Big recruiting week ahead for Kansas basketball


Kansas recruit Matthew Hurt watches the second half action on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas recruit Matthew Hurt watches the second half action on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

With the spring signing period arriving Wednesday, a potentially monster week awaits the Kansas basketball program.

But while there’s a chance that Kansas could pick up a pair of primetime players ranked in the Top 35 in the Class of 2019 in the week ahead, there’s an equally good chance that KU could miss out on both Cassius Stanley, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound, 4-star shooting guard ranked No. 33 overall by and Matt Hurt, a 6-9, 200-pound, 5-star forward ranked No. 7 in the class.

Landing both would bring KU’s 2019 class, which currently features 4-star guards Christian Braun (6-7, No. 94, Blue Valley Northwest) and Issac McBride (6-0, No. 104, Baptist Prep in Little Rock, Ark.), into the Top 20 and near the Top 10. Landing one or the other would give Bill Self and company the signature player they need in a suddenly critical rebuilding class. And watching the two commit to other programs would be a significant blow to the 2019 class and would send Kansas in an entirely different direction.

Stanley is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday and Hurt has plans to announce on Friday. Many national recruiting analysts are predicting Duke for both players.

Self was scheduled to be in Minnesota on Sunday to visit with Hurt one final time and the versatile and talented forward from Rochester, Minn., lists Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina as his final four.

Regardless of how the decisions go this week, Self and the Jayhawks have been planning for all outcomes for months.

“We have an idea (of how many we need to sign in the 2019 class) and we’ll recruit with worst-case scenario or most-case scenario, whatever our options will be,” Self recently told the Journal-World.

What that essentially means is whether it’s KU adding players like Hurt and Stanley — or potentially Class of 2020 point guard R.J. Hampton, who is ranked in the Top 5 and exploring the idea of reclassifying into the current class — or adding lesser-heralded players and graduate transfers, Self and company are ready to build whatever kind of class the market dictates.

“We’ve cast a wide net, but it’s been pretty narrow in scope,” Self said. “But there’s some things, whether it be grad transfers or things like that, that could come up depending on what our numbers are.”

With Charlie Moore and K.J. Lawson transferring out and Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson all declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft, KU could have as many as five more scholarships to fill in the 2019 class.

There’s enough reason to believe that at least one of those players will return for the 2019-20 season — most likely Dotson — but there’s also reason to believe that junior center Udoka Azubuike and possibly sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa could follow in their footsteps and announce their departures, as well.

If that happens, KU will need to add 4-6 more players to the 2019 class, which would set up a scenario much like the one the Jayhawks faced during the 2018-19 season, when seven first-year Jayhawks filled key roles in the team’s rotation.

While that certainly would be a challenge for Self in terms of roster construction and building team chemistry, the KU coach said that adding a few veterans might not be the worst thing for the program.

“It could be (grad transfers) or it could be a juco kid,” Self told the Journal-World. “But it would probably need to be immediate eligibility. (You could be) losing a lot, so we’ve got to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, but also understand that that creates a lot of opportunity, too.”


Freedman Moor 3 years, 7 months ago

Even without either of them, next year's team has more talent than the Thomas Robinson team Self took to the Final.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

that TROB led team was more experienced..they had a steady PG and 2 reliable big men..they were heads and above better equipped to be short handed than this KU team would be if they miss out on all recruits

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 7 months ago

Freedman Moor - While I appreciate your faith in Self, I think the current squad would get mopped up by a frontcourt of T-Rob, Jeff Withey, Kevin Young, Jamari Traylor and a backcourt with Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, and Naadir Tharpe, not to mention Travis Releford and Ben McLemore on the wing.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

not feeling optimistic about KU landing either of these guys...Duke just needs to stop recruiting and let KU have these guys lol..but in all seriousness..if KU misses out on these guys, they might very well be in the NIT next year..

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 7 months ago

You're delusional if you think that's the case. There is a large gap between where they were this year and the NIT.

Glen Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

This year they also had the Lawson brothers and Grimes, as well as Doke and Vick for stretches........ Love or hate any of those guys, there's not enough on our team right now to overcome the losses if we don't sign some good players.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 7 months ago

totally agree with you. KU will get a 20 win season no matter what and that will always get us into the NCAA tournament.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

@Shannon..KU was only 17-10 without Azibuike...last years team without Dedric was no better than Mizzou bball team..and thats tough to say..they wont have him next season nor will they have Dok..if they miss out on all these remaining recruits, the NIT or a VERY low NCAA seed is the best they can do..I love Self, but even he cant coach a short handed team to a top finish

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 7 months ago

17-10 playing the toughest schedule in the country. How tough was MU's schedule? 20+ wins (once you consider the additional games played with Dok, at least a handful of which they would have won without him) with the toughest schedule will get KU in the dance every year.

They also didn't have an entire summer to learn to play with the team they ended up with. They spent that whole time planning on playing 2 bigs, with Vick, and without OA. They would have been better without Azibuike had they known all summer that he wasn't going to be there offensively or defensively.

How long did they honestly have this year where the roster was locked in, there was no question of Dok, Silvio, Vick, OA, or even Garrett with his injury where they weren't questioning if anyone else coming/going and therefore could just lock in on "this is who we will be the rest of the year"? Without going back and looking I think it was only the last 3 weeks or so. That's not a lot of time to find an identity and learn how to play with what's there.

Grimes was the worst starter in the B12 according to advanced stats so losing him will actually make us better. It obviously won't offset losing Dedric but it's something to consider.

Furthermore, there is NO WAY Self won't pull in players from somewhere that will be productive next year whether it's from grad transfers, recruits, diamonds in the rough, JUCO, etc.

