Kansas basketball: Transfer target tiers for the Jayhawks’ off-season

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17: Nicolas Timberlake #25 of the Towson Tigers brings the ball up court against the Northern Iowa Panthers during the Legends of Basketball Showcase at United Center on December 17, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17: Nicolas Timberlake #25 of the Towson Tigers brings the ball up court against the Northern Iowa Panthers during the Legends of Basketball Showcase at United Center on December 17, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Kansas will need to extract some talent from the transfer portal this off-season. There is a multitude of players that could bolster Bill Self’s roster next year.

With three starters likely leaving (although, we haven’t heard an official word on Gradey Dick yet), the Kansas basketball roster is getting thinner by the day. There are currently just six scholarship players on the roster, and rumor has been swirling about two or three others entering the portal. With four freshmen coming in, that will probably put them somewhere in the 7-9 scholarship range.

Coach Self and his staff must be big-time players in the transfer portal to assemble a KU-level team next season. While the transfer portal is ever-changing, here are the currently available players I would like for them to target. I have broken them down into three tiers, with no order within the tiers.

Throw The Bag At Them

Nicolas Timberlake – Guard – 6’4″ – Towson

2022-23 Stats: 17.7 Points, 3.9 Rebounds, 2.4 Assists, 42% 3PT

Nicolas Timberlake is a walking bucket. Nearly 18 points per game and is a sniper from deep. He hit multiple three-pointers in 24 of his 33 games and had three or more in 16 of those games. He had eight or more points in all but three games, including 12 twenty-point games and a trio of thirty-point games. Even coming from a small school like Towson, he could easily compete to be a top two or three scorer for the Hawks and bring some very much needing shooting to the team.

Joseph Girard – Guard – 6’1″ – Syracuse

2022-23 Stats: 16.4 Points, 2.8 Rebounds, 3.0 Assists, 38% 3PT

Girard was Syracuse’s leading scorer this season, edging out possible first-round pick Judah Mintz. Another great shooter, he hit at least one three in all but two games and sank multiple in 23 of his 32 games. He is a bit small to play the two-guard, but Self could make it work if he had the floor spacing and size to make up for it. They could also bring him off the bench as a Remy Martin spark plug type of player. Depending on how quickly the freshmen guards get up to speed, Girard could be a very valuable asset in several ways.

Evan Taylor – G/F – 6’6″ – Lehigh

2022-23 Stats: 14.2 Points, 6.5 Rebounds, 1.1 Assists, 43% 3PT

Taylor is an intriguing target. At 6’6″, he could easily play the two-guard or a wing. As a 43% shooter, he is yet another shooter (clearly, I think shooting is important) that could help spread the floor for Dajuan’s pick-and-roll game with the bigs. His scoring is consistent, as he scored in double figures in all but three of his games last season. He is also a terrific rebounder for his size, so he could likely play the four in a small ball lineup. His combination of size, rebounding, and shooting could be a huge asset to a team lacking in all of those categories.

Not My First Choice, But Still A Good Choice

Myron Gardner – G/F – 6’6″ – Arkansas Little Rock

2022-23 Stats: 13.2 Points, 9.1 Rebounds, 3.6 Assists, 36% 3PT

Gardner is similar to Taylor in that he is the right size to play both guard or wing and rebounds extremely well for either position. What separates him is a lesser pure-scoring ability, but a better playmaking ability. He can do a little bit of everything on the floor. Having a guy that can play multiple positions, rebound, pass, and the score is a huge asset for any team. I think Coach Self would love to have a guy like Gardner.

Khalif Battle – G – 6’5″ – Temple

2022-23 Stats: 17.9 Points, 3.6 Rebounds, 1.8 Assists, 35% 3PT

Another leading scorer in the portal, another player that Coach Self should give a good look at. No, 18 points a game at Temple wouldn’t translate to 18 points at KU, but it could easily translate to 10-12 points. With the lack of scoring currently on the roster, that would be a huge addition. He would slide right into the backcourt alongside Dajuan. If we can’t land one of the guards in my top tier, Battle would be my next favorite target.

