Kansas Jayhawks Q&A: KU basketball scrimmage thoughts and UConn to the Big 12?

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Much of the Kansas men’s basketball team arrived in Lawrence on Saturday.

Out of KU’s 10 scholarship players, the only three arriving next week are Marcus Adams, Kevin McCullar and Parker Braun.

The seven scholarship players, walk-ons and two former Jayhawks (Tyshawn Taylor and Ben McLemore) played in a scrimmage game on Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse as part of a Bill Self youth camp.

Here are a couple thoughts from the game...

Hunter Dickinson makes it look easy

Dickinson wasn’t trying too hard for most of the game, but he still finished with a game-leading 21 points. He was scorching hot from beyond the arc, including making a nice transition three-pointer after forcing a turnover.

It’s also clear that Dickinson will lead KU in technicals this season. There were moments when he was annoyed due to something that happened on the court — for example: a pass that wasn’t made, which in turn made him appear visibly ticked off. It’s evident he’s extremely competitive, and it’ll make this season that much more fun.

Last year, Dickinson averaged better than 18 points with nine rebounds per game at Michigan.

Nick Timberlake is always in the right spot.

Timberlake is the quintessential role player that every team needs. The Towson transfer was often open due to his ability to relocate without the ball. He finished with 15 points, knocking down three three-pointers.

Timberlake’s biggest asset besides his shooting is his experience. Because of that, he’s almost a seamless fit on the court — no matter who’s playing with him.

The battle for the second guard spot is going to be interesting. While Arterio Morris, the guard transfer from Texas, might have higher potential, I think Timberlake is a better fit around the rest of KU’s roster.

Arterio Morris has the skills, but where does he fit in?

Texas transfer Arterio Morris was the most exciting player on the court to me. His dribbling ability is special and he has a tenacity for making tough shots.

That said, I didn’t love his shot selection. Of course, it’s only a scrimmage and not worth making too much of, but he took a decent amount of tough mid-range shots. He made them more often than not, to his credit, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Morris also thrives with the ball in his hands, so I’m curious to see his fit with Dajuan Harris compared to Timberlake’s fit in that same way.

With that, it’s time for another Kansas Jayhawks Q&A. As always, thank you for the questions!

I think it’ll be Elmarko Jackson. He’s got the most college-ready frame, his passing ability is superb and he can score at all three levels.

His passing and scoring were on display in the scrimmage, but he also committed a couple of turnovers. Clearly, he’s still getting used to the pace of college play.

I was also impressed with Jamari McDowell’s play in the scrimmage. He showcased his shooting ability and had great energy on both ends of the court, which shows he could earn minutes sooner than anticipated. ‘

Finally, I am very high on Marcus Adams due to his three-level scoring ability and because he plays a position of need for KU.

If I rank them by expected early impact, it would be: 1. Jackson, 2. Adams and 3. McDowell.

On the defensive side, I like former Auburn defensive end Dylan Brooks. He was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school and could be a starter next season. He will also help alleviate some of KU’s pass rush concerns caused by the early departure of edge rusher Lonnie Phelps to the pros.

On the offensive end, I think former Wisconsin tackle Logan Brown will be excellent. Brown was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and he’s already received rave reviews from KU coaches (and football analysts) during spring ball.

I like the potential addition of UConn to the Big 12. UConn is a premier basketball brand — for the men’s and women’s teams — so it makes sense for them to join the Big 12, especially with commissioner Brett Yormark’s recent comments.

On Thursday, Yormark said that football is still the driving force in collegiate athletics but he considers basketball undervalued.

Also, in speaking with a high-ranking KU Athletics official, they’ve been impressed with how UConn has been a stronghold in the Northeast for college basketball, primarily because of how pro-sports-centric the Northeast market is overall.

UConn Football is also on the rise under Jim Mora. I’m unsure how sustainable it is because it’s only been one year, but there are parallels to KU football there. UConn baseball under Jim Penders is also very competitive.

If the Big 12 is smart, they offer basketball only initially, which I’d guess UConn would decline. The Big East is too good and historic to leave after UConn’s disaster move to the AAC years ago.

If Yormark wants more of a focus on basketball — I think it’s easy enough for UConn AD David Benedict to play up the UConn basketball brand to ensure the rest of the sports aren’t left in the Big East.

Great question! Seven or eight wins is my thought. I think KU will be better than last season, but the margin for error is very low because of their schedule.

I could easily see a scenario where the team is better, but the record doesn’t reflect it because of how hard the schedule is overall.

I think KU needs to use at least one of its three scholarships remaining. There are different routes the Jayhawks could go with that spot — either a project player or grad transfer could make sense — and the two remaining scholarships can stay unused, which will lessen the self-imposed scholarship sanctions.

I think a high school kid that’s uncommitted at this juncture is the best move. Still, finding the right fit this late is hard.

For example, Highland Park’s Bo Jackson is interested in Kansas; I’m just not sure how much KU wants the three-star recruit.

A potential name in the portal right now? Dayton forward Mike Sharavjamts. The freshman averaged 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He’s ranked No. 34 on the transfer portal player rankings by 247sports.

If he were to come to KU, I could see him playing spot minutes next season and eventually a rotation role.

As for Memorial Stadium updates? I’ve got you covered.