KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area has a lot of quality basketball every year, but especially this year in the college ranks.
The big three Division I programs in the Kansas City metro area, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, are all having phenomenal starts to their seasons on the men’s and women’s side of the court.
Kansas City’s lone Division I school, the Kansas City Roos, are having a rough start with both programs starting fresh with new coaching staffs and starting their seasons with less than 10 wins.
Let’s take a look at each school’s programs.
On the men’s side, the defending national champions have picked up where they left off with redshirt juniors Jalen Wilson (20.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Dajuan Harris (8.5, ppg 6.8 apg) leading the Jayhawks to a 14-1 record and a number three ranking in the nation.
Five-star freshman Gradey Dick is living up to the hype early in the season averaging 14.7 points a game and shooting 48% from three. Forward KJ Adams Jr. provides a strong presence in the paint while Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar adds a boost to the starting lineup as well.
The men host Oklahoma and Iowa State before going into a fiery Dillons Sunflower Showdown on January 17th.
On the women’s side, the 21st-ranked Jayhawks have an impressive win over the now 15th-ranked Arizona Wildcats that highlights their 12-1 start.
The Jayhawks are led by their Senior Big 3 of Taiyanna Jackson (15.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 65% FG), Zakiyah Franklin (15 ppg, 46.7% FG) and Holly Kersgieter (15.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg).
Since November 18th, KU has beaten every opponent by at least 15 points barring their two losses of the season, a three-overtime showdown with Nebraska and a 75-62 loss to ranked Baylor at home.
Kansas women have two road tests in Texas and ranked Oklahoma coming up this week.
For the men, the 14-1 unranked Kansas State Wildcats are taking the country by storm under first-year head coach Jerome Tang.
The Wildcats beat a then 24th-ranked West Virginia team on the road, jumped to a 20-point lead on the sixth-ranked Texas Longhorns before they beat them by 13 and then beat Tang’s old team in 19th-ranked Baylor in overtime.
Transfer Keyontae Johnson has been a great revelation for the Wildcats averaging 18.8 points a game with seven rebounds per game to boot. Senior guard Markquis Nowell is one of the few players that stayed in Manhattan for Tang and is one of the main reasons why they will be ranked in the AP Top 25 this upcoming week averaging 17 points a game and shooting 37.6% from three. He also is second in the nation in assists at 8.9 per game and has back-to-back 30 point games.
The men host Oklahoma State on Tuesday before hitting the road to face a tough TCU team and coming home to host KU for a highly anticipated Dillons Sunflower Showdown.
The women’s team is 12-4 and led by a transfer as well in former Oklahoma forward Gabby Gregory who is averaging 21.6 points a game while shooting 44% from the field.
K-State’s Big 3 local products, Jaelyn (both went to The Barstow School, 12.3 ppg) and Brylee Glenn (9 ppg, 42% FG) and Serena Sundell (Maryville High, 12.3 ppg), are now sophomores and still highly depended on as well.
The Wildcats have lost two of their last three to quality Big 12 teams Texas and West Virginia and face an even tougher Iowa State team in Ames before coming home to Texas Tech.
Mizzou men have also enjoyed a blazing hot start under new head coach Dennis Gates leading them to a 13-2 record so far. Wins against ranked opponents Illinois and Kentucky highlight their early season run after getting blown out by Kansas at home early in the season.
Leading scorer D’Moi Hodge (15.9 ppg, 42% 3P) came to Columbia with Gates from Cleveland State and has shown why he was First Team All-Horizon League. Senior Kobe Brown is picking up where he left off from last season averaging 15.5 points a game and shooting 44% from three.
Many have been perplexed as to what has been keeping Missouri State transfer Isaih Mosley off the floor for the Tigers as well; the explosive scorer has only played in eight games this season and has not played in the new year yet.
Nonetheless, the revival of Mizzou men’s basketball has sparked lots of interest with the Tigers selling out the last three home games and limited seating available for the next three as well.
The men hit the road against Texas A&M and Florida before coming home to a potentially sold-out crowd when they host Arkansas on January 18.
The women’s team has always been a model of consistency under veteran head coach Robin Pingeton and that’s marked by the team’s 14-2 start.
Seniors Hayley Frank (15.4 ppg, 40% 3P) and Lauren Hansen (13.8 ppg, 35% 3P) lead the charge for the Tigers who look to get back to the tournament for the first time since 2019.
They face Arkansas on Sunday before facing a tough slate of LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee.