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First Offseason Mailbag

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Crap I can’t believe it is that time of year again. While I enjoy baseball (even though the Twins suck), the NBA/NHL playoffs (even though neither of my teams will be in), MLS, and football is OK, something about college basketball (and let’s be honest, college hockey) just does it for me. Maybe it is because it’s what I grew up watching, maybe it’s because the respective tournaments give the sort of rollercoaster of emotions you don’t get anywhere else. Who knows. Point is the next 9 or so months are going to suck. On that happy note, to your questions. As always, tweet @rockchalktalk (or any of us individually) or email rctsbn at gmail.com

You all = me in this case. I think winning a road game is a plausible goal considering they go to Ohio, to Iowa State, and to Texas.

Beyond that I think the general goal is just the nebulous keep improving, which will help improve recruiting. Kansas still has a top 15 class in the 247 composite, and someone who has never watched football before could get a team who gets top 15 classes to win enough games. So showing that there is a product on the field worth playing for will be huge this fall. I also would like to see the air raid offense in all its glory. Even when teams like Cal and Texas Tech haven’t been very good, they’ve at least piled on the points. David Beaty seems very impressed with Peyton Bender (and Mike Leach was impressed enough to offer him out of high school), and Carter Stanley showed that if he improves his arm strength a bit he could be a good Big 12 quarterback as well. Kansas should have a full complement of good WRs with Laquvionte Gonzalez, Steven Sims, Daylon Charlot, etc. If the offensive line does anything, this team should be fairly fun to watch on offense. And who knows, maybe the defensive line keeps improving, the secondary doesn’t take a step back, and maybe they win 6 games and go bowling. Someone take my kool aid.

I am normally anti comp mainly because I hate thinking that hard, but I think Graham is an easy one: A 6-2 point guard who isn’t great at getting to the rim but is a really good shooter and really good perimeter defender? Sounds like Mario Chalmers. Chalmers has a bit longer of a wingspan, and had better college stats, but Graham is right there in terms of as a shooter and defender, and I think he’s a better passer at this point than Chalmers was, even though he played off the ball so much.

This is an easy over. Self’s contract runs through 2022, which is in 5 more years, at which point he is due a 1 time bonus of $6 million, so he is collecting that. He already has more money than god but you don’t turn down 6 million.

The question then is how much longer he stays after that. He’s gone on record as not wanting to coach forever, but he’s only 54. With his updated 3-point philosophy, his recruiting and player development abilities, and the way he teaches defense, I think Kansas is about to go on an even better run than it has been on. I’m going to say he has a solid 10 or so years left, although I realize that sets me up for tremendous disappointment.

Ah transfers. The good stuff. I admit I am not super plugged in on who all is supposed to be visiting when and who Kansas may have secretly reached out to and all that but boy howdy do I have opinions on how good all of these players are so let’s take a look at some potential KU transfer additions:

Marcus Evans, Sophomore Guard, Rice

Evans ranked 3rd in Conference USA in usage, and had an eFG of 53 percent. He isn’t dynamite on twos (48 percent overall) but shot 39 percent on threes. He also gets to the line a ton and shot 79 percent there. He had 27 points against Texas Tech this past season. He seems like a poor person’s Frank Mason, but then again Frank Mason as a sophomore was a poor person’s Frank Mason. Not saying he will develop into that obviously, but I think he’s worth a flier.

Karem Kanter, Junior Forward, Wisconsin-Green Bay

Kanter will be immediately eligible, and at 6-10, 240, he would be a nice add to a front court that may or may not be good next year. Kanter was 3rd in his league in shots taken, although it’s worth noting he shot under 50 percent in Horizon League play. He was a very good rebounder, but probably would be behind a lot of guys on the KU depth chart.

Michael Weathers, Freshman Guard, Miami (OH)

Weathers ranked 3rd nationally in usage and 5th nationally in assist rate. He also shot 48 percent on 312 twos, which seems pretty good to me as well. For some reason he reportedly hasn’t heard from KU despite calling KU his dream school. It could be an athleticism issue, but it could also be Self checking in on a couple top 100 recruits who haven’t committed yet. Regardless, he reminds me of Maurice Watson, whom I desperately wanted KU to grab when he transferred from Boston U, although that would have worked out much better on the court than off it.

Marcus Weathers, Freshman Forward, Miami (OH)

The other reason Kansas hasn’t snapped up Michael is he might want to play with his brother Marcus who, while still pretty good, isn’t quite in Michael’s class. He did lead the MAC in free throw rate and shot 59 percent on twos in the league, so he certainly isn’t bad, but he’s also a 6-5 guard/forward who isn’t a great shooter. Both brothers have gotten some praise for their defense, however, so I think Self should take a look and lock these two down for the next 3 years. Who knows, maybe you have a really good point guard and the next Releford on your hands.

I think that’s probably a fair statement. As Jesse Newell wrote, Kansas took a higher percentage of threes this year than ever before (though still not enough in my book). It’s certainly possible that he could have shifted his philosophy (and he probably has a bit), but Kansas has had teams take a bit more threes than usual before (see: 2011 with the sleepy eyed Kansans). I think it is more likely that they took more threes just because they had more guards, and thus a more perimeter oriented team. However, Self is no dummy. The 3-point shooting rescued his team enough this year (and while you could say it lost the Oregon game, I think you could also say Oregon making threes won them that game, and 1 game shouldn’t outweigh a season), so I think we will see a bit of a shift going forward. The college 3-point line is so short and kids are better shooting them than ever that it just makes no sense to restrict yourself to taking a third of your shots from three.

That said, a healthy Azubuike and Kansas has another national title.