The University of Kansas Men’s Basketball team won yet another conference championship last year to make that ten straight seasons they won or shared the conference championship. Yet, the Jayhawks had another disappointing ending to their season leaving Jayhawk fans hungry for the following year. Replacing the number 1 and number 3 picks in the 2014 NBA Draft will not be easy, but Bill Self never rebuilds, KU just reloads. With Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Naadir Tharpe, and Tarik Black all moving on. Self landed yet another top 5 recruiting class with 2 McDonald’s All Americans in Power Forward Cliff Alexander and Small Forward Kelly Oubre which I expect both to start. Self also landed Point Guard Devonte Graham, and Shooting Guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk from Ukraine.
The Jayhawks return starters Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden along with Frank Mason, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene, Jamari Traylor, and Landen Lucas. The Jayhawks also add transfer Hunter Mickelson who sat out last year he is a 6-11 Center who played for two years at Arkansas. Coach Self usually has a rotation of 8-9 players at the most, but with the depth the Jayhawks have this season finding minutes to keep everyone satisfied could be a bit of a challenge.
Every season there are some question marks with every team. For the Jayhawks who is going to step up and be the starting point guard? I think Frank Mason will make a huge leap in his Sophomore season and Freshman Devonte Graham will surprise a lot of folks. Personally, I think Graham will be the starting Point Guard come conference season as Self calls him a terrific leader. Mason can be that spark plug off the bench. Will the Jayhawks make a huge jump defensively after such a disappointing defensive season last year for a Bill Self coached team? With the new hand check rule on fouls last year Kansas never seemed to adjust all season as the Jayhawks struggled defensively. Now that Kansas has had an entire off season to think about that I expect a huge turn around and a Jayhawk team to play typical Kansas defense. Do the Jayhawks have enough size in the front court? The loss of Joel Embiid late in the season showed a lot of flaws with the Jayhawk defense. Cliff Alexander who will replace Joel, is only 6-8, but has a 7-4 wingspan and is a tremendous shot blocker. With Alexander, Ellis, Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson the Jayhawks have more than enough size in the front court.
Late Night in the Phog is only five days away which is why it is time to get excited about Kansas Basketball. Bill Self said, “This is the best overall talent we have had since 2008.” Kansas fans it’s time to get excited, the start of the season will have some ups and downs with a young team. By conference season though, the Jayhawks will be dangerous and primed to make a deep run in March and win yet another conference championship.
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