Bill Self may have lost a promising 6'9" forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas), but he must replace him with a promising 6'9" forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy to pair with seven-footer Joel Embiid in 2013.
Zach Peters, a 3-star Rivals.com Top 150 recruit, committed to KU during his sophomore year in high school and became the first member of a soon-to-be loaded class for Self. However, repeated concussions and a nagging rotator cuff injury has forced the bruising power forward to leave the program just six games into his freshman season.
Jamari Traylor, Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas may prove to be excellent frontcourt players, but the loss of Peters, along with the impending graduation of seniors Kevin Young and Jeff Withey, leaves the Jayhawks thin down low, as they project to lose over 70 percent of their scoring, rebounding and blocked shots next season.
Self must go all in for a Prestonwood Christian Academy star in order to replace his former Prestonwood Christian Academy star.
Julius Randle, ranked as the No. 2 overall player by Rivals, is considering Kansas along with five other schools: Florida, Texas, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
It is worth noting that he suffered a fractured right foot last weekend and is expected to miss three months. It remains unclear if his absence will affect recruiting trips or a subsequent decision.
Randle's talent and value to a title-contending team is unquestioned; therefore, despite being a projected one-and-done player, he would provide tremendous athleticism and depth to the Jayhawks' forwards for 2013-14.
A look at their projected frontcourt depth for next season reveals an uncomfortable group:
- Perry Ellis
- Jamari Traylor
- Landen Lucas
- Joel Embiid
- Justin Wesley
With the exception of Lucas and newcomer center Joel Embiid, the other three can realistically play either the 3 or 4, and with Self's variety of smaller sets, it is likely Traylor and Ellis will receive minutes regardless of a specific position.
Are Jayhawk fans comfortable with a two-deep frontcourt that features a freshman, two unproven current freshmen and a career role player in Justin Wesley?
Zach Peters might not have been the No. 2 overall recruit or athletic freak that his former high school teammate, Julius Randle, is, but he was arguably the most valuable returning Kansas big man.
Highly touted recruits Brannen Greene, Wayne Selden and Conner Frankamp will join the backcourt and attempt to curb the scoring drop-off from the loss of Johnson, Releford and McLemore. But without depth in Big 12 play, Bill Self was absolutely right when he said he'd like another big man. And that was before Peters left the team Monday night.
Assuming all-world freshman Ben McLemore declares for the 2013 NBA draft, Kansas will lose about 77 percent of their scoring, 70 percent of their rebounding and 84 percent of their blocked shots.
Julius Randle's rare combination of quickness, strength, resilience, ball-handling skills and face-up one-on-one moves makes him the most dangerously complete prep forward in the last decade.
KU would have needed Randle's services for 2013-14 even with Zach Peters on the roster, but now they desperately need him more than any recruit Self has courted during his career in the Phog.
The Jayhawks must go all in for Julius Randle.