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Jayhawks land first top-5 target since 2016

3 min read
The Kansas men's basketball program landed its first top-five prospect since Josh Jackson in 2016 over the weekend, when 6-10 big man Flory Bidunga committed to KU. [Matt Tait photo]

A couple of months before the start of the 2023-24 Kansas basketball season, Bill Self’s program made news that will impact the 2024-25 season.

Saturday night, Class of 2024 big man Flory Bidunga orally committed to join the Jayhawks next season.

He becomes the first top-five target — No. 4 overall by ESPN and No. 5 by 247 Sports & — to commit to KU since Josh Jackson in 2016 and, according to 247 Sports, is the third-highest rated player to commit to Kansas since 2000.

KU assistant Jeremy Case also played a key role in landing the big man.

Bidunga’s announcement came at halftime of the Elite 24 showcase game in Atlanta and came as a surprise to nearly everyone paying attention. Various recruiting analysts around the country had pegged both Auburn and Duke as the likely landing spot for Bidunga.

But Bidunga, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound center from Kokomo High in Indiana, said it was Self and the KU program as a whole that impressed him the most, both in terms of what it can offer and the effort they put into pursuing him.

Ranked as the No. 1 big man in the 2024 class, Bidunga has the potential to make an immediate impact on both ends of the floor.

Think a cross between Cheick Diallo & Udoka Azubuike, with Diallo’s athleticism and size and Azubuike’s passion for punishing the rim as an elite finisher.

Here’s what they’re saying about Bidunga’s game:

“Simply put, Bidunga will be a difference maker from a rebounding and rim-protection standpoint from the moment he steps on campus. Those two areas of his game are strong enough to keep him on the floor even when his offensive game isn’t going well. That’s not to say, the five-star big man isn’t capable of making a dent in the scoring column, though. The Indiana-based star has made strides on that end of the floor this year and has become a much smarter passer and more effective face-up scorer, even if he still isn’t much of a threat as a jump shooter. He’s always been an elite athlete that attacks the rim and racks up his share of powerful dunks and layups through contact, but it’s clear that he has made diversifying his game a priority.” — Rob Cassidy,

“A big time athlete who can really run the floor, Bidunga burst onto the scene during the spring of his sophomore year while playing on the Adidas 3SSB Circuit with Indiana Elite. Since then, he's only gotten better while emerging as the top lob catcher and rim protector in the (2024) class. He's added some mass to his wiry strong frame and he's also developed as an outstanding passer out of double teams in the low post. Self and the Jayhawks have proven time and time again that they know how to use and develop big men, and Bidunga should be a perfect fit for the Kansas system.” — Eric Bossi, 247 Sports

“Flory Bidunga is a physical specimen. At 6-10, he has long arms, broad shoulders and a lot of burst. He is an excellent shot-blocker, both on the ball and from the weak side. He has natural timing, can get up to the square quickly, even through contact and Bidunga runs the floor quickly and purposefully.” —’s Jamie Shaw

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