Changes to college basketball's recruiting calendar have minimal impact on Kansas

Kansas head coach Bill Self looks down the bench after Kansas center Udoka Azubuike opted to drive up the court with the ball during the second half on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self looks down the bench after Kansas center Udoka Azubuike opted to drive up the court with the ball during the second half on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self recently classified the current recruiting landscape as “an inexact science.”

And it likely will stay that way through the end of May.

After initially declaring recruiting to be in a dead period through April 15 to adjust for the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA last week extended the dead period to May 31.

That means no in-person contact for coaches and recruits until at least June 1.

“The Division I Council Coordination Committee and the Division II Administrative Committee extended the recruiting dead period through May 31,” the NCAA said in a statement. “The committees will continue to be guided by experts to determine whether the date needs to be extended.”

While that does not prevent coaches from interacting with prospects on the phone, the Internet or via social media channels, it does keep them from making visits or bringing players on campus.

And while that figures to create challenges for several programs, across multiple sports, Self’s Jayhawks are in better shape than most.

Kansas has four players already signed in the 2020 recruiting class and all 13 scholarships spoken for heading into the offseason.

“It really doesn’t affect us,” Self told the Journal-World on Thursday. “Everything that we’re doing right now is basically 2021 and a little bit of 2022. So, for us, it’s pretty much what it would be anyway, minus being able to go see them.”

As if the new schedule were not hard enough on programs with spots to fill, the still-new transfer portal adds another wrinkle to the equation.

“I think there’s a lot of juggling that’s going to take place because (of that),” Self said.

The transfer market, which seems to grow by dozens every year and, according to The Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, is currently up to 650 players this year, has a 7-foot-3 senior center on it these days.

But don’t expect Purdue’s Matt Haarms to be joining the Jayhawks.

A graduate transfer with immediate eligibility, Haarms quickly became one of the most intriguing options for programs around the country when he announced last week his decision to leave the Boilermakers for other opportunities.

According to a report from Evan Daniels, of 247 Sports, more than 20 schools reached out to Haarms shortly after he became available. KU was not one of them.

Haarms later said he was getting interest from more programs and added that it was still too early in the process for him to know where he might end up or which of the schools intrigured him the most.

“I don’t even have the full picture just yet,” Haarms told Daniels.

It appears, however, that KU does.

With seniors Udoka Azubuike and Isaiah Moss moving on and sophomore point guard Devon Dotson expected to turn pro, the Jayhawks are right on the number of 13 scholarships for the 2020-21 season.

That number includes nine returners — Mitch Lightfoot, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Silvio De Sousa, Christian Braun, Tristan Enaruna, Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris — along with an incoming class of Tyon Grant-Foster, Bryce Thompson, Gethro Muscadin and Lattrell Jossell.

The April signing period for college basketball was slated to arrive April 15 and run through May 20. There has been some talk of altering those dates in response to the current health crisis.

In order for Haarms or any other prospect to be added to the roster on scholarship, one of those players would have to change his plans. That does not sound likely, so the KU roster appears to be set for the 2020-21 season.

Beyond that, if Self continues to lean more toward playing four-guard lineups, as he has done during the past few seasons, the need for true bigs is diminished some.

As of today, KU has Lightfoot and De Sousa as seniors, McCormack as a junior and Muscadin as its true big men, along with Garrett, Enaruna and Wilson all capable of playing the 4 spot in a small lineup.