It’s transfer season in college basketball, a stretch of weeks often dominated by rampant rumors, message-board chatter and various forms of speculation.
Who’s leaving? Who’s coming? Who’s mulling a jump to the NBA Draft?
The Kansas basketball program is not immune to such speculation, especially after suffering a second straight early exit in the NCAA Tournament.
But one player who will not be leaving, according to his father, is Kansas sophomore Brannen Greene.
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“There’s no way in (heck) we’re leaving,” Greene’s father, Jeffrey, told The Star this week. “We read that stuff, and we laugh. But we’ve had to deal with that since his freshman year.”
Greene, a native of Juliette, Ga., averaged 5.7 points while playing 15 minutes per game as a sophomore. A former top-30 recruit, Greene shot 40.4 percent from three-point range, stirring the Kansas offense for much of Big 12 play before becoming mired in a late-season shooting slump.
This came after Greene saw just 6.6 minutes per game as a freshman, playing behind Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden on the wing.
Jeffrey Greene says he understands the nature of transfers rumors. His son is a former top recruit who has had to battle for limited playing time in two seasons at Kansas. So, of course, outsiders are going to assume his son is not happy, that he might seek a more appealing situation elsewhere. But he also said the yearly speculation can be difficult on his son and family. Last year, for instance, Greene said a collection of college assistants at other schools sent out feelers to Brannen’s former AAU coaches in Georgia, wondering if Brannen was was happy with his situation at Kansas.
“It’s a tough situation,” Jeffrey Greene said. “You got to fight for everything you want, but who wouldn’t want that for their kid?
“This process has made him stronger, it’s made him into a young man. But when we hear the transfer rumors, and all that kind of stuff, it really affects Brannen, because he has a love for the school.”
He added: “Some things mean something. Sure, there are a lot places he could go and play, but how does that help him in the long run? He can stay here at Kansas, a university that takes care of you, even after graduation.”
For now, just four days after a season-ending loss to Wichita State, the dust is still settling around a Kansas program that bowed out before the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
“It’s for sure disappointing,” Brannen Greene said on Sunday. “Because we said we wouldn’t let this happen like it did last year. It was just such an enjoyable season, and I love all these guys.”
The Jayhawks featured a roster with 11 scholarship players and zero seniors, but as usual, there likely will be some player shuffling in the coming weeks and months.
Freshman wing Kelly Oubre Jr. is projected as a potential lottery pick and will have an NBA decision to make. Freshman forward Cliff Alexander was sidelined by an NCAA investigation, and could also opt to enter the NBA Draft, where his status as a first-round pick could be in question after a tumultuous freshman season. In the moments after the loss to Wichita State, junior forward Perry Ellis and sophomore guard Wayne Selden also deflected questions about their future.
The Jayhawks, though, will feature plenty of competition in the backcourt next season. Sophomore starter Frank Mason will return after being second-team All-Big 12. Freshman point guard Devonte’ Graham appears to have a bright future after playing reserve minutes. Freshman wing Svi Mykhailiuk, a native of Ukraine who will turn 18 in June, has said he will return to Kansas as well, eschewing any possible professional opportunities in Europe.
Selden, meanwhile, regressed statistically during his sophomore season, and has yet to consistently unlock his talent. But he is still a two-year mainstay who has started 71 straight games. Self also has said that Kansas could potentially sign another guard in the 2015 recruiting class.
In many cases, a crowded roster will lead to transfer speculation. And in Greene’s case, much of it stems from what has appeared to be a contentious relationship with Self during his two seasons. For two years, Self has not been shy about saying that Greene must get his “head right.” This year, Greene served a one-game suspension during a late-season game at Oklahoma. He also missed an opportunity to start one game because he was tardy to an afternoon weights session.
Jeffrey Greene said his son’s relationship with Self is slightly misunderstood, saying Brannen has benefited from Self’s tough-love approach.
“In order for Brannen to get there, he has to be really coached,” Greene said.
“He’s got to know the things that are going to propel him to reach his goal and to help his team win. And I think Coach is doing a really good job of that. And they’ve got somewhat like a father-son relationship.
“He’s not afraid to tell Brannen the truth, and likewise, Brannen is not afraid to talk to coach Self. And I think that’s why they love each other so much.”