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Who will emerge?

  • CorpusJayhawk
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2 months 2 weeks ago #23008 by CorpusJayhawk
We have an interesting mix of players this coming season. We have a couple seniors who should be known commodities in Udoka and Mitch.

Mitch has been on a nice trajectory and I suspect he will have a satisfying senior season. But unless something approaching miraculous happens, Mitch is not a day to day top tier player. He has the heart of a lion and the will to match but he simply lacks the raw ability and size to dominate at his position. Having said that, I fully expect some highlight moments for Mitch and hope to see him go out as a champion and a loved Jayhawk.

Udoka has shown he can be a force to reckon with if he can stay healthy and that is a big if. But few players have his size and strength and with Big Dave to spell him, he will likely see some tired defenses late in games. I hope he works his but off to get back in shape and sharpen up his weak areas. But all in all he is a known commodity that I do not see deviating too far from his established lane. Of course, his established lane is 1st team Big 12 level and even possibly AA level. His FT shooting and lack of any face up game are still slight concerns. I look for him to be a dominant part of this team and have a high level year but nothing that is far outside what most will expect.

Devon is an interesting candidate for a breakout year. He clearly has something to prove. He has some natural tools that are off the charts. His first step and even 2nd step on both offense and defense are outstanding. He will no doubt shoot about 500 shots a day this summer and work on his range. He will also work on his team leading. He had, IMHO, the best season of any freshman PG under Self. That is not insignificant. I think if he has a normal frost to soph improvement he will be a dynamic part of this team. He has a chance to really turn heads, though. I am not predicting that but I am sure hoping. He is a top 3 on my list to surprise to the upside. I have him as No. 3.

Silvio is another candidate to surprise to the upside. He has not competed for a year but he has been Hudyized for a year. He clearly has more to prove than anyone and has a chip the size of Angola on his shoulder. With the depth we already have and potentially even more if Wilson comes, Self will have freedom to let De Sousa be more aggressive. I could see a team leader in blocks and rebounds and possibly even floor burns. He is a top three on my list to surprise to the upside. I would rate him No. 2.

Marcus has been just a jump shot away from bursting onto the scene as a dominant Div 1 player. If he miraculously developed a top quintile jump shot, he would be All Big 12 and probably AA potential. He would be lethal with his awesome team awareness and defense. He has the actual situation to be the biggest upside surprise. Unfortunately, after two years, I am not optimistic that he will become a jump shooter. I love the kid and he brings a lot to the team situationally but is probably realistically a solid bench player.

Ochai burst onto the scene last season and then proceeded to fade quickly. Will the real Ochai please suit up. Is the real Ochai the 20 point per game 40%+ 3FG shooter who confounded defense that we saw early or the sub 35% 3FG shooter and lost on defense player we saw most of the rest of the season? I suspect it is some combination. No doubt he will be working hard on his shooting this if season. He is a great athlete and good quickness. But I think the reality is, he is a spot starter and relatable bench player. Although I would rate him as No. 4 to surprise to the upside. I hope he has a monster year.

Big Dave showed steady, and I sincerely mean steady improvement last season. He will be going at it with Udoka, Mitch and Silvio all summer and will have a year of experience to know how to improve in the off-season. I think he has a good opportunity to really break out this season. But there are two big hurdles. They are named Udoka Azubuike and Silvio De Sousa. Big Dave would likely start on just about every other team in the Big 12 and all but about 5-10 teams in the country. I am projecting he has a solid year of steady improvement before he has a monster junior year. But I would rate him as the No. 5 prospect to sunrise to the upside.

That brings us down to the thee freshmen and the possibility of Jalen Wilson. Obviously I have not named my player most likely to suprise to the upside. Let’s jump right to that.

Tristan Enaruna is a below the radar player. He has been growing about 5 inches per year and is a unique player in that he has height, athleticism and guard skills. He is just raw. But his trajectory seems to be accelerating. He seems to be one of those players that is coming into his own at a little later age. Can anyone say Joel Embiid? I do not think he will be the star on this team nor do I think he will remind a lot of Joel Embiid. What I do think is that he has the potential to be the biggest upside surprise on this team. He may be that 6’10” (possibly 6”9”) player that looks, feels, acts and plays like a legit shooting guard or wing. If he shows that he can defend another wing he could be a soldi starter. With the lane being well protected this season with Udoka and Silvio and even when Mitch (great rim protector) and Big Dave come in, the rim is not going to be a friendly place for opponents this season. That means defending a wing takes on a different challenge, potentially helping Enaruna immensely. Also, Enaruna has the size to guard a 4 if KU decides to play a little smaller (which we will). Enaruna, on this mix of players has the potential to be a huge upside surprise which with the talent this team has, could still mean he is the 3rd or 4th best player on the team.

