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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recruit ‘circus’ coming

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Royce Woolridge played basketball in Lawrence last summer — at Bill Self’s Elite Camp, held behind closed doors in the privacy of Kansas University’s Horejsi Center.

Friday, the future KU shooting guard from Phoenix Sunnyslope High will be back in town, this time showcasing his game for the public to see.

Woolridge’s Arizona Magic AAU team will square off against top Class of 2010 prospect Harrison Barnes’ All-Iowa Attack Red squad in the opening game of the Jayhawk Invitational, set for a 7:10 p.m. start at Haskell’s 3,000-seat Coffin Complex.

“It’s going to be a circus,” Arizona Magic coach Kenny Mullins said.

His featured player is Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 prep junior who averaged 28.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season for Arizona’s Class 4A state championship team.

“There will be a lot of people there rooting, cheering — where every basket is a big deal. There will be a little more hoopla (than normal), with Kansas fans wanting to see Royce,” Mullins said.

Jayhawk fans also will be eager to take a look at Barnes, a 6-6 guard/forward from Ames (Iowa) High who averaged 19.7 points and 8.8 boards a game as a junior for Iowa’s undefeated state champs. Barnes is considering KU, Duke, North Carolina, Iowa State and many others.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited to get to play against Harrison in my future college town,” Woolridge said Wednesday in a phone interview. “I’m going in hoping to play well and have our team play well and win the tournament.

“I’ll play as hard as I can. Hopefully the fans will see me play well.”

Woolridge has never met Barnes, but has heard a lot about him.

“I’ll try to talk to him after the game,” Woolridge said. “I know he’s a really good player.”

Barnes is ranked No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com in the Class of 2010. Woolridge is No. 88, but figures to move up in the ratings if he has a big spring and summer on the AAU circuit.

He’s off to a strong start after hitting eight of nine three-pointers and exploding for 34 points in a recent victory over Belmont (Calif.) Shore in Las Vegas.

“I don’t know why I’m so low. I guess somebody doesn’t like me,” Woolridge said with a laugh. “I think it’d be awesome to be in the top 10 or 20. It’s what I want. I’m just trying to prove to everybody I’m good enough to play at Kansas.”

His Arizona Magic coach can envision a scenario in which Woolridge makes a huge jump this summer.

“It depends how he plays,” Mullins said. “The ranking stuff ... I’ve been doing this awhile. We go to some big tournaments. Sometimes 10 to 15 scouts are at our games, sometimes not. Sometimes you have a good game when they are there, or you might not.

“I’d say in (a recent tournament in) L.A., he had 25 to 30 every game, but the first game where he struggled with his jump shot,” Mullins added. “He had 34 in Vegas. He’s a shooter who hits threes and also gets to the basket. We’ll run some sets for him, to try to get him open looks. He also can spread it out and take his man. Royce is the best ball-handler on our team. If we’re pressured, he’ll bring it up.”

Woolridge hit 50 percent of his shots his junior year at Sunnyslope, including 34 percent of his threes.

“You always have to work on your jump shot,” said Woolridge, who likes to put in time in the gym. “I think I’ll play either point guard or off guard (at KU). I’ll be a guard, versatile.”

It still will be awhile before he’s here. He has a championship to defend next year at Sunnyslope, which went 24-5 last season.

“It was a big deal,” Woolridge said of winning his first state crown. He, in fact, went off for 30 points in the state semifinals and 31 in a 78-65 victory over Avondale’s Agua Fria in the finals.

He’ll be watching the Jayhawks on TV again next year.

“They’ll be really good (next season),” Woolridge said of KU. “They’ve got Xavier Henry coming in. They’ve got Cole (Aldrich) and Sherron (Collins) and all the other guys back, too. They should be really good, and when I get there, hopefully we will continue that.”

