Kansas has always recruited well, but they're in a definite upswing lately, nabbing Andrew Wiggins and Cliff Alexander in back to back years. The Jayhawks not only have a shot to nab one of the best prospects in 2015 to keep that streak going, they could come away with one of their deeper classes in years thanks to the group of players coming to Late Night on Friday.
Jaylen Brown, SF, Marietta, Georgia
Brown is the 2nd ranked player in the class (all ratings courtesy of 247) and while in state Georgia is very much in the mix, Brown seems to be destined to end up in Kentucky. Still, he's got some KU interest, and he's the type of talent worth recruiting no matter how great or little chance you think you have at nabbing him.
Brown measures in at 6'6.5" and has a 6'11.5" wingspan. He's going to be an explosive wing: he can play above the rim, and get to the rim with ease. His ballhandling has been questioned a bit, but almost everything else (he's a bit inconsistent as a jump shooter) is there for him. Slashing small forwards aren't the greatest fit for Bill Self's offense, but Brown is worth changing things up for
Jaylen Brown was very good. Great blend of physical tools, skills, basketball IQ and intensity. He's the real deal. Interview coming on DX.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) October 5, 2014
Carlton Bragg, PF, Cleveland, Ohio
Bragg is ranked 16th in the class and is another guy who could come down to Kansas, Kentucky, and an in state school. He's described as an elite athlete who isn't great in the half court. He also likes to play on the perimeter despite being best suited to play the 4 at Kansas. He's not necessarily a guy we should look at and say "pass" but there are guys who fit better.
Brandon Ingram, SF, Kinston, North Carolina
Ingram, ranked 11th, looks like he's headed to one of Duke or North Carolina, but Kansas can convince him during late night. Like Bragg, he stands 6'8", but he's just 180 lbs. He's not a great ball handler and is really really skinny, leading me to question just how much or how well he'll be able to score at the rim. He looks to have a decent enough jump shot, though he doesn't get a ton of lift on it. While he's probably not as good of a player as some of the other guys who will be at Late Night, he might be a better fit for Kansas due to the role the small forward usually has in the Self offense.
Tyler Dorsey, PG/SG, Pasadena, California
Dorsey is thought to be a near lock for Kansas, and it's perhaps no coincidence then that he's probably my favorite guard in this class. He's 6'4", can play the 1 or the 2, and is a really good ballhandler and passer. I'm not sure how much he'll be able to create his own shot in college as he doesn't always get great separation, but he is tall and has a good quick release so he should be OK. He's also shown that he can knock down guarded jumpers. He should be a fun one to have in the backcourt.
Stephen Zimmerman, C, Las Vegas, Nevada
Zimmerman is one of my favorite kids in the class. A legit 7 footer, he needs to get better on the block, but he's shown that he can hit a faceup jumper and he looks like a potentially elite rebounder and shot blocker at the college level. Bill Self obviously knows a little something about developing low post players, and Hudy would make him stronger, but sadly it seems he's not destined for KU.
Marcus LoVett, PG, Chicago, Illinois
LoVett, currently ranked 100th in the class of 2015, only has offers from Kansas, San Diego State, and UC Irvine, so it seems virtually a lock that he'll be headed to Kansas. Self has had success with lower ranked point guards, both with Naadir Tharpe and Frank Mason, and he'll look to continue that with LoVett. Being a lower ranked kid, I'm not very familiar with LoVett's game, but he looks like a solid 4 year PG to add to the current collection.
Malik Monk, SG, Lepanto, Arkansas
Monk is the first class of 2016 kid to be profiled in this list, and is a blue chipper. He's probably headed to Arkansas or Kentucky, but he'd be a welcome athlete in Lawrence. His ceiling is incredibly high, he's got a great wingspan, and he's an elite athlete who will probably only rise up the recruiting rankings in the coming months.
Jayson Tatum, SF, St. Louis, Missouri
Tatum is probably right now the best kid in the class of 2016. He's 6'8" with a 6'11" wingspan, handles the ball well, and is a good shooter. Should be one of the top priorities in terms of kids to woo during Late Night.
Schnider Herard, C, Plano, Texas
Dipping a year younger, Herard is a top 50 kid in the class of 2017. I obviously know nothing about him, but he sounds like a bit of a throwback, back to the basket type that would be interesting to have in Lawrence. He stands "just" 6'10" but that seems workable.
Trae Young, PG, Norman, Oklahoma
Young is also in the class of 2017 and doesn't have an official offer from KU yet. He's another guy that I don't know much about, but any 2017 kid getting invited to Late Night is one to watch.
Mitchell Ballock, SG, Eudora, Kansas
Much has been written about local boy Ballock, as the Sophomore has picked up interest around the country, which has only intensified closer to home as Kansas offered earlier this year. Ballock is already being talked about as one of the best shooters in the class and while Kansas has missed on a couple of local guys in recent years, I don't think Ballock is going to be one of them.
Kobi Simmons, PG, Alpharetta, Georgia
Simmons is a big (6'5") point guard in the class of 2016 who apparently seems to be down to basically Kansas and Kentucky already. Simmons can play both guard spots and is talked about as one of the better shooters in his class. Would be a big get for the Jayhawks and maybe the first one and done PG Self has had at KU.
Tyler Cook, PF, St. Louis, Missouri
Kansas and Missouri don't play on the court anymore, but they'll go to battle over this 2016 PF, who might be part of a package deal with his high school teammate Jayson Tatum. Cook has been overshadowed a bit by Tatum, but his ranking really climbed over the summer. Perhaps he's a guy willing to sacrifice some scoring for the benefit of the team as a whole, which is certainly a sought after trait in Self's offense.
Marques Bolden, C, DeSoto, Texas
Bolden is one of the better players in the class of 2016, and right now looks like a pretty solid lean to Kansas. He's a potentially above average college shot blocker and even though he has a lot of room to fill out he plays with a lot of power. His timing in terms of shot blocking is heralded and he can both score and block shots with both hands. In fact, watching highlights of him I couldn't tell which hand was his favored hand until I saw him shoot a jumper. He'd be a huge get for next year's class.
Troy Brown, PG, Las Vegas, Nevada
Brown is in the class of 2017 so I won't start learning more about him until next year, but what's important to know now is he's 6'5" and most recruiting analysts seem to think he's going to Duke, with Kansas a distant second.
Nick Rakocevic, PF, Westchester, Illinois
Rakocevic stands 6'9" and is being recruited by superstar recruiter Jerrance Howard, so while most people seem to have him pegged for Illinois, maybe Kansas can turn that around like with Cliff Alexander. As for Rakocevic, he's the type of player that I love but that Kansas hasn't had much in Self's tenure: a big guy who can stroke it. He's going to be a stretch 4 and while he won't play in the post as much on offense, he'll be able to defend in the low post and be a great fit as a high man in Bill Self's offense.