Blue-chip point guard Trevon Duval’s commitment to Duke on Monday may have ended Kansas’ recruitment of players in the class of 2017.
Put an emphasis on the word, “may.”
Barring any late surprises — and there have been shockers in the past, such as Kevin Young’s commitment to KU in mid-June 2011 — the Jayhawks will enter the 2017-18 season having corralled Marcus Garrett, a point guard from Dallas Skyline High; Billy Preston, a power forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and Jack Whitman, a power forward graduate transfer from William and Mary.
Transfers who will be eligible to play in the 2018-19 season include Charlie Moore, a point guard from Cal and Dedric and K.J. Lawson, power forwards from Memphis.
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The Jayhawks’ current incoming class of 2017 on Monday was ranked No. 15 nationally by Rivals.com. Kentucky was tabbed No. 1, followed by Duke, UCLA, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Texas, Louisville, Xavier, Western Kentucky, Stanford, Oregon, Miami and Providence. Transfers were not considered in making the rankings.
“A versatile, athletic and tough forward, No. 10-ranked Preston will be able to play both the high and low roles when Kansas wants to run Bill Self’s famed high-low action,” wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com in announcing Rivals.com’s team rankings. “Garrett (No. 38) is a tall and lengthy point guard who will play multiple spots on the perimeter in Lawrence.”
Duval, the top-rated point guard in the high school recruiting class of 2017, and Rivals.com’s No. 4-ranked prospect overall, on Monday chose Duke over finalists KU, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall. Duval, who had KU on his list for many months amid rumors he was a lock for Duke, averaged 16.1 points and 7.5 assists per game his senior season for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Another player listed as a Jayhawk prospect, forward Jeremiah Tilmon, on Monday committed to Missouri, though it is unclear how heavily KU recruited him or Tilmon’s possible interest in the Jayhawks.
Rivals.com’s Corey Evans addressed the topic of “what’s next for Arizona, Kansas and others?” following Duval’s commitment to Duke.
“Bringing in five-star forward Billy Preston this spring, a top-25 recruit that played with Duval in high school two years ago, was thought to be the catalyst to bring in Duval,” Evans wrote. “While that didn’t happen, Kansas isn’t empty-handed in the backcourt. Devonté Graham is returning for his senior year and former five-star (combo guard) Malik Newman will hit the floor after sitting out a year after transferring from Mississippi State. Kansas will also have incoming freshman Marcus Garrett.
“Bill Self has relied heavily on guard-oriented lineups and by bringing back Svi Mykhailiuk, a rising senior that has not hired an agent just yet, the Jayhawks should be set in the backcourt entering the fall. They also just landed Charlie Moore, the perfect replacement for Graham, who will transfer into the program by way of California. The Jayhawks also sit in good spots with 2018 guards Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Jalen Carey.”
KU currently has the maximum 13 players on scholarship following Dwight Coleby’s announcement that he will transfer to a yet-to-be-determined school. Mykhailiuk has until May 24 to remove his name from the draft pool if he wishes to return to school. Losing Mykhailiuk would leave KU with 12 players and the possibility of signing another.
As it stands now, Graham enters the season as KU’s full-time point guard, with Garrett the likely backup.
“Devonté wants the ball like Frank (Mason) had it last year,” Self said recently. “He deferred some this year because Frank was so good. How unselfish is this kid? He said, ‘Frank we need you to keep doing what you are doing. It’s so good for us.’ ”
Ballhandling duties also can be handled by combo guards Newman, a 6-3 redshirt sophomore from Mississippi State, and 6-5 junior Lagerald Vick. The 6-8 Mykhailiuk and 6-6 sophomore newcomer Sam Cunliffe (to be eligible at the conclusion of first semester) are considered shooting guards.
“Malik is big enough to play any guard spot,” Self said, “so he could play the 2, could play the 3 and certainly could play some 1 if need be, although that’s not what he is. He’s a good enough ballhandler he could be a kind of a backup (point) or secondary handler. He’s really talented. He’s one of the most talented guards we’ve had here.”
KU will have a true point guard on the roster in 5-foot-11 Cal transfer Moore, out of Chicago Morgan Park High. He’ll be eligible to practice, then play in games as a sophomore in 2018-19. The Jayhawks have also received a commitment from Markese Jacobs, a 5-11 point guard from Chicago’s Uplift High, who still has two years of high school to complete.
The Jayhawks are involved with several guards in the recruiting class of 2018. They include Darius Garland, 6-0, Brentwood Academy in Nashville, who is ranked No. 8 nationally in the Class of 2018 by Rivals.com; No. 12 Grimes, 6-5, College Park High School in the Woodlands,Texas; No. 15 Quickley, 6-4, John Carroll High School in Bel Air, Md.; No. 37 Dotson, 6-1, Providence Day High School in Charlotte, N.C.; and No. 53 Carey, 6-4, Immaculate Conception High in Montclair, N.J.
Bol Bol averaging 25.4 ppg on circuit
Former Bishop Miege center Bol Bol, a 7-foot-2 junior forward from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High, is averaging 25.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.1 blocks a game this spring for California Supreme on the Nike EYBL circuit.
“I’m just trying my best,” Bol, the No. 7 ranked player in the class of 2018, told Rivals.com. “I’m big but I can go inside and outside.”
He’s received scholarship offers from KU, St. John’s Arizona, Oregon, USC and Creighton, and in the last week Kentucky and UCLA.
“At first I didn’t believe it and I thought it was a joke,” Bol said of the Kentucky offer. “It was kind of cool. They are always good every year and always have good players. Everybody that goes there goes to the NBA.”
Days attracting attention
Darius Days, a 6-7 junior forward from Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., who is ranked No. 113 in the class of 2018 by Rivals.com, has averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 boards while playing for Nike South Beach on the EYBL circuit.
He has received offers from KU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Providence, South Florida and Wake Forest.
Rivals.com reports that Florida, Florida State or Miami have not yet offered.