Kansas basketball returns four starters, and brings in an elite group of transfers in a season where they stand a serious chance of winning it all.
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After a relatively disappointing season last year that ended in a Round of 32 blowout to USC, Kansas basketball comes in with one of their stronger teams in their recent history. The return of four starters, talented incoming transfers including potential All-American Remy Martin, and a top recruiting class make this team incredibly talented and deep.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2021-22 Kansas Jayhawks pic.twitter.com/zVFtSZ61aD
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 2, 2021
PG: Remy Martin (6-0, 175, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 19.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals (Arizona State)
Projected stats: 15.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.4 steals
SG: Christian Braun (6-6, 218, Jr.)
2021 stats: 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals
Projected stats: 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals
SF: Ochai Agbaji (6-5, 215, Sr.)
2021 stats: 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals
Projected stats: 15.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals
PF: Jalen Wilson (6-8, 225, So.)
2021 stats: 11.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.4 steals
Projected stats: 13.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals
*Suspended for first three games of the season
C: David McCormack (6-10, 250, Sr.)
2021 stats: 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.0 blocks
Projected stats: 14.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 blocks
6: DaJuan Harris (6-1, 170, So.)
2021 stats: 2.4 points, 1.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steals
Projected stats: 4.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals
7: Joseph Yesufu (6-0, 180, So.)
2021 stats: 12.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals (Drake)
Projected stats: 7.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals
8: Jalen Coleman-Lands (6-4, 190, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals (Iowa State)
Projected stats: 6.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals
9: Mitch Lightfoot (6-8, 225, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 3.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.8 blocks
Projected stats: 3.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 1.1 blocks
10: Zach Clemence (6-10, 225, Fr.)
247Sports #49 Overall Rated Recruit
Projected stats: 3.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 blocks
11: KJ Adams (6-7, 225, Fr.)
247Sports #74 Overall Rated Recruit
Projected stats: 3.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 blocks
12: Cam Martin (6-9, 230, Gr-Sr.)
2021 stats: 25.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 76 total assists, 28 total steals (Missouri Southern)
Projected stats: 4.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals
Team MVP: David McCormack
The watch lists keep on rolling in for #KUbball…
This time it’s @D_Mack33 named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List 💪
More ➝ https://t.co/KucLVOIbR3 pic.twitter.com/b98klMXP2p
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) October 22, 2021
When Udoka Azubuike graduated, the spotlight turned towards McCormack, and he shined in that role. He looked a lot more coordinated and had some big-time performances at the end of the season. This year, he’s bound to take another big leap. With loads of talent throughout the roster, it’s hard to pick one player, but McCormack has serious Big 12 player of the year potential and possible All-American potential as well.
Make-or-Break Player: Christian Braun
Another day, another tough finish from @Ballin25Braun 😤 pic.twitter.com/OimoDKMI5m
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) March 6, 2021
Braun took a jump statistically last year, but one number dropped, his three-point percentage. Kansas really struggled from behind the arc last season, and while they did pick up a few decent shooters, they will still rely on Braun to be a knockdown shooter, especially in late-game situations. If Braun struggles from three once again, he can be the difference between a 1 and 2 seed in the long term.
Bench Rating: 10/10
Kansas’ bench when healthy could easily be a top 25 team in the country. DaJuan Harris doesn’t have the numbers to back him up, but his presence and IQ on the floor were a crucial reason for Kansas’ success. He’s a terrific passer and pesky defender.
Yesufu had a terrific March Madness last year and shows great long-term potential as an offensive threat. Still a sophomore, Yesufu can really develop into a special player.
Coleman-Lands and Mitch Lightfoot might be the two oldest players in college basketball at 26 and 25 years old, but they can still be key contributors and spark plugs.
Lastly, the freshmen probably won’t get many minutes solely because of the depth of this Kansas team, but expect guys like Clemence and Adams to get some good minutes during the nonconference schedule.
Analytic to Know: AdjO and AdjD
In the new KenPom 2022 preseason college basketball analytics, Kansas basketball ranks 5th in both categories. Only two teams in the country are ranked in the top 5 in both, them and Michigan. Having a good balance of both is obviously extremely important, and Kansas is more than capable of getting it done on both sides of the court. Every game will be a struggle for the opponent, and that is why Kansas is so dangerous this season.
#KUbball ranked No. 3 in the Preseason @usatodaysports Coaches’ Poll 💪
More ➝ https://t.co/LhHkcSbOH7 pic.twitter.com/2KuHOHRFkZ
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) October 27, 2021
For Kansas basketball, it’s championship or bust. This team has so much depth and talent and can match up against any team in the country. Compared to previous years, Kansas’ nonconference is relatively light, with the biggest three games being in the season opener against Michigan State, a possible finals matchup in the ESPN Events Invitational against Alabama, and a tough SEC/Big 12 matchup against Kentucky.
The Big 12 has a ton of talent, especially Texas and Baylor, and each game will be competitive. The stretch to watch for Kansas is February 5th-14th, where they will play Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.