It happened. Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas and immediately escalated the expectations for Kansas basketball in 2013-2014. Kansas already had a great class coming in, now it might just be the best class Kansas has ever assembled. Fans in Stillwater and Waco and across the Big 12 suddenly went from cautious optimism as it pertains to ending the Jayhawk's league winning streak, to a little bit of concern. The Big 12 will be strong at the top next year, but now Bill Self and Kansas are right back in the thick of it without question.
With Wiggins now in the fold, what does this new look Jayhawk lineup look like in 2013-2014. Kansas is coming off a year where they started four seniors and one big time NBA prospect. All five of those players are now gone and Kansas will return just two players who have contributed major minutes. At this point the lineup appears to have a little more clarity, and that's where the fun begins.
At point guard one would expect Naadir Tharpe to take the reigns to start the season. Tharpe is a junior, showed flashes of being a pretty good distributor and he's one of the few upperclassman on the roster. Off the bench Kansas is looking at probably one of two freshman in this position and possibly a mix of both. Conner Frankamp is a tremendous shooter and will be a very solid player for Kansas. Frank Mason is a point guard that Bill Self is very high on and if he reaches the potential that Bill Self sees he will be a great addition on both ends of the floor.
The shooting guard spot likely goes to Wayne Selden. Selden is a good sized, physical incoming freshman that can handle the ball, shoot well and attack. Bill Self has mentioned his ability to play anywhere from the point up to the wing so it's possible we'll see him in multiple slots. Off the bench Kansas is probably looking at a player like Frankamp again or a sophomore Andrew White who provided a nice shooting spark at times this past season. At the end of the day Bill Self does use sort of an interchangeable approach with his guards so it's hard to put people into slots without the disclaimer that this will be fairly fluid and we're likely talking about four to five backcourt players settling in by league play.
The wing will obviously be occupied by Andrew Wiggins. This is the no brainer pick of the year. He'll be able to impact the game with his length and athleticism on both ends of the court. Off the bench Kansas will be looking at a pair of shooters with good size in Brannen Greene and Andrew White. White probably fits in this spot better than he would at the shooting guard spot, but just as White could potentially slide down, Selden could also slide up in to this spot if Kansas goes small.
At power forward Kansas will look toward Perry Ellis. Ellis came on strong late this past season and he will be expected to be a more visible leader on the interior this year. Ellis is very fundamentally sound. Throughout the 2012-2013 season he would make the perfect post move, get to the rim and just miss the look. As he settled in, got used to playing at the college level, all those misses started turning to makes and he really turned into a player in the month of March. If that trajectory continues he'll be a major contributor for Kansas this year. After Ellis it's likely Jamari Traylor off the bench at this point. Traylor is an athletic energy guy that has a high ceiling but still a bit of work to do.
The center spot is either going to go to Landon Lucas who took a redshirt this year or Joel Embiid who has a chance to be a tremendous center and defensive presence for Kansas at some point. Embiid is all about potential, Lucas has yet to see the court due to a redshirt season. Really both of these players are a bit of an unknown, but Bill Self and his system has churned out solid bigs year in and year out so the opportunity is there. There is also probably a shot that a Kansas could at Tarik Black to this equation and he would provide a veteran physical presence inside which could change the look of both the four and five spots for Kansas.
Pretty incredible that Kansas can turn over five starters and still look like a team with a tremendously high ceiling with the pieces they'll be adding. Factor in the development that Kansas has been known for and you'll likely have some players already on campus step up to the plate. The competition is going to be intense, the non conference schedule is going to be a trial by fire, but by league play this is a group that has every bit of the potential to take Kansas and Bill Self to a 10th straight Big 12 title. That's an incredible run to think about.