New ‘super-athletic’ Jayhawks guard/forward is enjoying first days on KU’s campus

Freshman Kansas Jayhawks shooting guard/small forward Rakease Passmore, who moved into his McCarthy Hall apartment on June 1, has adjusted quickly to life as a major-college men’s basketball player.

“It’s definitely been a good experience the first week,” Passmore, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound native of Palatka, Florida said Sunday after signing hundreds of autographs during the start of week two of Bill Self’s hoops camp for youths.

“I won’t say it’s a huge transition,” Passmore said. “I went to Combine Academy (in Lincolnton, North Carolina). I lived on campus. I think I was pretty prepared to come here and be ready.”

He has wasted no time in displaying the skills of a top-50 rated member of the high school recruiting class of 2024. Passmore — he chose KU over finalists LSU and Oklahoma — entered summer school as the No. 32-ranked player nationally by, No. 40 by and No. 45 by

“He does lot of things well. He can really shoot. He’s really athletic too, if you haven’t seen him scrimmage,” KU junior forward Zach Clemence said Sunday. “He’s super athletic. It’s going to be fun.”

Several-hundred of Self’s campers did get to see Passmore scrimmage last Tuesday in Horejsi Center adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse. He hit four 3s and scored a team-leading 16 points in the Blue team’s 46-38 victory over the Red Squad.

The intrasquad affair was cut short when sophomore guard Elmarko Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury. KU’s only other scholarship freshman, Flory Bidunga, contributed eight points as a teammate of Passmore in the camp scrimmage.

“Definitely not,” Passmore said when asked if he was nervous last week about making his unofficial KU debut in front of so many campers.

Playing in the OTE (Overtime Elite League) definitely prepared me (for) playing in front of big crowds, stuff like that. I was ready for it,” Passmore added, noting, “It was a great experience to play with the older guys and everybody on our team. It was definitely fun to perform like that.”

Passmore is used to playing against rugged competition. At Combine Academy, which is a boarding school for U.S. and international players, he competed against various prep schools. In 2023-24 he also played several games for Team Blue Checks in the eight-team Overtime Elite League based in Atlanta.

The OTE League is an eight-team league made up of high school and college aged athletes that can accept a scholarship if they wish to eventually play college ball or be paid a salary of at least $100,000 per year.

Passmore accepted the scholarship considering he was intent on playing college ball.

“Every time I get competition I always go past what everybody thinks I will,” said Passmore, who averaged 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in OTE games and 19.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in games for Combine last season.

Unafraid of competition for minutes, Passmore never wavered in his decision to attend KU, even after the Jayhawks signed several perimeter players in the transfer portal.

KU has added AJ Storr (Wisconsin), Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State), Rylan Griffen (Alabama) and Shakeel Moore (Mississippi State) and also brought in nonscholarship guard Noah Shelby (Rice) to go with returning guards Dajuan Harris and Jamari McDowell.

“I’m always confident in myself. Everybody probably thought I was going to decommit but I had confidence in myself even though I saw everybody transferring in,” Passmore said. “I still wanted to come and be a part of this.”

Describing his game, Passmore said: “Most people say I am more of a power athlete. I’m just getting developed how to shoot the 3-ball and stretch the floor. It’s been good to get some reps in on that.”

Self has compared Passmore to “probably a little bit of Ochai (Agbaji), when he came up,” Passmore said Sunday. “Just the guard (defense) part., He can knock down shots and stuff like that. He (Agbaji, Toronto Raptors) can do what he needs to do. I think I can do that too, I’ve got put in a lot of work to catch him though, It’s not going to be easy.”

Passmore averaged 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 62.5% from the floor in three OTE playoff games last spring.

He said he’s already soaking up new knowledge from KU’s veteran players.

“Dajuan … he helps me a lot on the court and off the court,” Passmore said of senior point guard Harris. “See how he moves, the way he can pass, the pace (he plays with), I’ve definitely learned a lot from him,” Passmore noted.

Passmore believes he has the ability to come in as a freshman and “play defense, knock down shots, be an energy guy, whatever coach needs me to do I’ll do it.”

Asked what he’d like to prove in year one he said: “That I can play with anybody else in the country pretty much. That’s all I got.”

He’s looking forward to bonding with fellow freshman Bidunga.

“We were on the Adidas circuit together. We’ve been cool. I already knew Flory before we came here,” he said.

Passmore indicated the biggest adjustment to major college ball for the newcomers will be “probably the crowd. I played OTE but that isn’t anything like Allen Fieldhouse which I’ll be playing in this year. I’ve got to be ready for that.”

Here’s a scouting report of Passmore written by’s Nick Crain: “When it comes to do-it-all players, Passmore has the skillset to be a very well-rounded NBA player one day. He’s a phenomenal athlete who plays as an off-ball guard or wing. Given his strength and physical tools, the Kansas commit is able to play much bigger than his height on both ends. This is especially true offensively, as he is able to overpower most defenders to get to his spots.

“While Passmore is known for being a high-flyer and walking highlight reel with his dunks, he’s much more than that. He’s an elite threat in transition and really thrives in open space overall. He’s also a good shooter, both in rhythm and on the move. He can create for himself and score from all three levels, which should translate at the collegiate level. Not only is he extremely strong and is learning to be shifty, but he has great footwork and a very solid foundational baseline of skills.

“On the defensive end, Passmore has the chance to establish himself as a lottery talent if he’s able to leverage his physical tools and athleticism to lock down the talent he will go up against in the Big 12. If he’s able to shine on that end of the floor, there’s no question he has lottery upside. Passmore should be highly considered as a top prospect entering next draft cycle.”