Kansas will open the 2019-20 college basketball season as the No. 10-ranked team in the country according to Ken Pomeroy’s preseason rankings, which were released Saturday.
Michigan State is preseason No. 1 followed by Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Purdue, Villanova, Gonzaga and KU. Missouri opens at No. 39, Kansas State No. 49 and Wichita State No. 62.
The Spartans were also preseason No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday. KU was ranked third.
CBS calls KU a ‘frontrunner’ to win title
CBSsports.com lists Kansas as one of three “front-runners” to win the 2020 NCAA basketball title. Michigan State opens with 6-1 odds, Kentucky 7-1 odds and Kansas 8-1 odds.
“Devon Dotson could prove to not just be the best point guard in the Big 12 but also the fastest in America. There’s strong returnees in the frontcourt. Silvio De Sousa won his appeal and will play this season. He’ll be joined by Ochai Agbaji, a 6-foot-5 power wing who will skyrocket in usage,” writes Matt Norlander of CBSsports.com.
“KU is a frontrunner because it looks to progress to a top-five defensive team. Isaiah Moss, a transfer from Iowa, and junior guard Marcus Garrett will stiffen and strengthen KU’s approach. Last season was the worst for Kansas basketball in 20 years. The Jayhawks probably won’t lose more than five games this regular season,” Norlander adds.
CBS lists “title contenders” as North Carolina and Duke (10-1 odds), Louisville (14-1), Florida (16-1) and Maryland (40-1). “Darkhorses” listed by CBSsports.com are Villanova (18-1), Seton Hall (60-1), Cincinnati (100-1) and Providence (300-1).
Sporting News has KU No. 3
KU is ranked No. 3 in the country in the Sporting News preseason poll. Michigan State is No. 1 and Kentucky No. 2.
“Strengths: Front court power and depth, point guard, defensive potential. Weaknesses: Shooting, wing scoring,” writes Mike DeCoursey of the Sporting News.
“No team last season was more devastated by injuries (and other calamities) than KU, which lost Udoka Azubuike early in the season to an injury (and De Sousa to ineligibility even before that). Azubuike is healthy again and wisely chose to spend another year working on developing the polish he’ll need to succeed at the NBA level. De Sousa had his eligibility restored after the NCAA initially announced he’d miss two years. Thus KU has as deep a frontcourt rotation as anyone. The starting wings, Agbaji and Garrett, are wonderful college players, but neither is an elite shooter,” DeCoursey adds.
Thompson visits OU
Bryce Thompson, a 6-4 senior combo guard from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is ranked No. 19 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, made his final official recruiting visit — to University of Oklahoma — last weekend.
Several media outlets, including the Oklahoman, took notice of a recruiting pitch for Thompson shown on the scoreboard at the OU-West Virginia football game, which Thompson attended.
A video featuring Trae Young and Blake Griffin was played during the first quarter, with the underlying message that in-state players such as Young and Griffin fare well when they choose OU.
Thompson acknowledged seeing the video on Twitter. He is considering KU, OU, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Texas, Arkansas and Michigan State. KU has been recruiting Thompson since he was a freshman. His dad, Rod, played for KU coach Bill Self at Tulsa.
KU recruiting Cleveland
Kansas is recruiting Matthew Cleveland, a 6-6 junior shooting guard from Pace Academy in Milton, Georgia, Rivals.com reports.
Cleveland, who is ranked No. 35 in the recruiting Class of 2021 by Rivals.com, is being recruited by KU, Kentucky, California, Stanford, Georgia, Louisville, Auburn, Florida State, North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina and others, writes Dan McDonald of Rivals.com.
Todd has grown a lot, coach says
Isaiah Todd, a 6-10 senior forward from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, who orally committed to Michigan over KU on Friday, has come a long way as a college prospect.
“Todd is a player I could not like as an Under-16 player as he was arrogant and not coachable,” USA Basketball youth coach Don Showalter told Zagsblog.com. “He has made the biggest turnaround of any player. Now he has a great attitude and is coachable. I love his skill set on both offense and defense as he can guard any position on pick-and-roll. He has a good perimeter game and will be a prototype stretch 4.”
“He’s a great kid,” said NightRydas AAU coach Maurice “Kenoe” Jordan. “He’s very coachable and smart. They’re getting a great player and a hard-working kid who is obsessed with improving and getting better.”
Robinson visits Arkansas
K.K. Robinson, a 6-0 senior point guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, visited Arkansas over the weekend.
Robinson, the No. 80 rated prospect in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, who is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, has also visited KU, Illinois and TCU.
“It was really fun,” Robinson said of his recent visit to Illinois in an interview with Zagsblog.com. “They want me to come in and run the team. They have all the right pieces around for the team to do something special. They said they just need a strong point guard.”
Of Arkansas, Robinson said: “Home state school, being able to play in front of my family and friends on a consistent basis.”
Of KU, he said: “I loved it. The atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse (for Late Night in the Phog on his visit) was crazy. Being able to see Snoop Dogg (perform) was also a great experience. They said they aren’t recruiting me to sit on the bench. They are recruiting me to make plays and to be one of the go-to guys down line. Of course I have to earn it. Nothing is given. I think I’ll fit great in their system. Coach Self has always done great with little guards as myself.”
Moses Moody, a 6-5 senior small forward from Montverde (Florida) Academy, who also has KU on his list of schools, joined Robinson over the weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Moody, who is ranked No. 50 in the Class of 2020, has KU, Michigan, USC, Virginia, Ohio State, Arkansas and Oregon on his list. He’s also originally from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brown-Ferguson visits UConn
Javonte Brown-Ferguson, a 6-11, 230-pound junior forward from Thornlea Secondary School in Ontario, Canada and the Under Armour Canada Elite AAU program, who is considering reclassifying to 2020, made an official visit to UConn last weekend. He’s visited Kansas and Texas A&M and also is considering Arizona.
Foster hears from KU
Foster, the No. 6-rated player from the recruiting Class of 2021 according to Rivals.com, has a list of KU, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, St. John’s, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Arizona, Florida State, TCU, Memphis, Illinois, Georgetown, Wake Forest, UCLA, Minnesota, Houston, Texas, TCU, Texas A&M, Marquette, LSU, Arizona State and others.
“I’m wide open,” Foster told Rivals.com.
“I plan to start cutting my list down next summer. But I’m going to go on my official visits this year so I can have five as a junior and five as a senior. So I might as well just use them all,” he said.