Kansas basketball’s 2021 recruiting class grew by one on Thursday, when Kyle Cuffe Jr., signed his letter of intent to join the Jayhawks for the 2021-22 season.
Originally a member of the 2022 recruiting class, Cuffe, a four-star prosect from the New York City area, committed to Kansas last December and recently reclassified to get to KU early.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Toms River, N.J., native most recently played for Blair Academy, under head coach Joe Mantegna, after transferring from a prep school in Connecticut.
In a recent YouTube interview about his game, Cuffe said he considered himself a combo guard but that he was working toward becoming a true point guard.
Mantegna calls Cuffe “an energy giver,” and Kansas coach Bill Self said in a news release announcing Cuffe’s signing that Cuffe is “an explosive athlete that makes plays on both ends of the floor.”
“Kyle is a young man that has great upside and the determination to be a great player,” Self said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuffe’s Blair Academy team played just two games during the most recent season, with Cuffe averaging scoring 28 and 22 points in those two games.
During the 2019-20 season, he averaged 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game while helping lead Blair Academy to a 24-3 record.
Because of his east coast upbringing and the tutelage of Mantegna and his father, Kyle Sr., who starred at St. John’s University and attended the same high school as former KU point guard Russell Robinson, Self said Cuffe Jr. was “already well-prepared” to make the jump to college ball.
Robinson told the Journal-World last winter that he knew the Cuffe family and he was familiar with the younger Cuffe’s game.
“I’ve seen his highlights and his background,” Robinson said. “And that winning DNA, I think that’s really going to transition well. Kansas fans are going to love him, and I can see a lot of good things coming with him.”
Cuffe Jr., finished his prep career ranked No. 56 overall in the Rivals.com rankings in the Class of 2022.
With at least one scholarship still available — and possibly more depending on what NBA draft hopefuls Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson decide to do — the Jayhawks figure to remain active in reshaping their this offseason.
(as of April 15, 2021)
• KJ Adams (Fr., 6-7, 200, F, Austin, Texas, Westlake HS)
• Zach Clemence (Fr., 6-10, 215, F, San Antonio, Texas, Sunrise Christian Academy [Kan.])
• Sydney Curry (Jr., 6-8, 260, F, Fort Wayne, Ind., Northrop HS, John A. Logan College)
• Cam Martin (Sr., 6-9, 240, F, Yukon, Okla., Yukon HS, Missouri Southern)
• Joseph Yesufu (6-0, 180, G, Bolingbrook, Ill., Bolingbrook HS, Drake)
• Kyle Cuffe Jr. (6-2, 180, G, Toms River, N.J., Blair Academy)