Kansas Basketball: Is Jayhawks' 2013 Recruiting Class Bill Self's Best at KU?

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Kansas Basketball: Is Jayhawks' 2013 Recruiting Class Bill Self's Best at KU?
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

Despite a bevy of transfers and few near-empty recruiting classes over the last decade, Bill Self is one of college basketball's premier recruiters.

He has built a Big 12 dynasty, capturing his 10th-straight conference crown last weekend but continues to chase the suddenly elusive second national title.

After ranking all of Bill Self's recruiting classes at Kansas last season, let's take a peek to see where the dynamic 2013 class stacks up against the likes of Brandon Rush, Cole Aldrich and Thomas Robinson.

 

 

11) 2010

Josh Selby and Royce Woolridge

A 5-star recruit and late commitment, Josh Selby made his highly anticipated debut following a 9-game suspension and drained five of eight three-point shots on his way to 21 points in 27 minutes against USC in 2010. Unfortunately he only scored 185 points the remainder of the season and clearly was never comfortable in Bill Self's offense.

Royce Woolridge committed quickly and was soon quickly a forgotten member of the 2010 class, transferring to Washington State after playing only 44 minutes during the 2010-11 season.

 

10) 2003

J.R. Giddens, David Padgett, Jeremy Case and Omar Wilkes

ORLIN WAGNER/Associated Press

J.R. Giddens was persuaded to remain a Jayhawk by Bill Self following the Roy Williams departure, instantly becoming the trophy recruit of the 2003 KU class. After an outstanding freshman season in which he averaged 11.3 points and 3.6 rebounds, the small forward struggled mightily as a sophomore before an off-campus stabbing incident in May 2005 led to a mutual parting of ways.

Little-known Omar Wilkes and 5-star recruit David Padgett also transferred early in their Jayhawk careers, leaving little-used Jeremy Case as the lone member of the highly touted class.

 

9) 2012

Perry Ellis, Andrew White III, Rio Adams, Landen Lucas, Zach Peters and Milton Doyle

Three members of the deep, six-player class barely lasted a combined season in Lawrence, with Adams, Peters and Doyle all departing the program.

Perry Ellis has been the lone bright spot of the 2012 class, with Landen Lucas seeing limited minutes as a redshirt freshman behind Joel Embiid and Tarik Black. Andrew White III might be the leading transfer candidate heading into the 2014 offseason.

 

8) 2011

Ben McLemore, Naadir Tharpe, Jamari Traylor, Merv Lindsay and Braeden Anderson

Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor are the only remaining members of the 2011 class, with McLemore leaving for the association after one season while Merv Lindsay and Braeden Anderson "played" a combined one season for Self.

McLemore posted the best statistical freshman year in school history and Naadir Tharpe has provided a much-needed steady hand, despite constant inconsistencies with ball security, in Bill Self's pass-heavy scheme.

The jury is still out on the 2011 class.

 

7) 2007

Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed

The Cole Aldrich legend grew overnight with an inspiring freshman performance against three-time consensus All-American First Team big man Tyler Hansbrough in the 2008 Final Four, setting the stage for an illustrious three-year career in Lawrence.

Tyrel Reed joined Kansas as a conservative 3-star guard from Burlington, Kansas after gaining minimal high-major interest. He provided the imperative consistency needed during the major roster overhauls of the late 2000s, but his legacy was hurt by two early tourney exits in 2010 and 2011.

 

6) 2009

Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson and Xavier Henry

Elijah Johnson's name is met with sigh, groan or "meh" by most Kansas fans. Alongside Tyshawn Taylor, Johnson led KU to the 2012 title game and provided a couple of the best individual performances of Bill Self's tenure. Repeated poor decision-making and an untimely jab to the groin of Mitch McGary in the 2013 Sweet Sixteen destroyed his reputation.

Thomas Robinson's selection to the 2011 All-American First Team speaks for itself.

 

5) 2013

Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Frank Mason

While 50 percent of the 2013 class could only play one season, the six-member class is the only reason Kansas wrapped up a tenth-straight Big 12 title and will be contending for another national title in three weeks.

Depending upon the development of Frankamp, Greene and Mason, the 2013 class could become Bill Self's best—but less than one year removed from their pledges to the Jayhawks, the jury is still out.

 

4) 2004

Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson and C.J. Giles

5-star point guard Russell Robinson may never have reached his potential at Kansas, but many will argue the 2008 title run would have been non-existent without his reliability.

Kaun and Jackson remain two of the most underrated players in Kansas basketball history.

 

3) 2006

Sherron Collins, Darrell Arthur and Brady Morningstar

Bill Self got everything he needed and much more from the three-member 2006 recruiting class with the All-American Collins, versatile power forward Arthur and one of the best defenders in school history with Morningstar.

 

2) 2008

Travis Releford, Tyshawn Taylor, Mario Little, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Quintrell Thomas and Tyrone Appleton

Despite the transfer of Quintrell Thomas and Tyrone Appleton, the post-title class of 2008 was beautifully perfect. The Morris twins formed one of college basketball's best frontcourts while Releford and Taylor provided four years of stability in the backcourt.

Along with Brady Morningstar, Travis Releford selflessly took a much-needed redshirt season before becoming an irreplaceable cog in the Jayhawks' system.

 

1) 2005

Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Julian Wright and Micah Downs

Good luck finding two players more important to Bill Self's legacy than Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush.

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