KU Jayhawks near top of early men's basketball poll after addition of Remy Martin

Gary Bedore
The Kansas City Star (TNS)
The addition of Arizona State transfer Remy Martin has the Kansas Jayhawks sitting near the top of early national polling.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The recent addition of Remy Martin to the 2021-22 Kansas men's basketball roster has vaulted the Jayhawks from No. 8 to No. 4 in ESPN.com's "Way-Too-Early Top 25" preseason poll.

Analyst Jeff Borzello had ranked the Jayhawks No. 8 prior to the May 17 announcement that Arizona State senior point guard Martin, ESPN's No. 1-ranked player in the 1,643-player transfer portal, had decided to play one season at KU if he decides to remove his name from the 2021 NBA Draft pool.

"Following the departure of Marcus Garrett, the one thing Kansas was missing entering next season was a playmaker at point guard. Bill Self knew it, too," Borzello wrote on Tuesday in explaining KU's emergence as a Final Four contender.

"First, Self landed Joseph Yesufu, a solid transfer from Drake who could have run the show and brought quickness and athleticism. But the reason for the Jayhawks' rise in the rankings was the addition of Remy Martin. Martin was a two-time first-team all-Pac-12 performer who averaged better than 19 points each of the past two seasons. He's a high-level playmaker who will bring an added dimension to an offense that went through some lulls last season.

"The big question moving forward for Kansas," Borzello added, "will be the status of Ochai Agbaji. Agbaji entered the NBA Draft and ultimately could decide to keep his name in the player pool (Jalen Wilson also is in the 2021 draft pool at this time). Kansas also added veteran Iowa State transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands to provide some insurance in case that happens. Restarting the Big 12 title streak could be in the cards."

Gonzaga tops ESPN.com's early top 25 rankings and is followed by Villanova, UCLA, KU, Ohio State, Purdue, Baylor, Michigan, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Duke, Texas, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Houston, Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina, Auburn, St. Bonaventure, Virginia, Michigan State and Colorado State.


Keyonte George a top performer in Texas

Keyonte George, a 6-5, 190-pound senior combo guard from iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy in Lewisville, Texas, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class of 2022 according to Rivals.com, stood out at an AAU tournament in Texas over Memorial Day weekend.

He has a list of Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State.

"There is not much that needs to be stated that has not already been said about Keyonte George this spring. A poised three-level bucket-getter with feel as a passer, George continues to put together performances that only display why he is arguably the best scorer in the class," wrote Brandon Jenkins of 247sports.com.


Cook fares well in Los Angeles

Marquis "Mookie" Cook, a 6-7, 200-pound junior small forward from Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon, who is ranked No. 7 in the Class of 2023 by Rivals.com, excelled at the L.A. Classic AAU tournament last weekend in California.

He has an early list of KU, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State and others.

"It is definitely a blueblood school, and we have a good connection. Bill Self is a real good coach. They bring pros out of there," Cook said of KU to 247sports.com.

Cook is planning on transferring to Compass Prep in Chandler, Ariz., for his final two seasons of high school.


Biliew, Warren impress in Carolina

Omaha Biliew and Bryson Warren, two high school juniors-to-be who are considering KU in recruiting, played well at the CP3 Memorial Day Classic over the weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Biliew, a 6-8, 205-pound forward from Waukee (Iowa) High School, who is ranked No. 6 in the recruiting Class of 2023 by RIvals.com, "showcased why he is so highly thought of as a prospect," wrote Jamie Shaw of Rivals.com. "Blessed with incredible physical tools, Biliew is a broad shouldered, lengthy forward. He plays with a lot of pop and showcased vision, both in the open floor and in the half court."

He has a list of KU, Nebraska , Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas and Georgia.

Warren, a 6-0, 160-pound point guard from North Little Rock (Arkansas) High School, who is unranked at this time, "always seems to have things under control. He made shots from range, touched the paint at will, and showed excellent floor vision," wrote Shaw.

Warren, who plays for Mokan Elite AAU, is considering KU, Missouri, Kansas State, Arkansas, Texas Tech, TCU, Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Georgetown, Maryland and many others.