I haven't blogged on here in probably close to a year, but I figured I would take a look at next year's KU recruiting class while we are having fun rolling to another Big 12 title. I'm going to ignore possible additions to the class right now and just focus on the guys we have - Conner Frankamp, Wayne Selden, Joel Embiid, Frank Mason and Brannen Greene. I really like this class as it's currently constructed. If we add a PF type, that's icing, but there's plenty of cake to go around with this group.
Greene 6-7, 200, SG/SF - I think he's more of a "pure shooter" than a "pure scorer", but my goodness is that jumper pretty to look at. If you think McLemore's jumper is picturesque, wait for Brannen to show up in the Phog. The release is high, it's consistent, he finishes it nicely, he can catch and shoot or hit it off the bounce. I can't say enough good things about his shot. Now for what he's not. He's not a slasher. He can put it on the floor, but that's not his game. He's a shooter first, which is awesome, especially when you can stroke the jumper like he can. He's not super athletic, more of a smooth athlete than an explosive one, but his size and length should make him an adequate defender, particularly in college where he will see guys much smaller than he is. He won't blow by guys and dunk in traffic, but he could be the type of guy to hit 6 threes in a game. He will benefit from Hudy, as he's not a big kid right now and that will help him quite a bit.
Mason 5-11, 160, PG - He's a scoring PG, which is worrisome considering his size. He's quick and has the ability to finish, but his size makes me wonder how that will translate in college. He has good vision and seems to be very efficient with his shots and decision making. He's a good pace PG, meaning he knows how to push the ball without being out of control, and he can find his teammates in transition. Because he's such a scorer in HS, it's hard to figure how he would run an offense where he is not the primary scorer. He looks to have the handles and vision for it, but that's not really his role right now. I wish he were more of a ball hawk because at his size he can't just settle for being an okay on ball defender. He has the quickness to do so, but that type of thing requires a commitment that he hasn't been asked to make to this point.
Embiid 7-0, 220, C - Easily the guy I am most excited about because of his height, agility, balance and athleticism. He's a 7 footer that moves like a 6-7 guy. That's a huge compliment. Whereas most 7 footers lose some of their agility as they grow, he's similar to Hakeem Olajuwon not in skill, but in that he moves like a much smaller player. His skills are very raw, but that's to be expected for someone that has only been playing ball for a year. He should be an exceptional shotblocker right away. Offensively, his game is limited to dunks and short hooks, with a developing jump shot, but I think he will develop very quickly as he learns the game. Physically all of the skills are there, but he has to shape those into a basketball skill set. If anyone would have benefited from a year under Danny Manning, it would have been him, but that ship has sailed. Still, I see him as a very good defender right away (maybe even a great one with his agility) and a decent offensive player eventually. Hudy is probably excited to get to work with such a raw athlete like Embiid. If his work ethic is high, he may only be in Lawrence 2-3 years, but he will leave as a lottery pick.
Selden 6-5, 225, SG - Most on this board will cringe when I make this comparison, but this is a big compliment from me - Selden seems to be a bigger, stronger version of Josh Selby. The Selby I saw coming out of high school was quick, explosive, powerful, strong, great vision and shooting range and absolutely would rise up and cram on any defender foolish enough to challenge his attacks. Selden has all of the same tools and elements to his game - the explosiveness, the quickness, the range, the handles, the power, the vision - but he's 6-5, 225. He's a load on the perimeter. Unlike Greene, he absolutely will dunk on somebody's head in traffic. I think he looks to do that quite a bit, actually. He also reminds me a bit of Lance Stephenson in that his strength creates space that most others can't create for themselves. He could be an exceptional pure scorer. Obviously those tools should make him an exceptional defender, but the commitment on that end will take time and Bill Self coaching.
Frankamp 6-0, 160, PG - He can flat out fill it up. At the high school level, he's probably the most accomplished scorer in this group. He can shoot it, he can drive it, he can flat out put the ball in the basket. My concerns for him mirror my concerns about Frank Mason. At his size, can he do that in college? Similar to Mason, can he adapt from being the primary option to the primary distributor? He's a good passer, so I think it's likely he can, and will with the talent that will surround him here at KU. That leaves my only concern being his defense. His HS plays a ton of zone, so he doesn't have to guard the ball a whole lot. Obviously that will change in college. He's got a good hoops IQ and quick hands, so I think he should be a solid defender, maybe even an above average one, but again, his size will be at issue on that end against bigger guards, although with the size KU should have next year on the perimeter, that is much less an issue than it could otherwise be.