Why KU's 2019 recruiting class doesn't have to include a point guard
Last week, we learned that longtime KU commitment Markese Jacobs, a point guard in the Class of 2019 ranked No. 92 overall by Rivals.com, was reopening his recruitment and likely headed toward not becoming a Jayhawk.
To most who follow recruiting closely, including our own KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott, the news came as little surprise. After all, Jacobs — 5-foot-11, 170 pounds — committed early in his sophomore year and it’s not often that those commitments follow through all the way to signing day.
Beyond that, the talented Jacobs has not seen his stock rise a great deal during the past two seasons and questions have surfaced about whether he could play at Kansas or, if he made it here, how much playing time he actually would get.
All of that seems to be a bit irrelevant now, as it looks like Jacobs is headed elsewhere and the Jayhawks are moving on to focus on the rest of the class.
Don’t assume right away that that means KU’s 2019 class will include a point guard in Jacobs’ place. It definitely could. But it’s not automatic just because of Jacobs’ departure.
It’s been well documented that Top 10 big men Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Matthew Hurt are at the top of KU’s priority list. Landing both — a definite possibility — would give KU a Top 5 recruiting class in 2019 regardless of who else is in it.
And it’s size at other positions that seems to be en vogue as KU pursues a handful of other 2019 prospects, with Samuell Williamson (6-7, 170), Chandler Lawson (6-8, 200) and Josh Green (6-5, 185) all in the Rivals Top 100 and all very much in play for the Jayhawks.
Because the number of scholarships KU will have available for 2019 grads is currently up in the air, it makes it a little harder for the coaching staff to prioritize by position.
As Matt Scott put it during our latest “Recruiting Trail” podcast: “You almost have to go into it this time of year thinking, ‘Well, we could lose everybody or we could lose only a couple of guys.’ Because it’s really kind of like that. The reason why I say everybody is, what if they go deep in March? We all know if you get hot at the right time, youre NBA stock goes up and it brings an opportunity to leave.”
If the number is small, say around two or three players, it almost certainly will not include a point guard. The presence of McDonald’s All-American freshman Devon Dotson and veteran running mate Charlie Moore put the position in good shape for at least the next couple of years. And that only changes if Dotson becomes one of those players who catches fire in March and leaves after just one year.
If the number is bigger, perhaps even as high as five or six, the odds go up substantially that a point guard will be included simply because of the numbers game.
And there’s no shortage of point guards available for KU to consider.
Four-star prospect Tre Mann, from The Villages, Fla., has scheduled a couple of visits with Kansas — in-home on Sept. 10 and official campus visit Sept. 21 — and No. 2 overall prospect Cole Anthony, would fit on anyone’s roster and bring big time notoriety to any class in the country.
And then there’s three-star point guard Isaac McBride, who Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi first wrote about back in late July.
“Last week in Las Vegas, I probably got asked more about No. 4 (McBride) of the Joe Johnson Hawks than any other player I came across,” Bossi wrote about a month ago. “So, I settled in to figure out why and his tough and confident play were why. He can score it from deep, finishes at the rim and has a calming presence about him. Is he as good as Frank Mason was? I'm not sure. But he reminds a bit of what Mason looked like when he really started to take off and went to prep school to wait out a scholarship release from Towson.”
KU is aware of McBride, the 6-foot, 160-pound Little Rock, Ark., native who is currently unranked by Rivals. But it’s too early to plug him into the spot vacated by Jacobs because of the timing and because of the pool of talent that’s still available in the class.
There are others out there, too, both known and more anonymous, who could wind up factoring into the equation between now and the two signing periods — the early date, which runs Nov. 14-21 and the regular period next spring, which arrives April 17, 2019.
KU has guards in spades, both on the 2018-19 roster and in the projected 2019-20 lineup.
Dotson, Moore, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji and potentially even K.J. Lawson give KU a deep and solid core that could be counted on in the backcourt a season from now if they’re all still in town.
That fact makes adding a point guard in the 2019 class more of a luxury than a necessity for the KU coaching staff.