This week’s addition of former Arizona State point guard Remy Martin and former Iowa State Cyclones shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands to the 2021-22 Kansas men’s basketball roster means nine new scholarship players and one walk-on have been welcomed into the program thus far in one, active recruiting season.
Roster movement has been fast and furious with transactions starting shortly after KU was eliminated from the 2021 NCAA Tournament on March 22 and continuing all the way past Sunday’s Graduation Day — the official end of the 2020-21 school year.
“You know what … I hate to say this (but) it’s going to be a revolving door most years,” Self said Tuesday night of players coming and going at a rapid pace amid the NCAA passing a rule that allows players to transfer once in their college careers and be immediately eligible at their transfer destinations.
That’s in addition to the rule that allows players to become immediately eligible if they transfer before their senior year — as long as they’ve graduated.
“It’s like being a junior college head coach in which you only get guys for one or two years. I personally do not like it. I think it’s a bad, bad rule change. I don’t think it’ll hurt us as much as maybe some other schools,” Self said. “If you look at what’s in the best interest of our sport, I don’t see the positivity in it at all. Fans, coaches, everybody needs to get used to it.”
So far KU has lost five players (Tristan Enaruna, Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Gethro Muscadin, Latrell Jossell) to the transfer portal and gained four (Cam Martin, Joseph Yesufu, Remy Martin and Coleman-Lands).
The commitment of Coleman-Lands means KU is one over the 13-player scholarship limit if Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson remain in the 2021 NBA Draft pool.
“It’s not going to be guys leaving (in the future) because they are unhappy. It’s guys will be leaving because if you are recruiting somebody and you are a starter, all of a sudden you may think the next year you are not going to get as many shots or you may not play as much or your scoring average may go down,” Self said in a phone interview with The Star on Tuesday night.
“There are going to be a plethora of reasons why kids may consider leaving and becoming eligible immediately. It’s not going to be like it used to be,” he added. “You could treat somebody perfectly. They could be very, very happy. All the things could be very positive, but they may see something somewhere else that they may not quite see here and they’ll be gone. There will be a lot of leading scorers transfer. That’s not going to be unusual.”
So far, 1,608 men’s basketball players had entered the transfer portal as of Tuesday night.
Self as of Tuesday could not comment on Monday’s addition of Martin. Coleman-Lands committed on Wednesday.
Paperwork must be submitted and processed by KU’s compliance department before KU’s coaches can say anything about the recruitment of those players.
Like Agbaji and Wilson, Martin, a 6-foot senior point guard, currently is testing the NBA Draft waters. The next step in that process is for the three players to see if they will be invited to the NBA Combine, set for June 21-27 in Chicago.
“I don’t know when they’ll decide. I know they have until July 7 to make a formal decision,” Self said, referring to Agbaji and Wilson. July 7 is the date players must depart the draft pool if they wish to retain collegiate eligibility.
“I don’t know if they’ll actually take it that long, either one to make a formal decision. I’d think they’d both have a pretty good feel before then.”
Self said senior-to-be forward David McCormack is expected to be back and not test the draft waters.
“He is hurt. He can’t work out (for NBA teams),” Self said of the power forward from Norfolk, Virginia.
McCormack is set to return to conditioning and basketball activities in July after undergoing surgery March 31 to repair a broken bone in his right foot. Self said McCormack hurt his right foot with a couple weeks left in the regular season. He averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 boards for 21-9 KU.
“In the Eastern Washington game (March 20), it became evident he was playing through pain,” Self noted. “He tried to play against USC (March 22) but was not himself. He showed a lot of toughness trying to fight through it but wasn’t himself.”
McCormack had five points and four rebounds while playing 22 minutes in KU’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss to USC. He had 22 points and nine boards in the first-round win over Eastern Washington.
“We feel good about everybody coming back,” Self said.
Did the Pacers come calling?
Self was willing to comment to The Star about a recent article in the Indianapolis Star on the job status of embattled Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren. The article, in wondering whether Bjorkgren would be brought back for a second season in 2021-22, mentioned that team president Kevin Pritchard, “consulted Kansas coach Bill Self during the search (which ended Oct. 20, 2020 when the team named Bjorkgren the replacement for Nate McMillan).”
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying they contacted me for the job, but I will say this: Kevin Pritchard (ex-Jayhawk guard) and I are friends. We talk fairly regularly. Talking to him in no way, shape or form was about a job offer,” Self told The Star. “I certainly couldn’t say that and feel good about saying that (he was offered job) because that’s not accurate. I was never offered that job.”
As far as the implication the Pacers job would be his if he wanted it a year ago or in the future, Self said: “Those are rumors. That’s not even worth commenting on. They’ve got a head coach. I haven’t talked to Kevin. That (rumor) is dead. I just signed a new contract, I’m very happy about that. There are a lot of rumors out there. That’s not even worth being a rumor.”
Here’s the tally
Here’s the list of KU’s 10 new additions to the team and the five players who have transferred from KU to other schools this offseason
Transfers: Remy Martin (PG, Arizona State), Cam Martin (F, Missouri Southern), Joseph Yesufu (PG, Drake), Jalen Coleman-Lands (SG, Iowa State).
High school players: KJ Adams (F, Westlake High, Austin Texas); Zach Clemence (F, Sunrise Christian Academy, Bel Aire, Kansas); Kyle Cuffe Jr. (PG, Blair Academy, Toms River, New Jersey); Bobby Pettiford (PG, South Granville High School, Durham, N.C.).
Junior college player: Sydney Curry (F, John A. Logan College, Carterville, Illinois).
Walk-on: Dillon Wilhite (F, Cathedral Catholic High school, San Diego).
Tyon Grant-Foster (F, to DePaul); Tristan Enaruna (F, to Iowa State); Latrell Jossell (PG, to Stephen F. Austin); Gethro Muscadin (C, to New Mexico); Bryce Thompson (G, to Oklahoma State)