and saw their 3-point percentage dip to 35% after hitting 40.1% (on 390 makes) during the Final Four season of 2017-18.

Tucker, who reports have said is equally dangerous as a 3-point shooter and while attacking the rim, shot 41.1% from behind the arc (72 of 175) at UALR last season and is a 41.4% career 3-point shooter.

Tucker, who has declared for the NBA Draft and appears to be poised to test the waters by gaining feedback from NBA personnel later this month, would be eliigible to play the 2019-20 season at whatever school he picks provided he pulls his name out of the draft pool by the May 29 deadline.

KU, which continues to pursue both grad transfers and top talent from the prep ranks to add to its 2019 recruiting class, likely has at least four scholarships available and could have as many as five or six to give depending on what decisions current Jayhawks Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and Silvio De Sousa make in the coming weeks.


Dale Rogers 1 year, 9 months ago

Should he choose KU it appears to be a win for KU and a win for Rayjon Tucker. KU has the need and he has the talent. KU has the national exposure, he has the desire to excel. What a great fit both for him and for KU.

Craig Carson 1 year, 9 months ago

Well..looks like we get to watch KU whiff on another decent recruit glad as I would be to have him, he won't fix the holes in roster the next season ...we need actual recruits, not 1 year grad rentals

Dane Pratt 1 year, 9 months ago

Except for the amount of experience what's the difference between a grad transfer and a OAD out of high school?

Brian Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

You may be right, but with the number of spots KU needs to fill Tucker could be THE number one option for a shooting guard. We still need to find someone that is huge and can bang inside. For this spot, I would prefer a 2-3 star project. Someone that can rebound, and block, maybe score three or four buckets, but will be around for a few years and learn the system and when these OAD's come in they will have someone to work with as well as learn from. After this year Lightfoot is gone.

Jay Scott 1 year, 9 months ago

Seriously? We don't have a need for him next year? Are you completely clueless?

What do you prefer? An OAD player that half the Chicken Littles hate or a 3/4 star that might be productive in a coupe years (which the rest of Chicken Littles hate)

Steven Haag 1 year, 9 months ago

Well Craig.......not many 2019 recruits left, so, if we go by your “wish” we don’t fill a spot and leave it open.....OR we could fill it, let this young man contribute AND give him another year of higher learning in school and on the court. Then we can recruit against that spot for 2020

Craig Carson 1 year, 9 months ago

let me clarify..when I say recruits, I mean kids with the potential to stick around for more than 1 season..especially since we could see another mass exodus after this upcoming season..

Jay Scott 1 year, 9 months ago

It's college basketball Craig. Players will leave after every season. Some seasons more than others.

When the past season ended every player on the roster had eligibility left. Would you be happy if your son was booted out for a new recruit? Or if your son was recruited, signed and there was suddenly no scholarship? The same clueless Chicken Littles whine that there aren't enough long term players and then whine that there aren't enough recruits signed. News flash. There are only 13 scholarships. Don't be stupid. Counting to 13 isn't difficult.

Craig Carson 1 year, 9 months ago

@ jay..first off you low IQ little dk idiot, either talk to me respectful or fk are not a authority figure nor are you the standard for intellect...yes, I realize players leave..and that is precisely the reason you keep your recruiting pipeline fully stocked..we have 5-6 open scholarships...its May and here we are with 2 low rated recruits while trying to woo grad transfers just to have a full roster..this is how 2nd teir bball schools like ISU and KSU build their teams..there is nothing "chicken little" about being skeptical..even when UNC was in danger of forfeiting 20 years worth of wins, they still had full classes of good 4 star kids...KU shouldn't be in this position now...what happens if we have another 2 man class next year combined with another mass exodus?? Its called reality and it's a valid cause for concern

Tim Orel 1 year, 9 months ago

Seems to me KState beat KU for the league championship last season, so their method for team-building isn't always a lost cause. I'll certainly take KU's methods over KState, but they did whip KU pretty hard in Manhattan this past season.

Craig Carson 1 year, 9 months ago

To be fair, many teams whooped KU in their home gym this past season lol..but a KU team at full strength doesn't lose that game in Manhattan and at least shares the BIG 12 title

Jay Scott 1 year, 9 months ago

try counting to 13 again Craig.....How do you have a "pipeline stocked" when all your players are potentially returning?

Another tip. If you can't count to 13, maybe you could try counting to 10 before you go on a mindless might earn a little respect by not being an idiot.

Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

Tucker is a perfect fit at Auburn. The Tigers/War Eagle Idiots scare me. This kid (+ RJ Hampton + De Sousa) would help a lot.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

IDK, Auburn is fairly full and Tucker will compete for time. Why would he do that in his last year? If Tucker comes to KU he starts. Neither Grimes or Garrett have the juice of Tucker, he will get greater national exposure at KU, and my guess is he could learn a little about defense playing under HCBS, not to mention gain strength working with Hudy.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd welcome a 3 point shooter. This is clearly one aspect of the team that could be strengthened. When Vick was hitting 3s, we were number 1 and undefeated. We lost Dok and the 3s and things became less than what we are use to at KU.

