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With Trae Young off the board, where do the Jayhawks go next?

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Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Quade Green and Tremont Waters — all are point guards ranked in the Top 36 of the Rivals 150 for 2017 and all were players that the Kansas men’s basketball program recruited on one level or another during the past several months.

With Young’s announcement today that he is staying home in Norman, Oklahoma, to play for the Sooners, the Jayhawks now have missed out on several of the top point guard targets in a class loaded with talent at the position.

All four of those players chose colleges that allowed them to stay close to home. And sometimes there’s just no competing with location.

However, all of those misses would be forgotten in a millisecond if the Jayhawks can entice five-star point guard Trevon Duval to pick Kansas.

Duval, a 6-foot-3, 189-pound point guard from IMG Academy in Florida, is the highest ranked point guard in the 2017 class. Slotted at No. 3, four spots above Sexton in the overall rankings and 11 spots in front of Young, Duval picking Kansas would be a big time get for the Jayhawks and likely push KU’s 2017 Class, which already includes five-star forward Billy Preston (No. 8 overall) and four-star combo guard Marcus Garrett (No. 37), into the Top 3 in the country.

With that said, landing Duval won’t be easy. Along with Kansas, the fast and physical flier from New York City also lists Arizona, Baylor, Duke and Seton Hall as finalists, but it’s not as if the Jayhawks are a long shot here.

In fact, after what KU showed Duval and his family during his official visit earlier this month, there are plenty of people out there who believe that KU is alive and well in their pursuit of Duval.

Shay Wildeboor, of JayhawkSlant.com, told The Journal-World that KU is expected to visit Duval today.

Obviously, had Young chosen Kansas today, KU’s chances at landing Duval would’ve been diminished. But since he didn’t, a case could be made that the Duval-to-Kansas odds might now actually be slightly better.

With Young out of the mix and Kansas losing Frank Mason III — and potentially Devonte’ Graham — after the season, there is a clear opening for a lead guard in the Kansas program.

Even with transfers Malik Newman and Sam Cunliffe (2nd semester) in the mix alongside Svi Mykhailiuk (another candidate to leave early), Lagerald Vick and Garrett, it appears that KU still would need true point guard to run the show.

If Graham returns for his senior season, he could be that point guard, but he also has shown this season that he is just as effective playing off the ball with another player handling the point.

The idea of Duval playing point with Graham and Newman starting next to him brings visions of a Top 5 preseason ranking and yet another title-contending Kansas team.

Maybe that’s how all this will play out and the Jayhawks, who have been relentless in their pursuit of Duval to this point, will wind up singing the praises of the slogan, “Good things come to those who wait.”

"There is heavy competition (for Duval) and Duke has been seen as the team to beat of late," wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com on Thursday. "But there’s nothing to suggest Kansas isn’t a real player here and they’ll certainly be turning up the heat.... It is never easy to miss out on a top 15 prospect like Young, but given that the majority of highly rated prospects are off the board, the timing isn’t the best and the pool of available players to choose from is pretty shallow. That said, Kansas is still Kansas and Bill Self is Bill Self, meaning that there are still options out there."

Having said that, it’s entirely possible that they’ll miss on Duval too, an ending that would bring a fair amount of uncertainty to next year’s Kansas roster.

Don’t substitute uncertainty for fear, however. Whenever you’ve got Bill Self running your program, you’re going to be OK. After all, did anyone think that Self’s decision to take a couple of kids named Mason and Graham, who once appeared to be headed to Towson and Appalachian State, would wind up producing one of the best backcourts the school has ever seen?

Maybe missing out on the Class of 2017’s crop of talented point guards is just the college basketball gods’ way of evening things out.

Then again, maybe Kansas will land Duval and all will be well that ends well.

Time will tell. Stay tuned...

Comments

Jay Scott 3 months, 1 week ago

Graham and/or Svi returning is a far better situation than any recruit.

Suzi Marshall 3 months, 1 week ago

Yes they would be for sure. Both could improve their NBA stock tremendously by returning. Somebody made a comment recently that the same was said about Chalmers in '08. We want both those guys to have great runs in the NCAA Tournament this year but, like Chalmers, that could change things.

If we don't get Duval and loose Graham/Mykailiuk, let's pray Self has some graduate transfers or off-shore help lined up!

Layne Pierce 3 months, 1 week ago

I agree Jay. The fact is that Young will start at OU, its a given. It was not a given at KU. If Devonte comes back, then I believe he and Newman will be starters, Young would most likely have been 1st sub in at guard position.

Right now, we are loaded. Now I would actually prefer Duval, and he is good enough to start, but again, with only Azubuike in the post, starting 3 real guards is unrealistic. Preston is a wing player, perhaps he will be phenomenal rebounder, but he is not a 4.

Maybe Garrett can play some point guard. He did in high school. Or maybe we recruit a 4 start point guard, to get him ready for his sophomore year.

Jay Scott 3 months, 1 week ago

I'd love to see where Preston is a wing. I'm not disagreeing, I just don't have any indication that he's a 3. If that's the case, another post would be more needed. Wing players tend to contribute much more quickly than bigs. Another grad transfer?

