A week ago Kansas received word that they would be getting some help in the middle next year with the addition of the top power forward on the board Cliff Alexander. Alexander joins Kelly Oubre in the 2014 recruiting class and both are slotted to replace the known departures of Tarik Black and Andrew Wiggins. Black is of course a senior, and since his signing Wiggins has been as close to a lock for a one and done as Kansas has ever had.
That brings us to everyone else and the question of who else Kansas should be recruiting and how many holes there will be in this class. The latest mock drafts show Kansas having four players going in the top 20. Wiggins is of course the top pick from the Jayhawks but right behind him is Joel Embiid. After Tuesday's performance it's much easier to see how Embiid's potential is going to be very attractive to NBA GM's across the league.
Next on the list is Wayne Selden. Bill Self has continually praised Selden as an NBA ready player both from a physical and a maturity standpoint and while he hasn't had a game that left you saying wow, he certainly has been steady and does look mature beyond his years. After Selden we have Perry Ellis. Ellis has been very impressive early this year and that productivity has many projecting him in the 16-20 range at the moment. Let the questions begin.
Wiggins is gone, but what about Embiid, Selden and Ellis? It's hard to see Embiid returning if he's projected as a top five. If he shows continued progress it will leave little doubt to his place in the draft and Self will most certainly encourage him to go. That means Kansas will absolutely have room for a player like Myles Turner who is still hanging out there as the top remaining player on the recruiting board. Turner is a late bloomer with tons of potential. A late growth spurt took him from an unknown to one of the top centers in the country. He has range, length and has drawn some comparisons to a raw version of Anthony Davis.
That brings us to Wayne Selden. Right now Selden sits in that 12-15 range. Still a lottery projection and likely a situation that warrants strong consideration for one and done status. Assuming Selden is in that position and makes that leap, Kansas has plenty of talent to step into that position, but Self will most certainly look to fill that spot. Right now the two targets appear to be JaQuan Lyle and Rashad Vaughn. Lyle seems to be the one out of these two that is the most interested in Kansas as he and Alexander have expressed interest in playing together. Vaughn on the other hand has a long list, an unconventional list and hasn't been hot on Kansas early. That could change and he would be a tremendous pick up, but Lyle might be more realistic in this situation if you had to handicap it today.
Finally there is the case of Perry Ellis. Following last season everyone felt like Ellis was a likely four year guy. We quickly forget that he was a four star talent that was heavily recruited from the word go and heavily recruited by Kansas, Kentucky, Duke etc. Ellis isn't some overachieving Kansas native, he has a lot of potential and people are starting to see it. He feels a little undersized but his athleticism has improved, his comfort level has increased and his range looks better and better every day. Following the Duke game it was even possible to see his ability to move to a three in some situations with a little more improvement. It's funny because if you talk to someone that hasn't watched him this year the perception around the college basketball world is that he's a hard worker, an overachiever and a player that does a lot without much talent and athleticism. That just isn't the case. Yes he is overshadowed by the high ceiling talent around him, but you can't argue with what he's doing on the court. Ellis is definitely the one that would have the most difficult decision if the draft deadline occurred today, but where does he end up by seasons end is really the question.
If you take Ellis out of the equation Kansas can go a lot of different directions with the last opening. Lyle and Vaughn could very well become options. Does Kansas look at another late big or transfer? It's hard to say what happens right now, but there is a very real chance that Kansas could be looking to fill anywhere from three to five openings next year. Right now there are two that are certain and two on the way. Bill Self and his staff have been lighting it up on the recruiting trail, hopefully that momentum continues if it's needed.