All that being said, I would love to see a stat where a 3 point percentage was given against Top 50 and not Top 50 teams. It seems that would really show how good a shooter is. Or if there was a stat against a top perimeter defense or some other facet. I know it would be difficult, but it seems with all of the information out there today, those kind of stats would be growing. This guy clearly shot 3s consistently over 3 years, so I'm very intrigued. It's just if against every Top 50 team he shot significantly lower (or shot better, could get up for the big games),, it would be interesting to know.

Brad Avery 1 year, 9 months ago

I have given up trying to figure out why and who the NBA likes, but it seems logical to ask if Grimes, who struggled with the college game last season, has a good chance to be drafted, why wouldn't Tucker, who is"the most talented transfer on the market this offseason” and apparently can really shoot the rock have a much better chance? .

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

i think Grimes has a 0% chance of being drafted. Tucker could be an option for the NBA but there are just so many kids wanting to go that the odds of him landing in the top 60 aren't great

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

Crazy hops, steady pull-up jumper, this guy is the best transfer out there! No argument there. I'd love to see him in KU jersey. We NEED Tucker! KU needs Tucker - he will help our scoring sour drought, we need to see those high volume scoring we used to see.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 9 months ago

There are two consistent themes in the last 5 or so years of the Self/Adidas regime. 1. With AFH, we are almost a lock to win the Big 12. 2. The roster is always a mess.

As of May 1, 2019, we have two commitments. Duke and others, who all have OAD issues themselves, average about 4 or 5 commitments. They aren't running around after some d-bag headed to his third school - maybe - and trying to Tweet-Build his brand while he tries to improve his draft status.

Years ago, Roy Williams declared that he was only targeting high-level recruits, as long as they lived north of the Mason-Dixon and west of Big Muddy. Roy's a good coach. He has three NC's and a whole bunch of Coach K stomping victories to prove it. At Kansas? Zero titles.

Dollar Bill has taken a similar approach, placed it on steroids, and charmed his way into the hearts of anyone who also doesn't happen to have a brain. Can Dollar Bill coach? Yeah, but that's not the point. He can't recruit and he can't manage a roster. He's impatient and he wants notoriety. Mission accomplished.

Because of this, we have the 49th-rated recruiting class in the country, our two best players (D and D) are gone, gone, gone and we are chasing after a UALR guy as if he were Andrew White.

Every one of these depressing recruiting stories makes me more depressed than reading about Embiid's affliction of the day. Is there a whiner award in the NBA? Joel wants it!

Keep doing what you are doing. It's called persistence. Or insanity. Take your pick.

Jay Scott 1 year, 9 months ago

4-5 years of "roster turmoil"?

The same "turmoil" that led to two Elite 8's and a Final four in the last 4 years?? That's turmoil?

Seriously....That's "roster turmoil"?

Let's talk seriously and honestly about insanity Brett, since you brought it up.

There's no need for you to battle it without getting help. The uncontrolled bitterness and delusions that you suffer from can be managed. Medications and counselling could ease your pain. There's no need to humiliate yourself over and over in public like this. No need to be controlled by these nonsensical voices. No need for you to answer the Pavlovian bell of a recruiting or Bill Self article with this kind of drool.

Is Rayjon Andrew White? No. White never shot 45% from 3 or over 50% overall. White couldn't (or wouldn't) defend. White didn't have Rayjon's rebound totals. Oh, and White wouldn't pass. Don't worry...The pure stupidity can be addressed after dealing with your mental health.

There are many fine mental health providers in Lawrence. Many accept medicaid if needed.

Sae Thirtysix 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey McCoob . . . given your proclivity and distain for these roundball recruiting articles stay-afk.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm not sure if there's a whiner award in the NBA, but you would surely win by a landslide if LJW were to give one. You even make Craig look sane.

Craig Carson 1 year, 9 months ago

i dont whine, I speak truth..not my fault i have a realistic POV

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 9 months ago

If by "realistic" you mean "delusional" then sure.

Greg Bowles 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds to me, like he has already made his decision. Auburn bound.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

It's a shame he didn't at a time when the non-whiners that support the team were out in force. There's no place great for support and exposure.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

Karim Mane got some love from KU staff. I like this kid. He is explosive and very physical. We NEED this kind of player. He is so quick, no-fear slasher. He will be a great addition to our pathetic roster.

Bill Kackley 1 year, 9 months ago

I think a lot of you are underrating thr Braun kid. He is apretty darn good player and shooter.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

Braun is no doubt a high IQ bball player behind that sharp shooter with quiet persona, but he's not physical and explosive. We need some toughness in our team. We need a loud and roaring leader, too. Someone like Tucker will definitely complete this team.

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