Graduate transfer Jack Whitman is leaving the Kansas basketball team, a source close to the program confirmed Wednesday night.
The source’s confirmation came after a report from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, who said Whitman “has decided to leave school.”
Whitman, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who originally played at William & Mary, committed to KU in early May. He had a rough start once arriving in Lawrence. After being on campus about a week, he took an accidental elbow to the head from teammate Mitch Lightfoot in a June 13 drill at coach Bill Self’s camp.
After that, Whitman spoke about his excitement for the upcoming season.
“I know I can play with these guys, contribute and help us win games this year,” Whitman told The Star on June 27 at Washburn coach Brett Ballard’s Ichabod Camp.
Self, when announcing Whitman’s signing on May 8, said the big man’s best asset was his explosiveness.
“He’s a great fit for what we need,” Self said at the time, “because we’re going to be so young up front and he’ll add some experience.”
Whitman’s announcement leaves KU thin in the frontcourt. The Jayhawks have only three big men who can play in 2017-18 (Udoka Azubuike, Billy Preston and Mitch Lightfoot) and eight scholarship players eligible the first semester. Small forward Sam Cunliffe can play at the beginning of the second semester in mid-December.
The decision leaves KU with one remaining scholarship. Rivals’ 2018 top-ranked recruit Marvin Bagley is considering reclassifying to the class of 2017, CBSsports.com recently reported.
Bagley, a 6-foot-10 forward who is considering KU and others, would be able to play this season if he does reclassify. He was scheduled to visit Duke this week.