Big 12 Basketball

Big 12 Portal Thoughts: Kansas Looks Built To Win

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Indiana

Remember when Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said he had been thinking about next season for “about a month” after the Jayhawks lost in the NCAA Tournament?

Well, it’s paying off.

Kansas looks loaded going into the summer and, if the roster holds, Kansas could be the preseason No. 1 team.


In this edition of Portal Thoughts we take a look at where Kansas is now and what’s left to do this offseason.

Kansas’ Losses (4)

Kansas had four graduate seniors on the roster last season, most notably guard Kevin McCullar Jr., who ran out of eligibility and is setting his sights on the NBA.

Guard Nicolas Timberlake, who underperformed in his one season with the Jayhawks, is also out the door.

Other graduate seniors out of eligibility are forward Parker Braun and guard Michael Jankovich.

Kansas’ Transfer Losses (0)

The Jayhawks don’t have anyone in the portal. With the deadline past, the Jayhawks figure not to lose anyone that way.  


Kansas’ NBA Early Entries (1)

Forward Johnny Furphy declared for the NBA Draft but retained his eligibility so he can return to Kansas next season if he wishes. He had a solid first season with Kansas, even though he enrolled one year early. He could benefit from another year in school, but his draft stock will likely determine if he comes back or heads to the NBA. In some circles, he’s a potential first-round pick. He has an invitation to the NBA Scouting Combine later this month.

Kansas Transfer Gains (4)

Kansas landed a monster transfer class, one that combined averaged 56 points last season.

South Dakota State’s Zeke Mayo (18.8 points) and Alabama’s Rylan Griffen (11.2 points) both shot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line, something that Kansas really needs.

The others, Wisconsin’s A.J. Storr (16.8 points) and Florida’s Riley Kugel (9.2 points) give the Jayhawks scoring options that can drive to the basket and create for other players.

These players give Kansas the things it didn’t have last season and will make them a deeper, more experienced team.

Kansas’ Recruiting Gains (2)

The Jayhawks are bringing in two freshman in the Class of 2024. Even with two freshmen, they have a Top 10 class per 247Sports.


Center Flory Bidunga, a 6-foot-8 center out of Kokomo High School in Indiana is the country’s No. 11 ranked recruit and one of a handful of five-star players in the country.

The other is guard Rakease Passmore, who plays at Combine Academy in Charlotte, N.C. The 6-foot-5 shooter is a Top 50 player.

Set to Return (6)

Kansas had five scholarship players set to next season in guards Dajuan Harris Jr., Jamari McDowell and Elmarko Jackson, along with forwards KJ Adams Jr. and Zach Clemence, the last of which was a redshirt.

Then, near the end of the NBA early entry deadline, center Hunter Dickinson told the Jayhawks that he would trigger his COVID waiver and return for one more season. That gives Kansas three returning starters from a season ago — four if Furphy decides to return.

The Jayhawks have several walk-ons that are expected back next season, including guards Charlie McCarthy, Justin Cross, Chris Carter and Wilder Evers, along with forward Dillon Wilhite.

What’s Left?

The Jayhawks have 13 scholarship players already in-house. The one remaining to-do is to find out what Furphy does. If he returns, the Jayhawks are locked in with a roster that, on paper, could be the best in the country. Without Furphy, they have a scholarship to play with to lure another transfer out of the portal or to spend on a player they can develop for down the road.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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