Bill Self and his young Kansas Jayhawk basketball team have high expectations for the 2013-2014 basketball season.
By Brennan Keller
As the Kansas Jayhawks ended the 2012-2013 season with a crushing 87-85 loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen, many fans (including myself) are already looking forward to what’s in store for next season. Assuming that freshman sensation and fan favorite Ben McLemore declares for the upcoming NBA draft, the Jayhawks will enter next season having lost their entire starting lineup in seniors Kevin Young, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, and Ben McLemore. That being said, there are several talented players (including a McDonalds All-American) that have the potential to make the Jayhawks the team to beat in the Big 12 yet again. Here is a brief look at next year’s potential starting lineup along with a few players that could see quality minutes off the bench.
Naadir Tharpe 5’11” 170 PG
- Player analysis: With Johnson graduating, Tharpe will now be the “floor general” for the Jayhawks. All season long, Self continuously talked about how important of a player Tharpe will be in the upcoming years. Tharpe will be one of coach Self’s most experienced players coming into next season as this young Kansas team will look to Tharpe as their team leader. Tharpe will enter next season with more confidence which will lead to him being a better shooter.
Perry Ellis 6’8” 220 PF
- Player analysis: After a slow start to the season, Ellis came alive for the Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament and in the NCAA Tournament. A player with tons of athleticism, there is no question that Ellis will be one of the Jayhawks starters next year. Look for Ellis to continue to work on his post moves and defense in the off-season. The coaching staff at KU is known for developing quality post players and the soon-to-be sophomore will be needed in big ways next season down in the paint.
Wayne Selden 6’5” 225 SG (2013 McDonalds All-American selection)
- Player analysis: Ranked #12 in ESPN’s 2013 recruiting rankings, the incoming freshman who is known as being a “big time” scorer will be expected to come in right away and help the Jayhawks on the offensive end. Many college basketball analysts think that with a successful freshman season, Selden has the potential to be a one-and-done player. Look for Selden to be one of the best freshman in the Big 12 next year.
Brannen Greene 6’7” 200 SF
- Another extremely talented player with a smooth shot, Greene will be another player that will do great things on both sides of the floor for KU. Ranked #43 in ESPN’s 2013 recruiting rankings, Greene will be one of the Jayhawks most talented offensive players. With some more time in the weight room, Greene has the potential to be one of the best small forwards in the Big 12 and in the country by the time he graduates.
Joel Embiid 7’0” 220 C
- Player analysis: Considered one of the most underrated recruits in the nation, Embiid will no doubt be a player that can provide the Jayhawks with effective offensive production down low. Although Embiid needs to work on his post moves and add some muscle, he could eventually be the player that takes over for senior Jeff Withey.
First player off the bench: Jamari Traylor
Other players expected to contribute: Landon Lucas (redshirt freshman), Andrew White III, Frank Mason, and Connor Frankamp.