University of Kansas

KU’s Bill Self announces signing of Tristan Enaruna to national letter of intent

“I’m not going anywhere,” KU’s Bill Self says

Despite rumors that he could coach in the NBA, KU basketball coach Bill Self stated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 that he will be coaching the Jayhawks next year.
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Despite rumors that he could coach in the NBA, KU basketball coach Bill Self stated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 that he will be coaching the Jayhawks next year.

Future Kansas basketball guard/forward Tristan Enaruna can be compared to a pair of former Jayhawks now playing in the NBA, coach Bill Self said Wednesday in announcing the signing of the Netherlands native to a national letter of intent.

“He would remind KU fans of a Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins-type from his size, athletic ability and skill-set,” Self, KU’s 16th-year basketball coach, said of Enaruna, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound senior from Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah.

Enaruna said Tuesday night he stretches to 6-foot-9.

“He is still time away from having the impact that those two players had (at KU),” Self said, “and strength will be very important in his development. We feel like Tristan’s ceiling is one that he could be one of the most complete offensive players that we’ve had here at Kansas over the last several years.”

Enaruna, originally from the Netherlands, chose KU over Creighton and Miami in recruiting.

“We have been recruiting Tristan the entire year and have always been impressed with his IQ, skill-set and tremendous athletic ability,” Self said. “At 17 years old, he is young for his class, but his versatility is one of a guard.”

Enaruna averaged 10.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as a senior.

”Tristan has been very well drilled and very well coached. He has been in the United States the last two years which should allow his transition into college to be a fairly seamless one,” Self said.

Enaruna arrived at Wasatch Academy from the Netherlands midway through his junior season of high school. After that school year, he returned to the Netherlands, where he considered signing with a pro team and halting any chance of playing in college.

“When I got the job (at Wasatch after 2017-18 season), the first thing I did was fly to Holland and spend a day and a half with Tristan and his mom and trainer,” Wasatch coach David Evans said Wednesday. “I knew from the first moment I met him his spirit was great. I asked him to come back (to U.S. for senior year). He was thinking of turning pro in Europe. Every day I’m thankful he decided to come back. What a turn of events for him … now he’s going to KU. It’s a cool story.”

Evans said Enaruna played the 1, 2, 3 and 4 positions this past season.

“I think he’s a natural 3,” Evans said of small forward. “He can handle the ball well. He’s our most skilled player with the ball in his hands, a very team oriented guy. He is good at everything he does. He’s become a much better shooter since he’s been here. He’s a great passer, very good rebounder and he’s becoming an elite defender. He’s good at going left and getting to the rim even though he’s right handed. He has an NBA skill-set. He just needs experience. He’s a very high-level player.”

Enaruna is ranked No. 44 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com.

“Creighton was on him since he was 15 years old,” Evans said. “He has a great relationship with that staff. I think he feels he needs to push himself. With this decision (going to blueblood school) maybe that is what he is doing. ... Kansas, Creighton, Miami — all three coaching staffs are really good.”

Of KU’s coaches, Evans noted: “They came in halfway through the season. Everybody liked Tristan’s upside. His best basketball is ahead of him. You can watch and see how athletic he is. He just needs a little more fight in him.

“He’s pretty quiet and reserved, very polite, very mature, very thoughtful. His mom is a great person. He’s been respectful, thoughtful and as good a kid as you can get in a program.”

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KU coach Bill Self previews the Jayhawks’ game against Texas and his team’s chances in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City Rich Sugg rsugg@kcstar.com

Enaruna’s brother, Iyen, is a 6-9 forward who just completed his freshman year at Cloud County Community College in Kansas. He averaged 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game in 2018-19.

Enaruna is the third player to sign with KU. He joins guards Christian Braun (Blue Valley Northwest) and Issac (“Mackey”) McBride as members of the recruiting Class of 2019.

The Jayhawks have several scholarships to award in the spring signing period, which lasts until May 15.

Scholarship players who at this time are expected to be on the 2019-20 roster include Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot. Also, freshman point guard Devon Dotson is testing the NBA waters, but there is a strong possibility he will return to school.

Freshman Quentin Grimes and junior Dedric Lawson are expected to remain in the NBA Draft. Sophomore Silvio De Sousa has said he will remove his name from the draft pool if he wins an eligibility appeal with the NCAA.

Recruit Johnny Juzang, a 6-7 junior small forward from Harvard Westlake High School in North Hollywood, Calif., who announced last week he’d be reclassifying from the recruiting Class of 2020 to 2019, will announce his college choice Friday, he reported on Twitter. He has a list of Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia and Oregon. Kentucky is regarded as the heavy favorite for Juzang, who is ranked No. 34 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com.

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