Coaches hit '08 recruiting trail

Several high schoolers list Kansas University among favorites

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Now that the marathon college basketball season has ended, it's time for Kansas University's coaches to dust off their golf clubs and play 36 holes a day, right?

Not quite.

Recruiting season started Friday, putting Bill Self, Joe Dooley, Danny Manning and Kurtis Townsend at AAU tournaments in Las Vegas, Fayetteville, Ark., and Hampton, Va., in search of commitments from the Class of 2008.

"This month is extremely important, not only to evaluate seniors but guys in the Class of '09 and beyond," said Shay Wildeboor, analyst for Rivals.com.

"There are a lot of good kids out there, and there's a lot of good basketball to be played. It starts now," Wildeboor added of recruiting season.

July is the main month to evaluate AAU basketball players. Still ... "This gives coaches time to scout players. KU potentially could have seven scholarships available (losing five seniors and some possible early entry NBA picks) so this gives the staff a chance to see if there are any surprises out there," Wildeboor noted.

"It's important to not only be out there evaluating, but showing these kids KU really wants them."

Here are some of the players KU's coaches are tracking in the Class of '08. They are listed in no particular order. The Jayhawks likely are after others as well. Coaches cannot comment to the media about specific recruits because of NCAA rules.

Willie Warren, 6-foot-4, 195, North Crowley High, suburban Fort Worth, Texas

Warren, who attends the same high school that ex-Jayhawk Keith Langford did and has been a standout on Team Texas AAU for three seasons, has a list of KU, Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, UConn, Baylor, Florida and Arizona. The No. 13 player in the Class of '08 is regarded as the top prospect in Texas.

Romero Osby, 6-8, 230, Northeast Lauderdale High, Meridian, Miss.

The country's No. 15 player, who competes for SE Elite AAU, says he is not planning on narrowing his lengthy list of schools until summer's end.

He likes KU, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Memphis, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Tech. Osby is projected to be a small forward in college, though he has played all five positions in high school. KU's coaches have made several trips to Mississippi to watch prime target Osby.

Travis Releford, 6-4, 185, Roeland Park Miege

Releford, Rivals.com's No. 50 player, plays for Kansas City Pump-N-Run AAU - an organization that has produced KU guard Brady Morningstar, as well as KU signee Tyrel Reed and invited walk-on Conner Teahan.

Releford likes KU, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Louisville and others. He's attended several KU basketball games the past couple of seasons.

J'Mison Morgan, 6-10, 275, South Oak Cliff High, Dallas

Morgan, who attends the alma mater of KU freshman Darrell Arthur and plays for Fort Worth Elite AAU, is Rivals.com's No. 83 player. A true back-to-the-basket pivot, Morgan is considering KU, Baylor, Cincinnati, Georgetown, UNLV and Iowa State.

Greg Monroe, 6-10, 225, Helen Cox High, Harvey, La.

The No. 1 player in the Class of '08 is considering heavyweights KU, Duke, North Carolina, UConn, Florida, Louisville, Texas, Southern Cal and LSU. He plays for New Orleans Panthers AAU.

Rotnei Clark, 6-0, 170, Verdigris High, Claremore, Okla.

The country's No. 107 player, who competes for Team Texas AAU, averaged more than 40 points a game his junior season.

Clark has a list of KU, Arizona State, Arkansas, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Marquette, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, UNLV, Washington State, West Virginia, Gonzaga, Missouri State, Tulsa and Oral Roberts. He's a good friend of fellow KU recruit Warren.

Verdell Jones, 6-4, 160, Central High, Champaign, Ill.

Jones, who is rated No. 81 nationally and plays for Ft. Sooy AAU, has heard from KU, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, DePaul, Kentucky, Louisville, UCLA, Southern Illinois and Texas A&M. His father has known KU coach Self for many years.

Drew Gordon, 6-8, 235, Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif.

Gordon, the country's No. 16 player, is known as a strong shot blocker and rebounder. Oakland Soldiers AAU power forward Gordon has a list of KU, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, Duke, Washington, Arizona and Oregon.

