Kansas team to beat in 2010 — if 2 guys stay
NBA draft to alter hoops landscape, but KU, 'Cuse, Kentucky,
Wake are tops
Darron Cummings / AP
Sherron Collins, left, and Cole Aldrich return to Kansas
next season, the Jayhawks will be the team to beat,
writes Ken Davis.
By Ken Davis,
April 6, 2009
DETROIT - Kansas coach Bill Self
celebrated the one-year anniversary of his team’s national
championship by leaving the Final Four and returning home to
Lawrence. After accepting numerous national coach of the year
awards this season, Self didn’t stick around Motown to watch
Michigan State and North Carolina battle for the 2009
Like so many other Division I
coaches, Self has already turned his thoughts toward the 2009-10
And the Jayhawks certainly expect to
be among the contenders for next year’s championship, depending
on the outcome of some important decisions that will be made in
the coming weeks.
Self will talk to NBA sources
regarding the future of junior guard Sherron Collins and
sophomore center Cole Aldrich. Kansas was eliminated by Michigan
State in the round of 16, but through the regional finals,
Collins was the tournament’s second-leading scorer (25.7 ppg)
and Aldrich was the top rebounder (15.7).
“I’m going to gather information from
Tuesday through Friday and hopefully we can visit soon after
that,” Self said. “Then they can have information that is
somewhat more factual than what they have now.
“Right now, it’s just a lot of people
saying a lot of stuff. I told them before they think or lean one
way, they should know. They both are having the time of their
lives. But if it’s best for them to go now, then they need to
go. If it’s time to exercise a little patience, then they need
to do that. But we won’t know that for a few days.”
There have been reports that top 10
recruit Xavier Henry, who signed a letter of intent with
now wants to attend Kansas after coach John
Calipari’s decision to move to Kentucky. Henry’s brother, C.J.,
may consider transferring from Memphis to Kansas. The Jayhawks
are also involved with top recruits Lance Stephenson and John
“We’ve added two good players
[recruits Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson] to a team that, if
we don’t lose anybody, could be pretty good,” Self said.
“There’s a lot of unknown with us with Cole, Sherron and
The Jayhawks are not alone. Many
programs are awaiting decisions from players still evaluating
their NBA draft status. And the recruiting picture may not
become clear until the coaching carousel stops spinning. It’s
difficult to offer an accurate forecast for college basketball
until those decisions are made, but until more information is
available NBCSports.com will go with Kansas as its preseason No.
April 25, 2009 -
The 2009-10 Jayhawks are 14-deep, experienced, and talented at
Returning All-Americans Sherron Collins and
Cole Aldrich, as well as virtually everyone else from last
year’s team, and with the addition of the two Henry brothers (C.
J. and Xavier), touted recruits Elijah Johnson and Thomas
Robinson, and transfer Jeff Withey, the 2010 Jayhawks are
absolutely loaded and should be the pre-season No. 1 pick. Coach
Self is so awash in talent he will have a tough, but enviable,
time deciding playing time.
Let’s start at the point. Last year’s
starting combo-guards, 5’11 junior Sherron Collins, and 6’3
sophomore Tyshawn Taylor will be back, but will be pushed by the
additions of 6’3 sophomore C. J. Henry and 6’2 freshman Elijah
Johnson, a four-star recruit. Henry had committed to KU three
years ago, but chose to play minor league baseball, and his
college expenses will be paid by the NY Yankees.
Five other players can play either shooting
guard or small forward. I expect that incoming freshman 6’6
Xavier Henry will likely nail down the small forward slot (he’s
that good), but will be pushed by returnees 6’5 senior Mario
Little, 6’3 senior Brady Morningstar, 6’3 junior Tyrel Reed, and
6’5 sophomore Travis Releford, all who will provide experience
At power forward, both Morris brothers
(6’10 Markieff and 6’8 Marcus) return for their sophomore year,
hopefully much improved, and will be pushed by highly-rated 6’8
freshman Thomas Robinson.
All-American 6’11 junior Cole Aldrich
returns to man the center position, and may be joined
mid-semester by 7’0 freshman transfer Jeff Withey.
I expect that Xavier Henry will replace
Morningstar at small forward, with Collins, Taylor, Marcus
Morris and Aldrich completing the starting unit. The second team
is so good I believe it could compete for the Big 12 title.