Kansas basketball coaches connect via Zoom with some prospects in NCAA transfer portal

Kansas’ men’s basketball coaches conducted a Zoom recruiting call Wednesday with former Western Kentucky guard Dayvion McKnight, Jayhawkslant.com reports.

McKnight, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior from Shelbyville, Kentucky, recently entered the NCAA transfer portal after averaging a team-leading 16.5 points a game this past season on 45.6% shooting. He cashed 19 of 56 threes for 33.9%. He also contributed 5.0 rebounds per contest and for the year dished 125 assists to 110 turnovers.

McKnight, a second-team all-Conference USA pick, told Rivals.com he is looking to set up visits with Arkansas, Xavier and North Carolina State. According to On3.com he’s also heard from KU, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Memphis, Purdue, LSU, Louisville and Mississippi State.

Out of high school McKnight had offers from Northwestern, Murray State and Saint Louis. McKnight is currently ranked the No. 18 available transfer in the country according to Rivals.com. His season high of 33 points came in February against Middle Tennessee.

Zoom call held with Temple’s Reynolds

KU’s coaches on Tuesday held a Zoom recruiting call with Jamille Reynolds, a 6-11, 280-pound sophomore center from Temple, who recently entered the portal.

Reynolds, who played two seasons at UCF before transferring to Temple, averaged 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game last season. He hit 60.4% of his shots and 60.3% of his free throws.

“It was good,” Reynolds said of the Zoom call. “Probably the best talk with a coach (Bill Self) that I’ve had. They are trying to get me up (for a visit) as soon as the (upcoming) dead period (in recruiting) is over.” That dead period runs from March 30 to April 6.

Coaches from KU, Arkansas, Iowa, Cincinnati, Florida, Tulsa, SMU, East Carolina, Rutgers, Providence, South Carolina, Mississippi State and others reportedly have contacted Reynolds.

Another Temple player on radar

KU also reportedly has made contact with Reynolds’ Temple teammate, Khalif Battle, a 6-5, 180-pound sophomore combo guard who averaged 17.9 points a game last season for the Owls. Battle grabbed 3.6 rebounds and dished 1.8 assists per game. He hit 77 of 220 threes for 35.0%. Overall he made 41% of his floor shots and 89.8% of his free throws..

According to On3.com the Hillside, New Jersey native who started his career at Butler has heard from coaches from KU, Arkansas, Villanova, Arizona, Ohio State, Florida, Memphis, Florida State, Louisville, USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon and others. He played high school basketball at Trenton Catholic School in Metuchen, New Jersey.

DJ Horne on KU’s list?

KU has reached out to former Arizona State point guard DJ Horne, Jayhawkslant.com reports.

Horne, a 6-1, 175-pound junior who recently entered the portal, averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists last season. He hit 36.9% of his shots. Horne told 336 Edits he’s also heard from coaches from Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Pitt and others.

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Horne played two seasons Illinois State. He averaged 15.0 points a game during the 2020-21 season. He then transferred to Arizona State where he has also played two seasons.

Horne told Recruits Zone he’s heard from KU, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Butler, St. John’s and others.

Oregon big man Ware hits transfer portal

Kansas has been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Kel’el Ware, a 7-0, 210-pound forward who has entered the transfer portal after one season at Oregon. Ware — he is originally from North Little Rock, Arkansas — averaged 6.6 points a game in 2022-23 on 45.7% shooting. He hit 15 of 55 threes for 27.3%. He also cashed 71.2% of his free throws. The McDonald’s All-American was the No. 7 player in the recruiting Class of 2022 according to Rivals.com.

“Kansas made a run at Ware last year, and the Jayhawks are in the mix for a big man from the transfer portal. If all-world point guard Dajuan Harris could help KJ Adams put up 10.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season, what could he do with a lob threat like Ware?” wrote Isaac Trotter of 247sports.com. “Kansas seems out to improve its length around the rim, and Ware would instantaneously have the highest ceiling of anybody on the KU roster.”

KU looking at Bamba

KU has expressed interest in Washington State junior combo guard T.J. Bamba, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com. Bamba, 6-5, 215 originally from Bronx, New York, averaged 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game last season. He hit 42.6% of his shots including 37.2% of his threes (55 of 148) and 73.0% of his free throws.

Bamba has heard from coaches from KU, LSU, Arizona, Oregon, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Villanova, St. John’s, Texas, Arkansas, Iowa State, Auburn and others. Bamba has also entered his name in the 2023 NBA Draft.

“Bill Self will have a much-different look on the wing next year. Adding versatile, two-way wings will be the No. 1 priority for Self this offseason, and Bamba is the best of the bunch in the transfer portal right now,” wrote Trotter of 247sports.com.

Knecht hears from Kansas

Northern Colorado senior guard Dalton Knecht has heard from KU and many others since entering his name in the portal. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Thornton, Colorado native averaged 20.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this past season. He hit 48% of his shots including 38.1% from three and 77.1% from the line.

247sports.com says Knecht has heard from coaches from KU, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Indiana, Oregon and others.

Trotter of 247sports.com commented on how Knecht might fit in at KU or Missouri.

“Missouri’s up-tempo, run-and-gun scheme is really attractive for guards. Dennis Gates’ goal is to add as many bucket-getting guards as he can, and then play at a tempo with elite ball-and-player movement so that everyone can get theirs. Knecht would likely not be the alpha if Kobe Brown opts to return for one final season, but he’d get his in Missouri’s offense,” wrote Trotter.

“Kansas could make a ton of sense for Knecht,” Trotter wrote. “Knecht could thrive as a secondary creator who adds much-needed floor-spacing.”

Clemence, Pettiford on list

Former KU forward Zach Clemence is ranked No. 95 on 247sports.com’s list of the top 166 available transfers. Former KU guard Bobby Pettiford is ranked No. 96. Former KU players Cam Martin, Joseph Yesufu and MJ Rice currently are not listed in the transfer rankings which are updated daily.

Cam Martin visiting Boise State

Former KU forward Cam Martin is visiting Boise State according to B.J. Rains of Bronco Nation News. Martin redshirted two seasons at KU after arriving as a transfer from Missouri Southern.

Sorting it all out so far

So far, Kansas has lost has lost five scholarship players (Zach Clemence, Bobby Pettiford, MJ Rice, Joseph Zesufu and Cam Martin) to the transfer portal. They will likely not return to KU for the 2023-24 season along with Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar, who are headed to the 2023 NBA Draft.

So currently, the Jayhawks, who likely will lose Gradey Dick to the draft and still could lose Kyle Cuffe to the transfer portal (no announcement has yet been made on his status), could have four returning scholarship players (Dajuan Harris, KJ Adams, Ernest Udeh and Zuby Ejiofor) in ‘23-24 to go with four incoming freshmen (Elmarko Jackson, Chris Johnson, Jamari McDowell, Marcus Adams) and up to four portal acquisitions. KU will have 12 players on scholarship the next three years instead of the usual 13 because of a self-imposed NCAA penalty in conjunction with the NCAA’s inquiry into KU hoops.