Darrell Arthur's decision to attend Kansas University was made early Tuesday morning -- right after the 6-foot-9, 220-pound prep star woke up.
After experiencing a vivid dream, Arthur, who averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots in leading South Oak Cliff to its second straight state title as a senior, rose to his feet with the memory of playing basketball in a Kansas University jersey.
"I prayed on it hard last night," Arthur said of his difficult decision. "It came to me in a dream.
"It was me playing in a game with a lot of the current players, Mario (Chalmers), Julian (Wright), everyone."
So Arthur woke up with a clear head and his mind finally made up after months of debating between his final three choices, KU, Baylor and LSU, as well as a handful of other schools.
Asked if he thought his early morning realization was divine intervention, Arthur said: "I think it was."
"I prayed really hard," continued Arthur, who was supposed to make his announcement Monday at a Dallas YMCA. However, the apparent pressure on picking the school made the McDonald's All American, ranked as the 16th best player in the nation by Rivals.com, delay his decision one more day. But even on Tuesday Arthur had one last change, when he moved his press conference from the YMCA to his grandmother's house.
"I'm really looking forward to playing at Kansas," Arthur said. "I liked all three schools, but Coach (Bill) Self was the difference.
"He'll push me hard and I really wanted to play for him."
Arthur said he would make his decision official by signing a letter of intent to KU later in the day.
"I am going to sign right now," Arthur said at his press conference.
Self announced later Tuesday afternoon that he had received Arthur's National Letter of Intent.
"The Kansas basketball family is extremely excited to announce the signing of Darrell Arthur," Self said in a released statment. "`Shady,' as he is nicknamed, was heavily recruited by schools across the country for the past two to three years. His decision to pick Kansas after such an intense recruiting period with many other good choices definitely will impact our program in an immediate way."
Self said Arthur, who joins KU signees Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar in the Jayhawks' 2006-07 freshman class, will added dimension to a line-up that already is loaded with talent.
"Darrell is one of the premier athletes in America," Self continued. "He has excellent perimeter shooting skills and can certainly score in the post. His athletic ability and shot-blocking should make him a presence defensively.
"His versatility will definitely be a bonus for our team and will allow us to play with more interchangeable parts. Coaches James Mays [South Oak Cliff High] and Jazzy Hartwell [AAU] have done a great job of preparing him for the next level."
Throughout the recruitment, sources indicated, Arthur's mother had favored the KU coaching staff, and his grandmother the location of Baylor, which is in Waco, roughly 90 minutes from Dallas. Mapquest.com lists the drive from Dallas to Baton Rouge as a six-hour, 42-minute trip, or 65 minutes shorter than the trip from Dallas to Lawrence.
James Mays, Arthur's coach at South Oak Cliff High in Dallas, has sent players to schools in Texas, including forward Kevin Rogers, who averaged 6.1 points per game in his freshman season at Baylor. Those in the LSU camp, a source said, believed Mays might favor in-state schools.
Mays, however, told the Baton Rouge Advocate that wasn't the case.
"It doesn't matter to me," Mays said. "I want Darrell to go wherever he's going to be happiest. It's not a big thing to me at all."
Until Mike Davis announced way ahead of time his resignation from Indiana, the Hoosiers were considered the favorites. KU then assumed that role.
Then, at the McDonald's All-America game, Arthur told the Journal-World that KU and Texas were his co-leaders. Shortly after that, he told the Dallas Morning News that newcomers Arizona and Oklahoma, as well Baylor, which he always listed, also were under consideration. SMU also was in play for a time.
One month later, in late April, Arthur narrowed his list to LSU, KU and Baylor, where it has remained since.
LSU became involved late. After Tyrus Thomas helped to lead the Tigers to the Final Four and decided to enter the NBA Draft, LSU began pursuing Arthur as his replacement. The next time LSU head coach John Brady sees Arthur play in person will be the first.
Arthur and close friend Scottie Reynolds, a point guard who was released from his commitment to Oklahoma after Kelvin Sampson bolted for Indiana, visited LSU together. At that point, many other schools in pursuit of the players feared they would commit during their visit. They didn't, and it's believed Reynolds has soured on LSU.