One high school basketball player in Kansas University's back yard and another 1,100 miles away joined the Jayhawks' recruiting Class of 2008 on Thursday.
Travis Releford, a 6-foot-5 guard from Roeland Park Miege, and Quintrell Thomas, a 6-8 power forward from St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, N.J., signed their national letters of intent a day after Mario Little and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris were welcomed to the program.
Releford, who averaged 19.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 3.0 assists his junior year at Miege, orally committed to KU on June 20. Rivals.com's No. 70-rated player chose KU over Missouri, Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and others.
"It was real exciting. I woke up nervous today," said Releford, who signed in a ceremony at Miege attended by his mom and several other relatives, as well as his high school teammates, coaches, KC Pump N Run AAU teammates and coaches and other supporters.
"I'm ready to be a Jayhawk. I'm also looking forward to this season," Releford added.
KU coach Bill Self could not comment on Releford's signing Thursday, because Releford forgot to fax one of the forms. Releford, who has until Wednesday to sign, will ship the proper form today.
Thomas, a 235-pounder who averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds last summer for New Jersey Elite AAU after averaging 9.0 points and 7.5 boards at national prep power St. Patrick High, orally committed on Oct. 23. Rivals.com's No. 147-rated player chose KU over Rutgers, Maryland, St. John's and others.
"Quintrell is an athletic, quick-twitch, prototypical power forward," Self said. "His offensive game is one that is expanding. Quintrell has played for one of the best high school basketball programs in the country at St. Pat's. Last year they finished No. 2 in the country, and this year they have a chance to be one of the best again.
"Quintrell will give us an element of toughness, and his defensive rebounding will be something we look to early in his career," added Self, who compared Thomas to current Jayhawk Darnell Jackson.
"He's very explosive. A great runner, jumper. He really reminds me of Darnell when he first got here."
KU's recruiting class has been ranked No. 8 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 9 by Scout.com. Clark Francis of hoopscooponline.com has the class tied for third in the country with Florida.
The Jayhawks, who will lose five seniors to graduation and likely lose Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur to the NBA, with the possibility of Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins also turning pro, will continue to recruit Willie Warren, 6-3 from suburban Fort Worth, Texas, into the spring.