Graham to KU

  • Just read this on ESPN. Funny how this has all worked out in 24 hours.

  • And we still have one more scholarship to give.

    I’m betting we aren’t done.

    This is Self’s magic time of year. Imagine what we need, and no one is better at going out there and finding it in the last second.

    There is a reason for our late success.

    First… Self is one heck of a recruiter. And it you pin him into a single focus, he’ll find a player.

    Second… he’s recruiting for Kansas… a true blue blood program.

    Third… when it is this late for recruiting, the recruiting picture is clear… crystal clear. Kansas still has a hole for a big post player. One who can block shots. A defensive specialist. Someone with body and can play physical basketball. We could use the brother of Tarik Black!

    I know, I know… we have plenty of post players. Don’t tell me, tell Self! He’s like the dog that can’t stop eating. Self will not stop recruiting. If a situation exposes itself (and it will) Self will be the hungry dog beating down the door to that player.

    If he does find another big, I hope he finds one who already has college experience. Remember how great it was to find Kevin Young?

    Now is the time to plant your gardens… but you better stay in tune to Kansas basketball for another month or so, because there is an excellent chance we haven’t closed out the recruitment for next year!

  • Just read this on ESPN. Funny how this has all worked out in 24 hours.

    Not so funny, it was an obvious choice. Go to NC State and compete with Cat Barber or come to KU and compete to start. I won’t say that Graham is a lock to beat out Mason and Frankamp, but I will say, I won’t be surprised if that’s what happens. The most important thing is that we bring the real leadership to the PG spot that we lacked the last two seasons. That’s not to slag off Tharpe or EJ. They’re both good people and gave a lot to the team that I love, but it was clear that neither of them was ready for prime time with regards to being HGIC at KU.

  • He seems happy with his choice. Timing is everything in life! Make the most of it.

    ##Devonte’ Graham ‏@im_dat_kid_dtae · 27m

    ##Brannen Greene ‏@b_greene14 · 25m
    ##@im_dat_kid_dtae Yea, my boy! Congrats and welcome to the family.

  • @konkeyDong I was being sarcastic.

  • @drgnslayr Someone more up on recruiting might know, but is there anybody else out there worth getting?

    I don’t know that anyone out there will be an improvement over Mickelson, Traylor, and Lucas. All have at least one year college experience, and all have at least one year in Self’s system. If you’re looking for a defensive specialist, they will have to be someone who can trump Mickelson, who has two years playing time in college and one year in Self’s system. If such a person were out there, I think we would have heard about him by now.

    Honestly at this point, I’d be in favor of bagging the schollie, perhaps rewarding a walk-on with it. Self should be focusing on the 2015 class rather than searching through the scraps of what is left from this year’s class. The only exception would be if there’s another coaching change (Calipari rumors to the Lakers are swirling again) and someone high-profile de-commits.

  • Bigger, Faster, and while he’s being touted as a scorer, this video has an abundant amount of spectacular assist. Reminds me of Mario.

  • @wrwlumpy And that’s a year old, from his senior season. I’d be interested in seeing some highlights from last season at Brewster. Thanks for the link. Good looking player.

  • @icthawkfan316

    I have to admit I’m not knowledgeable on recruiting. But I’m sure there are situations out there, and Self is still on the prowl. That, I’m sure of. If he was done, we’d probably hear it. He would give us a clue now after Graham signs. I’m not expecting to hear that.

    Things happen quickly. I’m sure there are a few players out there who graduated early, like Black, who can play right away.

    I’m not sure if we find anyone more skilled than what we have, but we might find someone with more experience.

    We have that rep of being “Big Man U” and we have the potential next year to not really have a single premiere big.

    That spells opportunity for a quality big out there who would like to up his potential for being drafted after college.

  • @drgnslayr The only big I’m aware of that we’ve expressed interest in that could come in and play right away is JUCO standout Akolda Manyang, but we haven’t offered him and it looks like he’s planning to come out next year, not this year. Given the depth of quality big men in next years class, I doubt we’ll be offering.

