It's a big week for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. Following the 2010-2011 season Kansas now sits with SEVEN scholarships due to the early entry of Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Josh Selby, the transfer or Royce Wooldridge and the graduation of Brady Morningstar, Mario Little and Tyrel Reed.
It's not often that a coach is tasked with reloading to that level but Bill Self is being asked to do that and he's looking at doing it very late. At the end of the season Kansas had just one player signed in point guard Naadir Tharpe. Since that time Kansas has inked shooting guard Ben McLemore and forward Braedon Anderson. It's a start, but probably not the ideal. With the lineup in it's current form Kansas is painfully thin up front unless Jeff Withey can improve in leaps and bounds and Justin Wesley can provide a Christian Moodylike surprise.
In the backcourt the situation is a little better but that's assuming incoming freshman like McClemore and Tharpe can contribute and make an impact at a fairly high level. Signing more incoming freshman doesn't exactly change that piece, but it does provide more room for error and a little safety in numbers. Bill Self's rotation usually dwindles down to 8 or 9 but it sure has been a nice luxury for the Jayhawks to have the ability to choose from 11 or 12 over the past two seasons.
That brings us to this week and the final day of the late signing period May 18th. Things could certainly drag on after Wednesday and players don't necessarily need to sign in order to play, but both game changers still on the Kansas radar are expected to announce this week. DeAndre Daniels and Trevor Lacey are five star talents that take the current Jayhawk recruiting class from a top 30ish class to a top 10 class. Both would be considered major players for immediate playing time and it's that lack of current depth that has many viewing Kansas as a strong possibility.
The latest buzz on Daniels certainly looks good for Kansas. With Duke entering the picture late things appeared to swing in the Blue Devil direction but FoxSports Jeff Goodman and others are now reporting that the two parties have parted ways. That leaves Texas and Kansas. Texas was where Daniels originally committed, Kansas was supposed to be the mid year destination for Daniels but thing didn't work out. Both schools have playing time to sell and it will be a big boost to either program.
Trevor Lacey is a little more of an uncertainty. Kansas, Alabama and Kentucky are all in play. Alabama was considered the favorite for quite some time before the Jayhawks and Wildcats entered the picture after early entries were announced. Things were strongly favoring the Kentucky Wildcats for a time but the return of Terrance Jones and pure numbers on the Wildcat roster might provide a late boost for Kansas especially following a late official to Lawrence.
It's not that Jones and Lacey would compete for minutes, quite simply Calipari has knocked it out of the park again in recruiting and the Wildcats are going to be as deep and talented as ever coming off of a Final Four appearance. If playing time is important Lacey would likely be best served at Kansas, but he's certainly good enough to compete at Kentucky and it's an attractive opportunity as well. Of course this all assumes that Alabama doesn't stay in the mix and keep Lacey in his home state which was long considered his likely destination before becoming a very hot commodity late.
All in all it's a big week for Kansas, it's a big week for Bill Self and it's a big week for the other schools involved with the players mentioned. If Kansas can lock down these two national recruits they could manage to bridge the gap once again between a team loaded with talent and a team looking to reload. The Jayhawks did it after winning the title in 2007-2008 and they are now preparing to do so again with the departure of what looks to be three NBA lottery picks and a decent crop of seniors.