With a second title now in hand, it's back to the roster management grind for KU coach Bill Self


Kansas head coach Bill Self gets the attention of his players during the first half of the NCAA National Championship game on Monday, April 4, 2022 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets the attention of his players during the first half of the NCAA National Championship game on Monday, April 4, 2022 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. by Nick Krug

One of the biggest challenges of modern-day college basketball is that the roster building never stops.

Win a national title? Cool. Congrats. Better get back on the recruiting trail the very next day.

That has become particularly critical with the rise of the transfer portal. Whether you’re a college basketball blue blood or a small-budget mid-major, the grind never ends.

Programs like Kentucky, Texas, Michigan State, and more, have been on the prowl for nearly three weeks after enduring early exits from the NCAA Tournament.

There’s no way that anyone would trade winning a title for a three-week jumpstart on the transfer scene. But that head start for others makes it crucial for those who play deep into the tournament to get right to it after the celebration subsides.

At Kansas, recruiting is a year-round endeavor and has been for years anyway. But the extra attention required to make a run to the national title no doubt pushed that to the back burner for a couple of weeks.

The good news for these Jayhawks is that the 2022 recruiting class was already full entering the tournament. Five-star prospects Gradey Dick and MJ Rice, along with four-star forwards Zuby Ejiofor and Ernest Udeh Jr., give Kansas one of the top classes in the country as is.

The bad news for KU is that foursome is not likely to be the only players they bring in before the 2022-23 season begins.

Fresh off of winning it all, Bill Self’s Jayhawks enter into a wait-and-react period, where decisions from a handful of current players with eligibility remaining, as well as contact from transfers who might be interested in joining the program, create a level of uncertainty that can make it tough to predict what’s next.

In the past, with a newly crowned national champ like Kansas, fans and the rest of the college basketball world easily would be able to look at the roster, pick out who’s coming back and decide how likely that team is to defend its title the following year.

Today, too much is unknown to be able to do that and to be confident that you’re anywhere close to accurate.

We’ll get to those decisions by the Jayhawks in another article and plan to have plenty of coverage of that aspect and whatever movement there may be in the weeks to come.

But keep it in mind as lists of new schools and potential suitors for big name transfers start to surface.

In the Big 12 Conference alone, we’ve already learned that K-State guard Nijel Pack, Texas guard Courtney Ramey and Texas Tech wing Terrence Shannon Jr. are looking for new places to play next season. And they’re just three of the several hundred players nationwide who already have entered the transfer portal this offseason.

It would be naïve to think that there won’t be some type of movement within the KU program. And that’s why it’s so important to get fully back to the recruiting grind after winning it all.

The transfer portal is here to stay. And you can bet that Kansas will look to take advantage of it every offseason from here on out.

One important factor to note this year, however, is that the NCAA deadline for transferring with immediate eligibility for fall and winter sports athletes is May 1, not July 1 as it was last year. It appears that this will be a permanent part of the NCAA calendar, with July 1 being the key date for spring sports athletes.

That should help coaches manage their rosters a little better — and earlier — than what we saw a year ago. But there will be movement. Make no mistake about that. And if you're as lucky as Kansas or North Carolina to land a difference-maker like Remy Martin or Brady Manek, that player movement could wind up paying off in a very big way.


Thomas Harrison 1 month, 1 week ago

Who will stay and who will go for 2022/2023? My guess is that we will lose Braun,Ag,McCormack.Wilson,Reemy,Cam Martin,Adams,Cuffe and Lightfoot.

That will put a lot of pressure on transfer portal hunting to add to the 4 freshmen we expect to hit Lawrence maybe this summer. 3 of those 4 though were McDonalds All Americans. Harris,Josefu,Clemmence and Pettiford should return

JUst my guesses ! let me know what you think

Tony Bandle 1 month, 1 week ago

Besides all the seniors plus Coleman-Landis, I'm not sure about anyone else. I think Wilson, Petiford, Adams and Braun are maybes, Cam Martin will stay since he waited around a year and Big Mac and Mitch will be gone.

With two 5's and two 4's coming in, KJ and Bobby may just take a powder.

If it works out next season we could go small in certain situations with a hell of a line up of Harris, Wilson, Braun, Dick and Rice!!! { Also. probably in the Top Ten for a line up of the smallest number of syllables. :) ].

Alan Dickey 1 month, 1 week ago

I hope that Braun comes back, and I think it might be good for him long-term, but I’m not optimistic.

Unless I missed it, I haven’t seen Wilson on any mock drafts. So, I’m hopeful that he returns.

Perhaps our starting lineup could look like this:

(C) Zach Clemence: So. / 6-10 / 215

(PF) K.J. Adams: So. / 6-7 / 225

(SF) Jalen Wilson: RS-Jr. / 6-8 / 215

(SG) Joseph Yesufu: RS-Jr. / 6-0 / 180

(PG) Dajuan Harris: RS-Jr. / 6-1 / 160

That’s not as experienced as this year’s group, but it might be experienced enough. I’m assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that Self will value the experience of the returning players enough that, at least at the start, our talented incoming freshmen won’t be starting.

Our bench could be fairly strong if it looks something like this:

(PG) Bobby Pettiford Jr.: So. / 6-1 / 175

(PF) Cam Martin: 5-yr Sr. / 6-9 / 240

(SF) M.J. Rice: Fr. / 6-5/ 200 (Rivals #22)

(SF) Gradey Dick: Fr. / 6-7 / 195 (Rivals #24)

(C) Ernest Udeh: Fr. 6-10 / 232 (Rivals #30)

(PF) Zuby Ejiofor: Fr. / 6-8 / 220 (Rivals #46)

(SG) Kyle Cuffe Jr.: RS-Fr. / 6-2 / 173 (Rivals #106)

I wonder if we will have any transfers. If all of the above are on our roster, we should have one extra scholarship for one of those.

Lee Short 1 month, 1 week ago

At least one draft board had Braun being the last person picked in the first round.

If Braun and Wilson, should they come back, be more consistent from downtown, it could do wonders for them and the team. Their NBA stock value would rise.

Hopefully, Harris can gain a lot more confidence in shooting open threes this next year. (He just seemed to have a fair amount of hesitancy. I think he was better than he gave himself credit for.) I would think getting a higher % to go in, however, would greatly increase his confidence. That would be great for both him and the team as well.

Shannon Gustafson 1 month, 1 week ago

Matt, I'm almost certain the May 1st deadline is for entering the portal, not for picking a school/making a final decision. So they can enter the portal and then still decide to 1) return to the school, 2) enter the draft, 3) play overseas, or 4) transfer to another school at a later date (before Fall enrollment begins).

Also, while having the site fixed, it would be great if the "thumbs up" button would work like it used to rather than loading a "thanks" page that requires you to hit the back button to get back to reading comments.

Bob Zielinski 1 month, 1 week ago

Elijah Harkless is transferring from OU. I would take that guy in a heartbeat.

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