Kansas’ four-man recruiting class of Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson, Silvio De Sousa and David McCormack has been ranked No. 1 in the country halfway through the 2017-18 recruiting season by 247sports.com and No. 2 overall (behind Duke) by Rivals.com.
ESPN.com, meanwhile, has the Jayhawks at No. 5 as recruiting continues into the winter and spring. The week-long early signing period concluded on Wednesday.
“We are excited about those guys. We’d be thrilled to have all of them at any point in time in any year we’ve been here,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in assessing the results of the early signing period, quickly adding Thursday, “We can’t be done. We’ve still got more work to do.”
That means trying to add at least one player in the spring.
“I think we need a perimeter scorer,” Self stated. “Think about bigs — and who could and should be in the fold next year — we could be OK. (Think about) guards — a lead guard and all-around guard — and we should be in good shape. It would be nice to get one more shooter. Even though it hasn’t been shown in games against Missouri or Kentucky, we’ve actually got really good shooters.”
The shooters Self might be referring to include seniors Devonté Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, junior Lagerald Vick and sophomore Malik Newman, who all could be gone after this season.
The Jayhawks will continue to recruit two of the top six players in Class of 2018 who fit the profile of scorers: no. 2-rated Zion Williamson, a 6-6 wing from Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School, who has a list of KU, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, N.C. State and Clemson and No. 6 Romeo Langford, a 6-4 combo guard from New Albany (Ind.) High School, who has a final three of KU, Indiana and Vanderbilt.
“In this situation, to have four in the pocket, and I think they are four that are terrific, that are all very, very bright, understand the game and will be immediate impact guys … I think that takes some pressure off the spring for sure,” Self said.
Counting the signees — No. 11-ranked (by Rivals) Grimes, 6-5, combo guard, College Park High School, The Woodlands, Texas; No. 17 Dotson, 6-2, point guard, Providence Day High School, Charlotte, N.C.; No. 25 De Sousa, 6-9 power forward, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.; and No. 33 McCormack, 6-10, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va.; KU currently has 14 scholarship players (one over the limit) projected for next year’s roster.
However, spots will open especially if Vick, Newman, Billy Preston and Udoka Azubuike leave for the NBA Draft with seniors Graham and Mykhailiuk.
One of the signees — De Sousa — is hoping to play for KU this season, likely in late December. On track to graduate from IMG Academy in December, he’s awaiting the results of his standardized test score which will need to be matched with his performance in core courses to see if he’s eligible at this time.
“Silvio is from Angola and he’ll be our fourth player from Africa in five years to come (tincluding Joel Embiid, Cheick Diallo, Azubuike),” Self said. “He came to the States after he started his ninth-grade year. In Angola school runs January through December as opposed to our schools that run August through May. His eighth semester is up this December. He has to graduate in December. There’s no other way about it. If he doesn’t graduate in December, more than likely his only avenue to go to college would be through the junior-college ranks.
“Graduating doesn’t mean you are NCAA eligible. His situation is he can be NCAA eligible also but he has to get the corresponding test score, and we do not have the results back on that yet. Hopefully that’ll be the case. If it is the case unless something unforeseen takes place he’ll be in a Kansas uniform, but instead of waiting until next fall to be in it, he can be in it this January or whatnot. With our depth situation and size that would be huge. He’s 6-8, 240 and really, really a nice prospect,” Self added.
Power forward McCormack weighed well over 300 his junior season at Oak Hill Academy. Then he went to work on his body.
“He put himself on a workout schedule and diet,” Self said. “He is so disciplined if he eats anything not on his own particular diet he came up with himself, he comes up with a punishment for everything he doesn’t eat right. He has a Thomas Robinson type body.”
Of Dotson, Self said: “I think Devon is one of the very best point guards in the country from an explosiveness standpoint and everything.”
He spoke about Grimes after his Hawk Talk radio show had concluded on Wednesday night after receiving Grimes’ letter-of-intent.
“We feel Quentin Grimes is as good a guard as there is in high school basketball,” Self said. “He’s got great size. He’s got point-guard vision. He can really handle the ball. He reminds me of a guy that I coached at Illinois, Deron Williams, but probably a better scorer than Deron at this stage.
“We think Quentin will be an impact guy for us and be one of the premier guards in the country early in his career. Jerrance (Howard) was the point man with him, and we’ve seen him play a lot, not only through his AAU program but also with his high school team. He’s one of the more complete players that we will have recruited in our time here. I anticipate the transition from high school to college pretty seamless for him.”