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Originally published May 1, 2008 at 11:04a.m., updated May 1, 2008 at 05:27p.m.

2010 prospect Woolridge commits to KU

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Royce Woolridge, a 6-2 sophomore guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix, Ariz., made his verbal commitment to play basketball at Kansas University official in a news conference held at his school.

Woolridge, the son of former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, becomes KU's first known commitment beyond the 2008 class.

"Kansas is where I want to go, Kansas is the best fit for me," Woolridge said Thursday from his high school.

Woolridge had also considered Arizona, Georgetown, Cal, UCLA and Arizona State.

For more on this story, stay tuned to KUSports.com and read Friday's Journal-World.

----------11:36 a.m.----------

Royce Woolridge, a 6-foot-2 high school sophomore shooting guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix, Ariz., has called a late afternoon news conference to announce his intention to attend Kansas University on basketball scholarship.

Woolridge, the son of former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, averaged 16.0 points a game this past season for Sunnyslope High.

He is the half brother of Tennessee signee Renaldo Woolridge.

Royce's mom, Victoria, confirmed to the Journal-World her son's decision was KU, but he wished to "talk loud and clear about his decision" at the press conference.

Woolridge performed well at last weekend's Double Pump Las Vegas spring tournament for Arizona Magic AAU. He impressed with his ability to shoot the ball well beyond the arc.

"His biggest strength is definitely his shooting, especially from behind the arc. He gets his shot off with relative ease and can get the shot out over defenders," wrote Jason Scheer of GOAZCATS.com, a Rivals website. "He gets to the rim well and if he continues to improve, he is going to be one of the better scorers at his age level. It really is a matter of height and if that height is not a problem for coaches, we expect him to get plenty of offers."

Woolridge had considered Arizona, Georgetown, Cal, UCLA and Arizona State among others.

"It feels great to get attention from all these schools. Right now I like Kansas a lot because of the tradition they have," he told GOAZCATS.com last week. "I'm just looking at a school I can get a good education at, so if basketball doesn't work out I can still do something that will take me somewhere in life," he told Scheer.

Woolridge described himself as a "slasher" with a great desire to win.

Comments

Mo Golany 11 years, 7 months ago

dam already getting recruits for 2010! That's nuts! Bill Self is the master!!! Brings in the best athletes every year! Love being a Jayhawk right now!

Rodney Stice 11 years, 7 months ago

I know several staff members at Sunnyslope High School, I will have to scout his talent next year. The school is only 6 miles from my house.

Joel Hood 11 years, 7 months ago

Has KU ever had a verbal this early? Its seems like Cole gave his verbal 20 years ago and he was a HS junior. A sophomore giving a verbal seems odd. I guess coach & his staff know their stuff - can't argue with success (although we really seem guard heavy for the next few years.)

Thomas Michaud 11 years, 7 months ago

I guess this helps fill the (supposed) void that Henry and Releford will leave us to enter the NBA draft after 2009 and the fact that our JUCO transfers will be graduating.Holy tamales, Bill, this is really thinking ahead!!

hometownhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Word is he will be a top 50 recruit for sure, and possibly a top-10 type of guy. Could grow a couple inches before he's here too.

bunot 11 years, 7 months ago

settle down kids. a lot of schools recruit in advance. UNC and Illinois both have 2 2010 recruits committed already. Ohio St has 3. even Texas has a 5 star recruit for 2010.

Kyle Crenshaw 11 years, 7 months ago

<p>Rivals.com has him listed at 6-1 170 lbs (which is correct?)

JayhawkPurist 11 years, 7 months ago

Trying to rank a guy this early is tenuous at best. A lot will happen between now and the fall of 2010: some guys who look like prodigies now will pan out, others will fade, while late bloomers will come into the picture at the last minute and make an argument for being one of the best players in that class. This is why recruiting at such an early stage has got to be tricky for KU's coaching staff. That said, I have a lot of confidence in this staff's ability to evaluate talent, and am sure it'll work out well for KU.Anybody know whether an oral commitment like this obligates either party to honor the commitment, or can either party back out for any reason?

milehighhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

He's 6'2" right now and is still growing.His brother and dad were 6'8 / 6'9Arizona's 2010 class of prospects in the state of Arizona is loaded with top-notch talent. Among the elite prospects in the class is Sunnyslope High School's 6-foot-3, 185-pound sophomore guard Royce Woolridge. Here's what Rivals has to say (4.21.08):**** Woolridge is hearing from many elite high major programs. After another strong high school season performance this past year where Woolridge averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds per/game, while leading Sunnyslope HS to a 18-8 record, Woolridge is beginning to hear from many elite high major programs across the country.Woolridge, the younger half-brother of 2008 star prospect Renaldo Woolridge (Tennessee signee) and the son of former NBA star foward Orlando Woolridge, is a big-time scorer for his age and has progressed nicely since the 2007-08 high school season ended, adapting his game immediately to the speed of the AAU/club season. When asked if he had a favorite school at this point in his young recruitment, Woolridge replied that Kansas is his favorite dream school, and that he is hopeful of earning a scholarship from the Jayhawks in the near future.This past weekend while playing with the Arizona Magic All-Stars in Lakewood, Colorado, at the Double Pump Spring Classic, University of Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning attended one of Woolridge's games, so the interest by the Jayhawks is definitely there for the star guard.Currently as a young player, Royce is a big-time scorer with a superb handle of the basketball and a very nice mid-range game, which also includes the ability to step outside and shoot the basketball from three-point distance as well. He possesses an explosive cross-over dribble, and can get to the basket almost at will where he finishes well against bigger defenders. While Royce is capable of playing both guard positions at this point in his young career, as a result of his uniquely developed ability to score the basketball and run the team at such a young age, he may see more time at the off-guard position as he matures and continues to grow. Either way, he will be capable of playing both guard positions.Defensively, Royce has very quick feet laterally and stays low to the ground defensively. He plays with a considerable amount of passion on both ends of the floor, as a result of his extreme desire to win, so he does not take too many plays off on the floor. This is an area of his game though where he could really excel over the following years, as he has the quickness and athleticism to excel on the defensive end of the court.Wooldridge is also an exceptional student with a 4.0 CUM GPA.

11 years, 7 months ago

Purist - I believe verbal commitments are non-binding on both parts. Here are the latest rules in case anyone would like to search for it. I couldn't find anything regarding verbal commitments.http://www.ncaa.org/library/membership/division_i_manual/2007-08/2007-08_d1_manual.pdfGreat info, milehigh.

creightonjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

wow, really nice pick up...if the commitment sticks over the next 2 years.

stravinsky 11 years, 7 months ago

A shooting guard with genetics that could bring him up to 6'8" + .... Sheesh. That could be intense. And he's a 4.0 student. What a boss.

100 11 years, 7 months ago

excellent defender. Great up and down speed. Incredibly quick lateral speed. Still growing. Amazing 3 point range. Killer instinct. Slashes and finishes in the land of the bigs. 4.0 student. Wants to play where Naismith, chamberlain, manning and Chalmers played/ coached/ won national championships. And.., again... will get taller. And most importantly, plays great defense... Great job Coach!

killabees 11 years, 7 months ago

Great job Self, keep up the good work.

tis4tim 11 years, 7 months ago

For a high schooler, 2 years is an eternity. So many things could change. Still impressive to get a verbal from a kid that early. I hope in two years he still feels the same way. He did say it was his dream school.Right now, Bill Self must feel like he's at recess picking whomever he wants for his kickball team. "I'll take you...you...you...not you...you...not you...and you." Let the dynasty commence.

didjabuti 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't remember KU having a verbal this early, but didn't USC get a verbal from an 8th grader this last year?

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I think Wayne Simien probably gave a verbal commitment in middle school!! :D

FortWorthJayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like a great prospect so far. Hopefully he keeps working hard! Glad to see the Hawks are doing so well in recruiting.

Mike Crosbie 11 years, 7 months ago

You're right sevenyear, I remember when Wayne came to his first "Roy's Summer Camp" as a kid, Roy sought out his parents, and the rest is history.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, good ol' Tim Floyd offered a scholarhsip to an 8th grader who was at his basketball camp if I remember correctly.Simien would have given a verbal when he was 12 if Roy Williams had offered a scholy.This Woolridge guy sounds like pretty nice grab. I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops the next couple of years.

HawkFanEddie 11 years, 7 months ago

I could be wrong but I want to say that his dad played at KSU, right???

okjhok 11 years, 7 months ago

Here's another review from espn.com:October, 2007: Woolridge came into this event with a lofty reputation and his play justified it. He has a chiseled physique with long arms and overall solid length for the combo-guard slot. He is one of the most prolific scorers in the class of 2010 and there is room for improvement as well. His jump shot is a bit unorthodox (long follow through), but it's very consistent with range out to 22 feet. He has a solid first step (not overly quick) to the basket, but he settles for the pull-up (it's deadly by the way) far too often rather than finishing in the lane. Woolridge -- think former Memphis standout Dajuan Wagner -- is a mature prospect for his age; which brings into question how much upside he possesses. Though he is a tremendous scorer, due to his size, I'd like to see him get his teammates more involved to complete his game.

Kevin Long 11 years, 7 months ago

okjhok- Wooldridge coached KSU, not Woolridge. I think winning the title was good for getting this guy. Did anyone look at all the players ol' Roy has got signed already? I know I said I would never bring him up again, but damn! All of them are 5 star players! Oh well Bill won what he couldn't at Kansas!

Kevin Long 11 years, 7 months ago

Kentucky just got an 8th grader as well!

ceveritt 11 years, 7 months ago

Rolando Blackman? Maybe that's who your thinking of?

areyouserious 11 years, 7 months ago

effing sweet!!!! Championship is already paying dividends!!

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

Has KU ever had a verbal this early? Its seems like Cole gave his verbal 20 years ago and he was a HS junior. A sophomore giving a verbal seems odd. I guess coach & his staff know their stuff - can't argue with success (although we really seem guard heavy for the next few years.)--This is the earliest verbal ever. Cole verballed seven months after this, right at the start of his junior season. Simien pledged to KU the spring before his senior season. A 15 year old is the youngest commit ever.He's supposed to be a scorer, an amazing deep scoring threat. Of course he's only 15 so we shall see.

lee3022 11 years, 7 months ago

The best part of this story is his focus on academics. KU brings more than tradition - it brings an excellence that challenges even a 4.0 student if he wants the challenge. For you younger guys I finished B'67 and have lived a full life that has always had KU as one of my best memories. The education I received was as good as anyone else in my national CPA firm and I can attest to its value.

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