For the second consecutive year, Bill Self has landed a prolific recruiting class for the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas secured its most significant commitments from forwards Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre.
The question is, what do Alexander and Oubre bring to the table?
Last recruiting year, Kansas secured an unbelievable class that included small forward Andrew Wiggins, center Joel Embiid and swingman Wayne Selden Jr. It was the infusion of freshmen stars that Kansas had been missing in recent years, and it seems to have set a trend.
Now, Kansas welcomes in two of the top 10 players in 2014.
KU comes out of this in good shape with Cliff Alexander & Kelly Oubre as their dynamic duo. Oubre is really good & slides into Wiggins' spot— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 15, 2013
Rapidly replacing departing players is the key to sustaining success in a one-and-done college game.
In a recent interview with ESPN The Magazine, Wiggins stated that his goal is to win a national championship and go No. 1 in the 2014 NBA draft. That should offer enough insight into where his head is, and teammates Embiid and Wayne Selden Jr. could follow in his footsteps as one-and-done players.
Regardless of where those three men are next season, Kansas has taken a step in the right direction by signing Alexander and Oubre. Here's what you need to know about them.
The name of the game for Alexander is power. He has a massive frame, a bruising upper body and a knack for finding the rim while handling the ball in traffic.
In a recruiting class that's highlighted by star big men, Alexander ranks among the best in the country.
Who is the best interior player in the nation?
247Sports ranks Alexander as the No. 3 overall recruit, the No. 2 interior player and the No. 1 power forward in the country. ESPN 100 ranks Alexander as the No. 3 recruit, No. 3 interior player and No. 1 power forward.
Regardless of where you have him on your big board, the consensus is that this kid could be something special.
Alexander stands at 6'9" and weighs roughly 230 pounds. He knows how to use his body down low, and while he will have a grace period to adjust to playing against bigger opponents in college, he should have no trouble thriving once he becomes comfortable with the pace and physicality.
From there, it'll be a rough ride for opposing defenses.
The key for Alexander is his aggressive nature on the glass, where he snatches everything on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he sets strong screens for the pick-and-roll. And he has the potential to develop his current skills into a reliable post game.
Conditioning is a concern, but Alexander has every tool to be one of the best in the country as a freshman.
Oubre is a southpaw wing with natural bounce and an excellent feel for the appropriate pace of a game. He always seems to be in control of the ball, he moves naturally up-and-down the court, and he finishes well both at the rim and with his jumper.
He has a tendency to live on the perimeter, but playing under Coach Self should help him find the proper offensive balance.
Which player is the best wing?
According to 247Sports, Oubre is the No. 7 overall recruit and the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation. ESPN 100 has Oubre as the No. 10 recruit and the No. 3 small forward, which is where he's more likely to play.
At either position, he's going to be an offensive force.
Oubre is at his best in transition, where he uses his creative ball-handling ability and effortless rise to finish at the rim. He has a relatively long setup to his jumper, although he has a quick release, and that could pose problems against elite defenses.
Fortunately, every issue with his game is correctable.
He falls in love with his jumper, and his strong crossover often overshadows his flaws as a ball-handler. Fortunately, he's a long player who has the potential to develop into one of the best two-way forces in the country with the proper honing.
Oubre's basement is that of a strong scorer, but his upside is of a star. It's all about development.