  • @drgnslayr I just don’t think it’s likely to find a “premier” big, who has graduated and would be eligible right away. I would be shocked if another person even of Black’s caliber was eligible and available again this year.

    And if we can’t find someone more skilled than what we have, why give the playing time to a less skilled OAD transfer with more experience? It made some sense last year, as we were still relatively young. This next year is different. Jamari, Mickelson, & Ellis will all be juniors. Lucas is a redshirt sophomore. To me the extra year experience a guy has at a lesser university isn’t worth sapping playing time from the guys who are here and can give us an extra year or two of service.

  • @icthawkfan316 I REALLY wanted this guy - don’t know anything about him except for his name and that’s enough for me.

    Goodluck Okonoboh

    Well, I tried to bring his picture in from ESPN, but I ain’t smart enough. Anyway, he’s #26 on ESPN’s top 100 - signed with UNLV.

    What a name though!

  • Not sure how many of you get ESPN Insider. Here is the breakdown.

    Kansas has been in the market for a strong point guard and on Friday got their man in Devonte Graham.

    Why he committed: With the departure of Naadir Tharpe, there is a major opportunity for playing time on a team that is loaded at every other position. “It played a big factor in my decision to attend Kansas because he [Tharpe] played the same position," Graham said. "The tradition of Kansas and having a great opportunity to play right away fit what I was looking for.”

    [+] EnlargeGraham Arianna Hoffman/ESPN.comDevonte Graham’s game progressed during his post-graduate year, and Kansas came calling. Bill Self’s success – 10 consecutive Big 12 titles – made a Kansas offer hard to turn down.

    “At Kansas, the goal is to compete for a national championship and their situation is extremely attractive to accomplish that goal next year. Winning is important to Devonte,” said Brewster head coach Jason Smith.

    What he brings: As a lead guard with excellent athletic ability, Graham shows the balance between being a facilitator who is thinking about setting up his teammates and a scorer. His basketball IQ is what stands out, as he understands spacing and flow within his floor game, or he can turn it up a notch and play at a faster tempo. He can be trusted by his coaches because he is more of a decision-maker vs. a risk-taker with vision and passing accuracy to connect with his teammates. He led his Brewster team in assists (171 in 33 games) and his assist to turnover ratio was terrific at 5-1. As a 3-point shooter, he shines by knocking down shots on a fairly consistent basis, which complements his floor game so well. Once inside the arc, watch out for his dribble pull-up game and floaters, as he is equally adept in those areas. Defensively he levels the drive well as he stays in front of his man and will step in and take charges off the ball, which is uncommon for most high school players.

    How he fits: The biggest void for Kansas was a floor general who can make an assist and/or score from the point guard spot. Graham is efficient and effective in both categories. First and foremost, he is a determined defender on the ball, and defense is where it always starts with Kansas. He can set the tone by how he pressures the ball along with a group of elite athletes who are big, strong, fast and quick, which will lead to many easy points in transition. In the half-court offense, he will run the show by being an extension of Self on the floor, initiating Self’s signature high-low offense or side and middle ball-screen actions. With Graham’s shooting prowess, his man cannot leave him to double Cliff Alexander or Perry Ellis inside or Graham will make them pay. He was the main reason Brewster Academy won the prestigious NEPSAC title and national prep school championship, and that fits Kansas’ winning tradition just fine.

    Who he reminds us of: Smith has had his share of elite point guards over the years at Brewster Academy and compares Graham to the others. “He defends like Dogus Balbay [who plays at Texas] while having a quick first step similar to Semaj Christon [who plays for Xavier] and shoots it better than any point guard I ever coached.”

    How Kansas’ 2014 class is shaping up: With a pair of standouts in No. 11 Kelly Oubre on the wing and No. 3 Alexander inside, Graham is not only the missing piece to this recruiting class, he is the X-factor to Kansas being a legitimate Final Four team. This class – which moved up to No. 5 in the rankings with Graham’s commitment – has offensive firepower along with a defensive mindset and high-level athletic ability to make waves as freshmen.

  • @nuleafjhawk ,

    My favorite name in college BB is Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr. Played at Stetson and then Alabama St. a few years back.

