Kansas Basketball: Ranking the Jayhawks, Part 1

Jamie Squire

Basketball is almost here, so let's look at who the best players on the team are

The Jayhawks have assembled one of their deepest rosters in years this year, topped off by the widely believed to be #2 ranked recruiting class in the country. In all, with redshirts still to be decided, 18 players are listed on the Kansas roster right now. Here, we are going to rank all of them, from 1-18. And, as with everything else, our word is law. In reverse order...

18. Tyler Self

17. Christian Garrett

16. Evan Manning

15. Niko Roberts

I thought about putting Self at 15 as a blatant pandering attempt to his dad just in case he ever wants to hire a writer to be on his staff (hi Bill!) but in the end I think he'd respect me more for having his son last. Also, 15 is really where the dead weight on this team ends, meaning the team has 14 (well, 13 considering Mickelson will have to sit out this year due to his transfer) players I would trust in a high level Division 1 game. That's pretty insane.

14. Justin Wesley

13. Hunter Mickelson

12. Jamari Traylor

11. Landen Lucas

Some brief explanations should go here I suppose. In both pairings I am going a bit more with the unknown than the known, but there are (hopefully) good reasons for that. I probably think Wesley is better than any other KU fan, as he is efficient from two and is a really underrated post defender. But Mickelson clearly has more upside, and the coaching staff thinks that as well, as they accepted his transfer. Mickelson has struggled on offense in his first two years at Arkansas, and wasn't a great rebounder,, but he's been a really good shot blocker and if nothing else he will be a passable Embiid replacement next year.

I imagine I will get the most disagreement on Traylor and Lucas, especially since Lucas took a redshirt last year, but Traylor barely played, and didn't have a redshirt available to him after having to miss his Freshman year due to academics. Like Mickelson, Traylor had good shot blocking numbers (8.8% last year) but he's not a good defender outside of that, shot just 43% from two, wasn't a good rebounder, and turned it over seemingly every time he touched the ball. Lucas, obviously, has no college numbers yet, but had 9 rebounds in 12 minutes against Emporia State. Obviously the competition is going to get tougher, but he has the skills to be an elite rebounder, and has shown the ability and effort level necessary to get there. I made a remark on twitter that just based on watching him a lot in warmups before the games that the biggest thing he needed to fix was to get into Big 12 shape. Assuming a season and then offseason with Hudy did that, I think Lucas will surprise some people this year, and certainly by the time he's done in Lawrence will be an important player, even if he's rarely a starter.

The entire top 10 will post later this week. I was going to post more of it today, but I want to keep the readers guessing on the backup PG battle, Brannen Greene v. Andrew White, and how in the hell I'm supposed to rank the top 4. As always, all input welcome in the comments.

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