Comments

4jhawks4ku 10 years ago

Check out highlights of Royce on Youtube.com. He should easily be ranked in the top ten. Exciting player who can get to the basket and shoot threes. He'll be here just in time to replace Sheron when he goes pro.

chezlog 10 years ago

I'm sitting in Phoenix right now, about an inch away from Sunny Slope (depending on the scale of your map) and I'll tell you going 24-5 at a public High School in this town is a big deal. Most people have lost track of how big this town has become. It's over 4 million and when this kid says "It's a big deal" he's not just braggin" he's tryin' to explain something. He's an elite player that has proven himself in a big place. We are very fortunate some of our Jayhawk family have been recruiting this kid for years. I think that one reason he is not rated higher is because he committed to Kansas so early. These rating services put a lot of stock in who is recruiting a player and when he is already committed they lose interest. I think this was true of Wayne Simien. He didn't get as much national attention as a lot of other high school recruits because he was always planning to go to KU but he turned out to be great! I'm bettin' this kid will be great.

Rodney Stice 10 years ago

Royce is fun to watch in person. I cannot wait to watch him defend the 4A crown next year. Go Sunnyslope Vikings.

jaybate 10 years ago

Royce, if you stand 6'3" and shoot 34% from three in high school, you are not going to be very highly rated.

LJW, tell me 34% from trey is a typo!

I was pumped up about this young man until I read this.

KU needs a 34% trey shooting guard like it needs a cranial entry wound.

And a guy who shoots 34% against high school competition is apt to shoot worse versus D1 defenses.

Sherron and Tyshawn can at least jack 38% and 36%, respectively. And Tyshawn was only allowed 66 trey attempts. At 36%, Taylor was repeatedly pulled for Tyrel Reed's 39%.

"Give me perimeter shooters, or give me death."--Patrick Henry to James Naismith in heaven recently.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 10 years ago

28.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season is pretty amazing. Though I admit the 34% of three's is not good. I guess he takes it "to the hole" quite a bit. If he can get the three point shot worked out, he will get lots of publicity, and more importantly PT at KU.

KUPROUD 10 years ago

Jaybate, he's a junior in high school, so I expect another year of development with his jump shot will improve his percentage. If he were coming in next year, I'd agree that we're probably not counting on him for treys. His comments seem to indicate that he knows what he needs to work on. He's a terrific athlete, ball handler, defender, attacker, and will fit in very nicely with the KU system.

Lance Hobson 10 years ago

The 34% did jump out at me as well, but then I remembered that he's a sophomore and who knows how many guys they threw on him. What is important is that he dominated the state tourney and led his team to the title at an age when most kids can't even make varsity (remember Michael Jordan?).

Love the Patrick Henry quote. Naismith response "You're already dead you east coast-biased gas bag!"

John Strayer 10 years ago

All this worrying about keeping everyone happy seems to be misplaced to me: 1. It was said before with Brandon, Mario, RR, Kahn and the supporting cast...we had no goto guy and everyone will be unhappy...I think everyone was happy in the end. 2. The "newbies" knew what they are getting into when they signed on after Collins and Aldrich announced their returns. 3. The current players can transfer if they aren't up to the task...KU has had a couple of these already...rumors of Releford leaving seem to be just that...rumors.

Not saying Releford is pleased with his PT, but hopefully he uses that as motivation over the summer. It just may be his PT will be significant in years 3 & 4 if he sticks it out.

Under Self, it is quite clear...you want to play, then you need to put in the work and take advantage of any opportunity given. The margin for error is going to be small, but the potential rewards can be great. I personally want kids at KU that want a challenge and are willing to push themselves. The kids that want PT given to them can go elsewhere....anything worth having requires hard work and sacrifice.

Jaminrawk 10 years ago

Lay off Royce. Mark my words, he will shoot up the charts this year. Even if he never improved 34% from three, he is a great jumpshooter inside the arc. Currently I would say Collins, X and Little are KU's best jump shooters. Remember how much Little helped stretch the defense last year when he was hitting his jumper? You can never have anough guys like that. The jumpshot seems to be a fading art, like freethrow shooting.

TexasHawk44 10 years ago

As usual, the resident poster with diarrhea of the keyboard knows more about recruiting, coaching and basketball than the head coach of KU. The stupidity goes on and on and on... Let's all jump off the cliff because a kid only shoots 34% from three-point range as a Junior in High School. Please...

