Kansas basketball transfer being recruited by Jayhawks rival in the portal

Riley Kugel could head to a different school in the Big 12 next year
Gonzaga v Kansas
Gonzaga v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

Kansas basketball had a disappointing finish to the 2023-24 season, but Bill Self wasted no time revamping his roster for the upcoming season. He made several additions in the transfer portal, reeling in players like AJ Storr and Rylan Griffen to put the Jayhawks among the top contenders to win a National Championship next year.

While the offseason had been going smoothly for KU, the program eventually lost high school recruit Labaron Philon and Florida transfer Riley Kugel. Kugel had pledged to Kansas but never officially signed with the team, and he ultimately pulled out of the commitment to re-open his recruitment. Since hitting the portal for the second time, a familiar school to Jayhawk fans has entered the mix as a candidate to land the athletic guard.

Kansas State listed among top schools to pursue Riley Kugel

That's right — Kugel could head West of Lawrence to join Jerome Tang and the Kansas State Wildcats. On3 reported that KSU and Mississippi State were two teams to watch in his recruitment, something that Kansas supporters likely didn't expect to hear.

Kugel had a down year in 2023-24 after a freshman year which saw him earn All-SEC Freshman Team honors. He averaged 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for the Gators before going portaling. With two years of eligibility remaining, he could be a valuable asset for a team looking to develop his offensive skill set.

He was the first player to commit to Kansas out of the portal in March. There has been no official reason as to why Kugel's commitment fell through, but Self brought in two wing players who should receive immediate starter minutes. It would have been challenging for Kugel to have received much playing time in his junior year. 

Coach Tang will have a much different roster to work with next year. He has already added Michigan transfer Dug McDaniel and Arkansas transfer Baye Fall, among others. The Wildcats also lost several key contributors from last season to the portal, so Kugel's presence would be welcomed. Regardless, there would definitely be a grudge held by Kansas if a former commit went to a rival school.