Is an ineligible one-and-done practice squad player worth a scholarship and roster spot to Bill Self and Kansas? Maybe.
Thanks to non-stop recruiting, transfer and reclassifying news, college basketball is receiving an usually large amount of attention during a time typically reserved for football camp chatter and MLB playoff races. And Mitchell Robinson is at the center of it.
A five-star recruit and the eighth-ranked player in the 2017 class, Robinson arrived at Western Kentucky in mid-July before leaving almost immediately. But because he did enroll in classes and participated in practice, the NCAA requires that he sit out the 2017-18 season if he transfers. He has submitted an appeal for immediate eligibility and is reportedly also considering playing overseas for one season.
"Kansas is nice," Robinson tweeted during his visit to Lawrence over the weekend.
Any excitement Kansas fans have from that tweet must be tempered because his eligibility remains a big concern. Historically, the NCAA does not grant immediately eligibility to a player who enrolled at another school during the summer and participated in practice.
Even if the NCAA rules he must sit out one year the Jayhawks could still want him — if he prefers KU over an overseas league to prepare for the NBA.
With Whitman's departure and Landen Lucas' graduation, Kansas is terrifyingly thin in the frontcourt. They have sophomore center Udoka Azubuike returning from a hand injury that sidelined him almost all of last season and a five-star freshman at power forward in Billy Preston.
That's it. Those are their only two eligible players that taller than 6-foot-8.
The pair can practice against each other, along with small forward Mitch Lightfoot (6-foot-8) and guard/forward combos K.J. (6-foot-8) and Dedric Lawson (6-foot-9) — the latter two of whom are sitting out after transferring from Memphis — but Bill Self's roster isn't laced with big, physical frontcourt players to use in either games or practice.
All indications are that Robinson will declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, which — if forced to sit out — would mean he wouldn't play a single minute at Kansas. Though not an ideal use of a scholarship that Self could use on a last-minute grad transfer, is there a better option?