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Originally published March 30, 2021 at 12:25p.m., updated March 30, 2021 at 09:05p.m.

Sophomore wing Tristan Enaruna leaving Kansas, adding name to transfer portal

Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna passes in front of Iowa State guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna passes in front of Iowa State guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told the Journal-World on Tuesday that KU sophomore Tristan Enaruna was leaving the program and had entered his name into the transfer portal.

Enaruna becomes the second Jayhawk to announce his plans to leave this week, following the lead of junior guard Tyon Grant-Foster, who entered the transfer portal on Monday.

Enaruna’s departure opens up another scholarship for the Kansas coaching staff to fill.

“Tristan and I met this morning and he informed us that he will be entering the transfer portal,” Self said Tuesday.

The Netherlands native’s two-year career at Kansas was marked by two words — casual and potential.

Throughout his time with the Jayhawks, which included 55 games over two seasons, Enaruna drew some of the most attention from NBA scouts at KU games and practices.

His blend of length, size and athleticism along with his smooth skills on offense made him an appealing prospect.

But Self talked throughout Enaruna’s time with the Jayhawks about the 6-foot-8, 215-pound wing’s casual demeanor holding him back, particularly on the defensive end.

Enaruna’s scoring went up slightly during his second season with the program — from 2.4 points per game to 2.8 — but his usage was down. He averaged 1.5 minutes per game less in 2020-21 than he did on last season’s 28-3 team despite receiving a much bigger opportunity with KU looking to replace All-Americans Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike and playing a lot of four- and five-guard lineups.

Enaruna, who came to KU from Wasatch Academy in Utah, finished his Kansas career averaging 2.6 poits, 1.9 rebounds and 0.5 steals in 10.2 minutes per game.

He did not log a single minute in any of KU’s four games in March and played just 14 combined minutes in the final four games he appeared in this season, scoring 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting.

He was not with the Jayhawks in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament or in Kansas City for the Big 12 tournament after first entering COVID-19 protocol and then testing positive before the team left for Indianapolis.

That came after a stretch when Enaruna played double-digit minutes in nine of 11 games from Jan. 2 through Feb. 8 and included a season-high 20 minutes in a win over Kansas State, in which he scored four points and grabbed four minutes.

“Obviously, this was a difficult finish for Tristan this year, with the COVID situation and not being able to finish the season with the team," Self said. "He represented himself, his teammates, our program and our university with first-class daily and he will be missed. His best ball is ahead of him and we all support his decision and wish him well.”

Despite the quiet season and rough finish, Enaruna posted his appreciation for his time at Kansas on his social media accounts on Tuesday evening.

"I want to thank everybody that has been a part of my 2 years being a Jayhawk," he began. "I have had an incredible time from the moment I first stepped onto campus all the way to today. ... I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this basketball program."

Enaruna went on to thank his coaches, teammates and the KU fans before sharing his "difficult decision" to move on and enter the transfer portal.

"After a long thought process, I figured that this is the right thing to do," he added. "I'm excited to see what the future holds."

Self said after the season-ending loss to USC last week that the Jayhawks needed to get more athletic to rejoin the conversation as national title contenders.

And while Grant-Foster and Enaruna were two of KU’s more athletically gifted players in 2020-21, it appears as if the Jayhawks are looking to get more explosive and athletic in the backcourt and frontcourt, with 2020-21 starters Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson all capable of playing the wing spot next season.

The Kansas coaching staff has been hard at work during the past week connecting with potential additions to the roster.

That includes a number of prep prospects who remain uncommitted or recently backed out of commitments — guards Ty Ty Washington and Bobby Pettiford and big man Jonas Aidoo most notable among them — and players in the transfer portal, with Kansas City senior guard Brandon McKissic currently sitting as one of the top options on that list.

With new players entering the portal every day, the Jayhawks will continue to monitor their options in the days and weeks ahead and also will have to see if any more current players transfer out or elect to leave school early as they look to reshape their roster for the 2021-22 season.