    And if I ever got a dog I was thinking of naming him Dog Shammdog, a mock reference to God Shammgod who played for Providence in the mid-90s. Another great albeit unfortunate moniker.

  • Not many players still out there uncommitted at this point.

    Just a quick look down the Rivals150 has 5 guys that haven’t committed yet - #64 4 star guard Elijah Stewart, #66 4 star guard Jared Terrell (also went to Brewster Academy), #117 3 star guard Larry Austin, #128 3 star center Idrissa Diallo (a 6-11 project at this point), and #130 3 star forward Andre Adams.

    Scout introduces Shelton Mitchell at #75 (6-3 PG), who doesn’t make Rivals top 150. They are much higher on Elijah Stewart, ranking him #40, but lower on Terrell, ranking him 78. ESPN has Stewart 94th and Terrell 79th. Mitchell is not ranked by ESPN.

    Suffice it to say that there’s not much left in the way of HS talent.

    What does remain out there is a lot of transfers. Depending on how Self feels about his depth, he may want to sign a transfer that will redshirt this season to bolster next season’s group. I can’t figure who that player would be, but there are quite a few out there that may fit the bill.

  • @justanotherfan Terrell was the Ok. St. commit that was released to go somewhere near his home; some family issue.

    I’d hold the scholarship (give it to a walkon for the year) unless something knocks his socks off (preferably a top 50 post player that wants to transfer – yea, I know).

  • Now I’ll admit that if I was the last person standing I still wouldn’t be selected by anybody to evaluate basketball talent. That being said, after watching some videos of Graham, would somebody tell me why this kid was barely ranked until after he was released from Appalachian St? I realize he’s playing against lesser talent in hs, but the kid has what looks like some amazing ball handling skills. Looks like he has good 3pt shot. Is able to drive the lane and knows where his teammates are if he can’t get to the hoop. And he’s big and quick. So how did he go unnoticed?

  • @brooksmd I’m never too surprised when this happens…kids getting overlooked that is. Trey Burke and Russ Smith were not even top 100 prospects coming out of high school. Shabazz Napier who gets more praise on this site than most any player was barely ranked inside the top 100 when he went to UCONN. You just never know. Personally I think he looks great and am excited about him but I feel his ranking was partially helped by KU recruiting him.

  • Dont be too down on our bigs…I mean we just added an guy with TRob-like aggression in Cliff Alexander! We added and aggressive wing (Oubre) that attempted to dunk over the top of said aggressive Alexander.

    Also think of the pent-up ready-to-go feelings Landon Lucas must have. He is a 6’10 banger. Lucas WAY more of a banger than Ellis (just comparatively speaking). I got high hopes for Perry Ellis and Traylor. AND top50 ranked Mickelson, who was a Withey-esque shot blocker, but packs more weight in his 6’10 size (240+lbs). These are the pipeline guys that step in and produce, and make Self’s “bigman development” look good. That’s why they come here.

    Again: Mickelson is a top50 guy. Alexander is a top3 guy. Ellis was a MickeyD. Traylor keeps improving. Lucas with Huditioning and learning Selfball x 2yrs now. And many in the Razorback fanbase said Anderson was using him incorrectly, likely trying to build a 4guard lineup like he left behind at Mizzou, which is difficult way to play for a 6’10 245lb kid.

  • I couldnt be more excited at this addition of a Top40 6’2 COMBO Guard. You see, Bill Self knows exactly what was missing.

  • @brooksmd

    Graham looks to be a very solid player, but I can understand why he took a while to get noticed.

    1. He’s not an eye popping athlete. He’s your basic 6-2 or 6-3 guy. He doesn’t blow your mind with his hops or speed. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good athlete, but he’s definitely not John Wall or Derrick Rose or somebody like that.

    2. He’s a good but not great shooter. We aren’t talking about a Conner Frankamp type marksman here. He’s a guy you can’t leave open, but not an outright gunner.

