With arguably the best and most diverse incoming class in school history arriving on campus, Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks have an arsenal of young talent for the near future. The six 2012 recruits along with those who sat out last year, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, present the Kansas coaching staff with the difficult but always appealing dilemma of determining the best fit for each talented youngster. If this task is not daunting enough already, there are three seasoned veterans (Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, and Jeff Withey) along with three other returning role players (Kevin Young, Justin Wesley, and Naadir Tharpe) that must be uniquely handled.
In order to give college basketball fans a more comprehensive preview of the Kansas Jayhawks' 2012-13 season, this six part series will focus on each of the six 2013 recruits, primarily by comparing them to former Jayhawks over the last decade. Despite challenging player rotations in years past, Bill Self has managed to brilliantly combine established talent in Lawrence with raw, inexperienced underclassmen during KU's impressive eight-year Big 12 title run.
White, a small forward from The Miller School in Chester, Virginia, somehow flew under the radar of many elite programs. The swift 6'6" White initially turned heads with his impeccably smooth jump shot, with many comparing his game to that of Ray Allen, but has developed a natural ability to slash into the lane without shying away from contact. While these particularly aggressive moves will remind Kansas fans of Tyshawn Taylor, White's deceptive quickness off the ball is also similar to the 2012 second round NBA draft pick, but a smooth perimeter shot makes him an even better and more versatile all-around player.
With an enormous amount of uncertainty in the Kansas starting lineup, White might have to make the move from the 3 to the 2-guard, a switch that should come naturally to the lights out three-point shooter. Former Jayhawk Brandon Rush, also a highly touted recruit from nearby Kansas City, possesses a similar all-around game to that of White. Rush immediately made his perimeter presence felt as a freshman in Lawrence when he hit over 47 percent of his three-point shots but also snagged five rebounds per game during his career. With similar size and athleticism it is reasonable to expect White to grab a comparable amount of boards. Granted, Brandon Rush did not have an elite center playing alongside him, as White does with Jeff Withey.
As mentioned, Andrew White can certainly drain the three as one of the best perimeter shooters in his class, but his unseflish play outside the arc is eerily reminiscent of Rush as a Jayhawk. Possibly due to this unselfish nature, White rarely dominates the opponent for 40 minutes and oftentimes goes missing for long stretches. However, with a proven scorer alongside him in Elijah Johnson and an elite defensive presence in Travis Releford, it should relieve pressure along the wing and elbow to give White room to develop a mid-range jumper and potentially get easy transition buckets.
Not only will Andrew White give the Jayhawk faithful dreams of Brandon Rush, the supporting starting lineup and role players of the mid-2000s compared to 2012-13 are extraordinarily similar. Can Bill Self and his coaching staff ease the Virginia native into his pick-and-roll and rebound-to-fast break offense?
Part 2 of 6: Milton Doyle and Russell Robinson