So it wasn't a "homerun" as Bill Self described. But I'd still call it an RBI double, it just looks like it might end with runners on base. Has it been a bit disappointing? Sure it has, as fans you hope for the best and with playing time to sell, a historical program, a great coach and more wins than you can shake a stick at Kansas didn't land much late did they?
Well that's all relative. It's easy to forget Ben McClemore and Naadir Tharpe in the midst of the letdown but both are top 100 players and McClemore is a five star shooting guard that will likely be around for a two to four year span. Tharpe is a solid point guard and let's not forget the two big men on the interior that are currently labeled as projects. After all, if we're going to sit around and talk about how great of a developer Danny Manning is when it comes to big men, why are we overly concerned when he doesn't have a ready made product to work with?
It's the name of the game. Self had three scholarships opening for certain and he knew that all year. The coach has been quoted as saying he believed there was a 50/50 shot that Marcus and Selby would stick and about an 80/20 shot with Markieff. With that as the assumption he had a two man class lined up early with Tharpe signed and McClemore believed to be a Jayhawk early on.
So where was the backup plan? Surely we weren't walking into the Spring blind with no plan in place. Well consider that even if Self assumed Marcus was gone, perhaps like many he expected Selby and Markieff back. With that in mind we basically had DeAndre Daniels on campus this January before all fell through and Self started back at square one.
It was a bit of a perfect storm. Lose four starters and two other players in the rotation and then try to replace them a bit unexpectedly with a weak recruiting crop and do so VERY late. In all reality it's not as if anyone was cleaning up this Spring. Daniels and Lacey were the two main prizes out there and Self had Kansas in on both. Heck for all we know Daniels will end up being a Jayhawk still.
Yes Bill Self will need to hit on the 2012 class or Kansas could take a major dip, but now he's headed into a full recruiting cycle with a good deal of playing time and all the other factors to sell that attract elite talent. It's a little easier to look past the current situation if he can accomplish that and there's no reason to believe he won't considering the talent in the class placing Kansas at or near the top.
In the early entry era and the one and done era there are a good number of examples of elite programs that sometimes have to take a step back in order to go forward, UNC, Michigan State, Arizona, Kentucky and more. It happens and after a crazy good run Kansas looks to be close to that place.Of course we said that before three years ago didn't we?
The crazy thing is that it's all a matter of perspective and even with that feeling washing over most of the fanbase Kansas still has a shot at an eighth straight. Kansas has top end talent, they're adding some new talent and while they are thinner than in years past this is the best coach in the league since he arrived in Lawrence. That has to count for something.