Though it was a slow start to the recruiting season, Kansas men's basketball has added depth and experience to its roster in recent weeks through transfers and freshman recruits.
With that in mind, Kansan sports editor Huntyr Schwegman and sports columnist Dylan Cunningham debate which recruit will make the biggest impact next season.
Dylan - Jalen Wilson
When former Michigan commit Jalen Wilson made his decision to attend Kansas, the Jayhawks were instantly thrust into the conversation for being named the AP preseason No. 1-ranked team. With the return of senior center Udoka Azubuike, sophomore guard Devon Dotson and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa along with the addition of fellow newcomers Isaiah Moss and Tristan Enaruna, Wilson was the icing on the cake for this upcoming Jayhawks team.
Wilson is a big, athletic forward who can play and guard multiple positions and find creative ways to score the ball. He averaged 18.1 points per game in his senior year at Guyer High School and should continue to improve his offensive production with the guidance of Kansas coach Bill Self and his staff.
With the depth and experience that Kansas now possesses, there is likely less pressure on Wilson to perform to his four-star ranking. The losses of Azubuike and De Sousa were clearly detrimental for many of the young players for the Jayhawks last season, and without their veteran leadership the team fizzled out in the NCAA tournament's round of 32 against Auburn last season.
With the guidance of returning veteran players, guys like Wilson should be able to thrive without having to worry about carrying a heavy load.
Wilson’s dynamic play-style is what the Jayhawks sorely missed last season. The team has arguably not had a legitimate scoring threat since former guards Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman departed after Kansas’ Final Four run in 2017-18.
Wilson has the ability to consistently knock down outside shots as well as mid-range looks, and also isn’t afraid of contact near the rim. Getting to the rim will become an even easier task for Wilson if he can build significant muscle before the season starts.
The Jayhawks will also need Wilson to showcase his playmaking ability. He showed flashes of potential in his passing game during high school and will likely only improve in this facet of his game.
Wilson has the opportunity to be one of the more versatile players at Kansas in recent years, and it will not come as a shock if he outperforms his fellow newcomers this next season.
Huntyr - Isaiah Moss
With the NCAA’s recent announcement of the change to the three-point line, having consistent outside shooters will become even more important for the Jayhawks. This is why graduate transfer guard Isaiah Moss will have the biggest impact of all the newcomers on the 2019-20 season.
Shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc in 2018-19, Moss can help fill the gap of perimeter shooting that Kansas had last season. His use of the perimeter will also help spread out the offense, giving players like Dotson more options to drive the lane to create offense.
“We've obviously been looking for shooting throughout this recruiting period and we feel like we have addressed some of those needs with Isaiah's addition,” Self said in a Kansas Athletics press release.
Moss will also bring some pre-existing chemistry to the team. Moss played on the same AAU team as Dotson’s older brother, and grew up with their family.
“He was one of my brother’s best friends growing up,” Dotson told the Kansas City Star. “He’s a great guy, can shoot it very well. This is a great pickup for us for perimeter shooting. I’m excited to have him here. It should be fun.”
On the other side of the court, Moss can be a great defensive tool, picking up 32 steals during the 2018-19 season, the second-best on the team.
Regardless of who stands out for the Jayhawks next season, this team is sure to have plenty of options late in the season for a championship run.