After a rough recruiting season thus far, Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks got some big news that should make them relax a bit.
Billy Preston, a 6’10”, 230 lbs. power forward out of Los Angeles, CA, delighted the Jayhawk faithful when he committed to Kansas on Friday afternoon. Preston, the No. 12 player in the nation according to 24/7 Sports, fills what most expect to be a vacant hole in the KU frontcourt following this season.
Preston chose Kansas over USC, Indiana, and Syracuse. Early in his recruitment, USC was considered to be the overwhelming favorite, but Preston took his official visit to Kansas for Late Night in the Phog on September 30. Ever since, momentum swung dramatically in the Jayhawks’ favor, and it climaxed on Friday when Preston committed to KU. He is known as one of the most athletic, versatile forwards in the class.
It is a distinct possibility that the Jayhawks will lose sophomore PF Carlton Bragg to the NBA Draft after this season. Bragg is projected to have a breakout season, one that could possibly lead to him declaring at the end of the year. Prior to the Preston commitment, the Jayhawks had yet to land a frontcourt piece to their 2017 recruiting class. 7’0″, 280 lbs. big man Udoka Azubuike, who due to NBA age requirements, must return for his sophomore season next year, figures to open the year as the team’s starting center. But the other frontcourt position is expected to be wide open, and one would have to consider Preston now the favorite to be the team’s starting power forward.
The Jayhawks scored their second commit in the class, as Preston joins point guard Marcus Garrett as the only high school seniors to currently be Kansas bound. But KU still figures to be involved with a handful of other elite recruits, including Trevon Duval, Trae Young, and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Kansas fans should be able to relax a bit. Every year, fans panic about Bill Self’s lack of commits in November before he ultimately winds up with an elite recruiting class. This year looks to be no different, but the commitment of Preston assures that the Jayhawks will be far from empty-handed in the class of 2017.
Here are some of Preston’s high school highlights: