Kansas takes on Oklahoma State tonight in the biggest game of their season to date, but it is never too early to take a look at the next crop of Jayhawks who will and might be playing in Allen Fieldhouse next season.
As it stands, Kansas has probably the second best recruiting class in America coming through next year and when it's all said and done I think they'll end up doing more in college than any other class.
Below is a breakdown of recruits already committed as well as others who are still considering Kansas, and which of those we should be prioritizing.
1. Wayne Selden
Hometown: Tilton, New Hampshire
Ranking: 26th nationally, 7th SG (Rivals)
Selden is the lone McDonald's All-American committed to Kansas, and after watching some tape of him it's not hard to see why. He is a big kid and once he gets into the lane he can finish through tough contact as well as score over kids thanks to his fairly long wingspan. Thankfully so, because he isn't a top notch athlete. He looks like he will struggle in terms of blowing by guys in college, but in Self's offense he should be able to work off picks and use his size to finish in the lane. He looks like an OK shooter but I can't ever tell based on tape whether or not a guy actually is a great shooter because it's not like they show misses on those tapes.
2. Brannen Greene
Position: Small Forward
Hometown: Tifton, Georgia
Ranking: 25th nationally, 5th SF (Rivals)
Watching Greene, he reminds me of Andrew White III on his best day. He looks like a fantastic jump shooter and he can make it either catch and shoot or off the dribble. He could potentially play shooting guard at 6'7", which would be an awesome deal considering we might have some size problems at the 1 next year. The problem with him playing the 2 is that he isn't much of a ball handler yet and there are also some concerns about his defense. That shouldn't be too concerning in and of itself as Self has said he'd rather take guys who can score and then teach them how to guard, but it is something to watch. Again, just think of a higher ceiling Andrew White III and you have Greene.
3. Joel Embiid
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
Ranking: 37th nationally (Rivals)
Embiid has shot up prospect charts lately. The native of Cameroon has been playing basketball for only about two years, and is a former volleyball player (stop be if you've heard that one before). He is listed at 7 feet by Rivals and his ceiling is sky high. I'm not sure how much offensive game he will develop, and especially how much he will be able to show off early, but his potential as a rebounder is incredible, and I have to think the shot blocking will come as well. He needs to put on weight (listed at just 220 lbs) but Hudy should be a big help with that.
4. Conner Frankamp
Position: Point Guard
Hometown: Wichita, Kansas
Ranking: 31st nationally (7th PG)
The crown jewel of this class, to me, is Frankamp. He can play either guard position and dominated at the 2012 U-17 World Championships. He can handle the ball well, and him running the pick and roll was the USA's big play at the U17s last summer. His big skill, though, is his range. He can make NBA threes effortlessly and while I don't want to peg an exact percentage I wouldn't be surprised to see him shoot 45% from three multiple seasons in his college career. He might have some trouble guarding bigger, more physical players, but because he probably doesn't have NBA athleticism I think we will see him on campus for four years. However, that just means that Kansas will have multiple years with a guy who can take games over on offense. I'll take it.
5. Frank Mason
Position: Point Guard
Hometown: Woodstock, Virginia
Ranking: 134th nationally (24th PG)
After seeing a parade of combo guards come through over the past few seasons, Kansas will have a pair of traditional PGs on the roster with Tharpe and Mason. Mason isn't a highly touted player, and KU was by far the best program to offer him, but he's gotten rave reviews for his toughness despite being 5'11", 180 lbs. He has done a really good job of getting into the lane against high school talent, but I have seen a lot of different reports on his outside shot. Whether Mason sticks long term at KU will depend on how well he can take care of the ball and whether he can defend enough to leapfrog Rio Adams on the depth chart.
Targets Still Considering KU
1. Andrew Wiggins
Position: wherever he damn well wants
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Ranking: 1st nationally
KU is probably third on Wiggins's list behind Kentucky and Florida State, but he's still worth mentioning here. He has improved by leaps and bounds each of the last three years, and by reclassifying to 2013 he turned that class into one of the best in recent memory. He is an explosive athlete but doesn't just rely on his athleticism to create looks for himself, also using a variety of moves to get into the lane at will. He will immediately be a force in the open floor and while his jumper has been criticized a bit it looks based on the tape I've seen (and from watching him in last year's Hoops Summit) that he repeats his motion so that's nothing to be worried about. Wiggins would be a coup recruiting wise and with the other talent coming/staying KU would be a mortal lock for the Final Four.
2. Julius Randle
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Ranking: 2nd nationally (1st PF)
Randle visited Kansas over the weekend for the last of his four visits and by all accounts he had a great time. Randle would be a perfect fit for KU's offense. He is a big body, let still has a quick first step and can handle the ball well. That part of his game probably wouldn't get much work, but he has a good mid range jumper and will probably be able to expand that out to the three point line. He will be able to overpower all but the biggest college defenders, and those he can take outside and dribble around them. He can score with finesse and strength and while people have questioned his defensive abilities if there is a coach who can shore that up it's Bill Self.
3. Rysheed Jordan
Ranking: 29th nationally (5th PG)
I will admit I don't know a ton about Jordan. He is a bigger point guard (I have seen him listed at both 6'3" and 6'4") and has been described as a pass first guy (yet another potential pass first point guard for Self). He has a big wingspan which should be a big help defensively as well.
Kansas already has an incredible recruiting class coming in for the 2014 season, but the addition of one of these three players would take it up even one more notch.