Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Analyzing Duke, UCLA, Baylor, Kentucky, and Kansas chances at landing Khaman Maluach

Khaman Madit Maluach of South Sudan seen in action during...
Khaman Madit Maluach of South Sudan seen in action during... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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Duke Blue Devils

There’s a long list of quality big men from Duke who are now in the NBA, with Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively being the latest example. The program has another incoming No. 1 recruiting class for 2024, including the most recent pickup, Patrick Ngongba II. He and Maluach could easily split the minutes at the center spot since the current big men (Ryan Young and Kyle Filipowski) would be gone by next season.

The problem here would be who else is joining the team. Cooper Flagg is not only the No.1 overall recruit in the class but he’s been hyped up as a generational NCAA Basketball and pro prospect. If he’s as good as advertised, Flagg will be the focal option in the frontcourt, affecting the kind of role Maluach would have to showcase his skillset. That’s a big potential downside to consider.

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas is another team that has a five-star center commit in the class in Flory Bidunga. There’s also the possibility that All-American big man Hunter Dickinson could be back for a 5th year. In that scenario, Kansas wouldn’t need Maluach.

If that doesn’t happen, then the Jayhawks could make a compelling argument. They could retry what they had before with Ernest Udeh Jr. and Zuby Ejiofor, though that ended up with the team seeing both of them transfer out. Expect Coach Bill Self to focus on adding ready-made veterans this offseason to add depth so unless they know they can get him, Kansas may not try too hard here.