None by Tristan Enaruna

Comments

Ted Hume 3 weeks ago

We are going to be so much worse next year. Terrible

Way to run off your best prospective contributors Bill. After resisting for a long time, I’m officially on the fire Bill Self Train now. What a cluster f**%%# next year is going to be. I’m also reading this as bad news for our NCAA appeal. No post season next year one way or the other...

Ted Hume 3 weeks ago

You must be new to this message board Ben. It's called hyperbole, as practiced by known rabble-rousers like Brett M., et al. Do I really think we should FIRE BILL SELF? probably not, but he does seem to be mismanaging personnel at a deeply frustrating level. For example, giving Enaruna's minutes to Thompson, who showed despite is reputation to be a truly dreadful 3-point shooter and and totally underdeveloped scorer (non-scorer really) in an attempt to motivate Tristan to pick up his intensity has back-fired spectacularly. Look for Tristan in the NBA in 2 years and on a final four team next (a'la Grimes).

Bryce Landon 3 weeks ago

It's absolutely galling to me that Quentin Grimes gets to play in the Final Four while the team he left behind is sitting at home with little to look forward to next season.

Jeff Coffman 3 weeks ago

Since Bill Self has arrived in Kansas he has had 3 final fours, 2 championship games, and 1 won. He has spent 2 weeks outside of the Top 25 in his whole time here. He arguably should hand a banner for last year's number 1 finish, in all of the records of sports in 2020 there is only one team that finished number 1 in the country.

He has had top rated recruiting classes and shifted between big out and 4 guard sets, but he has consistently put a top squad on the field. He also has a higher winning percentage than Roy Williams here and think RW, who i would take in a heartbeat, still never won a championship at KU. All in all Bill Self is great for Kansas Basketball and we will be the top again. We did finish number 2 in the Big 12 this year, and we consider that a bad year. Talk to Duke or Kentucky about a bad year this year.

Dale Rogers 3 weeks ago

Well stated. And how many teams out there would love to have our record year after year. As for Enaruna, I understand the problem is that he tended to disappear at times, to lose track of what he was supposed to be doing, where he was supposed to be, etc. I wish him well at his next stop.

Also, sometimes a coach has a player who is just not producing at the level he wants. When he talks with that player, a good coach will point out to him where he needs to improve, how to get started improving, and what happens (lack of playing time) if he is unable or unwilling to up his game to the desired level. At that point, some players decide to go somewhere else, somewhere where the demands are not so high, where the competition for playing time is not so tough. There is nothing wrong with that. And that decision to leave opens up a scholarship for the next guy, who hopefully will have a better motor and the ability to play to the high standard required at a school like Kansas. In other words, sometimes you have to clear out the weak to make room for something better.

Jeff Coffman 3 weeks ago

Although i agree he was losing favor at the end, i think it is not completely fair to infer that he was not playing in the tournament games, he was on COVID protocol and was prevented in many of those games, and was not able to practice to get playing time.

Anyways, I think he did have glimpses of potential and I think another year or two he would have proven valuable, but i also think that this is the case where Coach Self drives practice and defense, and those weren't his forte.

Andy Godwin 3 weeks ago

Very sorry to see Enaruna (and Grant-Foster) leave. I think Enaruna has a big upside and for some reason never figured out how to play under Self's system. Like Grimes (and Charle Moore), I will predicted that both Enaruna and Grant-Foster will easily find a new home and will prosper in their new environments. I guess Self has a plan to use the new college free agency, known as the transfer portal, to rebuild a team that was overall not as successful as many had hoped. Time will tell if renting players (different from the one and done NBA lottery picks) for a year or so will work for Self.

Jonathan Allison 3 weeks ago

He seems like a really good kid and a guy who really could have helped us reclaim the Big 12 title next year.

Sad to see him leave.

Clarence Haynes 3 weeks ago

This thing doesn't resolve itself until the NCAA makes a decision.

