The Kansas Jayhawk fanbase needs to be more than just upset about letting Trey Burke do his best Robert Horry impersonation. While the college basketball community is still buzzing around the Michigan Wolverines‘ improbable comeback victory over Kansas–another more troubling thing is going slightly unnoticed. The Jayhawks are going to lose a slew of talent to graduation or the pros.
In fact, the top 5 minutes per game players for Kansas are likely gone. Four of them have now lost eligibility and Ben McLemore seems destined to declare early entry into the draft. Players such as Jeff Withey, who has been with program since the dinosaurs became extinct, are now gone. Outside of those two gems, Kevin Young, Elijah “I know no where I be on the court” Johnson and Travis Releford are all gone.
Luckily for Bill Self and Kansas, the program has another group of topnotch freshmen ready to join the program for next year. Still, losing this much talent and experience can be at least a little bit troublesome. It is not like a player such as Withey grows on trees. It is almost unimaginable that Kansas will be able to replace a 7 foot, shot blocking beast (who also provided leadership) by adding a few freshmen.
This is an end of one Kansas basketball era and the birth of a completely new one. Next year’s squad will not resemble this one’s at all. It will be up to Self to try to duplicate the success with a much younger team next year. Maybe that one won’t fall so early in the big dance or let a game slip away in the Sweet 16.
Personally, I really liked this version of Kansas. I am a complete Withey-homer and had this team winning the National Title this year. Alas, Burke ruined my bracket and ended an era with a shot from three states over.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone