Kelly Oubre Jr. is the latest Kansas Jayhawk with stars in his eyes and 2 cents in his head, provided all the reports are true that he’s declaring for the NBA draft.
The Jayhawks aren’t yet near Kentucky in cornering the market on one-and-dones, but they’re certainly getting up there.
Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid departed after last year. Now you can’t blame them, as they were regarded as two of the top three picks in the draft. Wiggins wound up going No. 1 and after a rough start to his season, is now showing the potential that will make him a future All-Star. He’s been the exception to the rule as far as KU players are concerned.
Embiid was regarded as one of the top center prospects to come down the pike in a long time and was the No. 3 overall pick. But he hasn’t played a minute because of numerous injuries and there are whispers about his true desire. He seems to spend more time on social media and having a good time rather than getting healthy.
Other former KU stars haven’t fared as well, either. Josh Selby was a total NBA washout and Xavier Henry has been a journeyman to stay the least. Another year or two at KU might have totally changed their careers.
Now you have Oubre. This is a guy who couldn’t break into the starting lineup the first month of the season and while he had his moments, it’s almost laughable to think that he’s ready for The Show.
Oubre is slight of frame. He doesn’t have the quickness to play the 2-guard or the strength yet to play the 3-spot. He is a slasher-type, but those are a dime a dozen in the NBA.
At times he showed a good outside touch, but was inconsistent. The reason Oubre is coming out is that it’s going to be a weak draft year. It’s going to be loaded with fellow freshmen and sophomores. It really shouldn’t be called the draft anymore. It should be called the “Potential Picks.” Oubre will be picked high, then drift off into the D-League for seasoning.
Oubre will at least get one big contract if he turns pro. Now this isn’t to say that he’s not going to make it, but he’s light-years from being a player in a team’s regular rotation. He doesn’t play hard all the time, with the game against Wichita State a prime example. He didn’t get on the floor after a loose ball at a key point in the game and the Shockers wound up scoring. Many believe that swung the game WSU’s way and KU never recovered.
You can’t blame KU coach Bill Self, though, for recruiting one-and-dones. They are reputed to be the best players out there and that’s what you want. But it’s hard to develop any chemistry, though Kentucky made it work this year. NCAA semifinalists Wisconsin and Michigan State are veteran teams, while Duke is the closest thing to Kentucky in terms of youthful players able to grow up overnight.
KU probably will have its second one-and-doner soon as I believe Cliff Alexander is going to be on the wrong side of an NCAA ruling and he’ll be declared a pro. Alexander, like Oubre, is nowhere near ready and The Show would chew him up.
If Oubre and Alexander would have been back, Kansas could have made a run at the Final Four next year. The Jayhawks will still be good, but it’s all about catching Kentucky now.