Three of the top high school basketball players in the Class of 2009 will be on Kansas University's campus today through Sunday on official recruiting visits.
The terrific trio consists of the top prospect in the country - 6-foot-4 point guard John Wall of Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C.; No. 18-rated Thomas Robinson, a 6-8 power forward from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.; and No. 22-rated Daniel Orton, a 6-10 center from Bishop McGuinness High in Oklahoma City.
"This is a huge weekend for KU," said Shay Wildeboor, senior editor at Rivals.com. "Those guys alone would be three-fifths of a great starting five."
They are three blue-chippers capable of playing for any major college in the country, that's for sure.
"You've got the cream of the crop in the class in John Wall, who is a big-time playmaker and distributor. He's blazingly fast, one of the big difference-makers in this class," Wildeboor said.
"Robinson has a motor that never stops. He is the best rebounder in this class hands down. He goes and goes and goes. He went from the No. 80-ranked player to No. 18 over the summer. When coaches found out who he was and what he could do, everybody flocked to see him.
"As far as Orton ... the one word I would use is intimidator," Wildeboor continued. "At 260 pounds, he's chiseled and a definite difference-maker on the defensive end with his ability to block shots. He controls the paint. He can shoot it from the free-throw line, has a nice baby hook he's been working on. Robinson and Orton on the same frontline would be scary-sick."
Wall is considering KU, Baylor, Kentucky, Memphis, Oregon, North Carolina State and Oklahoma State.
"I feel getting my teammates involved, pushing the ball and getting to the rim," Wall said when asked by NBAdraft.net to list his strengths. "First and foremost, though, is getting my teammates involved like a real point guard should."
He learned the position studying films of past greats like Magic Johnson.
"He was a tall point guard - 6-8, 6-9 - and he could do everything a smaller guy could do. He could post up. He could pass, he led the Lakers to a championship his first year in the league. He was unbelievable," Wall said.
The 210-pound Robinson, who played his junior season at Riverdale Baptist High in Upper Marlboro, Md., is considering three schools. He'll visit Memphis on Oct. 4 and Southern California on Oct. 18.
"Robinson is versatile. He can post up, handle the ball well for his size and hit the occasional outside J," said Aggrey Sam of slamonline.com. "His motor, athleticism and toughness on the inside made him one of the top post prospects in attendance (at the summertime Reebok camp)."
Orton's McGuinness High team has won three straight Class 4A Oklahoma state championships.
His older brother, Terrence Crawford, played at Oklahoma State.
"Orton is agile enough and has a very mean streak to his game," wrote a writer from Alley-Oop Scoop. "Orton is extremely tenacious when motivated."
Orton will visit Oklahoma on Sept. 27 and Kentucky on Oct. 10. He said he'll return to KU for the Oct. 17 Late Night in the Phog.
"I'm improving everything," Orton told the Hartford Courant. "I'm trying to become an overall player. My offensive game has come a long way. It's developing really well, and I really like it. The jump hook is the main factor for me, and I'm just working on getting that down. You figure, especially in high school, if I can get that down I can shoot over the 6-4, 6-5 guys."
¢ Early Christmas: KU tonight will distribute NCAA championship rings to members of the 2007-08 Jayhawks. The ceremony is private and closed to the public and media.
"It's exciting. I've been looking forward to it ever since we won the title," sophomore center Cole Aldrich said. "It's kind of like Christmas morning. You want to take a peek beforehand. There is definitely excitement there."