Kansas Jayhawks Q&A: Jeff Grimes, Andy Kotelnicki and KU basketball’s concerning trends

The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team has an impressive record. The only loss for 8-1 KU thus far was a blowout defeat against Marquette in the Maui Invitational.

And Kansas collected its biggest win of the season — at least so far — against UConn last Friday.

But we’ve seen a couple of concerning statistical trends with this team. The biggest is KU’s lack of 3-point shooting.

Don’t let Kansas’ 41% mark from deep fool you — it’s a mirage. The Jayhawks rank No. 301 in 3-point rate (31.9%). The last KU team with a lower rate was the 2015-16 squad that lost to hot-shooting Villanova in the Elite Eight. KU’s title-winning 2022-23 team had a 3-point rate of 33.1%.

The Jayhawks’ other troubling stat? Abysmal offensive rebounding percentage — 24.5%, ranking No. 302 in the country. That percentage is, by far, the worst of the Self era in Lawrence (last season’s ranks as the second-worst, No. 179 nationally).

If those stats don’t improve, KU could see an early exit come March Madness.

Let’s jump into another Kansas Jayhawks Q&A. As always, thank you for the questions!

With Jeff Grimes as the new OC, how different will the KU offense be? His philosophy seems like a good fit with the current offense and there should be some continuity — @Bryan_J_Hawk

I agree; I expect it to be similar. I believe that Kansas head coach Lance Leipold hired him because he uses some of the same concepts KU loves: a lot of pre-snap motion and a strong offensive line to set the tone for the offense.

Historically, Grimes has employed both a run-focused offense (at Baylor) and a pass-first attack (with BYU). I’m intrigued to see how he helps KU quarterback Jalon Daniels’ development — Zach Wilson was a first-round NFL Draft pick under Grimes’ tutelage at BYU.

I’d expect the Grimes-led KU offense to take some time to set up plays, rather than just play fast.

Do you think the Jayhawks will pursue a quarterback this upcoming offseason to provide depth and competition at the position behind Jalon Daniels? Preferably a QB with experience who would be willing to inherit a backup role and make Daniels better — @AustinCEckert

I’ll never say never, but I would be surprised if KU brought in a transfer QB — for two reasons.

1. This staff and team believes in Cole Ballard wholeheartedly. A few players raved about Ballard to me early in the season. He looked much better than a third-string walk-on when he played: He was at the controls when the Jayhawks nearly beat their biggest rival, K-State, which they haven’t done in more than a decade.

2. It’s a lot to ask a player to remain ready to play and not get the chance to start. And it would be tough to find a fit as good as Jason Bean, to be honest. Bean’s been good enough to start but didn’t let sitting on the bench worry him too much. Then, when Daniels got hurt, he steered the ship like a veteran. KU would need to find a player who is willing to be a backup, but one who is also good enough to win games, should Daniels get hurt again.

I’m not surprised we lost Andy, but I was surprised it was for only $2mill & that was just the last year of his new contract, KU should be able to get close to that, did Andy just want to leave KU for whatever reason? I figured Penn St would’ve had to pay a lot more than that – @kusteveh

I was a little surprisehd initially, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for Kotelnicki.

Franklin has fired five OCs. And now comes Kotelnicki. If he’s the one who improves Penn State’s offense to the extent the Nittany Lions can beat Ohio State and Michigan, he’ll look like a genius. Plus, if a head-coaching job opens up, he’ll likely be in consideration.

The exposure and prestige of the Big Ten and Penn State are ultimately great for Kotelnicki’s career. And he got a nice pay bump from the $1 million he made this season.

I don’t think he was looking to leave Kansas, but this was a great opportunity. It should help him get to his ultimate goal: becoming a head coach.

Is there a timetable that KU will share with the public regarding the Booth reno/teardown? — @capitaljayhawk

Look for a heavily reduced capacity next season with two different phases. I wrote in-depth about it here.