    3. His skills are solid across the board. Good, but not great size. Good but not astonishing handles. Good shooter. Good athlete. Good this, good that. I bet when he was at camps he was always the fourth or fifth best player in the pickup game. Good enough that you knew he wasn’t the worst player out there, but not a standout. It takes time to get noticed when you always blend into the fabric.

    That said, I think that makes him the perfect addition to this particular team. KU doesn’t need a PG to come in and score 15 points a game and push the ball with blinding speed, break down the defense, etc. KU needs a PG that can play PG and just run the show. Alexander, Oubre, Ellis, Selden, etc. will take care of the flash. Graham just needs to run the team and defend out front. I think he can do that perfectly fine.

  • Now the question becomes, what role will Graham, Mason, & Frankamp play? Who starts? Mason & Frankamp have the inside track, simply from having a year of college basketball experience and getting comfortable in Self’s system for a year. Frankamp impressed in the tournament. Mason garnered more minutes last season. My guess is the initial battle will be between those two. However, Graham is coming in with with comments made that he is a plus defender. After last season, you know Self is dying to get back to playing tough M2M defense. If Graham can provide that, he may take over the starting spot at some point. My hope is Self finds minutes for all 3, but it will be tough with 3 other perimeter players - Selden, Oubre, & Greene. A 6 man perimeter rotation doesn’t seem likely, at least not in terms of “rotation level minutes”.

  • @icthawkfan316 I hope Conner Frankamp doesn’t become the basketball version of Jake Sharp. I watched almost all of Sharp’s home games in High School and my jaw was on the ground at every game - he was unbelievable. (I know High School and College aren’t the same)

    I just get this sick feeling that Conner isn’t going to get nearly enough pt as he should. I hope I’m wrong, I hope he works so hard that he FORCES Self to put him on the court a lot.

  • @icthawkfan316 If Graham is truely the 3rd best point guard in the 2014 class after Mundiey and Jones then Its his to lose. Some folks are saying he is but I will hold out on who I think starts until the alumni games before I make any forcasts.

  • Overall, very good news for the pt. guard position. If Graham is patient, he well could be THE GUY by midFebruary. In the meantime, I hope to see Mason become a more sound decision maker, optioning for occasional assists when he drives to the hoop. And I really REALLY hope to see Frankamp glean enough minutes that he becomes comfortable, relaxed and focused with his potentially devastating outside shooting. Both of those current guards are likely to develop in leaps and bounds before November. If Graham is as good as forecast, and gets with the system by the middle of the regular league season, this Jayhawk squad should be much more reliable come late March and April.

  • Anybody else feel like we just hit triples 7s at the casino? I know I do. Naadir, thank you for your tenure here. Welcome, Devonte’ ( I might just call him apostrophe ).

  • If Graham is truely the 3rd best point guard in the 2014 class after Mundiey and Jones then Its his to lose.

    @Statmachine Not necessarily. Graham is #36 on rivals list this year. Last year, Connor Frankamp was #34 on rivals. Doesn’t really matter how many players are in front of you at your position; it could just mean it’s a weak class for point guards. Doesn’t really make you any better than you are. EJ was ranked #24 overall, but was only the 4th best PG in the class (and remember he had to sit two years behind guys like Tyshawn, Brady, & Reed. Nothing was his to lose based on his ranking). It’s difficult to compare players from different classes because each class is different. The #1 player one year might only be good enough to be the #8 player another year. What we do know is that CF (as well as Mason) has a year experience in the system, which is why I give them the early nod.

  • @icthawkfan316 You’re right. That is the question. My guess is one starts at the point, one backs the other up and the 3rd has a hard time seeing much pt. Same as this past year. Greene and Oubre will both likely get pt and we know that Selden will start. Somebody will be the odd man out. Same thing up front between Mickelson and Lucas. One is the 4th big guy and the other has a hard time seeing the court.

  • @Hawk8086 I think Frankamp can back Selden at the 2 if graham is at 1, that way we don’t have 2 short defenders in at the same time. I think Mason will back graham at 1. Nice option to have some different combos.

