Over the past decade, Kansas wings have become famed for their length, athleticism and ability (and willingness) to defend. Enter Kelly Oubre, a fall signee for the Jayhawks who should step in next season and pay immediate dividends for Bill Self's program.
Andrew Wiggins has been very good this season, if not quite a true national player of the year contender, and assuming he goes pro Oubre may be able to replicate his numbers. Wiggins has averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game on 45 percent shooting, and apart from the raw scoring total the former Houston Hoops product possesses a similar ability to be productive out of the gate.
Oubre appears to have become stronger since last summer. He always has been a springy athlete, and now his body looks more college-ready. Meanwhile, despite sharing the court with other big-timers at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, he has scored 22 points per game to lead the team. That number includes 56 percent shooting from the field, an ode to the same consistent guy we watched all 2013 on the travel circuit.
He does remain a streaky jump shooter. The southpaw's stroke looks fine, but he tends to be more volatile from deep than, say, teammate Rashad Vaughn. By far, Oubre has been at his best this season in transition. He's a spectacular finisher who's particularly fond of wrapping the ball behind his ear for powerful dunks off one foot. He can go off two feet as well and is a dangerous tip-dunker, lob finisher and shotblocker.
Perhaps most impressively, he has taken the reigns on a team with numerous other high-majors. It's not so much that he has stood above them — as the highest-ranked guy on the squad, that's what you'd expect — but that he has stood with them to be individually productive yet also compete within the team concept for a powerful squad.
To move up the pecking order and challenge the handful of players ahead of him in the senior class, Oubre will need to become more consistent from the perimeter and tighten up his ballhandling. Long-term, he projects to have a great career at Kansas and beyond. Thinking short-term, he should be one of the best rookies in the Big 12 next season and possibly nationally as well.