Will Kansas get back in the mix for Class of 2021 big man Jonas Aidoo, who decommited from Marquette this week?
With Tyon Grant-Foster’s departure opening up a scholarship for the Kansas men’s basketball program, the Jayhawks have several options for how to fill it.
And it’s possible, — perhaps even likely — either through other players leaving early or following Grant-Foster’s path into the transfer portal, that KU soon could be looking to fill a few holes on the 2021-22 roster.
While we’ve spent some time recently tracking KU’s prep options (Ty Ty Washington and Bobby Pettiford most notable among them) and looking at potential transfers (Kansas City’s Brandon McKissic), a couple of recent developments have added to the list.
The most notable one might have come from Class of 2021 center Jonas Aidoo, a 7-foot center from Charlotte, N.C., who reopened his recruitment after de-committing from Marquette this week.
Aidoo, who is ranked No. 33 overall in the 2021 class by Rivals.com, committed to Marquette in mid-December, which meant he spent a fair amount of time as one of the top-ranked uncommitted prospects in his class.
He’s back in that position today and it seems likely that his list of options will look a lot different than it did the last time around.
For instance, reports already have surfaced that North Carolina coach Roy Williams was the first to reach out to Aidoo after he made his de-commitment plans official.
Most recruiting services listed Kansas as one of Aidoo’s finalists, which was a feat in and of itself considering KU got in on him a little late.
Nine days before Aidoo’s commitment to Marquette, Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy reported that KU offered the 7-footer a scholarship in October. That same day, Cassidy also ranked KU as the No. 2 contender for Aidoo behind Marquette.
It’s worth noting that No. 3 on the list at that time was “A Program That Hasn’t Offered,” which shows you why any of the local programs — UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, etc. — could find themselves in the mix this time around.
Wake Forest and NC State were involved last winter, but both were considered longshots throughout most of the process.
In a late-October interview with JayhawkSlant’s Shay Wildeboor, Aidoo said he received the offer from KU on a Zoom call with Kansas coach Bill Self and assistant coach Norm Roberts.
“I had a great Zoom call with Kansas,” Aidoo told Wildeboor in October. “The coaching staff just really talked about how great they are at developing big men, so that was really intriguing. We’ve talked a little bit about how the coaching staff sees me fitting into the system.”
While the pandemic and extended dead period made visiting KU’s campus impossible, Aidoo spoke then of wanting to plan a visit with the Jayhawks at some point. It never happened, of course, and the dead period is still in effect, but he’s also a lit-tle more than two months away from being able to report to whichever school he picks for summer workouts, so this round of recruiting may have to be entirely virtual, as well.
“I am interested in Kansas,” he told Wildeboor in October. “I really love how Kansas develops its big men into next level athletes."
Known as a late-blooming prospect with good athleticism and a quality inside-out game, the four-star prospect figures to bring a ton of potential to whichever program adds him.
ESPN analyst Paul Biancardi called Aidoo, “a shot blocker and finisher inside” and noted that he owns “a legit jump hoop and turnaround jumper” and can also extend his range out to the 3-point line.
His wingspan reportedly has been recorded at 7 feet, 5 inches, which makes him a menace around the rim, both as a shot blocker and an offensive rebounder who makes a living off of easy put-backs.
According to Chapel Fowler, of The Fayetteville Observer, Aidoo averaged 11.3 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks per game during his senior season at Durham Voyager Academy in 2019-20.
He then reclassified down into the 2021 class and played a post-graduate season at Liberty Heights, an independent school in Charlotte that offered more exposure against tougher competition.