RJ King 3 months, 1 week ago

Only one more 4 star G on the board (Mark Smith), and we have not extended an offer. He does not appear to have much interest from typical strong programs, so not sure what is his deal.

If we don't land Duval, Self will actively pursue a graduate transfer to hedge against injuries or thin bench.

Jay Scott 3 months, 1 week ago

LP...I dug through all the video on Preston. I stand humbly corrected.

You're on it! He's listed as a PF by all the scouting/ranking lists but he has a serious perimeter/face up game with real handles. He's a potential matchup nightmare.

Is he a 3? Maybe not but he's no 4. He's nasty.

Suzi Marshall 3 months, 1 week ago

Wouldn't that make him a serious mismatch for other 4s to guard him, such as with Jackson?

Glen Miller 3 months, 1 week ago

Everything I've been reading for months has him a pretty heavy Duke lean. Obviously these are projections, but not much to mention about KU other than he enjoyed his visit. To this point, we haven't made him a priority, because we were so hot to trot for Young. Now since we were spurned we are going to focus on Duval....... I have to think that in the back of his mind that won't sit well. Duke has made him a priority for a while now and that will play against us. These kids don't like being the 3rd or 4th option as Duval is for us. Especially being the 3rd ranked recruit in his class. I'm not giving us much of a chance on him, but never say never. Just my 2 cents.

Matt Tait 3 months, 1 week ago

I don't think Duval will look at it that way... I could be wrong, but I don't think so. KU has recruited him every step of the way, just the same as they did Young, and it's no one's fault but Duval's that the timing of the announcements ended up with Young's coming first.

One of the biggest differences between the two was Young's proximity to KU's campus. That made it a little easier to get to him more often.

He definitely has a little more leverage with KU now (whatever that's worth) but it's not as if they've been ignoring him and are now just going to show up ready to be all buddy-buddy.

They've been on him big time and made him feel like a big time target for them every step of the way.

It should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 months, 1 week ago

I agree. Duval's just kept his recruiting very private; out of the public eye. KU has been on him for a long time.

Glen Miller 3 months ago

Good information Matt! This is why I'm just a fan and you get paid to do this. I hadn't really seen much about us going after Duval until recently.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 months, 1 week ago

Bummer. Trea looks like a dynamic scorer. Would have liked to see him in a Jayhawk uniform.

I'm sure the pressure to be the hometown hero was pretty intense.

Noel Backwards 3 months, 1 week ago

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I do not see this as the end of the world. Young would have definitely been a good addition if HCBS could've gotten him to buy into the TEAM concept. If not, we could've been looking at another Josh Selby situation.

As far as next year goes, I don't see us losing Graham or Svi to the NBA unless we win it all. If Graham stays, I don't see him having any issues with sliding over to play PG with Newman sliding into his role as the 2nd PG/SG. Svi could keep the same role next year with even more confidence and even have some time as a primary ball handler if needed. In a lot of highlights I saw of his before he got on campus, he looked very comfortable handling the ball and initiating an offense. I believe this played a role in him looking uncomfortable the last couple of years because he had to adjust to being off of the ball more and not being a focal point. Vick would be the first guard off the bench with Cunliffe and Garrett playing minutes as well. The frontcourt picture is actually more muddy in this scenario for me because I am not 100% sure of Billy Preston's strengths. I can see the season starting with Bragg and Azubuike up front with Preston being the first "big" off the bench with Lightfoot and (hopefully healthier) Coleby finishing up those minutes.

If we do hang #6 this year, I think its almost a surety that Graham leaves. Svi is a toss-up but I think he comes back personally. Here's how I see rotations shaking out in this situation.

Starters: Newman, Svi, Preston/Vick, Bragg, Azubuike

Bench (In order of minutes): Preston/Vick, Cunliffe, Coleby/Lightfoot, Garrett,

I did not include Duval in this, but of course this changes drastically if we could sign him.

I know this was long-winded, but just wanted to offer my take. Thanks for reading!

Chad Redeker 3 months, 1 week ago

In my opinion, our bigs are going to be the issue next year and we will need our guards to perform at the highest level. I don't think Graham will leave for NBA as he will want to run the show and SVI is marginal for NBA significance. With what we have coming for guards, I think we will be ok there however, out frontcourt will be week. We can't rely on outside shooting as everyone knows, if you have an off night you lose. Who will we have that can get us a tough bucket? Graham can but who else? Also, I don't think Graham can get and finish at the bucket consistently. Will miss that when Mason graduates. Azubuike will return but remember how raw he is? Bragg has not been great obviously, and Preston is and wants to play guard. Coleby and Lightfoot should play backup roles. Are we in on any frontcourt players?

Kent Richardson 3 months, 1 week ago

How close are Svi and DeVonte to their degrees? I think we are gonna miss Landen just because I think Udoka is still a project with really good upside but a project. Billy Preston is intriguing the more I read about him maybe too much to think he will be another JJack but what if? Get all the players left that Self has determined will work out. A lot of speculation and could go on and on but this is another year we could have a #1 seed and be in KC, if we can get out of Tulsa. What a boost against our region if we can have home cooking.

Matt Wallace 3 months, 1 week ago

Next years starting lineup.... Graham, Newman, Svi, Bragg, Udoka

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