Carlton Bragg, a 6-foot-8 forward from Cleveland, announced that he’ll attend Kansas on Thursday afternoon. Bragg is ranked as the 14th best player in the class of 2015 by Rivals.com. He is the first commitment for Bill Self’s 2015 recruiting class. DraftExpress‘ Jonathan Givony–one of the nation’s foremost experts in scouting–writes that Bragg already has the body of collegiate athlete with a strong frame for his age and a 6-foot-9 wingspan. Bragg is aggressive on the offensive end with the ability to play above the rim, especially on the fast break, something easily identifiable in any of his mixtapes. He is also a good shot blocker who can use his frame and long arms to make a game tough on his opponents.
As with any recruit, Bragg is a bit rough around the edges. He needs to exhibit more consistent effort on the court and some of his fundamentals need work. Bragg has been able to use his athleticism to coast at times on the defensive end. He’ll also need to learn to work within a halfcourt offense at the collegiate level. He has a tendency to settle for jump shots, which is a common trait amongst taller players who have the ability to shoot over their defenders. He needs to develop his ball-handling in order to become more of a threat when facing up his defender. Still, Bragg has plenty of upside and will be a good fit in Self’s system at Kansas.
Bragg’s athleticism and ability to shoot from mid-range suggest that he has the ability to be a face-up power forward for the Jayhawks. His height puts him in a bit of position limbo for the NBA, but he’s certainly tall enough to play in the froncourt in college. Eric Bossi of Rivals.com says that Bragg can help Kansas initiate their offense from the high post in ways similar to past Jayhawks like Marcus Morris or Darrell Arthur. While he doesn’t have the handle of a player like Perry Ellis, Bragg will develop under Self as Kansas has a strong history of training quality big men that Bragg will benefit from.
As I wrote back in November, the Big 12 has been struggling in recruiting the 2015 class having garnered only five commitments from top 100 recruits at that time. Bragg represents the highest ranked recruit so far to commit to a school in the conference, and its not a shock that he’s headed to Kansas who consistently produces strong recruiting classes. The Jayhawks have one remaining scholarship–assuming neither Kelly Oubre or Cliff Alexander leave for the NBA Draft–and are still in on a number of remaining top 20 recruits. Self has said he wanted the class to focus on big men, so look for him to make a strong push for a player like Stephen Zimmerman in the spring.