If you are a regular reader of KUSports.com most likely you have noticed the current Jayhawk all decade voting. Pretty straight forward, no major surprises and a good filler during the May to July black hole in college sports. But if you look a little closer there is one player bracket that seems to show an area that has been a challenge for Kansas at times.
The small forwards bracket at KUSports.com is less than impressive. Call it a wing, call it a small forward, call it whatever you want it's the guy on the team that can ideally knock down the outside shot but also get to the rim and mix it up on the interior if needed. Kansas just hasn't had many that have knocked it out of the park at the position and when they did, well the results speak to the importance.
The final two on the list consists of Brandon Rush and Xavier Henry. From an offensive standpoint and honestly overall, it isn't even close when you look at the rest of the field. To some extent that's a little disappointing when you remember that Henry was only in a Jayhawk uniform for one season and while it was a VERY good freshman season it wasn't really spectacular.
Alex Galindo? Nick Bradford? Bryant Nash? Travis Releford? Those are some of the names in the bracket. Galindo was at Kansas for one season, Relford hasn't even hit his stride yet and Bradford sits as the three seed? Nothing against any of those guys because they all did play a role with the Jayhawks but that's honestly a list that I'd expect a few other teams in the Big 12 to field but not necessarily the Kansas Jayhawks.
So is this the hold in the lineup that has led to missed expectations at times? Well when you consider that Rush and Henry were the wings on two teams that came up short in rather dubious fashion maybe this isn't the answer, but both were freshman at the time of their early exits.
Bill Self has always recruited and developed bigs, he seems to have a strong draw with the "combo guard" and point guard positions as well. But for whatever reason the wing spot has been a little more challenging at times for Kansas as a whole and that even goes back to the Roy Williams era. Is it just a more difficult position to recruit? Maybe there aren't as many players out there. And is it even important?
Either way there is one player that figures to fill this role in a prominent way for someone and his name is DeAndre Daniels. Kansas is still sitting and waiting, summer school is starting and still no word on the Daniels saga. At this point the best bet for Kansas is to have a player like Releford step up into this role or look toward another freshman already on campus in Ben McLemore who some have compared to JR Giddens. With less of a known scoring punch at the Jayhawks disposal heading into 2011-2012, the spot vacated by Brady Morningstar will need to play a more prominent role on some level.