Kansas Basketball: Projecting Jayhawks' 2013-14 Rotation
The largest mass exodus in Bill Self's career as Kansas head coach came following the 2007-08 national title season.
Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur all left Lawrence early for the NBA. Seniors Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart also departed. All seven ranked in the Jayhawks' top eight in minutes played, leaving Self with guard Sherron Collins and little-used Cole Aldrich.
Despite this episode of departures, Kansas managed to capture yet another Big 12 title while reaching the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 3 seed in 2009.
Self has been lauded for this consistency over ten years as head coach for KU and while the No. 2 Jayhawks appear ready for another Final Four run in 2013, he will likely lose his entire starting five in rebuilding his roster once again.
He currently holds a stellar recruiting class of five commits, one that will likely hit six in the coming weeks, therefore significant changes to a young rotation will occur.
Naadir Tharpe will easily be the most experienced Jayhawk returning for the 2013-14 season and barring a catastrophic offseason meltdown in decision-making, the soon-to-be junior true point guard will be running Self's pass-heavy offense next season.
Look for lights-out shooter Conner Frankamp to receive ample opportunities behind Tharpe and potentially alongside Tharpe in smaller lineups if the KU shooting guards are saddled with foul trouble.
1. Naadir Tharpe
2. Conner Frankamp
3. Frank Mason
4. Niko Roberts
5. Christian Garrett
Aside from a 15-point outburst on 6-of-8 shooting, freshman shooting guard Andrew White III has struggled to integrate his versatility into the KU offense. On a veteran team, there are few opportunities to showcase offensive talent but White should have no problem increasing his current 6.6 minutes per game.
Brannen Greene was shockingly under-recruited as a high school star at Tift County in Georgia, but another impeccable shooter with good size (6'6", 215-pounds) may receiver double-digit minutes as a freshman.
1. Andrew White III
2. Brannen Greene
3. Rio Adams
4. Evan Manning
5. Tyler Self
Kansas has relied heavily on fifth-year senior Travis Releford for suffocating defense and his efficient, but not flashy, offense this season. Fortunately for Self, his replacement is an athletic freak with an excellent offensive game.
While Brannen Greene could see time at SF or big men Perry Ellis, Justin Wesley, or Jamari Traylor could potentially slide down if needed, small forward is Wayne Selden's spot to lose.
1. Wayne Selden
Perry Ellis was expected to be an instant contributor for Kansas, but everyone knew he was a work in progress, similar to Marcus and Markieff Morris as freshmen big men in 2008. A recent stretch of aggressive and consistent offensive play suggest Ellis should settle in nicely following the departure of senior Kevin Young.
Jamari Traylor has provided excellent energy off the bench but has committed too many Kevin Young 2011-12-esque foolish fouls to be a reliable forward. He should still remain above Lamar transplant Justin Wesley in the rotation for next season.
Depending upon the development of 2012 recruit Landen Lucas and raw 2013 big man Joel Embiid, Self may elect to start two of his power forwards.
1. Perry Ellis
2. Jamari Traylor
3. Justin Wesley
Joel Embiid likely would have been a Top 25 five-star recruit had he arrived on the United States high school basketball scene earlier. A 7'0" center from Gainesville might vaguely remind KU fans of a raw Cole Aldrich, but his ceiling could be significantly higher with great ball-handling skills for a center.
It is a toss up if Embiid will overtake redshirt freshman Landen Lucas in the paint for 2013-14 and they should split minutes in the early going.
1. Joel Embiid
2. Landen Lucas