The 2022 college basketball season is over, and with Kansas being crowned national champions the air is still sweet with victory. However, this offseason looms large over the program, as the NCAA investigation may proceed into further developments, the transfer portal being more active than ever, and players making their decisions on whether to leave or stay. Obviously you've got the ever so slight possibility of guys like KJ Adams, Joe Yesefu, or others (that we will mention later) entering their name into the portal, and with Ochai Agbaji, Mitch Lightfoot, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Remy Martin and Chris Teahan *sheds tear* all leaving the roster could look very different next season. Top that off with new faces like McDonald's All-American Gradey Dick coming in along with other recruits and transfers, and the Jayhawks may very well look (mildly) unrecognizable.
I wanted to focus though on another group that is in play here, a group I call "The Maybes", and that group involves Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson, and David McCormack. All three are about 50/50 on returning to the Jayhawks next year, maybe more, maybe less. Let's start with Christian Braun. Braun is predicted to go in the later portion of the NBA Draft this year. His stalky build, good shooting, and high energy all have caught the eye of NBA scouts, however in my personal opinion his stock in the draft rises if he stays and develops. Christian has a lot to work on when it comes to his decision making and his consistency. His 3 point shot still leaves something to desire, he tends to rush things and have hot games and cold (not saying that it isn't normal for a player to have that but at the level he's having these hot and cold games it needs addressing), and most importantly I think he needs to take a leadership role with the Jayhawks. His fiery attitude is extremely important, but I think putting him in a leadership position will show his maturity and showcase his abilities, something that when done can really make him play well. The spotlight seems to energize Braun, and if he becomes top guard on this Kansas team and stays he will see Ochai-like numbers I feel.
Next is Jalen Wilson. Wilson staying will propel the Jayhawks front court and allow them to have a veteran, high rebounding, solid shooting presence in the forwards, much like he did this year only better. I can also see, however, with the front court that we have coming into next year him transferring or testing NBA waters. If he stays though, I think that is the best fit for him in his personal development UNLESS he can find a program where he can star or (if he wants to go the NBA route) find a program that molds NBA players more than Kansas, which isn't very many programs. I expect him to stay though the most out of any of the three, as he's not predicted to go anywhere on any draft board.
Finally, we get to Big Dave. Good Ol' David where to start with you? McCormack is a senior, however with COVID happening he gained an extra year of eligibility and could very well stay. I'm not sure how much he cares about making the NBA, but if he stays and continues on the path he was going towards the end of the tournament he could blossom into a high lottery pick. He'll need to work on his endurance and decision-making, but I could see David developing into an absolute stud down low if Coach Self continues to work with him and he continues this postseason form into next season. That being said, he's an enigma when it comes to what his plans are. He may not even choose to use his COVID year for all we know, however if he does he could be a stalwart. Emphasis on the "Could be" though, as inconsistency is an even worse problem for McCormack than it is for Braun.
Overall I think Kansas will still be Kansas at the end of the day. High expectations, great players, and players that show they can be great. Like every blue blood there is a tradition and expectation of excellence in this program, and no matter what happens with the three players highlighted in this article I think Kansas still has as good of a shot at the Big 12 and national title as any.
Burn Notice: 7/10 Allen Fieldhouse, seriously have y'all been in there when it's a packed house? Gets just a little bit muggy. Great scenes though highly recommend.