Kansas Basketball: Projecting Jayhawks' 2014-15 Rotation
Another offseason brings another roster overhaul for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.
After losing four players to graduation and the NBA (plus two more to transfer), the 12th-year head coach welcomes three intriguing prospects to the Phog for 2014-15 as he builds another championship caliber roster.
There remains serious optimism in Lawrence for a billionth-straight Big 12 title and return to the Final Four. KU boasts a remarkably deep, adequately experienced roster, and a look at their projected rotation reveals explosive athleticism, filled holes and only a couple of question marks.
Let's take a look at the projected rotation for the Jayhawks' 2014-15 season.
1. Frank Mason
2. Conner Frankamp
3. Devonte Graham
Point guard is easily the biggest toss-up heading into the 2014-15 season for Bill Self—a man who would give up Naismith's rules for an efficient and reliable floor general.
Frank Mason is the incumbent by default—solely as a result of Self's historical preference of experience.
Many believe Frankamp solidified his spot atop the depth chart after steady postseason play following a forgettable freshman campaign, but Mason more than doubled the Wichita, Kan. native's 2013-14 minutes and routinely ran with the starters.
Lastly, Brewster Academy point guard Devonte Graham became the last, yet arguably the most intriguing commitment of the 2014 class. Just days after losing another Brewster product in Naadir Tharpe, Self replaced him with an uber-athletic point guard of the future.
Look for Graham to sneak into double digit minutes by midseason, especially if Mason cannot avoid turnovers, but he'll likely be regulated to backup duty in year No. 1.
1. Wayne Selden
2. Brannen Greene
Despite a sub-par freshman season in which he averaged a less-than-expected 9.7 points per game while failing to provide consistent lane penetration, Wayne Selden was expected by fans and media to enter the 2014 NBA draft.
Selden will be a starter, barring a drastic change in scheme. But could he be moved to point guard if Mason, Frankamp and Graham cannot provide stability?
"I don't know. We'll have to wait to see how everything plays out," Bill Self told Gary Bedore of KUSports.com.
Could this be a move to get sharpshooter Brannen Greene, desperate for development opportunities, into a 20-plus minute role? Or is Self really that skeptical of his point guard depth? Remember, Self's comment was made before Naadir Tharpe announced he was transferring.
1. Kelly Oubre
Kelly Oubre, a 5-star (via Rivals.com), lanky small forward from hoops factory Findlay Prep is a hybrid Andrew Wiggins-Kyle Korver type with the slashing ability of Russ Smith.
Seriously? Yes, seriously.
Jayhawks fans will love the 6'7" Oubre—a dynamic scorer and talented perimeter defender.
1. Perry Ellis
2. Jamari Traylor
Perry Ellis proved his 2013 postseason run was no fluke. He more than doubled his minutes and points per game in 2013-14 while shooting nearly 55 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the line.
Another offseason with Norm Roberts, Kurtis Townsend and Bill Self will launch Ellis into All-American consideration.
Jamari Traylor is this decade's Darnell Jackson. While he occasionally makes foolish off-ball decisions, Traylor is an imperative 20-25 minute bench piece that won't have the KU staff worried when Ellis and others hit foul trouble.
1. Cliff Alexander
2. Landen Lucas
3. Hunter Mickelson
At 6'8" (6'9" by other accounts), Cliff Alexander is not a true center and will never become one, but he is far too talented to leave on the bench because of traditionalist views. The Kansas offense will revolve heavily around the versatile and reliable power forward.
Bill Self helped develop two of the most menacing true centers that college basketball has seen in the last 20 years, in Jeff Withey and Cole Aldrich, but he will not have one for the foreseeable future.
Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson is eligible after sitting out last season, and redshirt sophomore Landen Lucas will provide much-needed depth in the paint, but both will play complementary hybrid 4 or 4.5 roles on both ends of the floor.