Big recruiting week ahead for Kansas basketball
With the spring signing period arriving Wednesday, a potentially monster week awaits the Kansas basketball program.
But while there’s a chance that Kansas could pick up a pair of primetime players ranked in the Top 35 in the Class of 2019 in the week ahead, there’s an equally good chance that KU could miss out on both Cassius Stanley, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound, 4-star shooting guard ranked No. 33 overall by Rivals.com and Matt Hurt, a 6-9, 200-pound, 5-star forward ranked No. 7 in the class.
Landing both would bring KU’s 2019 class, which currently features 4-star guards Christian Braun (6-7, No. 94, Blue Valley Northwest) and Issac McBride (6-0, No. 104, Baptist Prep in Little Rock, Ark.), into the Top 20 and near the Top 10. Landing one or the other would give Bill Self and company the signature player they need in a suddenly critical rebuilding class. And watching the two commit to other programs would be a significant blow to the 2019 class and would send Kansas in an entirely different direction.
Stanley is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday and Hurt has plans to announce on Friday. Many national recruiting analysts are predicting Duke for both players.
Self was scheduled to be in Minnesota on Sunday to visit with Hurt one final time and the versatile and talented forward from Rochester, Minn., lists Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina as his final four.
Regardless of how the decisions go this week, Self and the Jayhawks have been planning for all outcomes for months.
“We have an idea (of how many we need to sign in the 2019 class) and we’ll recruit with worst-case scenario or most-case scenario, whatever our options will be,” Self recently told the Journal-World.
What that essentially means is whether it’s KU adding players like Hurt and Stanley — or potentially Class of 2020 point guard R.J. Hampton, who is ranked in the Top 5 and exploring the idea of reclassifying into the current class — or adding lesser-heralded players and graduate transfers, Self and company are ready to build whatever kind of class the market dictates.
“We’ve cast a wide net, but it’s been pretty narrow in scope,” Self said. “But there’s some things, whether it be grad transfers or things like that, that could come up depending on what our numbers are.”
With Charlie Moore and K.J. Lawson transferring out and Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson all declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft, KU could have as many as five more scholarships to fill in the 2019 class.
There’s enough reason to believe that at least one of those players will return for the 2019-20 season — most likely Dotson — but there’s also reason to believe that junior center Udoka Azubuike and possibly sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa could follow in their footsteps and announce their departures, as well.
If that happens, KU will need to add 4-6 more players to the 2019 class, which would set up a scenario much like the one the Jayhawks faced during the 2018-19 season, when seven first-year Jayhawks filled key roles in the team’s rotation.
While that certainly would be a challenge for Self in terms of roster construction and building team chemistry, the KU coach said that adding a few veterans might not be the worst thing for the program.
“It could be (grad transfers) or it could be a juco kid,” Self told the Journal-World. “But it would probably need to be immediate eligibility. (You could be) losing a lot, so we’ve got to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, but also understand that that creates a lot of opportunity, too.”