Friday, September 19, 2008

Recruiting weekend ‘huge’ for KU

Three top prospects visiting Jayhawks


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 "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 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 "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."


JayViking 13 years ago

I agree. Next time you have recruiting questions forward them to Keithmiles05. Thanks.

Timmay97 13 years ago

Personally, I think we have an excellent chance of getting Orton. You can't teach getting a recruit like Orton would be huge for KU. The bigger the front line, the better. We can all agree that we have the guard play, now we just need the post play. Cole needs the help. We'll see how good these Morris twins are too. One more freakin' month! THANK YOU GOD!

KEITHMILES05 13 years ago

Robinson is the best bet of the three. I get so sick reading of the "expertise" of Shay.If this paper would ever speak with Eric Bossi of Scout. Com they do themselves a favor. He knows recruiting and actually travels to see recruits play. Shay? VERY seldom does he see guys play.

Mr_Sandman 13 years ago

Hopefully we can get all three of these guys, but 2 out of 3 would be great. KU needs this next class to have a few big stars in it to complement this years "solid foundation" type of class that has no obvious stars.

KUbsee69 13 years ago

I hope Danny is going to spend a lot of time with Orton this weekend. Who else better to learn from?

DSommersby 13 years ago

Let's show these recruits what it means to be a KANSAS JAYHAWK!!!

BigBrett58 13 years ago

Maybe the Journal should consult Keith. He sounds like a real expert to me. What are you, Eric's little brother? How do you know if Shay watches them play? I do know that Shay talks and texts with these recruits daily. I think the coaching staff needs to actually watch them play to determine their fit for KU. A coach can tell you if a player is good, but they're not allowed to tell you the likelihood of an unsigned recruit coming to school. That's where you need the journalist to track the kids, the kids' parents, and the kids' high school and AAU coaches to find out what's going on with them in their recruiting process. The fact that Self is recruiting these guys validates their talent. I enjoy Shay's interviews with the kids and their parents right after Self comes into their living room. Shay reports that stuff the same day it happens. You can be sick of inside info, but I'm psyched about this potential recruiting class from what I've read so far.

Joe Ross 13 years ago

To me, the story to come out of this is how well Kansas goes after the blue-chippers. Coach Self is a stellar recruiter as we all know, but many people feel that a real test of a coach's recruiting prowess is how well they recruit the big talent since David Stern's age mandate. This litters the college landscape with a crop of very talented one-and-doners. Some people make the misguided argument that we shouldnt go after those kinds of players. Coaches realize that the basis of a solid team is solid position players, but that a one-and-done guy can really put you over the hump. Derrick Rose and Memphis (with solid supporting cast), Kevin Love and UCLA (with solid supporting cast), etc. Dont be fooled: to compete for championships in the NBA age-limit era, Kansas will have to land some of these special recruits.Im really disheartened about the prospects for landing Xavier Henry. The fact is, it shouldnt even be close. Exhibit A: his dad played here. Exhibit B: Kansas is way ahead of Memphis in placing players in the NBA. Exhibit C: the atmosphere at Kansas for college basketball is way better than Memphis'. Exhibit D: WE JUST BEAT MEMPHIS FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! I worry that Kansas is too slow in upgrading living accomodations. Small things like that mean a lot to players. I saw a post from someone here (who Ill cite after I have a chance to relocate the post) where an interview was done with Joey Dorsey and detailed the plush living environment the Memphis players enjoyed. Like it or not, kids expect to be pampered.How we fare with Xavier and the 3 recruits coming to campus this weekend may be a bellwether for future recruiting at KU.

Nutflush21 13 years ago

Mr_Sandman- just FYI, we only have 2 scholarships to give at this point, but I doubt everyone from this years team will be back. Sherron could leave early for the NBA and Im sure a couple of the new guys wont get the PT they want.

OutlawJHawk 13 years ago

jross--great analysis..and one in which I agree.