  • Am I the only one but does this seem a little said? Nadir announces he’s leaving and then right away Graham commits. Out with the old and in with the new. Amateur sports is a tough business. I know that it is all probably for the best…but I thought that Tharpe would have a chance to redeem himself.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 But that is 4 guys playing. Add Greene and Oubre and you have 6 guards / wings. Though I 'd like to see it, I can’t see all of those guys playing based on Self’s history.

  • Hey…

    I’m the guy that mentioned trying to go a bit smaller in the post, but quicker. It is always something to see a 5 out on the open court breakaway.

    That doesn’t happen much in college. Surprised it doesn’t happen more.

    I’ve been wanting to see Bam-Bam in that role. On the defensive rebound, steal, or even out of bounds, he beats his man down court.

    Let’s face it… Self doesn’t focus on open court basketball. Sometimes I wish he did, especially when we have some super hotrods on the court.

    If we would run a bit more we could keep opposing team’s offenses a bit more in check, worrying about our breakaways.

    And nothing lifts momentum more than that!

    One of my biggest criticisms this year was the lack of breakaways. It motivates and gets motors running!

  • @Hawk8086 I think it’s sad too!

  • @Hawk8086 oubre and Greene at the 3.

  • @drgnslayr Oubre and Alexander are both what I consider the alfa dogs, their both aggressive, and no one has to tell them to be aggressive. Add in Selden, Mason, and Traylor even though its a small line up they will intimidate opponents/get all the lose balls and punish teams by driving in the lane taking fouls with a smile (while pounding their chest or ripping off their superman shirts lol). Looking their opponents they just knocked down in the eyes as if to say stick that in your pipe and smoke it! Those 5 have enough mental toughness to crush opposing teams spirits. We have Landen Lucas as a bruiser inside or Hunter Mickelson for a shot blocking presents and Conner Frankamp for that 3pt threat. We have enough bigs to keep our bigs fresh so I’m not too worried about the rotation. Ellis is our sharp shooter that I think will lead our team in scoring and If he doesn’t that only means our other bigs are nasty good or more effective! This team has my attention!

  • Don’t look now, but Zach Peters has just quit AZ basketball due to “health” concerns. Whoda’ thunk Texas football would ever ruin this kid? HEM? See, I remember…Guess he wasn’t 6’10" & bulletproof after all.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes. But that is six guys playing 3 positions. I don’t think that is going to happen.

  • I watched the Graham highlights again for the third time. I think we have a killer there. He is such a better ball handler than Tharpe…wow. That’s aggressive authority, folks. We can teach him to quit throwing the ball away, and not try to take all the shots, but we can’t teach him heart and passion. I think this kid wants to be great, and he’s found the right place to do it. I think we hit a grand slam. I think Coach Self is amazing.

  • @globaljaybird You seriously have too good of a memory. I remember suggesting I would have never let my kid play football with a basketball scholarship on the line … took some serious grief for that one.

    But I’ll be interested to see what the health issues are, if it’s just concussion stuff.

  • Ok … question. Assuming Mudiay is an OAD, would you rather have Mudiay for one season, or Graham for three?

    Nothing better than OAD talk, is there?

  • @HighEliteMajor I read somewhere back in the day that his brother had a bball scholly and got hurt just before college. Never the less his parrents just let his older brother play one sport so he didnt ruin his scholly and he still got hurt. His parrents then let his younger brother (Zach) do whatever because they shielded his older brother and he still got hurt. I think that family is injury prone. This post is badly written but who cares i am drinkin and having fun lol.

  • @HighEliteMajor Graham for 3 because we have some guys capable of great things to come over the next 3 years atm. Could be like florida and win it 2 years in a row. Or like UK and make 3 final four runs over the next 4 years. Our roster when matured or when our guys reach their college ceiling we will haunt childrens dreams. Cant imagine how bad Fred Hoiberg’s kids will cry over then next 6-9 games. Brutal!

  • @HighEliteMajor Assuming Graham plays to his new ranking, I’d take him for 3. If he plays like Tharpe for 3 years…

    (sorry to the crowd feeling sorry for Tharpe).

  • Huditioning

    @ralster THIS is my favorite word of 2014. Bravo!

