Apropos of nothing I had a dream over the weekend where people in the comments were calling me out for half assing my previews and I absolutely went off. Either I am worried about that actually being the case or I just need it to be basketball season.
One thing I try to do each year is take a look at how each guy ended up on the Jayhawks. More than probably any other elite program, Kansas has done a masterful job of blending in guys who were McDonalds All-American types with transfers with guys who were lower ranked coming out of high school. As you’ll see, this season is no different.
(And, as a bonus, I found mixtapes of all of the Jayhawks as recruits.)
Frank Mason, G (247 Composite Ranking: 117)
The two most stated Mason anecdotes are that he is second all time in scoring in his high school’s history only to Moses Malone and he originally committed to Towson. Mason went to prep school for a year after he decommitted, and also had offers from Alabama, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. Now he’s a preseason first team all Big 12 point guard, and probably will surpass 1,500 career points this season.
Landen Lucas, F (247 Composite Ranking: 258)
Lucas had a good senior season and emerged as a depth recruit for a number of Pac 12 programs, ending up with offers from Arizona, Oregon, and Oregon State. If anyone doubts whether Kansas can still develop big men after Danny Manning left, however, Landen Lucas is exhibit 1, 2, and 3. He hasn’t been and won’t ever be a great scorer, but he makes his bunnies, was the second best rebounder in the Big 12 last year, and is one of the best interior defenders in the entire country.
Devonte Graham, G (247 Composite Ranking: 99)
Like Mason, Graham originally committed to a lower ranked school and then decommitted. In this case, Graham was an Appalachian State commit before getting out of it and picking Kansas over NC State. His Rivals ranking shot up into the 30s by the time he picked Kansas, and people were talking about him as the 2nd best point guard in his class after Tyus Jones. It certainly worked out for the Jayhawks that Kansas has built its team on the back of some mid major guards.
Svi Mykhailiuk, G/F (247 Composite: 232)
Svi’s ranking is a bit wonky, as since he committed so late (and stated he wanted to play college basketball so late) not everyone ranked him. 247, however, had him in the 30s. Mykhailiuk played professionally in Ukraine before coming over, and picked the Jayhawks over Virginia thanks in large part to Self’s work with Sasha Kaun.
Dwight Coleby, F (247 Composite: 176)
A transfer for Mississippi, Coleby picked them over Georgia, Memphis, Mississippi State, and Arkansas. Coleby put up really good rate stats in his sophomore year, so if he can come back from last year’s knee injury he could potentially be a weapon off the bench for the Jayhawks.
Evan Maxwell, F (247 Composite: NR)
Maxwell originally committed and played at Liberty for 2 seasons. I can’t even find anything about his original commitment online, and 247 lists Liberty as his only D1 offer, but Monmouth reportedly had a lot of interest.
Lagerald Vick, G (247 Composite: 88)
Vick is another guy whose recruiting ranking is a bit wonky because he reclassified to get to college a year early, meaning not everyone ranked him in his class. 247 did, however, and ranked him 29th. Vick had offers from plenty of schools but ultimately picked Kansas over Kentucky. After a freshman season in which he played sparingly, Vick could be the breakout star of this team.
Malik Newman, G (247 Composite: 8)
Newman was one of the biggest targets in the class last year, and he chose Mississippi State over Kansas and Kentucky (and pretty much everyone else). He’s ineligible to play this year due to transfer rules, but should have a big role on next year’s team.
Carlton Bragg, F (247 Composite: 24)
A McDonalds All American, Bragg seemed like a Kansas lock from the moment they started recruiting him. He ended up picking the Jayhawks over Kentucky, and also had offers from places like Michigan State, UConn, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Udoka Azubuike, F (247 Composite: 35)
Azubuike picked the Jayhawks over Florida State and North Carolina, and was the 6th ranked center in his class.
Mitch Lightfoot, F (247 Composite: 115)
Lightfoot originally committed to New Mexico, but decommitted after it became apparent he was good enough to play elsewhere. He also took visits to Arizona, St. Johns, and Utah.
Josh Jackson, F (247 Composite: 1)
Like Wiggins, Jackson was a top ranked recruit who kept pretty much everyone in the dark, even through the McDonalds All American game. He ended up picking the Jayhawks over Michigan State and Arizona.