kvskubball 13 years ago

JayCeph - Thanks for sharing. That's a fun article. Imagine getting heckled by a fan in an exhibition game and then finding out it's the opponent's star player's father! LOLJayhawk Phil - If anyone could get mileage out of Orton, it's Self, and big's should be fighting their way to come work with Manning. The improvement in KU's bigs from 07 to 08 was huge. Their technique and confidence were great last year.It would be great to get one of these Bigs, I could be way wrong, but I don't think Wall will come to KU (Hey, I thought we didn't have a prayer to get Brandon Rush - Thanks Brandon for proving me wrong. Come on John, do it again, I double dog dare you!). And I'm going to hang on to hope that we can still get the X man.KU has a great bunch of young guards. We are going to need more bigs, and we need to get some PF/SF -tweeners, athlethic 6'7 guys who can play either position, which would give our defense even more options. Mario and Rus had such great anticipation, so even though they weren't as big as some other guards, they played like they were longer. Our young guards are longer, if they work hard, we could see some really stifling D.Billy Donovan and Bill Self seem to have about the same philosophy in recruiting: Try to find the best players that are willing to commit to at least two years, learn defense, and play as a team. UF's team sent almost all of their NC players to the pros and so did KU, even though none of those players had super stats. So even though many HS players do seem to be obsessed with getting gaudy numbers, they aren't really needed to impress NBA scouts. #'s might get them a little higher draft position, but they don't often get you a NC! Let's check:Durant - no final 4TJ Ford - no NCBeasley - no final 4Odon - no NCRose - no NCThe only one who is likely to buck the trend is Psycho T, and guess what, it's going to take him 4 years if he does it.When are they going to roll that ball out? I'm looking forward to an entertaining year, some inconsistency, but huge improvement from start to finish. Go Hawks.

bmkjayhawk 13 years ago

Just throwing my opinion out there: I don't think Xavier Henry will play college basketball at The University of Kansas.I hope I'm wrong, but that is my opinion.

jaybate 13 years ago

Coaches want to coach the best. Players want to play with the best. Fans who care about "the legacy" of KU basketball should want to watch the best. Playing KU basketball without KU getting its share of the best players, however cockeyed this O&D rule is (and it is cockeyed), is not seeing how good KU basketball can really be. It is not truly the pursuit of excellence that Phog Allen set in motion. Keeping any worthy player out of KU basketball, or choosing to do without such a player because one does not like the rule would be, quite frankly, harming KU basketball. Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can even win doing it. Kentucky kept winning big for a long time choosing to play without African Americans, after African Americans were being allowed to play in college basketball. But, despite the continued winning, it was UK basketball that was eventually the poorer for keeping African Americans out. UK could only be the best "All White" team, because of its own self-imposed limitations. Even when it won a ring, UK could not know how good UK basketball could really be, because it refused to work with ALL of the best talent. It robbed itself of at least the chance of Wilt Chamberlain, because his skin was the wrong color. Was that stupid and short sighted, or what? Should KU rob itself of some future great, because he's "the wrong time?" Imagining KU basketball in the future without its share of some of the greatest players to play the game conjures the image of an incomparably less rich legacy in the future for the cradle of college basketball, whether or not ways can be found to win with out the O&Ds. jross,didn't Memphis get to the final four twice before? once with big cat and larry finch and once with kenyon? And didn't one of those two get to the championship game? Maybe not, but I thought at least one of them did.

JNHawks 13 years ago

Beasly gets a 50K fine, that is an expensive joint, up to 90k now!!

jaybate 13 years ago

Regarding recruiting...Repeat after me: Wall, Robinson, Orton, Cheek, Henry!THE FAB FIVE LIVES AGAIN!!!Some program has to land another FAB FIVE sooner or later.Things possible inevitably occur, if only out of randomness.Let's hear a big rock chalk for the epsilon factor (random error for you folks who have forgotten your stats).Go KU!

Dirk Medema 13 years ago

If Sherron can stay healthy and learn just a little more control on the temp of his game and HIS team's game, he will easily be a lottery next year, so we could really use an elite PG in this class. I look for Cole to have a double-double kind of year, and be mentioned for the draft, but to stay another year. That might make the frontline seem a bit crowded next year for Orton, but hopefully he will see how a 4 man rotation works (last year) as well as a 1 dominant man plus rotation works this year.We haven't had a 1 & done, but we have had elite players with 2.5 two & dones, plus another early entry after a NC. It's usually only the top 5 or so HS players that are 1 & Dones. The next level of HS players seem to be early entries, so you get 2 - 3 years for them to learn.I think it would be difficult for a player to be a 1 & done here, b/c Coach Self will require them to learn and play D. Learning elite D can take some time. I'm confident there are a few elite players out there that are smart enough to realize that D is what wins championships in the NBA and on every level. I also think/hope the NBA is starting to learn from the busts of previous drafts - okay, probably not, but then that's part of why I don't pay attention to the NBA.As for the #'s, when you get a team of quality players, the distribution of #'s will be more even. Shady's #'s would have been higher if he could have learned to stay out of foul trouble and keep his behind off the bench. Was it Keegan that wrote the article last winter about KU not having any first team AC players b/c of the lack of stats. Fortunately, there are some people that can see beyond the #'s.