Tim Orel 3 weeks ago

Which is why I believe the NCAA is dragging their feet. I know there's a process to go through, and that KU is the first team to try out this new process, but this has hurt KU for multiple years, multiple recruiting classes and I think the NCAA is trying to make this as painful as possible to KU and Self because they're not sure if they're going to prevail. If they (the NCAA) doesn't prevail, they're going to be losing legal fights left and right, so they have to make KU pay as much up front and they're hoping to make KU pay later as well in lost scholarships, maybe postseason bans since DeSilva played such a role in getting KU to the Final Four (even though DeSilva had to sit out so many games it was ridiculous). Robert - I agree, this limbo-land that KU is in must be resolved and I think KU has more than paid for it all.

Robert Brock 3 weeks ago

Nice kid who needs to go home and play some Euro ball (and eat raw herring sandwiches).

Charlie Gaughn 3 weeks ago

We keep hearing that Bill thinks more athleticism is the answer to competing for championships. No doubt that's important but we've got to get several kids that can put the ball in the basket in crucial situations. Almost every tournament exit has looked the same. The opponent can't miss and we can't throw it in the ocean. It appears that we're so intense on the defensive side that our legs get rubbery and the shooting touch disappears. It also seems like our shooters get worse the longer they're in the program. Yes, we had some moments down the stretch but for the most part 3 point shooting was horrible this season.

Michael Maris 3 weeks ago

Not surprising to me. He looks athletic as heck. But, he looks lost in the majority of the games (that I seen him play in).

Good luck Tristan. I hope you find the right program for your game.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks ago

Tristan

Simply did not play defense aggressively and with purpose. His office was tentative. I love the guy, but this is simply not a good system for him. Same for Foster-Grant.

RCJH

Layne Pierce 3 weeks ago

Not only was his office tentative, but his offense was too.

RCJH

David Kelley-Wood 3 weeks ago

If we didn't have football and cryptocurrencies to fall back on, I might be concerned.

Best of luck, Tristan.

Dirk Medema 3 weeks ago

In some ways he reminds me of Svi. Mid-sized euro-guy that was talked about with potential but didn’t get it together for years. To Svi’s (&Devonte’s) credit, he stuck with the program and went to the FF. Oh, and the NBA.

It’s not the first time a player hasn’t figured it out and went elsewhere. Grimes is one of the few who has succeeded. Coach Self on the other hand just keeps rolling, though there are occasionally off years without a championship, top seed, ...

Barry Weiss 3 weeks ago

we do need new blood. keeping all of those from this past season did not seem like the right move. I don't think another year with any of them was going to increase their upside that much.

Joe Joseph 3 weeks ago

Am I the only one who is actually kind of excited for next year? I think KU has the potential to be very good. Also, they could be the exact same team :/

Steve Zimmerman 3 weeks ago

I don't know how he seems lack of athleticism - but I still believe Tristan is what's depicted here:

Sorry, man, can't find footage like that while you're at KU. It's sad. HCBS system just doesn't fit for all players. I hope you'll find a better fit in your future team, Tristan. Keep ballin' and rollin', bud..!! Rock Chalk!!!!

Shannon Gustafson 3 weeks ago

Career 26% 3P shooter, career 39% 2P shooter, lost on defense, turns the ball over at a high rate, and never seemed to be giving 100% effort (which may be true, or it's just his laid back style). Either way, while he appears to have the body/athleticism, he couldn't seem to put it together on the floor. Best of luck to him.

For those who think Grimes is so amazing now, his efficiency numbers are basically identical to what they were at KU, he just shoots twice as often now against lesser competition and his scoring average doubled because of it. He's a horribly inefficient volume shooter who goes "all world" 3-4 times a season (like he did twice at KU). He'll wash out of the NBA in no time, if he makes it at all. Congrats to him for going home since he was clearly not happy at KU.

Cory McCart 2 weeks, 6 days ago

true, but i do like both players you mentioned.

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