Re: Kansas set to add Memphis transfer Tarik Black
efore Wiggins' commitment, Kansas was losing all five of its starters -- four seniors and a freshman who might be the No. 1 overall pick -- and replacing them with a handful of minor contributors and a crop of talented but hardly overwhelming talent. Marcus Smart was back at Oklahoma State and gunning for a conference title. The notion that 2013-14 would be the year Kansas' force-choke grip on the Big 12 finally loosened ran rampant through the college basketball cognoscenti.
After Wiggins' commitment, followed by the news that Memphis senior forward Tarik Black would also join up, the whole notion seemed laughable. Self had already reloaded with a very good recruiting class, including Joel Embiid, the No. 1 center, and Wayne Selden, the No. 4 small forward. Then he added a highly skilled 2-3-4 hybrid with handles and a 3-point shot.
It would be easy, given Wiggins' recruitment and the accompanying giddiness, to assume the hardest part of Self's job was over. False. In its own way, this season may be the toughest challenge of Self's already illustrious career. This isn't the usual Jayhawks' reload. Typically, when a score of players leaves Lawrence for NBA glory, Self replaces them with a crop of fully ripened second-, third-, and fourth-year players who can play his high-low offense from sheer muscle memory. The Jayhawks have had one-and-dones, but in an now seven-year era culturally dominated by eight-month players, Self has more often achieved success by unleashing the Thomas Robinsons and Jeff Witheys of the world after two or three seasons on the bench.