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Summer Mailbag!

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the summer winding down and football (whatever that is) season quickly approaching, I thought now would be a good time to bust out a mailbag and see what is on the minds of Jayhawk nation. I solicited questions to the @rockchalktalk twitter account or our email (rockchalkmailbag at gmail dot com) and, like always, the people delivered.

I answered this one on twitter, but I wanted to think about it some more and flesh out my thoughts a bit and see if I still arrive at the same answer. It looks like the best position in the league this year is going to be point guard. Frank Mason, Monte Morris, and Isaiah Taylor all have the ability to have first team all conference type seasons, and I am also high on Devonte Graham, though he obviously won't be taken for this exercise. So even though I think Mason is the best point guard in the league, maybe I lean towards taking Taylor (despite not being a huge fan of his) because Texas doesn't have much else to offer.

The easiest pick is Oklahoma's Buddy Hield. I like Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins plenty, but Hield is the best player on the team by a longshot, and a legitimate player of the year candidate, so he's in.

After that it gets much tougher, but I am adding Rico Gathers. I think Taurean Prince is a very good player and deadly shooter, but Gathers does so much on both ends of the floor and is the garbage man our team needs on the glass. Besides, I can't leave off my player of the year.

I have to take an Iowa State guy, but who to take? Monte Morris is one of the best assist/turnover guys in the country, but I do have some doubts about just how much credit he should get for that vs his teammates for being able to make the jumpers he sets up. Also, while Morris is a good shooter, he doesn't take a lot of them, and his usage rate is pretty low as a result. He's also a horrible defensive player, and I don't have a ton of patience for that. Georges Niang, meanwhile, is one of the best offensive players in the country, but probably couldn't guard me, which drags his value down a lot more than people realize. Offense is more important than defense (to me) but I still want to avoid guys who are one way players. Having Niang and Gathers down low gives up a lot of size as well. So I am going to go a bit out of left field and take Jameel McKay. He can't create his own shot or anything, but he finishes well and pounds the offensive glass. He's also probably the best rim protector in the Big 12 (unless Hunter Mickelson or Cheick Diallo gets a lot of playing time and plays up to potential) and with how important that is, I want him on my team.

Now we need our backcourt, and it comes down to grabbing two of these guys: Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Isaiah Taylor, and Phil Forte. Mason is a lock, as I think he has a great shot to win conference player of the year and be in the running for All American honors. I have come around a bit on Taylor, and I think his per game numbers will look very good this year due to running Havoc, but he's just not a good enough shooter for me to totally trust him, and he and Mason are pretty similar players. Forte, meanwhile, is also an awful defender and offensively either has to stand in the corner or guys have to run screen after screen after screen for him. It's effective, but it sort of takes the other guys out of the game, especially when Hield needs screens to get open looks as well. I'm going to take Taylor, put him at point guard, and tell him to basically never shoot. Drive and kick only.

So here's my team:

Frank Mason, Kansas

Isaiah Taylor, Texas

Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Rico Gathers, Baylor

Jameel McKay, Iowa State.

Well recruiting at A&M is much different than recruiting to Kansas, but it is worth noting he recruited some notable guys to Lawrence in his first go around. It's also worth noting he didn't have a ton of time to recruit when he got here, and he's added some interesting transfers and grabbed some interesting recruits. I think QB Carter Stanley can eventually surprise some people, and new LB Kendall Duckworth had an offer from Michigan State.

For me, the biggest thing about Beaty will be whether he can use his network of connections in Texas to bring in some overlooked guys who are a good fit. If he can do that consistently, Kansas should be fine.

5 years is a long time (much longer than you realize. Hard to believe the first iPad was released 5 years ago) so it's tough to say with any certainty, but I think Self will be here for the next five years. College coaches are getting more and more respect in the NBA, and Self has the type of personality that I think would succeed there, but I don't think he's the type of Xs and Os guy that NBA teams are really after at this point (then again, Calipari gets offers from NBA teams).

The other two are tied together in my opinion. I personally would give Beaty 5 years almost no matter what. The situation has been so badly cratered by Gill and Weis that we are left with 60ish scholarship players, and with the scholarship limits in place we can't replenish the ranks quickly. It's going to take time just to get D1 level football players in en masse, so Beaty is going to need a bit of a leash. That said, if things stay bad, and he wins 4 games in his first 3-4 years, the administration might feel like it's time for another change. If Beaty doesn't work out, there's no way Zenger is going to get another chance to hire a football coach.

On the flipside, maybe Beaty struggles in year 1 (which he will, which is fine) but since the discipline and organization problems were so horrific under Gill and Weis, maybe just improving those basic things will make such a huge difference that in year 2 the Jayhawks grab 4 or so wins. Sensing that they're building something, maybe he grabs some decent recruits the next couple years and builds a bowl team. He will still be around in 3 years, but if he can make Kansas into a bowl team within 5, the media will be hailing it as the biggest turnaround ever, and he'll probably get an offer he can't refuse from somewhere.

As for Zenger, I don't really see KU getting rid of him when basically every program other than football has been good lately, but I also don't know how much I want him hiring the next basketball coach.

This is an interesting one. I think it comes down to Mason or Ellis, with Selden as a dark horse. Perry took 30 more shots than Mason did last season, which I think is probably right in line with what will happen this year. Even with no big man next to him really, Ellis still shot 58 percent at the rim, and if Diallo actually gets to play, he'll take a lot of pressure off Perry, which figures to make that number go up even higher.

Mason could theoretically shoot more, as he's the guy with the ball in his hands the most, but with how small he is I'm not sure Self wants him barreling into the lane as often as he does/could get away with, so I think it will be Ellis.

The dark horse is Selden, who has some games of incredible shot volume and also some games where he makes 6 of his 8 threes or whatever. My hot take prediction this year is that he scores 30 in a game at least once, and if he avoids the bad Wayne Selden games he might be able to eke out the scoring lead.

I attempted to clarify what constituted a villain but fizzle told me to trust my judgment, which is a bad idea. That said:

1. Voldemort

Probably the third or fourth most talented wizard of all time, Voldemort is a ruthless killer who can make himself invisible, teleport, and take out large swaths of people with magic. I also assume these people aren't really aware of magic, which gives me the element of surprise.

2. Freddy Krueger

Not even sleep would allow people to escape my wrath with him on my side, and once people figured out what he was doing, they would have to stay awake as long as possible, which would tire them out and make them easier to take over.

3. The terminator

A cyborg who I wouldn't feel bad about sending to do the dirty work. Plus I assume I could repair him if he was damaged.

4. Magneto

Good luck trying to stop me with all your metal tanks and planes and missiles, idiots.

5. Lex Luthor

Because someone has to bankroll all of this.