Alex Wishart 10 years ago

just watched the young man's state championship highlights and he was dialed in. he was hitting NBA threes, he was connecting on passes that were unbelievable, and he was getting to the rim off the dribble. this kid was on fire on the big stage. HCBS goes after winners and this kid is a winner. at one point he had 5 straight FG's. 34% from beyond the arc? go watch his highlights and you tell me you don't want this kid.

Jonathan Allison 10 years ago

30 and 31 in the state semi's and finals, 25-30 in AAU ball, 34 in Vegas on 8 of 9 from long range. I'm not too worried about this kids ability to shoot the three and play big in bigtime games.

Marcia Parsons 10 years ago

My guess would be that, as a junior, he isn't through growing yet either.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

Oh my gosh.....you guys have got to log in to rivals.com and check out the article on Pastner, the new Memphis coach. The photo is hiarious.....it's a clone of Quinny Snyder.... you won't believe it!!! For Memphis fans sake maybe he can generate a little more "connectedtivity"!!!!!

LAJayhawk 10 years ago

As soon as I read 34% my first thought was "jaybate's head is going to explode." And, well, there you have it.

A couple of thoughts on this subject:

1) KU has had a number of very good guards who have not shot well from three, but helped us win a lot of games and have a great deal of success. Just a couple of recent examples:

--Jacque Vaughn shot 33.3% in 96-97 when we went 34-2 --Aaron Miles was a career 34% three shooter including 28.9% in the Final Four year of 2002 (which he played 27.5 minutes a game) and 24.5% in the championship-game-reaching year of 2003 (30.8 minutes a game). --Russell Robinson was a career 32.4% three shooter including 31.8% in his National Championship senior season of 2008

2) Tyshawn Taylor was pulled at 36% for Reed's 39% because he wasn't bringing that much else offensively during those times. When he did bring more, he played. Look at the 3 guys above, they had other attributes to their game which significantly impacted our team. If Tyshawn would have been able to drive and dish, he would have played 35 minutes a game. If he would have been more aggressive defensively earning more steals, he would have played more than 26.5 minutes a game.

3) Royce is young. He will improve his outside shot.

4) Even if he doesn't, he has several other parts of his game that will have a large impact on a KU squad.

It would be great if everyone had a 50% year from 3 like Hinrich, but we can still be very successful if he shoots 36%. It depends on what else he brings, and what his teammates can do.

ChicagoJHawk 10 years ago

TexasHawk44,

Well said!! Let's all just ignore all the other good things about this kid, pretend like we all know how to coach/play D1 & pick on the fact that he shoots 34%. Half of you morons need to get a life.

I'm really excited about Royce coming to KU. Unlike most of the other KU players & ex-players, he already knows all about the history & tradition of KU & genuinely loves the school as much as us fans do! He has all kinds of KU gear on, in a lot of the pictures I've seen. Most of the other players learn about out history/tradition etc once they take their first visit/maybe during their senior year in high school, not Royce.

jaybate 10 years ago

Strikewso,

LAIUSBCNIWFB!!!!!!!! (Translation: Laughing as if under stimulation by carbon nanotube interface with funny bone!)

jaybate 10 years ago

LAJayhawk,

Try googling David Cronnenberg's horror movie Scanners and you will see just how right you are. :-)

(Note: this search would probably yield imagery that might not be appropriate for those that are squeamish about horror movies. He is one of the grizzliest of horror movie directors.)

LAJayhawk 10 years ago

jaybate,

I'm a movie guy, so I'm quite familiar with the scene of which you speak. That's pretty close to what I was thinking of.............

In one of my film classes several years ago, one of the TA's screened Videodrome to a class of at least 500, many of which were not film students. The reaction from many of them was not pretty. Most of the next lecture period was devoted to discussing the imagery in the film and the purpose for screening it as the professor apparently received many angry emails. I still chuckle about that.

jaybate 10 years ago

Tayhorse.22short,

Looking at your Barnes/Ledger composite in the studio again, eh?

Wagon. Off. Repeat.

"I am TexasHawk44. I am a Smearaholic and a vulgarian. I am addictive personality and I cannot stop smearing without turning myself over to a higher power..."

Coffee, cigs, light.

Higher power. Submit. Save.

