Jayhawks sitting on the brink of serious recruiting upswing


Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Recruiting often goes in cycles, and the cycles seem to be never-ending.

One year, a program can’t miss on its desired targets and gets just about everybody it wants and, occasionally, even a couple of players it didn’t want but lucked into.

A couple of years later, especially among the blue bloods of the college basketball world, that same program finds itself on the outside looking in for the top-tier players, having to sit by and watch while other big time programs and hall of fame coaches restock their rosters with the top talent in the land.

So it goes, on and on, year after year, decade after decade.

Duke has experienced it on both sides. Kentucky has, too. And so have North Carolina, Michigan State and others who are generally regarded as perennial national title contenders and the types of teams that always seem to load up with McDonald’s All-Americans and 5-star standouts.

Kansas clearly belongs in that conversation, as well. And Bill Self’s squad currently sits on the brink of a bounce back.

After missing out on Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Matt Hurt, Cassius Stanley and a couple of other targets in the past six months, the Jayhawks are poised to fill their remaining available spots in the 2019 class with some serious talent.

They still have to get to the finish line, of course, and landing 44th-ranked forward Tristan Enaruna, who has serious long-term potential to blossom into a star, was a good start to the spring.

But a handful of recruiting analysts appear to believe even bigger things are coming.

One of them is analyst Corey Evans, who, in his most recent piece, “Three-Point Play,” which was posted on Thursday, Evans’ first entry in the three-part blog was titled, “Kansas Slated To Win The Spring.”

And Evans referenced KU’s current standing with four top prospects as the reason for his claim.

Considered by many to be the leader in the hunt for Top 5 guard R.J. Hampton, who just recently reclassified into the 2019 class, KU also is right in the thick of the race for versatile forward Precious Achiuwa (No. 17), 6-foot-5 Arkansas-Little Rock wing Rayjon Tucker, who is regarded by some as the top grad transfer available, and fellow-grad transfer T.J. Holyfield of Stephen F. Austin.

All four players have visited KU recently and, perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks actually could have scholarships available for all four players, as well. That depends on who stays in the 2019 draft and what happens with Silvio De Sousa.

KU also cracked the final four for Johnny Juzang, another 2020 kid who reclassified into the 2019 class, so, clearly, things are starting to cycle back in a positive direction for Kansas, which endured a few rough months of hearing how the federal investigation had negatively impacted recruiting. Landing any of the players mentioned above — along with signing Enaruna and getting Udoka Azubuike to return — should quiet a lot of that talk.

Holyfield is likely the least likely of the bunch. And even though Achiuwa has been heavily tied to Memphis of late, it’s worth noting that Evans, on Thursday, officially switched his prediction for the 6-foot-9, 215-pound Achiuwa to Kansas.

Achiuwa has been somewhat quiet during his recruitment and is not expected to make a decision for several more weeks.

That, of course, gives all of the programs still vying for Achiuwa’s signature — KU, Memphis and North Carolina lead the list, with Georgia, UConn and possibly St. John’s in the mix, as well — time to sell the strong, high-volume scorer on their school and also gives Evans (and others) time to change his pick from KU to someone else.

Also worth noting is that 247 Sports recruiting guru Evan Daniels recently changed his crystal ball pick on Achiuwa from Memphis to undecided.

Regardless of how that specific battle plays out, Evans’ prediction that KU can win the spring remains strong.

If KU can land Hampton, it would almost certainly vault the class — currently ranked No. 29 with three 4-star signees — into the Top 10. If Tucker, Holyfield and/or Achiuwa also climb on board, you could be looking at a Top 5 class, mere weeks after KU struck out on a few other top targets and had fans in a frenzy about what Self and company would do.

Cycles, folks. They can be good and bad, profitable and excruciating. And the Jayhawks could be on the brink of riding high for a while.


Andy Tweedy 3 years, 1 month ago

I used to pay so much attention to recruiting, but this is precisely why I no longer just don't know where kids will go. Well, that and when we signed both Graham and Mason and everyone went meh! Oh, and when we signed Preston and Alexander and everyone went yay!!! Just never know!!!

David Brown 3 years, 1 month ago

Great examples Andy Tweedy. You just never know how individual players will turn out. One thing I believe we can count on: Coach Self and his staff will "coach 'em up".

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 1 month ago

Thank God. If everything went as expected I wouldn't bother watching.

