Kansas Jayhawks eyeing big man depth after making contact with transfer center

Bill Self might have found his backup center for next season
Saint Joseph's v Seton Hall
Saint Joseph's v Seton Hall / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

A glaring issue for the 2023-24 Kansas basketball team was its shortage of depth. The Jayhawks direly missed a scoring presence off the bench and players who could spell the starters for extended periods, especially star center Hunter Dickinson. While Parker Braun played some respectable minutes, the drop-off from Dickinson to him was evident.

5-star prospect Flory Bidunga is the highest-rated player in KU's recruiting class this season, and the McDonald's All-American will have a place in the rotation as a freshman. However, Kansas could use an experienced player down low while Bidunga grows as a player, and the coaching staff is eyeing one transfer from St. Joseph's in particular.

Kansas reaches out to St. Joseph's transfer center Christ Essandoko

The Jayhawks recently contacted former St. Joseph's center Christ Essandoko after he entered the transfer portal. A 7-foot, 285-pound big man originally from France, Essandoko averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks on 50.0% shooting during his redshirt freshman campaign.

He is a formidable presence in the paint and can easily overpower smaller defenders in the post. Despite his incredible size, Essandoko's arsenal features an outside shot that he does not take too often. He shot 36.8% 3-point on 1.5 attempts per game, and he can knock them down if he is left open.

Essandoko is powerful down low but lacks the proper footwork to be an immediate offensive contributor. He would be a project for Coach Self and his staff to develop over time, considering he still has three years of eligibility remaining. There are other underrated aspects of his game, such as his passing.

Kansas currently has zero scholarships left due to its self-imposed limit, but a few players could be off to the NBA or in the transfer portal within the coming weeks. Essandoko might not be the same caliber as other KU targets such as Cliff Omoruyi, but he is a realistic option who could progress into something special. He has all the physical tools to become a dominant college big man.