Kansas basketball receives commitment from walk-on player with massive potential

The Jayhawks found a hidden gem in this walk-on
Nov 15, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Rice Owls guard Noah Shelby (1)
Nov 15, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Rice Owls guard Noah Shelby (1) / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas basketball signed three players out of the transfer portal during the offseason, and the Jayhawks are still targeting others to round out the roster. The recent additions by HC Bill Self and the returns of Hunter Dickinson, KJ Adams, and Dajuan Harris have put KU at the forefront of championship contention for the upcoming campaign.

While KU's success in the portal has been with high-profile players, the coaching staff recently made an under-the-radar move that could be beneficial for the program down the stretch. The Jayhawks received a commitment from Rice transfer Noah Shelby, who will walk-on and redshirt during his first year in Lawrence. He will not count toward the scholarship total for the 2024-25 season, meaning there are still two spots that can be filled.

Rice transfer Noah Shelby transfers to Kansas basketball as walk-on

Shelby is not your ordinary walk-on player. Coming out of Greenhill High School in Texas, he was a consensus 4-star and top-125 recruit in the Class of 2022. Shelby was the second-highest-rated HS signee for Vanderbilt, and he appeared in 14 games before transferring to Rice. Across 44 collegiate contests, Shelby has averaged 3.9 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.8 assists.

Considering the 6-foot-3 combo guard once held offers from several premier programs, including Kansas, it is surprising to see him take a walk-on spot with the Jayhawks. There are several schools around the country that would have taken him on as a scholarship player, but he decided KU was the right fit for him.

Because he will redshirt this year, Shelby will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2025-26. There is a chance that he converts to a scholarship player if he improves enough during practice and Coach Self likes his game. If that were to happen, Kansas would be getting away with a steal since it does not have to use a scholarship on him this year.

Here is the scouting report that 247 Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins gave him out of high school:

"Shelby is one of the better long distance shooters in his class. He makes any man to man defense stretch out against any zone. He is one who needs to be shaded and accounted for at all times because he is great at catching and shooting off penetration from one of his teammates. He will need to work on improving his athleticism and continue to hone his ball handling skills when under intense ball pressure. He is steadily improving in learning the nuances of the game from the lead guard spot. However, coaches mainly see his ability to stretch the floor as a key translatable asset. His shot range is beyond 22 feet and is pretty to watch with excellent rotation and back spin."

247 Sports' Brandon Jenkins