Ryan Zimmerman 3 years, 1 month ago

Such a roller coaster of emotions for the fans, schools and players. I sometimes miss the days before technology was so prevalent and we didn't interpret tweets or try and decipher emojis and their meanings. It doesn't help either where they have televised ceremonies and hats laid out on tables to heighten the hype and tension. I get it and know that the kids should enjoy their day to announce, but sometimes it's just too much.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas teams are at their best when they reflect the coach's personality. Bill Self is ultra competitive with an laser like focus to win. He should never be counted out...and when he has a lapse like last season, enjoy the rebound.

It's somewhat akin to the Jordan days as a player. Jordan rarely had a bad game but when he did, you knew something extra special was on the horizon.

Blake McFarland 3 years, 1 month ago

Matt, 4 if silvio is cleared or 4 if he's not?

John Strayer 3 years, 1 month ago

4 if Silvio not cleared. Dok, Mitch, Garrett, McCormack, Dotson, Agbaji, Enaruna, McBride and Braun makes 9. Leaving 4 more to give. Assuming Dotson pulls name out of the draft.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 1 month ago

Still surprised that so many people cling to the idea that players are limited to positions. Basketball is morphing and the players may find themselves playing several positions. Positionless basketball is the future of basketball.

Dillon Davis 3 years, 1 month ago

Landing Tucker and/or Holyfield would be excellent but they're transfers so they wouldn't technically affect the 2019 recruiting ranking...I don't think.

Gary Bedore said yesterday that KU isn't really pursuing Holyfield any longer. Which I'm fine with because we got Enaruna and I think we'll get Silvio back.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 1 month ago

Haven't we had enough transfers lately? Maybe a grad transfer but we don't need any more practice players.

Jesse Johnson 3 years, 1 month ago

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. We could still whiff on all these players just like the last few. Too early to be saying KU is going to win the Spring recruiting period. I am really hoping we an land RJ and get De Sousa back. Achiuwa would be a huge pickup, but I don't see a chance of him coming here if De Sousa gets cleared to play next year.

Robert Brock 3 years, 1 month ago

Achiuwa is very good at shooting his teams out of important games.

Craig Carson 3 years, 1 month ago

According to this article KU has 4 open scholarships to give out, meaning they could sign 4 more players..someone might wanna tell Jay Scott this since he seems to think KU only has 2 scholarships lol...

Sam Allen 3 years, 1 month ago

From the looks of things, the only way for KU to get back in the mix would be for a year like 2008 (and sooner than later-as duke and UK are pulling away gradually from everyone else) and yes I am not talking about a winning a national championship; it was how we recruited that helped us win, at that time, it was no so much the OAD era, but once we can win with OAD in this era, we will be in the discussion,

--It won’t be easy--

Sam Allen 3 years, 1 month ago

From the looks of things, the only way for KU to get back in the mix would be for a year like 2008 (and sooner than later-as duke and UK are starting to be pulling away gradually from everyone else) and yes I am not talking about a winning a national championship; it was how we recruited that helped us win, at that time, it was no so much the OAD era, but once we can win with OAD in this era, we will be in the discussion,

Duke/UK seem to go forward, we seem to go backwards. Until there is a quick fix there is no looking ahead.

-- how --

KU doesn’t defend the three in the tournament, and just stand there, being too relaxed, it true as (I would be deciding policy rules if I said who said relaxed the team too much). --just pressure the crap out of the ball in the tournament--as that has cost us possibly two national titles (2009-10, 2010-11) as we would have been 38-2, two years straight).

Craig Carson 3 years, 1 month ago

winning with OAD will be a mute point on another 2-3 years since they are doing away with the age limit

Jay Scott 3 years, 1 month ago

....mute point? Maybe a "moot" point?

That's one of the all time top 10 online illiteracy howlers. The best ones? Here's a couple...

1) He's a "pre Madonna" 2) "for all intensive purposes" 3) "nip it in the butt"

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 1 month ago

Tucker to Memphis, Holyfield to TTech, Hampton remains in play.

Craig Carson 3 years, 1 month ago

You would think Hampton to KU would be much more likely now..though TTU is still a threat to land him as well...losing a recruit like him to TTU would certainly be a blow....KU seems due for some good news after months of non stop negativity and recruiting set backs...Hampton is the impact recruit we need....guess we will know soon enough

Jay Scott 3 years, 1 month ago

"months of non stop negativity"....

Only from the Chicken Littles....

Craig Carson 3 years, 1 month ago

Did we not just have months of negative stories about KU in the media in regards to the FBI investigation? I believe we did..maybe you need to open your eyes...and I like the fact that you commented on every post I've made on here EXCEPT the one where I pointed out that KU did in fact have enough open scholarships for 4 more players after you swearing they didnt..especially since this article pointed this out...probably because you knew you got proven wrong and couldn't say anything..I call that check mate lol....

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