Technically, the Kansas Jayhawks are coming off of their “worst” season under head coach Bill Self. That “worst” was still 21-9 and a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament. That just shows you how good they have been. But they have not won a national championship since 2008. There is a good chance that changes this year.
You might look at this and think I am crazy for having Kansas so low. And you might be right. I could probably put my #2, 3, & 4 teams in any order.
But first, if you missed it, you can read about the #5 Purdue Boilermakers right here.
The Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas was, in my eyes, very inconsistent early in the season last year. But they got their act together as the season went on. The Jayhawks won nine of their last eleven games last season. That team returns four starters. They also bring in a top-tier transfer, two other good transfers, and a top 15 recruiting class.
David McCormack leads the returners. When he was on the floor last season and playing his best, Kansas as a whole was at their best too. He has become one of the best big men in the Big 12. McCormack averaged 15.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in the Jayhawks’ final twelve games last year. That is what helped them win nine of eleven. Ochai Agbaji has started every single game Kansas has played the last two seasons. Last year’s leading scorer comes back poised to be a potential all-conference player this season. Christian Braun was the only other player to start all 30 of Kansas’ games a season ago. Braun is a good scorer and rebounder and one of the team’s best free-throw shooters.
At times last season, Jalen Wilson looked like one of the best players in the Big 12. For the season he averaged almost twelve points and eight rebounds per game. That rebounding mark was second in the conference last season. However, keep in mind that Wilson was suspended for the first three games of this season by head coach Bill Self following a DUI arrest. Dajuan Harris and Mitch Lightfoot were the only two non-starters to play in all 30 games last season. They both return as well.
This year Bill Self touts the best recruiting class in the Big 12. The four-man class is the 11th best class in the nation and includes three players ranked in the top 100. PF Zach Clemence is the highest rated at #49. PF KJ Adams (#74) and PG Bobby Pettiford (#97) are the other two in the top 100. Kyle Cuffe Jr. is the other one #114). I am a huge Bobby Pettiford fan. He was originally committed to Louisville before de-committing in March. Nine days later he got an offer from Kansas and the next day he committed. I think he is underrated and could earn himself a chance to push for minutes. It will be hard this year given the PGs they currently have though.
Bill Self did a really good job on the transfer market this year. The biggest addition is former Arizona State PG Remy Martin. In his four years in Tempe, he established himself as one of the best PGs in the country. The three-time All-PAC-12 selection is an elite scorer and has a lot of speed. If he can become a better distributor, then look out.
Jalen Coleman-Lands comes over from Iowa State. Kansas is Coleman-Lands’ fourth school of his collegiate career, which is heading into its seventh year. He is doing that by taking advantage of the free year of eligibility granted by the NCAA. Because of that, I am going beyond “super senior” to call him a “super-duper senior.” He is like an old man on this team. But he is still a very good player and he continues to get better every year. Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu is another player to add to their bevy of guards.
PF – #33 David McCormack (13.4 PPG/ 6.1 RPG/ 1.1 APG)
SF – #10 Jalen Wilson (11.8 PPG/ 7.1 RPG/ 2.0 APG)
G – #30 Ochai Agbaji (14.1 PPG/ 3.7 RPG/ 1.9 APG/ 1.1 SPG)
SG – #2 Christian Braun (9.7 PPG/ 5.2 RPG/ 1.9 APG/ 1.2 SPG)
PG – #11 Remy Martin (19.1 PPG/ 2.8 RPG/ 3.7 APG/ 1.2 SPG at Arizona State)
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