If you ask Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self about his program’s recruiting needs in 2016, you will get a few answers. He wouldn’t mind another lead guard, he says, and he would take a standout wing if the right one came along. But the focus remains, as it often does, in the frontcourt.
“Our emphasis has to be bigs,” Self said this week. “We need to sign two to three bigs at least, for sure.”
The need for an infusion of big men is evident when you inspect the roster. Senior forwards Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson will exit the program after the 2015-16 season, and incoming freshman Cheick Diallo — who has yet to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center — projects as a potential one-and-done recruit. That leaves a frontcourt that could be limited to Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg and transfer Dwight Coleby in 2016-17.
“It opens up three or four spots inside,” Self said. “It’s nice to have Dwight, because we know he’ll be eligible next year. So I’m hoping we can get two good bigs.”
Recruiting can be a fluid and ever-changing enterprise, but the Jayhawks’ search for big men could begin in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where two of Kansas’ main targets reside. On Monday, big man Marques Bolden, a native of DeSoto, Texas, announced via Twitter that KU was in his remaining list of eight schools. Bolden, who is listed at 6 feet 10, is a consensus top 20 recruit and also considering Duke, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU, Wake Forest and Alabama.
Bolden’s AAU teammate, 6-foot-10 Schnider Herard of Plano, Texas, is also considering Kansas. Herard, who is rated as Rivals’ No. 41 prospect in 2016, has a final list that includes California, Purdue, Mississippi State and Texas Tech. The Jayhawks also remain involved with No. 1 overall prospect Harry Giles, a North Carolina product who is drawing heavy interest from in-state schools Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest as well as Kentucky. Giles will reportedly visit KU for Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 9.
The next NCAA recruiting period begins Sept. 9 and runs through Nov. 8, and Kansas’ recruiting is not limited to the frontcourt, of course. When asked this week what he was looking for, Self was open-ended.
“Everything,” Self said, “because you never know who’s going to leave.”