When five-star small forward DeAndre Daniels committed to Connecticut on Tuesday, it appeared a foregone conclusion that the 2011-12 Kansas basketball roster was now set with 10 scholarship players.
But on Thursday during the Big 12 coaches' summer teleconference, KU coach Bill Self left open the possibility that the Jayhawks could still add more to the fold by summer's end.
"We've recruited pretty well," Self said. "We haven't hit a home run from a scouting service perspective, but I think we've got guys that fit what we need. We could still add another piece or two, but it is getting awfully late."
After missing on Daniels and five-star shooting guard Trevor Lacey in the last month, Kansas is on the lookout for another capable late addition.
About three weeks ago, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) coach Jason Smith, who coached KU junior Thomas Robinson and incoming freshman Naadir Tharpe, notified the Kansas staff that one of his other former players, Vanderbilt senior forward Andre Walker, was looking to transfer to a new school for his fifth and final college season.
Smith says that KU expressed interest in the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Walker, who plans to take an official visit to Kansas and is also considering Northwestern, Xavier and Wichita State.
Walker, originally from Flossmoor, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, would appear to be a viable option to compete for playing time with the Jayhawks. If nothing else, he would bring another veteran presence, having played in parts of four seasons for the Commodores.
As a freshman in 2007-08, Walker played 11 minutes a game. As a sophomore, he tore his right ACL early in the season and received a medical redshirt year. As a redshirt sophomore in 2009-10, he started 31 of 32 games for an NCAA Tournament team, averaging 6.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 25 minutes per game. Last season, he battled injuries again, and his production dropped to 3.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Smith said Walker is looking for a change of scenery, and NCAA rules allow a player who has graduated but has eligibility left to switch schools without having to sit out a year. By rule, Walker would have to start graduate work at his new school in a program that Vanderbilt does not offer.
Smith said there has been a lot of interest from schools about Walker, whom he describes as a point-forward.
"He's really, really skilled," Smith said. "He's an outstanding passer out of the high post. He's a tremendous three-point shooter, and he'd be very good in pick-and-pop situations. For any offense that runs a high-low set, he can really shoot it."
Kansas, of course, often runs a high-low offense.
The addition of Walker could ease some concerns in Lawrence, but Self is right — there will be no home run in recruiting for 2011, at least according to rankings. KU freshman shooting guard Ben McLemore was rated the No. 34 player by Rivals.com, falling from the No. 17 spot he held most of the year. Tharpe is a four-star recruit, ranked 92nd in the class. Both players are already on campus and participating in team scrimmages.
Freshman power forwards Jamari Traylor and Braeden Anderson, the No. 141 player and an unranked prospect, are expected to arrive on campus soon.
KU will probably need all of those freshmen to contribute this season if the Jayhawks are going to win their eighth straight Big 12 regular-season title.
"I'm excited about next year," Self said. "I don't think we'll take a step backwards, I think we'll take a step sideways, and I think we'll be a totally different-looking team than what we were this past year, but I am really excited.
"My batteries are probably about as charged as they've been, because it is going to be a challenge. I feel it's like the year after we won the national championship. You lose six of your top seven or whatever it was and come back and have to figure out a way to win the league next year. That's where we are at."
KU has not yet announced a replacement for Keller.