Kansas Basketball: Q&A on 2016 Freshman Class


With the annual Bill Self Camp scrimmages behind and the Kansas basketball freshman all on campus, we decided to reach out to our friend Brian Flinn of Future150 for an outside look at the newcomers.

Brian Flinn is the National Scout for Future150.com, which runs camps across the country and helps numerous schools find players for their programs. You can read more from Flinn on his Twitter (@F150BFlinn) or at Future150.com.

I reached out to Brian for some input on the freshman, hoping to get a neutral analysis of what to expect this upcoming season. He has seen each player multiple times in camp settings and at national tournaments.

How do you feel each of the players backed up their rankings this past summer? Josh obviously finished #1 on nearly ever site, Udoka as high as #22 over at ESPN, and Mitch Lightfoot as high as #64 over again at ESPN. Do you think any of them were over or under ranked?

"Josh – Not at all, I think he is approriately ranked.Udoka – I think anywhere from 25-35 was defensible, getting nit-picky there though.Mitch – Absolutely, high energy but got the bump from ESPN by committing to Kansas."

What are the significant strengths each player brings to Lawrence?

"Josh – Jackson is a big time scorer who is at his best when slashing to the rim. He is an otherworldly athlete.Udoka – Strength is key, the kid is a monster on the low block and can power through almost anyone.Mitch – A never ending motor and toughness. Will push more talented guys in practice from day one."

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What is something they will struggle with right away? 

"Josh – If he struggles, it will be because his jumper isn’t falling and he loses confidence. Jackson is a future pro and could be in line for a monster year.Udoka – Conditioning could be an issue for him given his size. He’s also not overly skilled and needs to develop a counter move.Mitch – He is going to struggle to get minutes during his freshman campaign, I think."

Is there anything that worries you about them as players\prospects?

"Josh – Could he already have one foot out the door, and if he does, how does that affect the team? His talent is undeniable, but how will it equate to wins?Udoka – His post game is raw, and it will be harder to over power guys in the Big XII.Mitch – That he may not be ready for conference play this year. Likely a four year guy."

Lastly, what did you like most about what you’ve seen from these guys over their prep careers

"Josh – There has only one player I have ever seen move the way Jackson does, and that was Andrew Wiggins. He is truly special.Udoka – He’s going to be a big time presence simply due to the fact that he is a mountain of a human being.Mitch – His motor is very high, which should help him in his career under a coach like Bill Self."

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Flinn’s feel for the recruits tends to line up with what I’ve written about them in the past. Jackson should have a fantastic season in Lawrence, akin to what Andrew Wiggins brought in his only season. Azubuike could struggle in his minutes because of his severe lack of skill, but his size will be an asset. Lightfoot will likely be hard-pressed to get minutes, unless Dwight Coleby is not healthy enough to play this year.