Monday, June 7, 2021

Kansas basketball officially announces addition of 2 new walk-ons

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting


The Kansas men’s basketball program made some progress in identifying its walk-ons for the future on Monday, when KU coach Bill Self announced the addition of Dillon Wilhite and Charlie McCarthy to the roster.

Wilhite's status as the newest addition to the roster had been known for about a month. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from San Diego announced his plans to come to Kansas in May. In 2020-21, Wilhite averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game for Cathedral Catholic High, where he helped lead the Dons to a 15-2 record and earned all-league first-team honors for the Western League in the San Diego City Conference.

Wilhite is the grandson of longtime KU administrative assistant Joanie Stephens and he, like McCarthy, checked into his room at McCarthy Hall on Sunday with KU’s four scholarship freshmen — KJ Adams, Zach Clemence, Kyle Cuffe Jr., and Bobby Pettiford.

Kansas coach Bill Self told the Journal-World that everyone on KU's roster had made it to town for the start of summer workouts with the exception of transfers Jalen Coleman-Lands and Remy Martin and 2020-21 starters Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson.

Agbaji, Martin and Wilson all are continuing to explore their NBA draft status and have until July 7 to make a final decision about whether to stay in the draft or return to KU for the 2021-22 season.

McCarthy’s addition to the roster, meanwhile, was not made public until Sunday, when a photo of his with his family, including prominent KU donor Kent McCarthy, surfaced on social media as part of the move-in celebration.

A 6-foot-2, 180-pound shooting guard from Palm Desert High, in Palm Desert, Calif., McCarthy averaged 11.5 points per game for his high school team as a junior in 2019-20.

He followed that up by improving his numbers across the board as a senior at Shadow Hills High in Indio, Calif., where he averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.5 steals per game during the 2020-21 season.

Both players are very familiar with the KU program, having grown up Jayhawk fans and attended several Bill Self basketball camps.

“We’re happy to get both Charlie and Dillon,” Self said in a re-lease Monday release that made the moves official. “Each had successful high school careers in California, but they are probably more familiar with Lawrence, Kansas, than anyone from out of state that we have recruited. … Charlie and Dillon will both be able to put their handprint on what we are trying to do in the men’s basketball program and they’ll both have a role in accomplishing that.”

McCarthy and Wilhite join walk-ons Chris Teahan and Michael Jankovich, who also came to KU with deep ties to the program at the outset of their college careers.

Teahan will play the 2020-21 as a super senior and Jankovich will be a junior. While their experience figures to help McCarthy and Wilhite find their footing and get acclimated with being a part of the program, Self said he had no doubts that both newcomers were up for the challenge.

“I’m excited for both of them,” he said. “They know it’s going to be a lot of work. More importantly, what they are most excited about is being at the University of Kansas and continuing their family tradition.”


Rodney Crain 1 year, 3 months ago

Hilarious. Dillon Wilhite and Charlie McCarthy - Come on Down! You are the new members of the Price is..., sorry, the KU Basketball Team! Your seats on the upper deck of the bench are reserved! Welcome.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

PS This is a basketball team, right? Not a football team.

David Hall 1 year, 3 months ago

@tony bandie yes this is for basketball

Matt Stone 1 year, 3 months ago

Excited to get another big even if he is a walk on. 6'9" 240 can come in handy. If any other bigs get In foul trouble, Wilhite can get some minutes.

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 3 months ago

Charlie McCarthy! Good name for a hardwood icon!

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Pay to play?

In all fairness, Coach has a long history of loyalty to former players, staff, and others. It would appear that both these guys made it to the uni on their own and Coach is letting them be a part of the team. Not terribly different than non-revenue teams/sports. I’m thankful for it.

Michael Leiker 1 year, 3 months ago

It's just ridiculously unfair to all the other kids on campus that would love to try out for the same opportunity. It's completely different than non-revenue sports, it's not rowing it's KU Basketball.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 3 months ago

I wouldn't go that far, one is the son of the family who's name is on McCarthy Hall where the team lives. I'm guessing that massive donation helped him find a spot on the team.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 3 months ago

LOL! when was the last time we had this many walk-ons? SMH! This program is headed in the wrong direction.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 3 months ago

What does the number of walk-ons have to do with the direction of the program? They don't take a roster spot away from a scholarship player. They just give coach more bodies in practice.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

wow, what a bunch of cynics we are.

How about we just say congratulations and welcome these kids to town.

I thought it was really cool when the team would have open try-outs for walk-on spots. It's very inspirational for kids who are not recruited to dream of an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. But Bill Self can do with his roster whatever he wishes as long as its within the NCAA rules. And it is totally understandable and acceptable for him place priority on deserving student athletes who happen to have parents or family ties to to the program whether they be the sons of coaches, friends, staffers, and yes even wealthy donors.

This is definitely not the same thing as the university admissions fraud a la Lori Loughlin et al. Where the kids didn't even compete in rowing/soccer etc. They just needed to be invited by the program in order to get admitted to the university.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 3 months ago

But Jonathan where are they going to sit? :)

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