An overview of the Kansas basketball roster entering the offseason |  Tale of the Tait

SMU transfer Kendric Davis adds Kansas basketball to list of 7 finalists | Tale of the Tait

SMU guard Kendric Davis shoots free throws during an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis in Dallas, Sunday, Feb.  20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

SMU guard Kendric Davis shoots free throws during an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis in Dallas, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

by Matt Tait

When his name first surfaced in the transfer portal, SMU guard Kendric Davis’ popularity sky-rocketed at college basketball programs across the country.

Including Kansas.

Monday night, Kansas fans found out that their dream of adding the reigning American Athletic Conference player of the year to the defending champs’ roster for the 2022-23 season was at least a real possibility.

KU made Davis’ list of seven finalists, according to his Instagram page. What’s more, he said he plans to make his next stop known at 8 pm Friday.

A few powerhouse programs join the Jayhawks on Davis’ trimmed-down list, with Gonzaga, Texas, Houston and Texas Tech leading the way. TCU and Memphis are also still in the mix.

In leading the SMU offense last season, Davis averaged 19.4 points per game and shot 37% from 3-point range.

He also averaged 4.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the floor and 87% at the free throw line.

While some have said that Davis choosing Kansas would put him in line to be next season’s Remy Martin, it’s worth noting that he does not carry quite as much in the way of buzz and hype as Martin did a year ago.

It’s close, though. He already is regarded as one of the top transfers available, and, at 6-foot, 180 pounds, the talented point guard is roughly the same size and could play a similar role to the one Martin played for the national champion Jayhawks this season.

Wherever Davis lands, it will be his third stop in college.

A native of Houston — he attended Sam Houston High — Davis started his college career at TCU, where he played 17.1 minutes per game in 37 appearances and two starts as a true freshman during the 2018-19 season.

He transferred to SMU after that season and started all 77 games he appeared in for the Mustangs during the past three seasons.

In addition to entering the transfer portal, Davis also has announced his plans to pursue a jump to the NBA, declaring for this summer’s draft while planning to retain his college eligibility.

Even that is reminiscent of what Martin did before coming to KU.

After deciding to leave Arizona State following a spectacular four-year career with the Sun Devils, Martin first declared for the 2021 NBA draft then committed to KU and finally elected to withdraw from the draft pool and play his super-senior seasons at Kansas.

Talking in general terms about where KU was in terms of recruiting additions to the 2022 class, Kansas coach Bill Self said after the team’s postseason banquet last week that the Jayhawks were “open to whatever.”

“A lot depends on guys’ decisions,” Self said of early entries into the NBA draft or the ever-present potential for offseason transfers. “I personally think with the likelihood that (Ochai Agbaji) is probably not going to be back, we certainly could use a guard, a tall shooter or guard who can play maybe combo. We’d like to get a guard who can score the ball.”

Davis does not fit the tall part of that description, but he certainly has proven he can score. Davis carries a career scoring average of 13.8 points per game, including double-digit averages in each of the past three seasons, 19 per game as both a junior and senior at SMU.

Fun fact: He scored 16 points in 36 minutes in a TCU home game against Kansas in February of 2019. Davis shot 4-of-9 from the floor in that game — a KU win — and added 7 assists and 5 rebounds while knocking in 7 of 11 attempts at the free throw line.

Regardless of where Davis commits, he will have until June 1 to decide whether to join his new school or stay in the NBA draft pool.

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