After the departure of All-Americans Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson, Kansas basketball will be looking for a new one-two punch next season.
Replacing good players after they graduate or leave for the draft is never easy, especially when the players were all-conference and all-Americans. Kansas basketball will have to replace two such players in Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson which begs the question: who will be the leaders on next season’s Kansas Jayhawks?
Nobody on Kansas’ roster from last season averaged more than 10 points per game last season, which means at least a couple of players will have to take on more responsibility.
One player that could rise up is senior Marcus Garrett, who won both the Naismith and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year awards in addition to being named Third-Team All-Big 12. As a junior, Garrett averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and a team-leading 4.6 assists per game. If he can become more of a threat on the offensive end, watch out, because he could easily become a candidate for an All-American selection.
Ochai Agbaji could also be set for a big season if he can find some consistency and rhythm in his shots and decision making. Last year as a sophomore, he put up 10 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 33.8 percent from behind the three-point line. Agbaji is the highest scorer per game out of those returning, so he should be definitely looking to score more next season.
With Azubuike gone, David McCormack will have a chance to step into the limelight and become a regular starter after starting for part of last season. He’s got a great frame and he proved he could put up big numbers last season with a 28-point performance against UMKC and a 16-point outing against BYU.
Finally, incoming-freshman Bryce Thompson could be a really prolific scorer for the Jayhawks. Rated as a five-star recruit, Thompson was supposed to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game; however, the showcase was canceled due to COVID-19.
Kansas basketball is going to be really good next season. The have a ton of depth and a lot of experience too, so repeating as Big 12 champions should be the goal in the regular season. In March Madness, the Jayhawks’ depth will be even more valuable, and Kansas will have a shot to capture what they were robbed of last season.