Next.

jaybate 10 years ago

LAJayhawk,

Ah, Videodrome. Jimmie Woods. How many skilled actors have portrayed a man with a pudenda on his abdomen and still climbed the ladder to fame and fortune? :-)

David Lynch's Eraserhead unsettled a few folks, too.

Todd Browning's Freaks caused me some unease.

Off the Kings of Unease for a moment, what's John Dahl up to these days? He never got his due.

TexasHawk44 10 years ago

it has been pretty widely publicized that the Big 12 is going to be very strong. Texas is ranked consistently in the Top 5 pre-season and Oklahoma is going to be very strong as well. This is never an easy conference. I also don't think we will be signing any more. Self has basically put a fork in it. Wall is not likely to come to KU. We will be very strong next season and we have a shot to win it all. What else can someone ask for?

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years ago

Good link at rivals. Looks like the BIG 12 is loading up; 6 teams ranked in the top 18. Obviously no KSU recruits made a visit to manhattan.

I would like to see a one and one game series set up with the acc conference as we have with the pac 10. A early season game with duke or unc would be awesome.

Royce Woolridge is a stud. I wish I could make it to the tournament this weekend to watch him play.

TexasHawk44 10 years ago

Jaybate; you are not funny. you are not clever. you are boring and self-serving and full of crap. It sucks to have your constant postings of nonsense on a site that has some truly well-informed and well-intentioned people. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that there is an alleged KU fan out there with your DNA. You bang the same stupid drum over and over again like a trained monkey. I would love to be able to not respond to you. I have tried to keep silent when reading your nonsense. But it is like watching a talking donkey: it is so hard to not comment on something so absurd. Please, I am waiting for your repetitive, unoriginal response. Bang the drun, talking donkey...

TexasHawk44 10 years ago

jaybate: One last comment. I am pleased to see that you know that I was talking about you in the post earlier today. As I did not name you, at least you are smart enough to know that you have diarrhea each time your fingers touch the keys on this site. Come on, load up on the laxatives and let it rip with your limited little brain dump...

jaybate 10 years ago

Well, okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, I'll try to do my best to get revved up about a guard that shoots 34% from three.

jaybate 10 years ago

Tayhoss.22short,

Getting a little testy are we?

Never try to go cold turkey on the ad homs without your mentor's guidance.

You know the drill by heart now, little rim fire.

Say it for everyone.

Say it for yourself.

Say it for all the addictive personalities in the world.

"I am Texashawk44, and I am a Smearaholic..."

You can do it.

And here's a new wrinkle.

What three things could you do to calm yourself down, when you start wanting to ad hom and smear?

Here's some suggestions:

  1. Put your clothes back on.

  2. Get out of your studio.

  3. Get a latte at Starbucks.

You can do it. And gosh, darn it, people will like you.

jaybate 10 years ago

Post Script for Tayhorse.22short,

Repetition?

Check!

I was wondering when you were going to notice that!

You're giving me the repetition.

I gotta take it.

;-)

KUFan90 10 years ago

LAJayhawk - how about Pierce's junior year? Hard to believe he only hit 33.9% of his 3s that year (and this was after averaging a whopping 46.5% from 3 his sophomore year!)

Thanks again Billy Thomas for going 2-13 from 3 against Rhode Island to end Raef and Paul's careers (although Pierce going 0-7 from 3 in the same game didn't help).

That game still makes me want to puke...we were ranked #2 at the time!

kranny 10 years ago

In case anybody's counting-Xavier Henry shot 32% from three his junior year and was ranked as the number one junior last year. He shot 43% this year and is ranked as the 8th best player. Could be that rankings aren't based on stats but exposure. Woolridge was injured last summer and had a subpar AAU circuit. From the Youtube video he is playing against at least 3 D1 recruits and is taking them to school. He can flat out play ball. If he was offered as a sophomore, I'm betting Self knew the talent was limitless. I know that a lot of scouts who write for these services wouldn't know their A$$ from a hole in the ground even if you drew them a picture. He will be playing in the Burger game if he stays healthy.

kranny 10 years ago

By the way, Stephen Curry shot 48% from three his senior year in high school and wasn't ranked at all. Only a 3 star from Rivals. He had 25 against KU in 2008. He will go lottery. Point being, rankings aren't everything.

jaybate 10 years ago

kranny,

Great trey stats on X and Curry.

