Kansas basketball program adding walk-on shooting guard with a familiar last name
R.J. Hampton he is not, but another Texas-based basketball player elected to join the Kansas men’s basketball program over the weekend.
According to a Tweet from the Northfield Mount Hermon team website, Michael Jankovich, the son of former Bill Self assistant and current SMU head coach Tim Jankovich, has decided to accept an invitation to join the Jayhawks as a walk-on for the 2019-20 season.
Jankovich himself responded to several of the congratulatory Tweets that followed and even received an old photo (scroll to the end) of him in a No. 15 KU jersey from Kaliyah Townsend, the daughter of KU assistant Kurtis Townsend.
In a text message to the Journal-World Sunday evening, Kurtis Townsend confirmed Jankovich's addition to the roster.
A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who played high school ball in Dallas at Jesuit High and spent his senior season at Northfield Mount Hermon in Gill, Mass., Jankovich will join KU walk-ons Chris Teahan, Elijah Elliott and Garrett Luinstra on the KU bench.
“He’s a Jayhawk,” read the Tweet from @NMHbasketball on Saturday afternoon. “Congrats to Michael Jankovich ‘19 on his commitment to join the University of Kansas program.”
At that point, things got interesting.
In addition to using some pretty standard hashtags in the post — #RockChalk #NMHcommits, among them — the creator of the Tweet added the following hashtag, #WeShoot3sAtNMH.
Now, while the likelihood of a walk-on coming in to the KU program and setting the world on fire as a true freshman, it’s at least worth noting that Jankovich is skilled enough as an outside shooter to potentially bring something to the program, be it in practice, with the scout team or, perhaps eventually, even in games.
There’s no denying the fact that the KU roster, in its current form, lacks knock-down 3-point shooters, much like last year’s roster did, and KU coach Bill Self and his assistants have shown a willingness — perhaps even out of necessity — to adjust their coaching style to allow for more 3-point shots in their offense during recent years.
It helps when you have dead-eye shooters like Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman and the like on the roster. But just because those guys are gone does not necessarily mean Self and company will ditch the importance of shooting from deep. In fact, Self has said on multiple occasions that elite college teams in today’s game need to be able to stretch the floor with shooters to operate at peak level.
According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, Jankovich, as a junior at Jesuit High in Dallas during the 2017-18 season, averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for a team that finished 30-6.
As a senior at NMH, Jankovich played a key role for a Hoggers team that finished 32-6 and reached the quarterfinals of the National Prep Championships.
Jankovich scored 11 points in a win over famed Brewster Academy in the New England Prep School Athletic Council AAA championship game in March.