University of Kansas

Juzang, the No. 34-ranked prospect in class of 2019, picks Kentucky over KU, others

Looking at the Jayhawks 2019-20 recruiting class

These are the players in the 2019-20 class that have signed, or are being recruited, by the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
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These are the players in the 2019-20 class that have signed, or are being recruited, by the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Johnny Juzang, a 6-foot-7 senior small forward from Harvard Westlake High School in North Hollywood, California, who last month reclassified from the recruiting class of 2020 to 2019, on Friday announced plans to play college basketball at Kentucky.

Juzang, the No. 34-rated player in the recruiting class of 2019 by Rivals.com, chose the Wildcats over Kansas, Virginia and Oregon. He also heard from Villanova, USC and UCLA. He was ranked No. 22 in the class of 2020 prior to reclassifying to 2019.

Juzang visited just one school — Kentucky — after announcing plans to reclassify on April 24. He averaged 23.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as a junior at Harvard Westlake. He hit 47.0 percent of his shots including 31.3 percent of his threes.

Juzang plays AAU basketball for the Compton Magic.

“I think Kentucky is a phenomenal program and I have always have been a big fan of them,” Juzang told Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “I think it is a place where I will grow tremendously, play for a great staff and with a great team, and have a great chance to make a big run.

“They had been recruiting me throughout my junior year and had come out to meet me several times, so I already had a good relationship with them. Obviously, the recruiting process was sped up with my reclassification but it wasn’t just out of nowhere,” Juzang added.

Of Juzang’s ability, Bossi writes: “Juzang is more than just a spot-up shooter. Because of his size and good strength, he’s also an effective low-post scorer, has a mid-post game and he’s turned himself into a solid defender at the high school level. He plays hard. He’s not afraid of a big moment and he’s had a lot of exposure to high level competition as he’s made his way through the grassroots ranks playing in the summers with the Compton Magic.”

Kansas on Wednesday signed Tristan Enaruna, a 6-8 guard/forward from Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah. He joins guards Christian Braun and Issac McBride in KU’s recruiting class of 2019.

KU coach Bill Self is hoping to add a few more players to the 2019-20 roster.

It is known that KU finds itself in a recruiting battle with Memphis (and others) for three highly-sought prospects: guards Rayjon Tucker and R.J. Hampton and forward Precious Achiuwa.

Tucker, a 6-5 graduate transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock, has a final five of KU, Memphis, Auburn, Iowa State and West Virginia. He is seriously considering a jump to the NBA and has in fact entered his name in the 2019 Draft.

Hampton a 6-5 senior guard from Little Elm (Texas) High School who is ranked No. 6 in the recruiting class of 2019 by Rivals.com, has a list of KU, Memphis, Kentucky and Texas Tech.

Achiuwa, a 6-9, 215-pound senior power forward from Montverde Academy in Florida, who is ranked No. 17 in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com, has a list of KU, Memphis, North Carolina, UConn and Georgia.

It is believed KU is not pursuing T.J. Holyfield, a 6-8, 227-pound graduate transfer out of Stephen F. Austin, who recently announced a list of KU, Illinois and Texas Tech.

Lately there has been talk KU may be in the running for Kyree Walker, a 6-5 junior combo guard from Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. He is ranked No. 17 in the recruiting class of 2020 by Rivals.com. He is considering reclassifying to 2019 and reportedly has a list of KU, Arkansas, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Tennessee and Oregon. He has not yet reclassified to 2019.

The month-long spring signing period ends Wednesday. Players still can sign financial aid agreements if they decide after that date. Teams are allowed 13 scholarship players.

Scholarship players who at this time are expected to be on the 2019-20 KU roster: Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot as well as McBride, Braun and Enaruna. 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.

Rankings

Bossi of Rivals.com has ranked future Kentucky player Juzang the No. 7 small forward in the class of 2019. Future KU player Enaruna checks in as the No. 8 small forward in the class. Overall, Juzang is ranked No. 34 in the class of 2019; Enaruna No. 44.

“Enaruna could even play some as a skilled 4 in college because of his size. Enaruna has made huge strides in the last year. He’s athletic, has skill and is just growing into his body,” Bossi writes.

Self OK with three-point switch

KU coach Self is OK with an impending men’s college basketball rule change that will move the three-point line from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches.

“I think it’s fine to move it back,” Self, Kansas’ 16th-year coach, told Andy Katz in an article at NCAA.com in which Katz talks to several coaches about the rule change. “I think it would impact the game, not so much a lack of attempts, but shooting percentages will go down a bit,” Self added.

“The new line should be advantageous to the better shooting team, providing more spacing. It will be interesting to see if any less threes get taken or whether there’s a significant impact on percentage,” Texas coach Shaka Smart told NCAA.com’s Katz.

Noted Texas Tech’s Chris Beard: “It might change the game a little, probably lower three-point field goal percentage. It probably helps players (shooters) with their jump to professional basketball (and three-point line of 23-9).”

KU ranked 12th by NCAA.com’s Katz

KU is ranked No 12 in the country in Katz’s current 2019-20 preseason rankings.

“The backcourt returns, even if Dedric Lawson is gone. And remember this is Kansas, which never falls off too far,” Katz writes at NCAA.com.

His top five consists of Michigan State, Kentucky, Oregon, Auburn and Marquette. Texas Tech is 10th, Oklahoma 23rd and Baylor 29th. He ranked 36 teams.

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