Tim Orel 3 years, 7 months ago

I just am hoping Duke gets nailed by the FBI (because the NCAA won't touch them), but I'm not holding my breath.

Dillon Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

Stanley isn't announcing on Wednesday anymore by the way Matt, according to 247sports. It's on the 20th now

Jesse Johnson 3 years, 7 months ago

Matt, I notice you rarely mention Precious Achiuwa. Is he considered a longshot for KU? To be honest, I think he looks more ready for D1 bball than Hurt.

Dee Shaw 3 years, 7 months ago

If Duke is involved recruiting these players. No contest Duke pays more than KU. Both will sign 1 year contracts worth $75,000 per year to play for Duke/Nike University.

Keith Gellar 3 years, 7 months ago

haha..that's so cute. Suddenly, all KU fans are up in arms about blue bloods paying OADs. where was this outrage when KU/Self was doing this? The rest of the big 12 can make this case against KU also. Oh right..since we didn't get caught, it was ok but now that we can't whiff these recruits, suddenly we have a very very morally superior fan base. This seems so Missouri/K-stateish.

Clearly there are issues, but to blame every loss to Duke/UK paying off players, shoecos, bad officiating, ..... its getting a bit much.

Michael Maris 3 years, 7 months ago

Even if Kansas has been paying recruits, they're still losing more top Elite recruits to the likes of Duke, Kentucky and UNC. Joel Embiid was a late bloomer (who Marquette was the leading school for Embiid, until Self and staff started recruiting Joel). So, you can't count Joel Embiid as known Elite recruit. Kansas has gotten some elite recruits (Andrew Wiggins, Josh Jackson). But, Duke, Kentucky and UNC end up with more Elite Recruits than Self and his staff do. Honestly, Self seems to do a lot better with the 4 Star Recruits (who stay 3 to 4 seasons), than he does with the 1 and Done Kids. I'[m all for the elimination of the One & Done Rule by the NBA and the NBAPA. If the NBA Teams think that the HS kids are elite enough to be drafted and compete in the NBA. Then, let the kids go. And, the rest of the kids can choose the Colleges that they're desiring to attend and work on getting their College Education from.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

@Kieth...KU has never paid any of these top recruits..ADIDAS has been more involved than they should be but dont be STUPID and assume THEIR transgressions are the fault of KU....class dismissed

Joe Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

The difference is Bill Self and KU sat recruits if any wrong doing was even mentioned, every time. People are so quick to attack Self and his recruits, but Self sits them. Yet, Zion is clearly named and implicated in pay for play, yet K clears him and plays him? If that were Self, Zion, like SDS would be on the bench waiting for this mess to clear. Zion would've never played at KU.

Do you see my point? Coaches do this all the time. Yet Self sits his players. Do you think Self is so stupid to recruit a dirty player and then sat him. Self did NOT have to testify or say anything in the Grand Jury, but he did. Yet so far, Self is the only coach and program to be implicated at this point. This year was the first year after this Grand Jury that coaches even sat players to any degree. I saw a few more sit players for various minor infractions. But do you think Coach K would've ever sat Zion until his name was cleared? HELL NO.

Doug Horn 3 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget the job for one of the players parents and the house to go along with the money.

Keith Gellar 3 years, 7 months ago

yes..just like KU has done for various OADs. I suppose you are now going to boycott those seasons and wins?

Doug Horn 3 years, 7 months ago

KU is the only team that I know of that suspended a player when it came to light that a shoe company had payed them. Not once but twice. Don't get me wrong I know that NO School is 100% clean, especially when it comes to OADs. All of the information in the trial has made that clear. My issue is that if there is evidence of violations, why is it that only Silvio De Sousa has been suspended. What about the guardian & KU? If we knew about it we should receive punishment.

Robert Brock 3 years, 7 months ago

Stanley, Hurt, and Achiuwa. Look for KU to whiff on all three. Not a big deal - there are good (not great) prospects still out there.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

like who?? they are literally the last 3 notable recruits out there..hell, there arent even any real JUCO guys out there to pick up..

Jaston Archie 3 years, 7 months ago

Kansas is in a similar position as OU was a couple of years ago under Bob Stoops. It's a program on a downward decline and in deep trouble, luckily for them Bob chose to step aside because they would never fire him. But Self is still here and is driving KU into the pits of hell. There is 0 reason for optimism, recruits are avoiding Kansas like the Plague. It hasn't been this bad in many many years

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

while im not optimistic about next season, I wouldnt go as far as to say KU is on the "decline"...Self did guide this team to 26 wins even with all the mess they dealt with....not to mention they just made the FF in 2018..

Bj Cassady 3 years, 7 months ago

News has KU number 8 of 10 in recruiting in the B12. Not good news. Everyone is catching up and some passing us.

Norman Brown 3 years, 7 months ago

If KU misses on Hurt and Stanley why doesn't he recruit Kansas players? I remember Wichita players Perry Ellis, B.J. Williams, other Kansas players Travis Relford and Wayne SieSeimen. Kansas players are 4 year starters. I'm not afraid that the NCAA will punish KU. So that's not hanging over the kids heads that Self is recruiting. Hope DeSousa's appeal is granted. I for one don't think Coach Self is burned out.

Craig Carson 3 years, 7 months ago

I wouldnt say Self is burned out..he just recruited his best class in years this past season with 3 MCAA..I think the FBI fiasco has played a part in this rough recruiting season..but if he can lure 2 top prospects in over the weekend then all this will be a mute point

Joe Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

KU has lost out on Hurt. He is committing to Duke. We have seen this all too many times with recruits. KU has a great chance of landing, and then K or Cal comes in at the last minute with a commitment. At least it's not Zona, haha!!

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