Recruiting season is reaching its finale, and Kansas women’s basketball is beginning to round out its offense. Coming off a 13-18 season, and only picking up two conference wins, coach Brandon Schneider and the Jayhawks are looking to have a turnaround season.
The Jayhawks lost players such as point guard Christalah Lyons and wing Kylee Kopatich, but Schneider has brought in another crop of young talent and JUCO transfers to help the program.
The biggest recruit joining Kansas next season will be four-star combo guard Zakiyah Franklin. Franklin mainly runs the point at Winter Haven High School and has a knack for attacking the rim.
According to Dan Olson, the creator of the Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, Franklin is “perhaps the best guard in the country at attacking the basket in the class of 2019.”
The most intriguing storyline behind Franklin is how she will match up alongside sophomore point guard Brooklyn Mitchell. Mitchell is likely the point guard of the future for the Jayhawks and will need a supporting cast that can shoot, as she tends to attack the basket and score or pass out.
Joining Franklin will be four other three-star recruits, with the most familiar being power forward Chisom Ajekwu.
Ajekwu played high school basketball at Lawrence High School and was part of four sub-state teams during her tenure. On June 22, Ajekwu will be appearing in the KBCA Girl’s All-Star game.
Ajekwu will play an important role for the Jayhawks, which currently only has two centers: junior Bailey Helgren and sophomore Brittany Franklin. Standing at 6-foot-3, Ajekwu will likely be forced to play the five frequently.
Two other guards will be joining Kansas next season: Holly Kersgieter and Chandler Prater. Prater is in a similar situation as Franklin, being a point guard who will need to fit around Mitchell.
However, the difference between Prater and Franklin is that Prater is more of a ball-handler and long-range shooter. She will likely go through a bit of a learning curve from the high school three-point line to the college line, but she could make a large impact down the road.
Prater is also big, posted at 5-foot-11 according to Kansas Athletics' roster. Most other publications have her at 5-foot-9; but either way, she could play numerous positions for Kansas with her size.
Standing at 5-foot-11, Kersgieter best resembles former wing Kopatich. She’s tall and can shoot the ball well, but a big difference between the two is Kopatich was a spot-up shooter, as opposed to Kersgieter, who is a creator for herself.
If she can develop within the offense and find her footing, Kersgieter could potentially become a second coming of Kopatich but with an even wider array of moves. The asking price would be high for Kersgieter to reach Kopatich level, but it is not outside the realm of possibility.
The final high school prospect joining Kansas is point guard Tamia Davis. Davis helped her high school reach the state championship game her senior season and was a big impact on the court.
She will likely take a backup point guard role for the majority of her career, playing behind Mitchell. She is small at 5-foot-7 and will take some time to develop into the college game.
The only JUCO prospect joining the Jayhawks next year is Tina Stephens. Stephens is transferring from Florida Southwestern College, where she was named a First Team All-American. She scored 14.1 points per game, with a shooting average of 52.1%.
Stephens will make an immediate impact at Kansas as she will be one of only four upperclassmen. Playing at the forward spot, she will likely fill in at the three or four, alongside senior forward Mariane De Carvalho and Helgren.
Kansas will need time to develop in its upcoming season, but down the road, the 2019 class could be one of the strongest classes it has had and could be the key to the Jayhawks’ turnaround.