Despite Kansas Jayhawks portal prowess, Bill Self must hit on 2024 freshman recruits

The three incoming KU freshman recruits of Flory Bidunga, Labaron Philon, and Rakease Passmore all bring a diverse set of skills that could translate extremely well to this Kansas roster... However, top freshman recruits have been very hit-or-miss for Bill Self over the last half-decade or so. How will this 2024 recruiting class impact this upcoming season as Kansas looks for another National Championship?
2024 McDonald's All American Game
2024 McDonald's All American Game / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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The three incoming freshman recruits could have small, but extremely crucial roles for the Jayhawks in 2024-2025

Flory Bidunga

The prolifically-athletic 6’9” center is the highest ranked big man recruit for Bill Self since Chieck Diallo (ranked 7th overall in 2015). Bidunga was the 2023-2024 Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana, averaging 19.0 PPG and 12.9 RPG, while shooting 81.4% from the field. He also showcased some playmaking skills on offense and defense, recording 3.2 APG and an insane 4.4 BPG.

Bidunga is currently slated to come off of the bench for the Jayhawks and should see some backup power forward and backup center minutes in relief of KJ Adams and Hunter Dickinson. This means that realistically he will only play around 12-20 minutes a night, but could be the ultimate energy guy in his limited court time. There is a chance that Bidunga will be a one-and-done for KU, but it is also in the cards that he sticks around in Lawrence for a few more years as well.

Labaron Philon

The 30th ranked recruit (8th ranked PG) is a 6’4” scoring guard who was the 2022-2023 Gatorade Player of the Year in Alabama as a junior. He averaged a stupendous 34.7 PPG and his game revolves around putting pressure on the rim, but he has also developed his 3-point shot more over the last year. Philon is listed as a point guard, but has the size to defend shooting guards or even small-ball small forwards.

Coming into a crowded backcourt at Kansas, Philon will have his work cut out for him to jump a few of the more experienced players in the depth chart. Luckily for him, the Jayhawks are mostly stacked at the wing positions and his biggest competition for the backup PG spot is Elmarko Jackson. The sophomore guard will likely have a short leash next year, so if Jackson struggles, that would open up a nice runway for Philon to play 8-12 minutes a night.

Rakease Passmore

The 6’5” wing is the 36th ranked recruit (6th ranked SG) who averaged 19.2 PPG as a senior on shooting splits of 55.3% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc, and 76.1% from the free throw line. Passmore does not have the same playmaking upside of Philon, however he is a solid rebounder for his size, averaging 5.5 per game. He also upped his PPG, APG, RPG, FG%, and FT% come playoff time, which is a good indicator of how he handles pressure situations.

Passmore could struggle to see any sort of meaningful role with Kansas as a freshman due to the plethora of wings that the Crimson and Blue brought in. He is certainly behind Zeke Mayo, Riley Kugel, and AJ Storr in the depth chart. He is also likely behind Elmarko Jackson, Labaran Philon, and Jamari McDowell to start the season. Crazier things have happened, but Passmore is likely only carving out a rotational role if there are injuries.

The incoming freshman won’t be the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th biggest reason as to why Kansas should enter the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country, but as last soon proved, depth can be an incredible asset. It will be exciting to see which of the three recruits rise to the occasion and impact a potential final-four run this upcoming year!