With 2011 recruiting wrapped up for the most part, focus in Lawrence Kansas has quickly shifted to the talented class of 2012. For all the talk of a home run class in 2011 and the subsequent disappointment, it was always the 2012 and 2013 classes that Kansas seemed best positioned to make a run at. What that means is 2011-2012 could be that transition year that Kansas fans have been expecting since 2007-2008, a transition year that hasn't ever truly materialized.
Moving back to recruiting and specifically the 2012 class, Kansas is carrying over three scholarships from this year. This opens the opportunity to reward a walk on for a season or land something late but most likely the Jayhawks will carry over three and add at least two with the departure of Tyshawn Taylor and Connor Teahan at the end of next season. It is also widely anticipated that the Jayhawks will see the departure of Thomas Robinson to early NBA entry meaning the Jayhawks would have up to six scholarships available for the 2012 class.
Bill Self holds one early commitment from 6'9" power forward Zach Peters out of Plano Texas. Peters is a physical 6'9" interior player that has dropped a bit in the rankings of late, but much of that seems to be a result of his desire to play football during his senior season and that has kept him away from the AAU circuit which so often produces the rise and fall in recruit rankings.
A local player that Bill Self has recruited since he first stepped onto a high school basketball court is 6'8" power forward out of Wichita, Perry Ellis. Ellis is viewed as someone who could play as a power forward or small forward at the next level and has been heavily recruited by Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma and Wichita State. Ellis has been a staple at Allen Fieldhouse during many of the big games over the past few years and while Kansas is considered the favorite by many, it's not a done deal until the ink is dry so to speak.
Two other interior players that Kansas seems to have substantial early traction with include seven footer Kaleb Tarcewksi and Mitch McGary. Tarcewksi has been to Kansas for elite camps in the past and just recently completed an unofficial visit with his mother this past weekend. Kansas is a finalist along with North Carolina and Arizona with a decision expected sometime before the season starts.
McGary is a hot name out of Brewster Academy, the same place where both Thomas Robinson and Naadir Tharpe played their prep basketball. McGary jumped from an unranked and slightly unknown prospect to one of the top 10 recruits in the country and Kansas is in the hunt along with Arizona, Duke, UConn and a list of other schools that continues to grow.
In the backcourt Kansas also is in a strong position with two high level prospects in J-Mychal Reese and Nino Jackson. Both players are point/combo guard types and in the mold of the players that Bill Self has been successful with in the past. Reese was once considered the top recruit in the class in a far too premature ranking that dates back several years. Both players have stated Kansas to be a leader or close to a leader for their services and Kansas would do well to land one or both talented guards.
That's the dream class, six scholarships available and six high level prospects. How realistic is it to land all of them? It might be a reach but Kansas may or may not have room for all of them anyway. If Kansas can land three to four from the group it will be a top level class in college basketball and turn the Kansas Jayhawks back into a team to watch out for. It's a familiar position for coach Self to be in and a position that he built a national champion out of in the past.