Where things stand in the recruitment of 2017 PG Trevon Duval
There are plenty of questions about the immediate future for Kansas basketball worth examining, but by far one of the biggest — and most important — has to do with who will play point guard for the Jayhawks during the 2017-18 season.
While there are options out there, from uncommitted seniors in the Class of 2017 and players who recently de-committed from other schools to graduate transfers and even the junior college ranks, the top two options for the Jayhawks easily are current junior Devonte' Graham and prep standout Trevon Duval, who is playing at the McDonald's All-American game in Chicago this week.
The interesting thing about these two options is that they might be closely tied together. In an interview with Rivals.com's Krysten Peek in Chicago, Duval referenced Graham when talking about the Jayhawks and where things stood with his recruitment.
On the surface, it makes sense that Graham staying would scare Duval off of coming to Kansas. The No. 3 player in the 2017 class, according to Rivals, is a big time player, who wants the ball in his hands and has the potential to explode onto the college scene. If Graham's back for his senior season, it's easy to see how one could think that Duval may not get that opportunity, at least not 100 percent of the time.
On the other hand, though, the 2016-17 season showed that Duval really does not have much to worry about. With Frank Mason III handling the point, Graham was great in a supporting, off-the-ball sort of role and could easily fill that role again.
The possibility also exists that Graham and Duval, should both be Jayhawks next year, could find a way to share the role more than Mason and Graham did, giving each an opportunity to play some point and also play off the ball.
It's also worth considering that Duval may want to play with Graham and could be waiting for his decision in that context, as well.
Regardless of how that would look on the floor, there's little doubt that KU coach Bill Self — and Graham, for that matter — would find a way to not only make it work but make it work well.
Duval is a serious talent who could come in and start right away, with or without Graham in the lineup. He plays fast, he's physical and he can score inside and out. He seems in many ways like exactly the type of point guard Bill Self likes and would be a terrific replacement for Mason.
Duval has a final five of Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Seton Hall and told Peek this week that he would like to make a decision in April. The April signing period begins April 12 and runs through the middle of May.
There've been rumblings about Arizona and Duke emerging as the favorites for Duval, but, from everything I've heard, the Kansas coaching staff is still in it and continues to go after him with the belief they can still get him.
As long as Graham returns, landing Duval is not a make-or-break proposition for the 2017-18 Jayhawks. But having them both in crimson certainly would elevate KU's prospects heading into next season.
Here's a quick look at Duval's most recent take from the McDonald's game on his five finalists, which also can be seen in the video above. This year's game is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN from the United Center in the Windy City.
On Arizona: "The coaching staff says they need a point guard in this class. They need someone who can play with DeAndre Ayton and if Allonzo Trier comes back someone to get him the ball. They're just telling me I can really be the one to help their team out."
On Baylor: "My old teammate, Mark Vital, has really been in my ear just talking to me about the team and picking my brain to see what I like in a school and he said, 'Baylor's the perfect place for you.' "
On Duke: "Their fan atmosphere for games was definitely crazy. They cheered my name during the game and asked me to come sit with them so their fans are really into it. Gary (Trent Jr.) and Wendell (Carter) are both in my ear. You know I haven't heard anything but Duke from them since I've been here so they're recruiting pretty hard."
On Kansas: "Billy (Preston) is recruiting me too. He's telling me they need a point guard so everyone's doing a little bit of recruiting. I'm going to wait to see what Devonte Graham does and a few other people before I make any kind of decision."
On Seton Hall: "The visit was great actually. I've been to their campus a couple times, I've seen it but to visit during the Big East tournament was really special just to see how that all goes. Plus they get to play in the Garden so that was special."