LAWRENCE — After the Kansas men’s basketball team’s banquet last month, head coach Bill Self gave a glimpse into what the team may be looking for on the recruiting trail.
They were open to anything, Self said. It depends on what decisions current Jayhawks make regarding their futures and potentially returning, Self cautioned. But with guard Ochai Agbaji heading for the upcoming NBA draft, Self did think they could use a guard who has size who can shoot, or a combo guard, or simply one that can score.
Like Self said then, however many spots — if any at all — that Kansas has to fill with a transfer depends on who returns from the national championship-winning 2021-22 squad. When the season ended there were 11 scholarship Jayhawks who could technically return for another year, and four incoming freshmen who’ve already signed. That would put Kansas two over the scholarship limit of 13 for the 2022-23 season, although it’s never seemed as if Agbaji or forward David McCormack would use the extra year of eligibility afforded to them because of the pandemic.
So, with no current Jayhawks announcing an intention to transfer as of Monday morning, the focus then turns to the decisions Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson will make. Braun and Wilson, a junior guard and redshirt sophomore forward this past season, respectively, are both testing their NBA draft potential right now with the option open to return to Kansas. They have until June 1 to decide whether to turn pro or spend another year in college.
If either Braun or Wilson leave, or both do, here are a few transfers to think about who Self and his staff could turn to in order to fill the spot, or spots, available. Baylor Scheierman, a coveted prospect who’s exploring transferring from South Dakota State or turning pro, is not included as multiple reports Monday did not have the Jayhawks in his top five of potential transfer destinations. Scheierman, according to reports, did have Kansas in his top 10.
The probability that McCullar becomes a Jayhawks player in the future rose considerably Sunday when he announced on Twitter that Kansas and Gonzaga were his top two choices, should he return to college. McCullar, a redshirt junior guard this past season for Texas Tech, is among the early entry candidates for the upcoming NBA draft. He helped the Red Raiders reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament earlier this year.
McCullar, listed by Texas Tech at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, has earned All-Big 12 Conference recognition the past two seasons as an honorable mention pick. He was also a semifinalist in 2022 for the Naismith defensive player of the year award. Through 24 starts and 29 appearances this past season, he averaged 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
McCullar, who stated in his announcement that playing in the NBA was his priority, was hampered some by an injury as a redshirt junior. If he’s fully healthy, maybe McCullar — who shot 40.2% from the field and 31.1% from behind the arc this past season — is better capable of being more of a threat offensively. Regardless, his defensive prowess would surely be welcomed.
With a report Sunday from Rivals’ Travis Graf came more support for those who’ve linked Mosley to Kansas as a potential transfer. According to Graf, the Jayhawks are among some of the schools — including Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas and more — involved with Mosley. Mosley was both a high school teammate of current Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr., and a member of the same MOKAN basketball AAU program Harris and Braun were.
Mosley, who is among the early entry candidates for the upcoming NBA draft, is coming off of a junior season at Missouri State. Listed as a 6-foot-5 and 194-pound guard, Mosley averaged 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game across 34 appearances that included 32 starts. He helped the Bears to an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament in 2022, and for the second-straight year is an All-Missouri Valley Conference, first-team selection.
Mosley, who Braun referred to on Twitter as the best scorer in the nation, certainly knows how to hit shots and would certainly fit that profile that Self is looking for with the Jayhawks. As a senior, Mosley hit 50.4% of his shots from the field and 42.7% of his shots from behind the arc. And that’s all on top of the fact that he hit 90.2% of his attempts from the free-throw line.
Last week, Hunter included Kansas in his top six alongside Tennessee, Louisville, Gonzaga, Texas and Purdue. He is clearly the least experienced among McCullar, Mosley and himself, having just completed a freshman campaign at Iowa State. However, considering Hunter was a 247Sports Composite four-star recruit out of high school and a top 40 prospect, there’s no doubt Hunter has the talent to warrant attention.
Hunter, listed by the Cyclones as a 6-foot and 178-pound guard, earned the nod as the Big 12’s freshman of the year this past season. Hunter, a member of the Big 12’s all-freshman team, averaged 11 points, 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He started all 35 of the contests he played in for an Iowa State squad that reached the Sweet 16 as well.
Shooting the ball may not have been Hunter’s strength, considering he was only 39.1% from the field, 27.4% from behind the arc and 68.7% from the free-throw line. But he clearly still made his presence felt in games, and would have time to develop further. According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Hunter and McCullar are among those exploring the option to transfer who are seeking significant NIL compensation.
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Three KU basketball transfer portal targets to keep an eye on