Transfer Nicolas Timberlake is eager to compete for a national title with KU men’s basketball

LAWRENCE — Nicolas Timberlake’s experience in the transfer portal exceeded the expectations he had for himself.

There was the sheer amount of interest from other colleges, after he’d spent the past five years playing for Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association. There was the fact Kansas got involved not long after he entered. Standing inside Allen Fieldhouse this week, after scrimmaging with his Jayhawks teammates, the whirlwind that followed last season still seemed crazy to him.

But as Timberlake reflected on his journey to Kansas, where he committed and ultimately signed, his mindset for the months ahead was clear. After coming up short of reaching the NCAA tournament every year at Towson, he’s looking forward to a chance to dance with the Jayhawks. And once he's there, he wants to help Kansas win another national championship.

“I mean, like my dad said in one of the articles, it’s Kansas,” said Timberlake, a super-senior guard listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. “I get to play for coach (Bill) Self, probably the best coach in the country — in my opinion. So, it was a hard decision. But, at the end of the day, I’m very excited with what I decided.”

Then with Towson, Nicolas Timberlake takes a shot during a game on Dec. 8, 2021 against Ohio State at Value City Arena. Timberlake transferred to Kansas ahead of the 2023-24 season.
Then with Towson, Nicolas Timberlake takes a shot during a game on Dec. 8, 2021 against Ohio State at Value City Arena. Timberlake transferred to Kansas ahead of the 2023-24 season.

On top of the wealth of experience Timberlake will provide, his ability to hit 3s made him a no-doubt target for Kansas. The past two seasons at Towson he shot 41.6% and 40.6% from behind the arc, respectively. And considering he was a combined 170-for-413 (41.2%) on 3-point attempts across those two campaigns, he won't have to prove himself regarding volume.

Maybe that helps Timberlake earn himself a spot in the starting lineup, and maybe it’s something that makes him a critical piece off the bench. But whenever he is on the floor, he provides a level of spacing that should certainly serve the Jayhawks well.

Of the three returning starters for Kansas, guard Dajuan Harris Jr., guard Kevin McCullar Jr. and forward KJ Adams Jr., the Jayhawks will look for Harris to take more 3s, McCullar to improve his percentage on 3s and Adams to do more on the perimeter than he has in the past. Another key transfer, former Michigan center Hunter Dickinson, is planning on elevating his game with more 3-point attempts as well. Timberlake’s presence means there’s less pressure on certain individuals to deliver, and off the court, Timberlake believes the chemistry is already strong.

“It was a quick transition,” Timberlake said. “You would have thought we’d known each other for years. It’s actually insane. We’ve been saying it the whole week. First two days we were here, we were all together, all hanging out. It’s a family already.”

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The team’s trip to Puerto Rico in August, from Aug. 1-8, could take that bond even further. Kansas will play three exhibition games against “pro/club teams that compete in the Puerto Rico BSN basketball league” — as stated in a Jayhawks release.

The last time Kansas took a trip like this, it went to Italy ahead of the 2017-18 season. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 Conference’s regular season and tournament championships that year, culminating in a run to the Final Four.

“I can’t wait,” Timberlake said about going to Puerto Rico. “It’s going to be a blast.”

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Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. He is the National Sports Media Association’s sportswriter of the year for the state of Kansas for 2022. Contact him at or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Nicolas Timberlake wants to win a national title with KU basketball