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Thursday, April 15, 2021

KU hoops commitment Kyle Cuffe Jr. reclassifies into 2021 class, will join Jayhawks for 2021-22 season

Kansas basketball signee Kyle Cuffe Jr. hangs in the air during a prep game for Blair Academy. Originally ranked as the 56th-best prospect in the 2022 class, Cuffe reclassified into the 2021 class and is now expected to join the Jayhawks in time for the 2021-22 season.

Kansas basketball signee Kyle Cuffe Jr. hangs in the air during a prep game for Blair Academy. Originally ranked as the 56th-best prospect in the 2022 class, Cuffe reclassified into the 2021 class and is now expected to join the Jayhawks in time for the 2021-22 season.

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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.

Class of 2021 Kansas Men’s Basketball Signees


(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)

Comments

Chad Durbin 6 months ago

Next years team is shaping up rather well. I had no doubt that HCBS would recruit some athletic bodies to fill the holes left by the departing transfers.

Robert Brock 6 months ago

These guys are also replacing Ochai Agbaji, Jalen Wilson, Marcus Garrett, and Bryce Thompson.

Jeff Coffman 6 months ago

I would be very surprised if Agbaji and Wilson will leave.

Garrett likely, but the previous two likely are getting evaluations on what to work on. Agbaji has some improvement on his 3 point percentage and going to the rim. Wilson has some consistency to improve and to finish his mid-range jumper. I'm not a scout nor a talent evaluator.

I do know neither is projected in the first round and if they are included in the second round it is picks in the 58-60 range, so unlikely to leave early.

Ben Berglund 6 months ago

I imagine Ochai and Jalen will be back. Both can really improve their draft stock, I think

Scott Proch 6 months ago

Hi Matt - Question. If they enter the transfer portal, does that ALWAYS mean they're gone? Would assume most have a school in mind when they do but...

Eliott Reeder 6 months ago

Highly recommend this video if you want to get to know this young man better!

James Donnell 6 months ago

That was so cool. Thanks for the link. I like this kid already! Wish him all the success in the world.

Blake Brown 6 months ago

A lot of heart here. It opened mine just to view it. We're getting a good kid, Devonteesque.

Ted Hume 6 months ago

Why do people keep saying Ochai will be back? What does playing another year get him in his quest to play pro ball? His potential at the next level is based entirely on his athleticism and to a lesser extent his outside shot mechanics,” he’s not going to improve his draft chances with another year of the same play. He’s not coming back and this announcement just solidifies that. Wilson does have a jump to make production-wise so should be back

Dale Kroening 6 months ago

Because if he dont come back he wont get drafted and either going overseas or to the d-league . He needs to improve his shooting percentages and driving to the hoop .

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Good rec Eliot. He should be a fan favorite.

As a conservative estimate, if only 5,000 new students per year for say 50 years then it’s a quarter million fans and likely much more than that.

Eliott Reeder 6 months ago

Indeed. I thought that was a funny quote from Self, jumping from 100,000 to a million KU fans in the world so quickly. I know a TON of KU fans that never attended KU. Mostly general Kansan population but I've run into some random one's all over, whose parents were fans, or a sibling or someone else had a link to KU. Let's say half a million... ;)

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Agreed Eliot. I’m a first generation Jayhawk, and an anomaly in my family. Another sibling and I have been extreme north to south and east to west. She’ll comment on finding us everywhere.

I too thought it was conservative. Even if you take half of the KS population (3M), that alone puts us past a million.

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

It always amazes me when people project their complacent lives on these athletes and coaches; thinking they won’t develop. Some fade into obscurity but over and over again the ones that stay prove the naysayers wrong. Athleticism will get you through HS to college but there’s a lot more to be successful.

40% 3’s and 80% FTs when exhausted should be a minimum.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months ago

DUNK YOU VEWY MUCH!!!!!!! This is what I call a DREAM TEAM. We've got all ingredients to win it all next season. It's up to coach BS to do his magic -

Can coach make use of each individual's potential & strength to the max, or will he stick with low post and weaving offense, emphasize on Defense? If he can't come up with better offense strategy, we'll definitely see a mass exodus part deux.

Rodney Crain 6 months ago

not a surprise. well they can't all be 1st round draft choices.

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