I am not ready to make any projections on Mackey or Christian. If Jalen comes, I would guess one will likely redshirt. That is unless one of them comes in and shows the ability to defend and shoot bullseyes from the arc.

Don't worry about the mules, just load the wagon!!
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2 months 2 weeks ago #23009 by NotOstertag
I'm putting my money on Garrett with honorable mention to McCormack. I don't know enough about the freshmen to comment, but I see those two making the biggest strides.

While I don't really ever see Garrett becoming a great shooter, I expect some improvement there. In the end I see Garrett as the next Travis Releford. Releford was never a true "star" but he was consistent enough to find a home in the starting rotation and did a lot of the little things well. Somebody here pointed out to me that he NEVER shot a left handed layup and once I started watching, it was absolutely true. I see Garrett similarly: some obvious flaws exist, but if he brings the REST of his game up to a higher level (which most of it is already there) his overall benefit to the team is undeniable.

McCormack would have been my #1 choice, but he's going to be playing behind Dok and Silvio (and sometimes Mitch) so I think his minutes will be more limited than Garrett's. I kind of see David similarly to Cole Adrich in his rookie year having to play behind Sasha, Darnell and Darrell. The talent was there, he was learning, but it wasn't really until the Carolina win in the FF where he really emerged at a new level. As long as Silvio and Dok stay healthy, I think David will show great improvement (he needs to learn patience, which is a byproduct of confidence) but I'm just not sure he'll get enough floor time to emerge as much as he might if we didn't have the other guys.

14 championships, 13 home losses since 2003
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2 months 2 weeks ago #23010 by Wheatstate Gal
Cole schooling the second coming (Tyler H)......one of my all time favorite performances.....

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2 months 2 weeks ago #23011 by Bayhawk
Yes WSG, and Ostertag took "Big Country" behind the woodshed lo those many years ago . . .

Memories (cue Bans).

RC

The end is nothing; the road is all.
-- Jules Michelet

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2 months 2 weeks ago #23012 by NotOstertag
Not me! Oh yeah, the REAL Ostertag.

A few years ago he started playing some hockey. He's gotta be close to 7'6" in skates.


14 championships, 13 home losses since 2003
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2 months 1 week ago #23018 by DrJHawker
Corpus - Excellent analysis! Many of the same thoughts (hopes) I've had but you laid it all out so well. If either/or both Moss and Wilson join the party it makes it even more interesting. Reminds me of last year before Silvio was disqualified Dok injured and Grimes underperformed. An abundance of talent, insanely deep bench and the biggest question, "How does Self keep all this talent happy?" Hopefully, it will turn out much better than last season.

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2 months 1 week ago #23019 by CorpusJayhawk
From what I can tell I would rather have Moss over Wilson if we get only 1. Moss is a very close fit to our needs. Plus he is a 4th year player which means maturity and discipline. Of course I would be happy to have Wilson as well. If they both come I would think that Agbaji is the big loser and possibly Garrett. But Garrett will always get minutes situationally because of his particular skills. But Agbaji could be relegated to the bench. But that third backcourt starter position is really an open one. I would guess the starting lineup would be

PG — Dotson
SG — Moss
3G — Wilson, Enaruna, Garrett or Agbaji
PF — De Sousa
C — Azubuike

Heck, who knows, even McBride or Braun could be in the running for that third guard position. There will be some lively competition for minutes. I could see Moss and Dotson getting 32-33 minutes per game. That leaves maybe 60-70 minutes per game for those 6 players depending on how often we go 4 guard set. My hope, as outlined in my opening post, is that Enaruna emerges as the third guard. Having a Tayshaun Prince like guard is huge in the college game. If he truly has perimeter skills and can shoot the three effectively, he would be a real benefit. He also makes the 4 guard lineup even more efficacious since he could feasibly play the forward position with his size. Of the group of Wilson, Enaruna, Garrett, Agbaji, McBride and Braun, the one that seems to be guaranteed minutes is Garrett. He seems to be a 15 minute per game player regardless of who else gets minutes. If we get both Moss and Wilson and everyone stays healthy, we will have crazy depth.

Don't worry about the mules, just load the wagon!!
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