Dirk Medema 13 years ago

Seeing the players as "expecting to be pampered" is one perspective, but it is really just a matter of compensation. We expect the coaches to be compensated very well ($) for being elite - even demand it. Since you can't pay the athletes more $ than allowed, the bennies are the only option.And it is no different for any of us in the stands. I'm going to take the job with the best benefits - whether that be $, insurance, retirement, time off, or other compensation. The players really aren't any different from any of us. They just have a different compensation package to consider - food, crib, travel, exposure, fans, fanettes, "education" (book and athletic), ... KU has plenty of benefits, and I'm confident that Coach Self, Lew, and the rest will keep them well benefitted.Rock Chalk

Joe Ross 13 years ago

jaybate...I stand corrected. Finch led the Memphis Tigers to the national championship game in the 72-73 season. Thanks for setting me straight on that.

Robert Brock 13 years ago

If we get one of those three I will be amazed. This could be a scary year in recruiting, unless Self pulls off more miracles.

Joe Ross 13 years ago

Credit for posting the following link ( goes to nutflush21 in the article "Prep Henry to skip KU visit"

Robin Smith 13 years ago

" Robinson and Orton on the same frontline would be scary-sick."I like the sound of 'scary-sick'.

JayhawkPhil 13 years ago

By the way, has anyone of you posters ever seen this Robinson guy play? He sounds pretty good on paper

JayCeph 13 years ago

Did anyone see this fun editorial take on what happened in Canada? Fun read... (wish there were pics)

Joe Ross 13 years ago " #'s might get them a little higher draft position, but they don't often get you a NC! Let's check:Durant - no final 4TJ Ford - no NCBeasley - no final 4Odon - no NCRose - no NC"Sometimes I try to leave a little food for thought and then shut up and get out of the way of productive conversation, but the trangression in your last post can not go unanswered. Here's the truth:You say: "TJ Ford, no NC".The truth: TJ Ford led Texas to its first Final Four in sixty years. SIX ZERO! 3/5 of a century!You say: "Beasley, no Final 4"The truth: Beasley brought Kansas State it's first NCAA tournament win since before Kansas won the NCAA tournament. Um...the one TWENTY YEARS AGO (KSUs last tournament win was 1987)! Merely attending KSU rejuvenated a program that was on life support since Rolando Blackman last dribbled a basketball at Ahearn Field House.You say: "Oden, no NC"The truth: Olden took them to the national championship game. Not bad. They lost to Florida who won the NC the year before. Not bad considering that either.You say: "Rose, no NC"The truth: Rose led Memphis to its first national championship game EVER, and to the best record in NCAA history...EVER. What's a guy gotta do to get some respect?You say: "Durant, no final 4"The truth: One more year in the program and Durant would arguably have led Texas to the national championship game (a Durantless team made it to the Elite 8 last year) if not a win. I feel like Noah trying to warn someone of a flood. I am not haughty, nor do I speak as if I am the sole proprieter of truth. Im just humbly giving you reality: that these players push their teams to new and greater heights. The face of the game is changing and there will be more phenoms like Carmelo Anthony coming in leading their teams to glory. Can you imagine if Lebron James would have chosen to go to college? What about Kobe? Play down the importance of these players if you want to, but theyre going to become an inescapable part of reality. YOUR reality if youre a Kansas fan! Again, Im not saying we build a team around one of these guys. That was Texas' blunder. You have to have all the positions nailed down with solid players, I grant that. But you cant be hurt if you have that in place and add a phenom for a year. Memphis is the most recent example of this. How is it that something can be so plainly evident--right in front of your nose even--and people fail to see it?I dont know...

Joe Ross 13 years ago

fihsch...I agree with all of that. 100%.I do, however, hold tight to the feeling that because the face of the college landscape is changing, to keep pace KU is going to HAVE to get in on these big name recruits. To be very frank I dont see a Durant, Oden, Beasley or Rose in this year's class ANYWHERE in the nation. They will surface in future years, however. We lopped off the heads of Texas (twice) with Durant and Kansas State (once) with Beasley. I have no doubt, therefore, that solid team play trumps a decent team with a standout. But that is not my point (and I know youre not saying it is). Im just looking to the horizon of what college basketball is going to BECOME. Id like to see signs that Kansas is moving in the right direction in that regard, and getting one or even a pair of these big-time recruits would really say to me that Kansas is on par with UNC, UCLA, Memphis, Duke and other schools who remain at the top of college recruiting.