  • @HighEliteMajor I’m oft accused of “selective memory” by the other half. Surely there’s nothing to that…

  • OK, statmachine’s post about alfa dogs made me consider what types of player mentality we have on the team. So here’s my list of current KU players with alpha-dog tendencies (on-court):

    Cliff Alexander – his reputation for consistent, aggressive play precedes his arrival.

    Jamari Traylor – Has always had that ‘look’ in his eye, and now that he’s developing skills, his play is getting more and more aggressive. I mean, damn, compare his drives to the hoop vs those of slo-mo Niang…(beginning with the Duke game, continuing through to the Tourney win over EKY (which we only won due to Traylor’s 18/15).

    Kelly Oubre – aggressive player in almost every respect. Trying to dunk over the top of a 6’9 brute like Cliff Alexander tells me a lot.

    Brannen Greene – Almost every time we saw his limited mpg, he showed some fire. No doubt he has that ornery streak that Self loves. And a 40+% trey gun, cold off the bench? Breakout season coming up. All around skill improvement will happen, so lookout!

    Frank Mason – No doubt this bulldog is an alpha. He is fearless. His trey gun got better, and will continue to get better. I love his defensive effort as much as I like his aggression. People are selling short his improved court vision as he got more experienced (he would have had 6 more assts vs Stanford if paint buckets were converted by Ellis/Traylor). Yes, you can put the ball in his hands to go-get-a-bucket, ask Duke. You cant be a historic-proportions scorer in h.s. without having that “sherron” mindset. I think Frank starts as PG, is my hunch. Just think combination of RussRob, Tyshawn, Sherron in 1 pkg. (that’s a NC and a NCgame run with those 3 guys). Pattern-recognition, folks…Mason fits Self’s desires, and he most definitely has an alpha-attack brain. Most importantly, his team knows. There is no doubt. Plays and screens will be run crisper, without hesitation. The edge we are looking for.

    The unknowns are Selden, Lucas, Frankamp. Selden showed flashes, Lucas showed he isnt to be pushed around, but at times got boxed out. Frankamp seems like the quiet assassin type, much like Ellis…but these guys are young, lets see how they develop.

    Let me say this about Frankamp and Ellis: they will be integral key pieces on a team with other aggressive & physical type players. These quiet guys will then shine as assassins. There play level will increase, because they arent the focus or trying to carry the team themselves. Absolutely perfect example of this phenomenon was jr. season Elijah, who just killed opponents while all the focus was on Tyshawn attacking and Thomas Robinson+Withey in the post. Travis Releford is another great example. Ellis and Frankamp may not exude aggressive energy like TRob or Sherron, but they most definitely will feed off of it from others. That sort of team balance I think we just may have in the mix now…

    Devonte Graham remains to be seen. He will have a real eye opener in KU practices. We’ll soon find out what he’s made of, just like we have a good idea on Frank Mason.

  • @ralster agree, but I think Selden will be in your dog group too!

  • Here’s just a wild speculation on Graham: Kid has a 40% trey gun? Could he become a Chalmers-type player? How’s his on-ball D? Court-vision and chemistry gets better and better as you learn your teammates tendencies and physical abilities and foot speed, so that part will take time, especially for a Bill Self guard. Most importantly, how is Graham’s footwork and defensive instincts? Cannot mention Chalmers without realizing he had such an uncanny knack for anticipating passes, even more than Russell Robinson. So now we judge all subsequent combo guards by the standards set by Chalmers/Robinson. (& Sherron). As we should–> excellence needs to be fostered and maintained.

  • @ralster Simply coming to Kansas has the uncanny knack of knocking off about 10-15% from any kid’s high school three point shooting percentage, right? See, White, Greene, Frankamp, Mason, Selden.

    Graham’s reputation, from doing some minor poking around the internet, is that he is considered a strong on the ball defender.

    This type of guy seems … seems … to be the absolutely perfect signing for a coach Self coached team. Possible 4 year guy, top 50, solid defensively, complete game, etc. And say it with me – “he’s not an OAD.” God bless America.

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