KU's Jackson, Graham among most coveted players in the country
There’s no doubting that college coaches across the country would enjoy the opportunity to coach more than a few members of the Kansas men’s basketball team.
Year after year, KU coach Bill Self beats out a varying number of college coaches for some of the top talent in the country. And year after year, Self takes that talent and makes it the class of the Big 12 and a national title contender.
Self doesn’t get them all, of course. Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and many others have won recruiting battles for more than their share of players that Self and the Jayhawks tried to sign. But Self’s batting average with the players he targets as most important is among the best in college basketball.
As is common at most schools, I’m sure, Kansas fans believe their players are the best in the country and that any coach would be lucky to coach any one of them, from the top point producer to the key role player off the bench. With that in mind, and much, much more, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander recently conducted a poll of more than 100 college coaches and asked them which player on another team they most would like to have on their team.
Two Jayhawks landed on the list, with freshman phenom Josh Jackson getting 5 percent of the vote and junior guard Devonte’ Graham getting 2 percent.
Those are good numbers but they pale in comparison to the feedback for Duke’s Grayson Allen (13 percent) and fellow Blue Devil Harry Giles (10 percent).
Without knowing the exact number or identity of the coaches CBS polled, it’s hard to know exactly what this means. But given the fact that he reached out to more than 100 of them, you have to think that at least half were of the Power 5 variety, so this isn’t just a case of mid-major coaches clamoring for the elite-level talent.
Speaking of elite-level talent, Duke actually landed a third player on list. Jayson Tatum tied with Jackson and received 5 percent of the vote.
The three Blue Devils marked the most for any team, with Kansas, Kentucky (Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo) and Villanova (Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart) all getting two players on the list. Those four teams also are ranked 1 through 4 in CBS’s preseason poll.
These types of polls and exercises obviously don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But they are fun and interesting and you can’t help but wonder which player Self picked if he were asked.