Saturday kicks off Big 12 play for Kansas, but before we get into the meat of the season, I wanted to go through the roster and take a look at how each player has done so far. Creating a rubric for this sort of thing is difficult, so, for the most part, I didn’t. Each player is being graded on a combination of their overall impact on the team, as well as their performance relative to expectations, with shades of purely subjective “how I feel about this player right now” thrown in for good measure. The list is in alphabetical order.
Ochai Agbaji - B
Agbaji hasn’t blown up with any huge individual games, but he’s quietly been an effective defender and efficient offensive contributor. He’s third on the team in scoring, thanks in part to good shot selection, which has him shooting 58% from two and 38% from three. His handle could definitely use some work, and a 21% TO rate is far less than ideal for a player who isn’t really asked to do a whole lot of dribbling. But for a 3 star recruit who was initially supposed to redshirt last year, he’s been a big-time contributor to this year’s team.
Udoka Azubuike - B
I’d like to give the big guy an A, but there have been times where opposing teams have been able to severely limit his offense, and at the end of the day, free throws do matter. He’s seeing a lot of double teams and has shown limited ability to work through/pass out of them, and is turning it over entirely too much (20.8% TO rate). That said, his block rate is nearly in double digits and his rebounding has been right around what we’ve come to expect. And the fact that he consistently draws double teams does contribute to the offense overall.
Christian Braun - B-
This is one where the grade would be lower if everyone were being graded on the same scale, but coming into the season we thought Braun was just a token KC area kid that would be stashed away to hopefully develop into a contributor. When Isaac McBride decommitted, he was thrust into an immediate role, and has done very well within it. Braun hasn’t logged a ton of minutes, but is shooting 7-18 (39%) from deep and has limited the expected boneheaded freshman plays. He isn’t asked to do a lot while he’s on the court, but his contributions are already beyond what most anticipated for his freshman year.
Silvio De Sousa - D
KU fans rejoiced when De Sousa was given eligibility for this year by the NCAA, but he’s been something of a non-factor. David McCormack is clearly ahead of him on the big-man depth chart, and De Sousa hasn’t exactly blown anyone away in the minutes he’s been given (only 23.1% of available minutes). His ORtg is a putrid 91.9 thanks to a TO rate around 25%, and he’s hit just 10 of 26 shots inside the arc (39%). His offensive rebounding has been good, but given his size and strength, his rebounding on the other end has left much to be desired. Apart from all that, he just hasn’t looked like he has a place on the court alongisde Azubuike, and hasn’t played well enough to be trusted with many minutes as the lone big man in smaller lineups.
Devon Dotson - A-
If Dotson could find his shooting stroke, this could be a straight up A or even A+. Dotson leads the team in scoring (18.8 ppg), assists (4.6apg/24.8%) and steals (2.3spg/3.8%). Despite the team’s turnover problems, their lead guard really hasn’t been one of the main culprits, turning it over on 16.8% of his possessions. He finishes well at the rim, shooting 54% from two, and has a free throw rate over 50%. But once again, the outside shots simply aren’t falling for Dotson, who’s hit just 12-43 (28%). If that doesn’t pick up, teams will sag off him more and more to take away the drive, which could have a negative impact on the team’s offense as a whole.
Tristan Enaruna - C-
To be fair, Enaruna was thought to be a bit of a project coming out of high school who was a bit raw in terms of his skills. In that regard, he’s been pretty much what we expected, though playing a larger role after the loss of Jalen Wilson. Enaruna is shooting just 5-13 (31%) from outside and a pedestrian 12-26 (46%) from inside the arc. Turnovers have been a problem, as he leads the team in TO rate at 26.3%. He has been able to grab some defensive rebounds and has flashed some playmaking ability here and there, but overall Enaruna wouldn’t be playing this many minutes in a perfect world.
Marcus Garrett - A-
We all expect Garrett to be a lockdown defender, and he hasn’t let us down at all in that regard. However, he has quietly evolved from a player for whom any offensive contribution was a bonus, to a player who actively contributes to what the Jayhawks do on the offensive end. He’ll never be shooter, but 37% ain’t bad, and if anything, he needs to fire away on more of his open looks. He’s barely trailing Dotson in assists (4.2apg/22.5%) and hasn’t turned it over too much. He’s been able to shift over to point when Dotson needs a break, and it doesn’t kill the offensive chemistry. He might get an A+ if he were able to keep his current offensive rate stats with higher usage.
David McCormack - B-
McCormack, like all the other bigs, has had his turnover issues (20.6% of his possessions), but he’s also come a long way since last year. Despite times where he seems to be a little too comfortable with his jumper, he’s still connecting on nearly 60% of his shots. When he takes over Azubuike, there’s very little dropoff in rebounding, and he’s actually been able to hit a respectable-ish 68% of his free throws. However, given his size and athleticism, you’d really like to see some blocked shots (he has just three), and maybe just better post defense overall. He’s coming along nicely, but just not a finished product yet.
Isaiah Moss - B-
Moss came to Kansas to do one thing: shoot. For the most part, he’s done it well, hitting 39% of his 44 attempts from deep. His minutes were pretty limited early on as he dealt with an injury, and as a result he only recently seems to be finding himself within the offense. He does tend to disappear a bit when he’s not shooting, but he isn’t making any glaring mistakes on the other end of the court, either. This grade has plenty of room to climb as he starts to feel more comfortable within the offense.