One way or another, Kansas coach Bill Self molds 18-year-old freshmen point guards into premier talent who see their stocks rise on the NBA Draft board in June.
Although their skill level may be restricted at the highest level and against the top athletes on the planet, point guards at Kansas have a launching pad that goes unmatched across the country in Division I.
This is something incoming-freshman guard Dajuan Harris took into account when he committed to the Jayhawks on July 16. Originally a commit to Missouri State for the 2020 class, Harris ultimately decided to ask out of his letter of intent in May and reclassify to the class of 2019 on June 1. Offered by Kansas on July 9, the 6-foot-2, 160-lb. guard verbally committed to the Jayhawks a week later.
When asked what led to his decision to come to Kansas, Harris told Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, "The reasons why I'm committing to the University of Kansas is to play for a Hall of Fame coach and the best coach in the country. Coach [Jerrance] Howard is the best recruiter in the country and made me feel wanted and let me know he got my back, and I want to win a National Championship."
Rated the 93rd-best recruit in the 2019 class and the No. 7 point guard, Harris brings an element to the table that was a crux for the Jayhawks last season.
"What I’m gonna bring to the floor is defense," Harris told Daniels. "I like to take charges, and dive on the floor for loose balls, and on the offensive side I’m gonna make everyone around me better and set my teammates up for great shots, basically a playmaker."
Born in Columbia, Missouri, a place all too familiar with the Kansas faithful, Harris told The Kansas City Star about his feelings of coming to Lawrence.
“I love everything about it. And I’m really, really happy. It feels great to be going to a blueblood school," Harris said.
Joining the five other freshmen of the Jayhawks' roster in 2019, Harris is already familiar with fellow teammate Christian Braun of Overland Park. Playing on "MOKAN Elite" together this past summer, Harris was offered by Kansas prior to the Peach Jam tournament in South Carolina. Of those in attendance was Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, according to The Kansas City Star.
With sophomore Devon Dotson, freshman Isaac McBride and now Harris to provide depth at the point guard position, the Jayhawks won't be at a shortage when calling on the bench to notch minutes.
Last year, Kansas struggled to find a role for Charlie Moore for the better part of conference play. This put Dotson in a difficult spot of trying to avoid foul trouble and taxing his body by playing an average of 32.4 minutes per game.
As Dotson returns to be the Jayhawks' top playmaker on the staff, it will be his minutes away from the action that determine if Kansas can avoid a collapse in high-leverage moments. Calling on McBride or Harris to handle the pressure while Dotson sits or is in foul trouble can become a true indicator of how Kansas fairs down the stretch and into tournament play.
It's no secret the Jayhawks are ahead of last year's squad in terms of depth, especially at guard. With one of Harris' reasons for coming to Kansas being winning a title, that path may result in him being thrown into the fire in more instances than not.