JayhawkPhil 13 years ago

If any posters to this have actually seen Orton play on AAU teams during the summer as I have I would like them to respond and hopefully tell me I am wrong. I have seen this guy play twice and even talked briefly to his brother. Both times this guy loafed more during the games than any player I have ever seen during all my years going to AAU tournaments. His brother and mother were totally frustrated with him. About 10% of the time he looked awesome but half the time he never crossed half court when the other team had the ball. In my opinion we don't need this guy--he has a really bad attitude. Hopefully someone will tell me he has changed.

Vic Janeway 13 years ago

Sorry but it will be money and plush surroundings, we are spoiled americans and we spoil athletes to much. SO to compete we will need campus mansions for these kids to hang out in. Come on Perkins get them in with a few more bennies at least!

jaybate 13 years ago

kvskubball,First, if I recall correctly, KU is already in the one and done business. Brandon Rush was effectively KU's first real one and done in the contemporary era. Without the rule, I believe he would have gone straight to the L as a baby. With the rule, he would have been a one and done at any other program, because he would have scored so frickin' much. It was widely believed that when he came to KU he WOULD be a one-and-done. It was only because of a freak combination of a weak left hand, an enormous amount of insight and patience and work ethic on Brandon's part, a coach with persuasive powers great enough to get a superstar to be a jack of all trades, and a knee injury, that he was around long enough for us to win a ring. Brandon Rush was the only superstar KU has ever had not widely recognized as a superstar. Next, I believe jross is saying: a quirky rule has created a quirky situation--one that creates three classes of basketball talent--one-and-done (O&D), two-to-four (TTF), and last-two (JUCO). He is also saying O&D talent is SO GOOD that you have to get some of it in order to help your program stay a prestigious program. The definition of a great program after all is that it gets its share of the best talent. If over the coming years KU were not to get its share of that great, though brief talent, it would be the equivalent of KU never having had Lovellette, Chamberlain, White and Manning in the pre O&D days. KU could have been a very good program without the four players just mentioned, but it would not have been one of the great programs, nor would it have won two of its three NCAA championships, nor would it have played in the storied game with UNC in '57, nor would KU's contributions to the NBA have been so significant, nor would there have been an event of the historical and dramatic magnitude of Wilt Chamberlain returning to AFH after many years to wear the letter jacket, heal the wounds, and say proudly and emotionally, "I am a Jayhawk," and on and on.

jaybate 13 years ago

To both of you,I think we can all agree that this O&D rule means well in certain regards for the players, but is ultimately about getting the NBA more mature players that cost less to develop and manage, and getting the colleges bigger gates and TV revenues. Regardless, like all rules aimed to impose what the market place would not otherwise provide at a time when individuals can choose to circumvent the rule, this rule is apt not to last long. O&D's will increasingly go to Europe for big dollars, won't they? If college basketball wants to continue to have great talent, it is going to HAVE to pay for it sooner, or later. Saying it is okay to give people an education, give people room and board, but not cash has always been a ridiculously self-serving distinction on the part of colleges. Soon, this stupid instititional rule will go the way of all of them--to the ash heap of history, or there will be no more great players in college basketball, ever. And this would be a terrible shame, for college basketball, for its coaches, for players, and for all the great ones who are robbed of the chance Wilt Chamberlain had to come back to a place like KU 20-30 years later, slip on the ancient letter jacket, walk to the center circle before a standing ovation of persons who truly do care about him and what he did and what he meant to the game, and to come full circle his basketball and personal life.What will Lebron ever have to come home to? The Cleveland Cavaliers? Don't make me laugh.This is a great game...the greatest game...we shouldn't let what happened to Lebron happen to another generation of great players. They ought to be able to make the money starting when ever the NBA realizes they are good enough to be O&Ds. The NBA and the colleges ought to split the cost of these salaries during their college years. That money ought to go into a trust that will be waiting for them when they finish school, however long each player alone chooses to stay. Every young man needs something different. Some will not even choose to go to college. But if they do choose to go, then while in college, they ought to live on same pocket money as the next player--the trust ought to be there for them when they jump. I truly believe most of these O&Ds would give anything to stay in college and be with their teammates, and meet college women, and experience the college social and intellectual life, and have an absolutely wonderful and life transforming experience, an experience they can get no where else for any amount of money later. Their parents would like it. The fans would like it. The NBA players association would like it. David Stern would like it. The colleges are the only ones that might not like it, because they would have to pay them. Its gotta happen. How long?Not long.

John Brown 13 years ago

It is interesting that Xavier is not going to show up with these guys. These three maybe starting to bond with this visit. I am sure that if Wall signs here then Henry will sign with Memphis and if Wall signs with Memphis then Xavier will come to KU.

msthompson37 13 years ago

Think DUKE boys...Multiple National Championships...

DatBMe 13 years ago

Memphis, Memphis, MemphisWhats the deal!!!!

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