KU Jayhawks surge into top 10 rankings for their men’s basketball recruiting class

·4 min read

Kansas currently has the No. 6 men’s basketball recruiting class in the country according to national team rankings awarded by ESPN.com.

The Jayhawks’ seven-player Class of 2021 — which consists of high schoolers KJ Adams, Zach Clemence, Kyle Cuffe and Bobby Pettiford, juco player Sydney Curry and college transfers Joseph Yesufu and Cam Martin — has jumped 17 slots from its previous rating of No 23 awarded to KU’s recruiting class by analysts Jeff Borzello and Adam Finkelstein several weeks ago.

Michigan is No. 1, followed by Gonzaga, Duke, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas, Alabama, Michigan State, Florida State, UConn, Auburn, Baylor, Nebraska, Georgetown, UCLA, Stanford, Colorado, Marquette, Indiana, Dayton, Illinois, LSU, North Carolina State, Villanova and Creighton.

“The Jayhawks have a talented frontcourt trio heading to Lawrence next year that should create a ton of matchup problems,” wrote the ESPN duo of Borzello/Finkelstein. “Zach Clemence (6-10, Sunrise Christian Academy, Bel Aire, Kansas) is a floor-spacing big man who possesses good size along with a beautiful shooting stroke. He’ll pull opposing rim protectors away from the basket and open up the lane, which is ideal for fellow ESPN 100 forward K.J. Adams, a 6-foot-7 bulldozer forward (from Westlake High, Austin, Texas) who attacks the rim with relentless physicality. Sydney Curry (6-8, Logan College in Carterville, Illinois) gives them a big body in the middle out of the junior college ranks.

“The backcourt includes ESPN 100 lead guard Bobby Pettiford (6-1, South Granville High School, Creedmoor, North Carolina), a playmaker who should add some burst to the lineup, and Kyle Cuffe (6-2 Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey), an explosive leaper with the speed to match. He is a potential redshirt candidate after reclassifying up from 2022.”

ESPN.com has ranked Clemence No. 34, Adams No. 45 and Pettiford No,. 90 in the Class of 2021. Cuffe is not ranked in the Class of 2022 or 2021. He recently moved up from the 2022 class.

Rivals.com has ranked Clemence No. 35, Adams No 73 and Pettiford No. 115 in the Class of 2021. Cuffe is No. 56 in the Class of 2022 according to Rivals.com. Yesufu will have three years of eligibility remaining at KU after transferring from Drake and Martin one year as a grad transfer from Missouri Southern. Curry will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Newcomer jersey numbers revealed

KU has updated its roster for the 2021-22 season on the school’s website.

Pettiford has been awarded jersey No. 0. Yesufu will wear No. 1, Cuffe No. 5, Clemence No. 21, Curry No. 23, Adams No. 24 and Martin No. 31.

KU now 8th in ESPN.com’s preseason poll

Kansas has dropped three slots, from No. 5 to No. 8, in ESPN.com’s latest preseason poll for the 2021-22 men’s basketball season.

“The Jayhawks lost five players to the transfer portal since the end of the season, while senior guard Marcus Garrett also announced he would not be returning to Lawrence for another season,” wrote reporter Jeff Borzello on Thursday.

KU players lost to the transfer portal: Tristan Enaruna, Tyon Grant-Foster, Gethro Muscadin, Bryce Thompson and Latrell Jossell. KU has added Martin of Missouri Southern and Yesufu of Drake from the portal.

“But Bill Self will still have a clear-cut top-10 team and Final Four threat if Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson withdraw from the NBA draft and head back to the Jayhawks. That would give Kansas four returning starters from a team that won nine of its final 10 games of the season before getting throttled by USC in the second round of the NCAA tournament,” Borzello added.

“How will Self replace Garrett? The elite defender and do-it-all guard has filled a variety of roles the past few seasons with the Jayhawks, but finding someone to run the show will be at the top of Self’s priority list. They’ve dabbled with a few portal point guards in recent weeks and also landed Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu. Yesufu only started seven games this past season, but he finished the season on a tear, averaging 23.2 points and shooting 46.9% from 3 over the final nine games,” Borzello noted.

Gonzaga is ESPN.com’s preseason No. 1 team at this time, followed by Villanova, UCLA, Ohio State, Purdue, Baylor, Alabama, KU, Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan, Duke, Virginia, Texas, Houston, Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina, Kentucky, St. Bonaventure, Oregon, Virginia, Michigan State, Colorado State and Belmont.

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