Steve Moore, 6-9, 235, Truman High, Independence, Mo.

Moore, who is rated No. 138 nationally, is a teammate of Releford on KC Pump-N-Run. He attended a KU game on an unofficial visit this past season. Others on the power forward's list include Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, Iowa, Wichita State and Creighton.

Murphy Holloway, 6-7, 210, Dutch Fork High, Irmo, S.C.

The country's No. 68 player, who competes for South Carolina Ravens AAU, is known as a great defensive player. He likes South Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, KU, Tennessee and others.

Phillip McDonald, 6-5, 190, Cypress Springs, Texas

Ranked No. 59 in the country, McDonald is considering KU, Texas, Texas A&M, UNLV, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others. He told Rivals.com he'd like to make an unofficial to KU this summer. He plays for T-Mac All-Stars AAU.

Scott Suggs, 6-6, 180, Washington High, Augusta, Mo.

The country's No. 70 player, who competes for St. Louis Eagles AAU, has a list that includes KU, Missouri, Florida, St. Louis, Georgia Tech and Purdue.

John Brandenburg, 6-10, 235, DeSmet High, St. Louis

The country's No. 71 player, a teammate of Suggs on St. Louis Eagles AAU, has received offers from St. Louis, Missouri State and Southern Illinois. Missouri, Illinois, KU, Clemson and others also are on his list.

Jamychal Green, 6-8, 215, St. Jude High, Montgomery, Ala.

The country's No. 18 player, who competes for Alabama Challenge AAU, says he definitely will visit Florida, Virginia and Georgia Tech. KU, Alabama, Mississippi, Marquette and Auburn will be vying for his other two visits.

Clarence Trent, 6-7, 220, Gig Harbor (Wash.) High

Trent, the No. 44 player in the country, will play for the Arkansas Hawks AAU team this spring and summer. He has a list of KU, Arkansas, Florida, UConn, Washington, Arizona, Gonzaga and others.

Tyler Zeller, 6-10, 205, Washington (Ind.) High

Zeller, the 105th-rated player in the class, made unofficial visits to KU, Iowa State, Iowa, Notre Dame, Purdue, Indiana and North Carolina last fall. He has a brother who plays at Notre Dame.

Jeff Taylor, 6-7, 185, Hobbs (N.M.) High

The No. 150 player in the class has heard from all schools in the Big 12. He also likes New Mexico, New Mexico State, Arizona and Utah.

Sylven Landesberg, 6-6, 195, Holy Cross High, Queens, N.Y.

Georgia Tech, St. John's and Virginia could be the teams to beat with Indiana, KU, Villanova and others on the list of the country's No. 27 player, who plays AAU ball for the Metro Hawks.

Rashanti Harris, 6-8, 240, New Hope High, Columbus, Miss.

The country's No. 86 player, who competes for Columbus Titans AAU, mentions Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State and KU.

Andrew Steele, 6-2, 190, John Carroll High, Birmingham, Ala.

The country's No. 85 player, Green's teammate on Alabama Challenge AAU, tells Rivals.com he has a top five of KU, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Missouri. His brother attends Alabama.

Samardo Samuels, 6-9, 230, St. Benedict's, Newark, N.J.

Samuels, the country's No. 7 player, likes North Carolina, Florida, Louisville and UConn. In the past he's mentioned KU, Texas, St. John's and Syracuse as well. Like Landesberg, Samuels plays for Metro Hawks AAU.

Courtney Fortson, 5-10, 175, Jefferson Davis High, Montgomery, Ala.

Fortson, who is ranked 133rd in the country and plays with Osby for SE Elite AAU, has a list of KU, Auburn, Alabama, Cincinnati, Texas A&M and Arkansas-Little Rock. He will play at prep school this upcoming season.

Delvon Roe, 6-8, 215, St. Edward High, Lakewood, Ohio

The No. 6 player in the country, who plays for Kings James Stars AAU, at one time had KU on his list. He reportedly will in the near future announce for either Michigan State or North Carolina. He also had Ohio State and Michigan as finalists.