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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Beasley keeps his word, signs with K-State

Nation's No. 1 high school prospect will join Huggins in Manhattan

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— The No. 1 high school basketball prospect in the nation was true to his word.

Michael Beasley, a 6-foot-10 forward from Washington, followed through on an oral commitment to play for new Kansas State coach Bob Huggins by signing a national letter of intent Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period.

Beasley is the jewel of a class that also includes Bill Walker, another top-10 player, and three other highly regarded perimeter prospects. Together they represent the top class in the nation, according to several recruiting services.

"I had a lot of guys tell me he was the best guy they've seen," Huggins said of Beasley. "Not just the best guy they've seen, but the best guy they've seen in a long time. There's been guys who are more athletic and do flashier things, but it's hard to find something Mike can't do well."

Beasley rivals Texas freshman forward Kevin Durant as the most sought-after recruits ever to enter the Big 12, and was considered by many a sure lottery pick if the NBA had not changed its policies regarding high school players entering the draft.

Beasley was so prized that Huggins fretted until the last minute that another school might swoop in and steal him.

"There are people who have tried to get in on most of them," said Huggins, who was hired after a highly successful run at Cincinnati to resurrect a men's basketball program that has fallen on hard times.

Beasley, who had orally committed to Charlotte when Huggins was hired at Kansas State, changed his mind after AAU coach and Charlotte assistant Dalonte Hill joined Huggins.

The athletic big man has averaged a double-double at four different schools in as many years. This season he will be play for Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., after leading perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy of Virginia to a school-record 40 victories last year.

Huggins called Beasley one of the most polished high school talents he has seen, comparing him favorably to Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.

"Mike is probably better taking it off the dribble, quite honestly," Huggins said. "Mike shoots it. I think when it comes down to winning and losing games, Mike probably feels more comfortable taking it to the basket. He's bigger than Carmelo."

Walker, a 6-foot-6 swingman, is considered part of the 2007 class, but he took an accelerated academic course load during the fall and becomes eligible when the second semester at Kansas State official begins.

Walker signed an official aid agreement with the Wildcats on Nov. 3 and will be eligible to play Dec. 17 against Kennesaw State.

"I've watched him a bunch and he really can shoot it, but he just has so much confidence in taking it to the goal," said Huggins, who recruited Walker during his year away from coaching. "He's kind of been that kind of player his whole life. He's just been attack oriented and attacks the rim, which is terrific."

The duo is joined by shooting guard Fred Brown of Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Fla., point guard Jacob Pullen from storied Proviso East in Maywood, Ill., and forward Dominique Sutton of The Patterson School in Durham, N.C. All three signed letters of intent on Wednesday.

"This is going to wind up as the marquee basketball recruiting class in the history of Kansas State basketball," said Scout.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep, who ranked the class No. 1 in the country. "This is truly new territory for this program to sign two players that rank in the top-10 nationally at their respective position. This class will define the Bob Huggins era at Kansas State."

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