So far Kansas Jayhawks Head Coach Bill Self and his staff have only gotten two commitments from this years high school class, but the talent of the two has hoisted the Jayhawks to 8th in ESPN’s rankings for this year’s recruiting classes. The names of the recruits are Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre.
As we all know, the Kansas Jayhawks fell to the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, and there is a lot of blame being thrown around. From lack of coaching, to lack of Joel Embiid, to a Andrew Wiggins no-show, Jayhawkers are not too happy about the early exit in the 2014 NCAA tournament.
While there are plenty of reasons to be upset, I believe looking ahead is the best way to get past the disappointing loss. For the upcoming 2014-15 season, the Jayhawks have gotten off to a good start in regards to their recruiting class so far.
Today, I will be focusing on the potential of Kelly Oubre and what he will bring to the Jayhawks in this upcoming year.
Kelly Oubre is a 6 foot 7, 200 pound forward who has a 7 foot 1 wingspan. He is currently ranked the 11th overall prospect and the 4th overall Small Forward by ESPN .
Oubre will most likely have huge footsteps to fill as Andrew Wiggins will likely enter the 2014 NBA draft. This last year he played Small Forward for Findlay College Prep., located in Nevada, where he put up very impressive numbers (22.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg). He also shot a solid 57% from the field and 72% from the free-throw line.
Oubre is similar to Wiggins in that they both run the floor well in the transition game. While he is definitely not as athletic as Wiggins, Oubre is a good finisher that is an elite option to turn to on the break.
What makes Oubre special is the fact that he is a great shooter with deep 3-point range and that he is left-handed. He loves to shoot the 3-ball off the dribble or by catching and shooting from a teammate. He has a semi-quick release that he can get off before defenders have the chance to alter his shot too much, giving him the advantage over shorter and less-athletic defenders.
Being left-handed, Oubre is a rare prospect that is not seen very much in NCAA play. Being a lefty forces defenders to have to change their defensive mindset on how to defend him which can get him a few easy buckets a game against less-than-stellar opponents.
Not only is Oubre a shooter, but he can also score on the other two levels. He is a good mid-range shooter as well as a 3-point shooter, and can also drive to the rim. He is a quick ball handler and forces defenders to respect all facets of his game.
He makes a defense “pick their poison” in the way that if the defender plays tight defense, he will go take him to the hole, and if they give him too much space, he will pull up from anywhere on the court.
One glaring need that Kansas has that Oubre satisfies is being a good ball handler. Even though he plays Small Forward at 6’7″, he can bring the ball up and even call plays if need be. This is similar to what UCLA currently asks of their “point-forward” Kyle Anderson, who succeeds at both playing his normal Power Forward position, as well as being able to bring the ball up and run the offense.
While his skills are not yet as polished as Anderson’s are, this would significantly help out Naadir Tharpe and co. when facing stingier defenses.
A few of Oubre’s weaknesses are his right hand, his over reliance on the 3-pointer, and his shot selection at times.
He obviously prefers to use his dominant left hand and it sometimes makes for problems around the rim when he attempts to finish when contested. He also doesn’t like to attempt a dunk without his left hand involved. He either throws down with his left, both hands, or not at all. This can cause for weak finishing around the hoop in traffic.
At times, when he gets on a roll, Oubre hoists a bunch of 3’s and questionable shots. This may be an improvement from his early high school days, though, as he was once without much confidence offensively.
This new confidence has brought on some of these questionable shots as well as his 23-ppg average. Hopefully with experience Oubre will figure out when to takeover a game and when to get his teammates involved.
When comparing Kelly Oubre’s game to the NCAA level, Duke’s lefty Rodney Hood comes to mind. Hood can dominate on offense on all three levels and also has good size that makes the Blue Devil’s offense tick, similar to what scouts see and hope for from Oubre.
Overall, Oubre is a fantastic addition to the Kansas roster for next season and will likely be a starter from the beginning of the season at the Small Forward spot.
With the announcement of Wayne Selden‘s return, the Jayhawks will have a fantastic back court involving Senior Naadir Tharpe, Selden, and Oubre. Adding these three to the likes of Perry Ellis and possibly Joel Embiid (if he decides to return), makes the 2014-15 season for the Jayhawks very bright.