Charles Pride – G – 6’4″ – Bryant

2022-23 Stats: 14.6 Points, 6.1 Rebounds, 2.4 Assists, 37% 3PT

Okay, now I’m just starting to sound like a broken record. Pride is another guard who can shoot the ball at a good percentage while also helping out on the glass. Kansas has had their fair share of guards and wings who could rebound especially well for their size (Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson in recent memory) and the portal seems to have a lot of guys who can do the same thing. With the lack of size down low, any rebounding help from the other positions is appreciated.

Not Ideal, But Would Fill A Need

Fardaws Aimaq – 6’11” – Texas Tech

2022-23 Stats: 11.1 Points, 7.9 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 28% 3PT

The first true big man on the list, Aimaq would fill a little bit different of a role. The three current big men on the roster (KJ Adams, Ernest Udeh, and Zuby Ejiofor) are best in pick-and-roll situations where they can get a head of steam and catch a pass right around the basket. Aimaq has much more of an offensive game, with the ability to face up his defender and make a move or even hit a mid-range jump shot. He can even step out further, as he attempted just over 1.5 three-pointers per game. While he isn’t a big-time scorer, the ability to stretch the floor could be a boost to a team that didn’t have that threat from its big men last season. He would also immediately become the tallest player on the team, which couldn’t hurt the prospects of next year’s roster.

BJ Mack – 6’8″ – Wofford

2022-23 Stats: 16.6 Points, 5.6 Rebounds, 1.4 Assists, 34% 3PT

Mack is one of the most consistent scorers available in the portal. He hit double-digit points in all but three games this season and he never scored less than eight points. Mack doesn’t fill up the stat sheet at a ridiculous rate, but having someone who you can count on for a certain amount of points (probably closer to the 8-10 range at KU) is very reassuring. Plus, he fills the wing spot that we so desperately need with the departures of Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar.

Chris Ledlum – 6’6″ – Harvard

2022-23 Stats: 18.8 Points, 8.5 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 29% 3PT

If Ledlum was closer to the 35 percent mark from deep, he would be at least one tier higher on this list. Unfortunately, he isn’t. He is, however, a great scorer despite his lack of range. Nearly 20 points per game, at any level, is impressive. Add in the 8.5 rebounds at just 6’6″, and you have someone who has figured out how to impact the game at a high level. Another thing knocking him down this list is the number of good wings that are in the portal with him. Eight of the ten other players on this list can play one of the positions outside of point guard or center. So while he isn’t in the upper echelon of players I would want the Jayhawks to bring in, it’s not necessarily because of his actions. I would never be upset about bringing in a 19-point-per-game scorer.

My Ideal Transfer Portal Haul

I would like for the Jayhawks to bring in the top five players on my list, but I’m more of a realist than that. For this final exercise, I will put together my favorite group using one player from the first tier, two players from the second tier, and one player from the third tier.

Throw The Bag At Them – Nicolas Timberlake

Yes, the Jayhawks need wings. More importantly, though, they need scoring. Assuming Gradey Dick enters the NBA Draft, the top three scorers from this season will be gone. Timberlake can contribute double-digit scoring (and great floor spacing) on a nightly basis.

Not My First Choice, But… – Myron Gardner and Charles Pride

Gardner helps fill the wing role, while also providing another viable threat from the perimeter. He isn’t quite the offensive threat that Timberlake is, but his aggression on the glass would make up for that.

Pride would have the opportunity to slot in next to Dajuan Harris in the backcourt, which would provide them with a threat somewhat similar to Gradey Dick. Having multiple shooters on the court is very important with Harris and the bigs running constant pick-and-rolls.

Not Ideal, But… – Chris Ledlum

I know I just said that Harris needs to be surrounded by shooters, but that isn’t an option with the three players in this tier. Instead, I went with the pure scorer. Ledlum can score at the rim and has a mid-range game, which would be a nice compliment to the pick-and-roll offense and the outside shooting that would hopefully be accompanying him on the court.

Self has found plenty of success in the past with transfers (Kevin McCullar, Remi Martin, Malik Newman, Dedric Lawson) but has also had some misses (Jalen Coleman-Lands, Tyon Grant-Foster, Charlie Moore). He will need to work his magic and find at least a couple of solid contributors for next year’s team to find the amount of success that the program expects on a year-to-year basis.

Next. Joseph Yesufu enters his name into transfer portal. dark