How the Kansas Jayhawks Will Replace Their Starting Five Next Season
How the Kansas Jayhawks Will Replace Their Starting Five
In the one-and-done era of college basketball, elite programs have become turnstiles for prep stars looking to turn their skill into a profession. At schools like Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA, restocking rosters has become an annual occurrence.
For the Kansas Jayhawks, the 2012-2013 season has been remarkably successful, and they are less than a week away from being crowned BIG 12 regular season champions for the ninth consecutive year. According to Joe Lunardi of ESPN, the Jayhawks are currently projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
While Kansas is primed for a deep run in the Big Dance, sports fans know that its never too soon to look towards next season.
Kansas will have major voids to fill this offseason. The Jayhawks will lose their top five scorers, and top 4 rebounders. In fact, at the end of this season, Kanas will almost certainly lose its entire starting lineup. Four of its five starters are seniors, while Ben McLemore is pegged as a Top 5 NBA draft pick, and is likely to leave school after this season. .
Head coach Bill Self is one of the best recruiters in the college game, and has reeled in the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN. With one 5-star recruit and four 4-star recruits in KU's class of 2013, Self will be looking for major contributions from his diaper dandies.
Check out the breakdown of what the Jayhawk's are losing this offseason, scouting reports on each incoming recruit and how Kansas will fill the void next season:
Point Guard: Elijah Johnson
What KU Has to Replace: 4.9 Assists Per Game
Elijah Johnson's most significant contribution is his senior leadership. The ability to have a lead guard with experience running a team is invaluable. Johnson is an excellent distributor, and possesses great vision at the point guard spot. However, as a senior, Johnson has been wildly inconsistent as a scorer, and is shooting just 40 percent on the season.
In-House Replacement: Naadir Tharpe
As a sophomore, Naadir Tharpe has been solid serving as Johnson's backup. He is a true pass-first point guard, and uses his dribble to breakdown his defender and find the open man. As a scorer, Tharpe has a consistent jumper from mid-range, but has really struggled to finish at the rim, and is currently shooting 48 percent around the basket.
Class of 2013 Replacement: Conner Frankamp
Simply put, Conner Frankamp is the best shooter in the Class of 2013. The 6-foot Wichita native has a silky-smooth stroke and racks up points in a hurry. He has made major strides as a scorer off the dribble, which makes him a true matchup nightmare on the offensive end of the court. Using jab-steps and hesitation moves, Frankamp creates space for his lethal three-point shooting. At just 155 pounds, Frankamp needs to add muscle to his frame, but he will be able to step in and provide valuable scoring from day one.
Shooting Guard: Ben McLemore
What KU Has to Replace: 16.5 Points Per Game
Ben McLemore is one of the most dynamic scorers in college basketball this season, and will be the hardest player for Kansas to replace. The ultra-athletic 2-guard has the ability to score from anywhere on the court. He has a quick first step and finishes with authority at the rim. The most impressive aspect of his game is his long-range shooting. With a compact, smooth stroke, McLemore has range out to 24-feet and is knocking down 42.5 percent of his three-point shots.
In-House Replacement: Rio Adams
A former 4-star recruit, Rio Adams has seen very limited playing time as a freshman. At 6'3'' Adams is more of a combo guard than a 2-guard, and has the skill to alternate between guard positions. He is a great athlete, and gets to the rim at will. In order to make an impact during his sophomore year, Adams needs to continue to hone his jumper, as he has failed to make a three-pointer so far this season.
Class of 2013 Replacement: Wayne Selden
How will Kansas replace one of the top draft picks? With high school basketball's version of LeBron James. In 2011, Wayne Selden won the High school National Championship, AAU National Championship and the U-18 World Championship. Rated as a 5-star recruit, Selden is a monster at the amateur level, and uses his strength and skill to dominate on both ends of the court. As he continues to develop his jump shot, Selden has the talent to become a lottery pick.
