Kansas Basketball: Breaking Down Every Addition and Departure
As Kansas head coach Bill Self continues to pursue additional pieces for 2013-14, the Jayhawks are already facing a major roster turnover.
"I think the current roster could add a piece or two to make it great," Self told the Kansas City Star last week, even after landing Arkansas transfer forward Hunter Mickelson.
With only one upperclassman expected to play a prominent role next season in junior point guard Naadir Tharpe and five, or more, incoming freshman hoping for big minutes, there is plenty to sort out as we look at every departure and addition for Kansas.
Out: Elijah Johnson
In: Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason
It is no secret Naadir Tharpe will be the starting point guard come November as senior Elijah Johnson departs. He will be given the Jayhawks' high-low offense with lofty expectations of efficiently solidifying a new starting five.
Incoming freshmen Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason will compete to back up Tharpe, although both have a small chance of redshirting next season.
Frankamp's extra offensive dimension as a scorer immediately gives him the leg-up as he developed into a unique hybrid-combo guard during his senior season at Wichita North.
Out: Ben McLemore
In: Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene
Replace elite athleticism with elite athleticism is something Bill Self will do as highly-touted multi-dimensional recruits Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene arrive this offseason.
McLemore, arguably the best freshman in school history, led Kansas in scoring at 15.9 points per game last season and despite occasional droughts, he was their No. 1 scoring option.
With games that perfectly complement each other, Selden and Greene will likely start alongside each other in dual guard-forward roles with expectations of carrying the offensive load.
Out: Travis Releford
In: Selden and Greene
Selden at 6'5" and Greene at 6'6" have the size and willingness to play on both sides of the arc, offensively and defensively, but need time to adjust to the speed of the college game.
Departed fifth-year senior Travis Releford will graduate as one of the best 94-foot defenders in Kansas hoops history. It is an overbearing reputation that both Selden and Greene, offensive-minded swingmen, are far from.
While both freshmen possess similar physical talents and dynamic versatility, neither can immediately match up defensively with Marcus Smart in the first half while switching to Michael Cobbins in the second.
Releford's leadership will be sorely missed on a young team.
Out: Kevin Young
In: Hunter Mickelson and Landen Lucas
Sophomores-to-be Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor are perfect fits for KU's vacant power forward position and expect to provide upwards of 45 combined minutes in the frontcourt.
However, occasional bigger lineups in the Big 12 will force Self to plug in 6'10" redshirt freshman Landen Lucas alongside a trio of guards and 7-footer Joel Embiid.
"He's probably the toughest kid we have inside without question," Self said of Lucas to the Lawrence Journal World in March. "I think he'll be a load."
Young's energy was unmatched and must be replicated in an offense that prospers off second-chance points and a defense that dominates around the rim.
While Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson, a 6'10" power forward, will not be at Self's disposal until next season, his presence will assuredly prompt the juggling of lineups.
Out: Jeff Withey
In: Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson and Joel Embiid
Jeff Withey departs carrying 13 combined rebounds and blocked shots per game from last season, two numbers that proved his value as the nation's best interior defender.
While 5-star recruit Joel Embiid holds similar attributes with Withey and dominated the frontcourt as a senior in Gainesville, Florida, he remains an extremely raw and inexperienced center.
Embiid's projected role next season remains wildly unpredictable as KU is expected to experiment with mid-sized lineups involving their plethora of scoring guards and Traylor-Ellis duo.
Look for Lucas and Mickelson to share Embiid's leftover minutes in the coming years.