Kansas Jayhawk Offseason Storylines

Apr 2, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self (right) and Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari (background left) during the first half in the finals of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball Final Four at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

It's here, the time I dread most, the OFFSEASON. Yes a good portion of those who visit RCT seem to have an affinity for baseball and find other ways to distract themselves from April through August, but if you're at all like me the Jayhawks are at or near the top and this break between basketball season and the start of football is dreadful.

Fortunately we played basketball up until the very LAST possible day this year which has shortened the timeline, but I'll still have a host of weekends to fill until kickoff this fall. All that said, there always seems to be a few storylines that we're watching over the summer and here's a few to kick around.

Basketball Roster Changes?

We've almost become accustomed to the late additions or subtractions from the Kansas basketball roster in recent years and Bill Self has hinted that 2012 might not be finished. So are there further changes in the future for the basketball rosters?

We obviously have a corps group coming back from this years team including three key seniors. Then we have an influx of talent signed and committed in the 2012 recruiting class as well as two players that had to sit this year in Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor. We're also awaiting final confirmation on the qualifying status of Anrio Adams.

Then we have a trio of players that have been 'linked' to Kansas on some level over the last two to three weeks. Tony Parker is set to decide this week although it would be a little bit surprising if he signed with Kansas. Then there are two point guard transfers that have been mentioned in Josiah Turner and Trevor Releford.

Now for Releford's part he hasn't even announced he's leaving and at this point it seems to be more rumor than substance but there was a lot of smoke surrounding this a week and a half ago. For Turner it's a question of if there is even mutual interest. Everyone assumes there would be since Kansas finished no. 2 to Arizona in his initial recruitment, but is that in fact the case?

Plenty to keep an eye on as Bill Self looks to piece together his next Big 12 championship team.

Football Transfers

The 5th year transfers continue to trickle in with the latest addition coming from Notre Dame in the form of linebacker Anthony McDonald. Who else is on the way?

Weis has given indications that there would be more help coming in the form of the 5th year transfer route, it's just a question of when that pipeline runs dry for the year and who it includes in the process. Kansas has an influx of defensive lineman and other defensive help on the way already. What other positions does it make sense to add? Safety or some other defensive back would seem to be a logical choice as would any further help on either the offensive or defensive line.

Spring Game Takeaways

The last two years have been pretty abysmal when it comes to Kansas football. Coincidentally the feeling coming away from the spring game in both of those years was one of serious concern. Those concerns by many fans were validated ten fold once the team took to the field in the fall and this spring all eyes will be on the differences between a Weis led team and a Gill led team from a year ago.

Is there progress from a physical standpoint? Is the team more organized and fundamentally sound? It's always questionable how much you can take away from a glorified scrimmage, but there are certainly going to be indicators as to how this program is being run on the 28th. Hopefully those indicators can point toward a potentially competitive product next fall. I think without question we're right where we were last year. Wins and losses aside, EVERYONE wants to see a competitive product on the field.

Summer Conditioning

Once we hit early June the 2012 class will start to arrive on campus and that includes a host of junior college players as well as any last minute potential transfers. Word always leaks out as to who is going what, how the team is looking and what players might make an immediate impact. With freshman you always try to temper those expectations a bit, but with so many upperclassman joining the program that information will be as interesting as ever.

*****
Overall it feels like we're turning the page a bit in Kansas sports. 2007-2008 was such an incredible year and it was followed by teams falling short of expectations and the destruction of a football program. Obviously the basketball program was still incredibly successful, but it can't be denied that this years team had a different feel to it than the last three seasons and it was reflected in the overall success that they achieved.

This year we washed ourselves of the disaster on the gridiron and we watched the basketball team overachieve and bring blue collar attitude back to Kansas basketball. I'm optimistic that we're on an upswing here and it will be an upswing that will have some highs and lows but generally speaking I think we're getting back to fielding teams that have that chip of competitiveness. That's what I'm watching for. What about you?
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