X shot 32% from trey his junior year and 43% his senior year?

Question: Since he was injured quite a bit of his senior season, were his total trey attempts a lot lower than his junior year; i.e., is the 43% inflated by shooting a low number of attempts and a short hot streak? If so, which trey shooter are we going to see at KU next season? Mr. 43, or Mr. 32. How much will people love X if he shoots, oh, say, 32% from the trey, while our 42% trey shooter, Brady, is collecting pine time?

The whole issue of three point shooting is getting verrrrrrry interesting.

Curry, an obviously great three point shooter, cans 48% from trey his senior year of high school and goes on to be a terrific D1 trey shooter, also.

KU has X coming in with one, injury shortened season of good trey shooting.

And after X, KU has Woolridge coming in shooting 34%, unless he spikes his senior year.

Lest we forget, Russell Robinson shot between 31% and 35% from trey at KU. Maybe his senior year he edged even a little higher. And on our ring team, RR was our glue guy and defensive gem. Wow! Are X and Woolridge going to be satisfied being glue guys and defensive gems the way RR was? This I gotta see.

kranny 10 years ago

For x's junior year in 3s: 50/154 in 23 games. Senior year 50/116 in 16 games.

kranny 10 years ago

What will be interesting about X is how much is he going to rely on his trey. I'd like to think that HCBS will get him to attack the basket because I have a feeling that opposing coaches are going to play him tight and challenge his jumper. He'll need to learn to create space and loosen up the D by developing a "blow by" especially off the catch. Two advantages he does have is Sherron and Cole to keep others occupied and give him space. I'm going to be very interested in Robinson's game. I think he'll provide the athleticism that the Morris Twins don't have at this point. Johnson will be tremendous also if he can stay healthy and tame his game.

kranny 10 years ago

Yes, I have insomnia tonight.

LAJayhawk 10 years ago

jaybate,

As was being alluded to in my previous post, you seem to put everything into your 3-point-shooting basket (pun intended).

"How much will people love X if he shoots, oh, say, 32% from the trey, while our 42% trey shooter, Brady, is collecting pine time?"

First, X won't be shooting 32%; clearly you haven't seen him play. Second, they will love him if he's averaging 15 to 20 ppg regardless of how he scores it (to add to Sherron and Cole). They will also love the far superior rebounding numbers he will have over Brady. The kid is an exceptional athlete, and even if he isn't shooting at a 3-point rate like Brady, he, undoubtedly, should be playing ahead of him (although, again, I believe he will show some great touch from outside). His tremendous abilities will open the floor for everyone else out there, including giving Brady Morningstar some outstanding open looks from 3.

As to Russell Robinson: he was a glue guy and that's why you dismiss his 3 point percentage? [By the way, his senior year (you know, the year he won a ring) was his second lowest of his 4 year career.] Well, what about Jacque Vaughn? Was he just a "glue guy"? If so, it's quite impressive that a "glue guy" can maintain a 12 year (and counting) run in the NBA. KUFan90 also pointed out Pierce's junior year. I'm guessing you wouldn't call him a "glue guy," right?

Oh, and by the way, Jacque Vaughn's has shot 35.2% from 3 in his NBA career.

Paul Pierce -- 7 time all-star and NBA champion -- has shot 36% from 3.

And just 'cause I know you're curious, the best ever, Mr. Michael Jordan -- 14 time all-star, 5 time NBA MVP, 6 time NBA champion, 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist, and NCAA National Champion -- shot 32.7% from 3 for his career in the League.

People do many other things in the game of basketball besides shoot 3 pointers. Royce Woolridge will be very good.

And, yes, you should be excited.

TexasHawk44 10 years ago

jaybate: Thanks for not disappointing me with your stupidity.

Joe Baker 10 years ago

Royce is young and still has some time in high school. He's rocking the high school rankings. He'll be ranked high by his senior yr just like X and Lance. He'll probably end up shooting 36-45% before arriving in Lawrence. This kid is special and a natural shooter. I like his consistency from the free throw line. Besides, he comes from good NBA genes!! You can't beat the son of Orlando Woolridge!!

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