LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self acknowledged in the aftermath of one of the worst NCAA Tournament losses in program history that the Jayhawks had to get more athletic and more dynamic if they wanted to once again be title contenders.
They took a big step toward accomplishing that goal Wednesday.
The Jayhawks announced high-scoring Arizona State transfer Remy Martin and versatile Iowa State guard Jalen Coleman-Lands had officially signed their transfer paperwork to join the program. Martin and Coleman-Lands are considered two of the top players in the portal — and that’s saying something given more than 1,000 players on the market.
They join a combination of transfers and high school recruits represents a wholesale makeover of the Jayhawks.
Also transferring to Kansas are Joseph Yesufu, one of the breakout stars of the NCAA Tournament for Drake, and 6-foot-9 forward Cam Martin, who averaged 25 points a game for Division II program Missouri Southern. Prep forwards KJ Adams and Zach Clemence and guards Kyle Cuffe Jr. and Bobby Pettiford are all top-150 recruits.
Meanwhile, junior college forward Sydney Curry is reopening his recruitment after committing to the Jayhawks, and they are still awaiting decisions from Jalen Wilson and Ochai Agbaji on whether they will remain in the NBA draft.
One reason to return? Remy Martin and Coleman-Lands and the rest of the newcomers should make Kansas a contender.
Martin, who also made himself draft-eligible, is a three-time All-Pac-12 pick who led the league with 19.1 points per game last season. As a freshman in 2017, Martin had 21 points in leading the Sun Devils to a rare win over Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, and he had 10 points and four assists in another win over the Jayhawks the following year in Tempe.
“We believe Remy to be one of the best lead guards in America,” Self said. ”He is preparing for the NBA Draft but we know if the decision is made to return to school, we will welcome his talent and experience. His competitiveness will elevate others overnight. He would be a very high-energy leader on our team and within this campus.”
Coleman-Lands has taken a long and winding road to Lawrence. He began his career at Illinois, then transferred to DePaul and spent one year redshirting and another playing. Then he headed to Iowa State, where Coleman-Lands started 22 of 23 games last season and averaged 14.3 points while lighting it up from the 3-point line.
“I’m not even talking about Remy’s maturity because Jalen is two years older,” Self said. “Jalen is a college graduate who is pursuing his master’s degree. He’s very bright and can really shoot the basketball. This past season against us he scored 20 in both games and one of the games was a low-scoring game. We think he will give us great depth shooting the basketball on the perimeter. That is something we needed last year and we are addressing that which he is a big part of.”