This week will play a big role in determining the 2019-20 roster for the Kansas Jayhawks, as two of the top prep players in the country will announce their decisions.
First up is long-time target Matthew Hurt out of Minnesota. The 6-foot-9 forward is a skilled big man with a shooting touch that coaches crave in this day and age of basketball. He’s set to make his announcement on Friday, April 19 and he’s got an all blue-blood final four list of Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
Bill Self has been on Hurt for years now and has put in as much or more work than anybody in his recruitment. In fact, Self was supposed to visit the big man yesterday in Minnesota to make a final pitch until that was canceled by Hurt and his family.
All the signs are pointing to Hurt signing with Duke. He looks the part of a Blue Devil and it’s a safe bet now to assume that is where he’ll end up.
The other top target making his college announcement this week is shooting guard Cassius Stanley out of California. Stanley is a four-star prospect ranked as the 29th best player in the 2019 class, according to 247sports.com. He will be announcing on Saturday, April 20.
Prior to this past week, Stanley was only considering three schools: Kansas, UCLA, and Oregon. UCLA just introduced their new coach – Mick Cronin from Cincinnati – this past week. Given that, I would consider the Bruins a longshot.
The Ducks have had a lot of postseason success recently and they’re on the west coast – which is where many think that Stanley would like to remain. Stanley has played his recruitment close to the vest, but there have been little to no rumors that would suggest Oregon would be the choice.
With KU losing Lagerald Vick, Charlie Moore, Quentin Grimes, K.J. Lawson, Dedric Lawson, and potentially Devon Dotson, one would think KU would have a really great chance at landing Stanley due to the available playing time. Then Duke came into the picture…
Out of nowhere the Blue Devils jumped into the Stanley sweepstakes and they were rewarded with a visit from the guard this past weekend. KU should still look good with all their available roster spots open, but Duke coming in at the last moment is not a good sign and could indicate that Stanley wasn’t sold on any of his original final three schools. And with no school hotter in terms of recruiting the past couple of years, it’s hard to pick against the Blue Devils.
If KU does indeed lose out on both these prospects then they will turn their attention to five-star forward Precious Achiuwa out of Florida. He too has kept his recruitment pretty tight, but KU does have a slight advantage as they are one of only two schools where he has taken an official visit thus far – the other being North Carolina. Achiuwa has said he will likely take more visits and then make his decision sometime in late May.
The other prospect on their radar is combo guard RJ Hampton from Little Elm, Texas. Hampton is currently in the 2020 class but there have been talks about him potentially reclassifying to the 2019 class. He visited KU back in December and he would create a scary backcourt alongside Devon Dotson (should he return as expected). KU and Memphis are rumored to be the supposed leaders, with Memphis holding a slight edge.
Also, keep an eye on 4-star SF Tristan Enaruna. The Jayhawks came in late on him but he is scheduled to visit KU on April 28 according to Matt Scott of KUsports.com.
If those options fail, then they will turn to the grad-transfer route. One of the top transfers in the country, forward TJ Holyfield from Stephen F. Austin, is set to visit KU at some point according to his Twitter page.
Bill Self has his work cut out for him to get this roster ready for the 2019-20 season and it could get tougher if Hurt and Stanley’s decisions go as predicted.
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