RELATED: Five-star Young commits to Oklahoma
Kansas’ efforts for recruiting the class of 2017 took a hit Thursday when longtime point guard target Trae Young elected to stay home and play for Oklahoma.
It is never easy to miss out on a top 15 prospect like Young, but given that the majority of highly rated prospects are off the board, the timing isn’t the best and the pool of available players to choose from is pretty shallow. That said, Kansas is still Kansas and Bill Self is Bill Self, meaning that there are still options out there.
The No. 1 target left on the Kansas board is point guard Trevon Duval – who Kansas is expected to watch on Thursday. The No. 3 ranked player in the class of 2017, Duval has been to Kansas for both unofficial and official visits this season. He’s also seen Duke, should be seeing Arizona later this month and has Seton Hall on his list as well. There is heavy competition and Duke has been seen as the team to beat of late, but there’s nothing to suggest Kansas isn’t a real player here and they’ll certainly be turning up the heat.
Next in line after Duval is probably four-star combo guard Mark Smith from Edwardsville (Ill.) High. Kansas saw him recently and has been angling to get him on campus and it’s likely that he gets a closer look. He’s 6-foot-4, tough, skilled and has added recent offers from Texas, California, Illinois, DePaul, Northwestern, Kansas State and many others.
Kansas could eventually turn to the junior college ranks or see what’s out there in the graduate transfer market, but odds are they will prioritize Duval and go from there.
With All-American Frank Mason departing, there is a void in the KU backcourt next season, but the Jayhawks' track record suggests that they will figure it out.
Former five-star prospect Malik Newman will be eligible after sitting out a year for transferring from Mississippi State and while Newman is a scorer first, he can surely help out with the ball-handling duties. Four-star signee Marcus Garrett has proven he can play the point and has size and versatility that will allow him to play multiple positions as well.
As far as returners and newcomers go, though, the biggest question is whether or not junior Devonte Graham decides to return. There’s little doubt Graham will at least test the NBA Draft waters and look to score an invite to the NBA Combine, but whether or not he will stay in the Draft is very much up in the air. If he comes back, Kansas is set. If he doesn’t, that’s where the recruiting will kick in.