KU Basketball: Landing Marvin Bagley III for this season is possible

Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The KU basketball team is suddenly in need of another big man. It is possible that Marvin Bagley III could fill that hole.

The Kansas Jayhawks received some bad news this week as they prepare for a series of exhibition games next month in Italy. Jack Whitman, a transfer from William and Mary, has decided to leave the program, according to Matt Tait of KUsports.com.

This puts the program in a tenuous position. In May, Dwight Coleby left Kansas due to playing time concerns, according to Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star. Now the Jayhawks have just three interior players, and none of them have a lot of experience.

Sophomore Udoka Azubuike only played in 11 games last year due to a wrist injury. Mitch Lightfoot has only 102 minutes under his belt and is very raw. Billy Preston is a freshman and hasn’t played a second at the collegiate level. That’s it!

Related Story: Jack Whitman Leaves the KU Program

Which brings the conversation to Marvin Bagley III. He is currently classified as part of the 2018 recruiting class and is ranked as the number one prospect in his class by ESPN. It is possible he could reclassify for this season and be eligible to play this fall.

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On KUSports.com, Matt Tait has a terrific breakdown of what needs to happen for Bagley to be in a Kansas uniform this season and the likelihood of that happening.

If Bagley decides to reclassify, the Jayhawks will certainly have plenty of playing time available for him. Without him, it is certain Bill Self will use an offensive set similar to the one utilized last season, but without Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson.

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports gives us a rundown of the process Bagley must go through to reclassify.

Self would probably be more comfortable with a more traditional set, especially if Preston likes to work from the perimeter. Having the bodies to play two big men at the same time suddenly seems like a luxury.

For what it matters, Bagley seems like the kind of big man Self prefers. Here is a little scouting report from ESPN:

"Bagley has emerged as one of if not the best high school prospect in the game. At 6’11 with multi-dimensional skills and blessed elite athletic ability he impacts the game on both ends of the floor. His soft shooting touch, scoring instincts and ball handing ability make him unique…"

In their latest Crystal Ball predictions, 247 Sports doesn’t even list Kansas as a possibility, but they have obviously not updated this to reflect the scenario that might Bagley reclassifying.

Until last season, the KU basketball program has seldom had roster worries. Self has given numerous scholarships recently to transfers. However, Whitman is the third transfer to leave the program without contributing much. Coleby left in May, and Evan Maxwell left in December without ever seeing the court.

The available minutes and Self’s track record of getting guys ready for the draft could appeal to Bagley if he does become eligible for this season. No other marquee program can offer him the opportunity to step in and be a huge contributor. Kansas has only nine scholarship players available, and just the three big guys.

The KU basketball team is once again struggling with a roster crisis and Marvin Bagley III could be the answer. Right now, it seems to be a longshot, with many things having to fall into place perfectly, but the possibility exists.