The Kansas women’s basketball program, rocked by the tough break of losing leading scorer Jessica Washington for the season with a torn ACL, also has received bad news on the recruiting front.
Two of the three recruits from national powerhouse Duncanville High who had made verbal commitments to Kansas have decommitted, according to Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
Shooting guard Zay Green, ranked No. 13 in the nation by Olson, is on a recruiting trip to Tennessee this weekend, Olson reported Friday. He said Green still is considering Kansas.
Forward Starr Jacobs is ranked No. 122 by Olson, who said she has committed to Houston. Point guard Aniya Thomas, a prolific 3-point shooter, remains committed to Kansas.
“She’s developed nicely,” Olson told the Journal-World of Thomas, on Oct. 1, the day the three players committed to KU. “She has deep, deep range and she’s a killer on defense. She’s a real tempo-destroyer for the other team."
On that same day, Olson said he expected that by season's end Green would break into his top five in the rankings.
"She is still open to going to Kansas," Olson said today of Green. "She's visiting Knoxville today and Saturday."
NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on unsigned recruits.
In case you’re wondering whatever became of the Gonzalez twins, Dakota and Dylan, after the transferred from Kansas to UNLV to continue their women’s basketball careers, they have moved on again, this time taking a different path to fame.
The twins bypassed their fifth, and final, year of college eligibility, graduated and embarked on a music career.
The much photographed and photogenic twins who have nearly two million followers on their joint Instagram account, didn’t stand out much from most Big 12 freshmen trying to find their way in a competitive conference during their time at Kansas.
Their careers took off once they hit Vegas. Dakota led UNLV in scoring in both of her seasons there, averaging 13.8 and 13.3 points, and Dylan averaged 5.4 and 9.9 points in her two seasons in the desert.
They have been celebrities since their high school days and drew curiosity seekers to their games, including rapper Drake.
The twins, rhythm and blues artists, have released their first EP, “Take 1,” on SoundCloud. In an interview that can be found at slamonline.com, they cited frustration with NCAA rules that restricted what they could do with their music careers as the driving force behind foregoing the 2017-18 season.
Dylan told slamonline.com that dealing with “ticky-tack regulations . . . became so stressful.”
She added: “Playing a collegiate sport is a job that you don’t get paid for like a job. If you’re trying to build a foundation for yourself in another avenue, it’s nearly impossible because you don’t have the time to do it, nor are you allowed to do it.”
Dakota said that being a student-athlete under the NCAA’s umbrella is tougher than most believe.
“To be very blunt, a lot of people don’t see the behind-the-scenes type of actions that go along with it,” she told slamonline.com. “People always ask why no one has spoken out if it is such a big problem. . . . Let’s say you have a job and are working to survive, why would you go start slandering your boss? So you can get fired or have some consequence come your way? You’re just not going to do that.”
As a freshman in 2013-14 at Kansas, Dakota averaged 4.4 points in 17.3 minutes and appeared in 30 games, making four starts. Dylan appeared in nine games, played 25 minutes and scored 10 points.
It has been another offseason of roster upheaval for the Kansas women’s basketball program headed by Brandon Schneider.
One year after two-year starter Lauren Aldridge’s surprising decision to transfer to Missouri, three sophomores who combined for 30 starts this past season have left the program.
The departure of McKenzie Calvert, whose sharp decline in production during Big 12 play and team-second attitude led to a permanent spot on the bench by the end of the season, did not come as a surprise. She started 12 games and scored 30 points in a non-conference game vs. UC Riverside before heading into a shooting slump she couldn’t shake.
Jayde Christopher started 16 games, averaged 19.4 minutes and three points and had a team-high 82 assists.
Aisia Robertson started two games, averaged 15.2 minutes, 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds.
All three players who left the program had rough shooting seasons: Robertson (.287 shooting percentage), Calvert (.294), Christopher (.307).
As a team, the Jayhawks shot .338 from the field. TCU was ninth in the conference with a .410 accuracy rate.
At this point, coach Brandon Schneider enters his third season with five returning players, four transfers from junior college and three freshmen.
Three of the returning players started last season for the Jayhawks (8-22 overall, 2-16 in conference). Jessica Washington (17.1 points, 4.1 rebounds) and Chayla Cheadle (4.7, 4.7) are rising seniors, Kaylee Kopatich (9.5, 4.4) a junior. Junior Chelsea Lott played sparingly in her first two seasons. Tyler Johnson spent last season as a redshirt while recovering from a knee injury. During a promising freshman season, Johnson averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field. She started seven games, including the final four of the season.
To a large extent, it appears, Schneider is starting over. He has one terrific player in Washington, but she might be forced to look to score too often again this season if more scorers don’t develop around her than was the case last season.
The challenge in taking on a rebuilding project like the one for which Schneider signed up is that moving up the standings in the powerful Big 12 requires climbing past another school.
That’s tough to do without changing perceptions about the program embedded in recruits’ heads. So far, it doesn’t look as if Schneider has been able to do so.
None of the incoming freshmen made the HoopGurlz top 100 recruiting rankings.
Eleven top 100 high school players signed with Big 12 schools. The Jayhawks were not the only school skunked. Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech did not land any top 100 players either. The four schools that didn’t add a top 100 recruit finished seventh through 10th in the Big 12 standings.
Texas (3, 4, 33) and Baylor (19, 20, 64) landed three top 100 recruits apiece, Kansas State picked up two (59, 97) and Oklahoma (32), Iowa State (42) and West Virginia each added one.
Unless a few of the seven newcomers catch on quickly and have productive seasons, Kansas likely is headed for a third consecutive last-place finish in the Big 12.
The two-season conference records of Big 12 women’s basketball teams since Schneider took over for fired Bonnie Henrickson: