Five-star center Flory Bidunga committed to Kansas on Saturday, giving the Jayhawks a major start to their 2024 class. Bidunga ranks as the No. 4 overall prospect and the top-ranked center in the 247Sports Player Rankings. The announcement was made during the UAA Elite 24 game, which was delayed due to weather.
The 6-foot-8 Kokomo (Indiana) High School star committed to Kansas over finalists Auburn, Duke and Michigan. Bidunga took an official visit to Kansas in May and Duke in June before making a final decision. Bidunga is the Jayhawks’ first commitment of the clycle after they reeled in the No. 12 class — and no. 1 transfer class — nationally in 2023.
Duke and Auburn also had strong chances to land Bidunga, the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. That season, he averaged a double-double with 20.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game to go along with 4.5 shots blocked per game. As a sophomore, Bidunga averaged 17.5 points, 13 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game.
ROCK CHALK 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/VojvCF0AtB
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) August 13, 2023 Though the Blue Devils probably feel as if they missed out on a blue-chip big, they are also pursuing Cooper Flagg, the top player in the 2024 class after reclassifying.
The schedule for opening night of the 2023-24 NBA season has arrived, and will feature four of the best teams in the Western Conference on Oct. 24. The defending champion Denver Nuggets will host the Los Angeles Lakers in a Western Conference Finals rematch, while the new-look Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors square off, according to Shams Charania.
In addition, No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama is set to make his official debut for the San Antonio Spurs the following night on Oct. 25 against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, according to Marc Stein.
Nikola Jokic missed out on MVP last season, but he got the ultimate reward when he led the Nuggets to their first title in franchise history, and was named Finals MVP. On opening night, he will finally get his first ring, and get to see the banner raised to the rafters of Ball Arena with all of his teammates. Then, he’ll try to beat the Lakers again after sweeping them out of the playoffs last season.
Knowing Jokic, he won’t care much for the pomp and circumstance of ring night, but that will be a special moment for him, the franchise and the city. The Nuggets have been around since 1967, and have never had a player like Jokic or won a championship prior to last season. This will be a chance to celebrate that accomplishment one more time together before starting their title defense.
The other game will, in large part, center around veteran point guard Chris Paul. After three seasons with the Suns, Paul was traded to the Washington Wizards this summer in the Bradley Beal blockbuster, then later re-routed to the Warriors in exchange for Jordan Poole. This outing will double as his debut with the Warriors and first chance at getting some revenge on the Suns.
Zooming out, it will be a chance for both teams to show where they stand in the West after shorter playoff runs than they may have hoped and big offseason changes. Can the Suns make the perimeter-heavy trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Beal work with limited depth? And how will the Warriors, now all a year older, integrate Paul as they try to cling to contender status?
Another interesting aspect of opening night is that it does not feature a single Eastern Conference team. The defending champion is always in action, but the league usally splits the night up with one marquee game for each conference. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding the defending East champs, the Miami Heat, is to blame. If they had already acquired Damian Lillard, it would be a no-brainer to showcase them, but that hasn’t happened yet, and the league doesn’t seem to thrilled about how that whole process is playing out. Regardless, it’s still strange there’s no East team playing.