Small Forward: Travis Releford
What KU Has to Replace: Versatility, 12.2 Points Per Game on 59.1 Percent Shooting
Travis Releford has been the glue guy for the Jayhawks this season, and has the ability to make an impact in every facet of the game. Releford's most important contribution to the Jayhawks is his on-ball defense. He uses his strength and agility to shut down his opponents' best perimeter scoring threat, and is averaging a team-high 1.2 steals per game. As a scorer, Releford is deadly from inside the perimeter, and is shooting a team-high 59.1 percent from the field.
In-House Replacements: Andrew White III
Nicknamed AW3, Andrew White III has shown a ton of potential during his freshman year in Lawrence. At 6'6'', White is an excellent athlete, with the ability to alternate between the 2-guard spot and the wing. Playing on a loaded KU team, AW3 has averaged just 5.5 minutes per game, and will be looking to make a name for himself during his sophomore campaign. In order to make an impact next season, White needs to refine his jumper and become a consistent threat from outside of 15-feet.
Class of 2013 Replacement: Brannan Greene
Brannan Greene possesses the length, athleticism and skill to become one of the best scorers in the BIG 12. Greene is lethal from mid-range, and uses his size to create space for his jumper. He has continued to progress as a ball handler, and is an acrobatic finisher at the rack. With added consistency from beyond the arc, Greene has the potential to develop into a go to scorer down the road. As KU's second-highest rated recruit, look for Greene to have an instant impact for the Jayhawks next season.
Power Forward: Kevin Young
What KU Has to Replace: 6.9 Rebounds Per Game
Kevin Young has been the breakout player of the year for the Jayhawks. While he is thin and wiry, Young is a great athlete, and uses his explosive leaping ability to dominate on the boards. As a scorer, a majority of his offense comes from dunks and put backs. Where he really excels is on the glass. Young is KU's best rebounder and is averaging 6.9 rebounds playing only 22.7 minutes per game. With the graduation of Kansas' entire starting frontcourt, Bill Self's squad will have a major void to fill.
In-House Replacements: Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor
Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor are both freshmen power forwards that have excelled in reserve roles this year for Kansas. Ellis and Traylor have the ability to start at the 4 for KU next season, but it will most likely be Ellis who earns the starting spot. A former McDonald's All American, Ellis has great length and the skill to become the Jayhawk's leading rebounder next season. As he adds strength to his frame, Ellis has the talent to become one of the best all-around big men in the conference, and is a likely first-round draft pick down the road. Traylor will most likely be the 6th-man for the Jayhawks next season. He is a remarkable athlete, and needs to continue to work on his game. An excellent rebounder, Traylor can become KU's next Kevin Young as he continues to develop his post game.
Center: Jeff Withey
What KU Has to Replace: 4 Blocks Per Game
Jeff Withey is one of the best shot blockers in all of college basketball this season. He is a legit 7-Footer and an imposing defensive presence. Withey is currently 3rd in the nation in blocked shots per game with an average of 4. His ability as a shot blocker will be almost impossible to replace, as he is able to dominate the paint and deter opponents from entering the lane.
In-House Replacements: Landen Lucas
Landen Lucas is currently redshirting for the Kansas Jayhawks. Lucas has spent his redshirt season adding strength, and improving his consistency as a face-up scorer. He possesses the size and strength to be a bruiser on the low block, and make a significant contribution on the boards. Lucas is the biggest question mark on the Kansas roster going into next season. He has spent the season practicing against Withey, and Ellis, and his experience matching up against elite competition should reap immediate benefits for the Jayhawks.
Class of 2013 Replacement: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has been climbing up recruiting rankings as his senior season has progressed. At 6'11'', Embiid will be the tallest player on KU's roster next season, and the most likely candidate to replace the shot blocking prowess of Withey. He is a remarkable athlete, and when his skill matches up with his potential, Embiid will be an absolute force. With his combination of size, length and explosive athleticism, Embiid's ceiling is through the roof. While he has a lot of work to reach his full potential, a Larry Sanders comparison is very fitting.