Monday, August 24, 2009

KU recruit tumbles in rankings

Why the hate? Phoenix prep Woolridge shrugs off lack of respect

Arizona Magic guard Royce Woolridge makes a move to the bucket past All Iowa Attack forward Harrison Barnes during the second half Friday, May 1, 2009 at Haskell Indian Nations University's Coffin Sports Complex.

Arizona Magic guard Royce Woolridge makes a move to the bucket past All Iowa Attack forward Harrison Barnes during the second half Friday, May 1, 2009 at Haskell Indian Nations University's Coffin Sports Complex.


For some reason, future Kansas University basketball player Royce Woolridge continues to drop in the national recruiting ratings.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard from Phoenix Sunnyslope High doesn’t quite understand why.

“I don’t know what it is. It’s just hate. That’s OK. I bask in hate,” said Woolridge, who recently fell from No. 93 to No. 117 in’s rankings.

He’s ESPN’s No. 94-rated player and isn’t listed in’s top 100.

“I don’t let it get to me. What’s the point of getting mad? It will not help anything. It’ll make them (evaluators) not like me more. They’ve got a job to do. They’re not feeling me. I’m not feeling them. It’s mutual,” Woolridge added with a laugh.

It’s not as if Woolridge — the son of former NBA player Orlando Woolridge — hasn’t excelled while playing for the Arizona Magic in the spring/summer AAU circuit.

He scored 29 points in a game against No. 2-rated player Harrison Barnes’ All Iowa Attack AAU team at the Jayhawk Invitational.

He erupted for 33 against Team Odom at the Star Vision Sports Center Stage Tournament in Las Vegas.

“I’m just over it. I know where I’m at, and the (KU) coaches know where I’m at,” Woolridge said. “I feel the whole ranking thing is a luck thing. If they come to the right game and you play well, you might be ranked higher. I had 30 against Team Odom, but there were no scouts. Another game I might have had a bad game, and it’s like, ‘He stinks.’ I’m doing my thing. I like to pass, get others involved. I like to win.”

Woolridge was asked if he might be ranked so low because talent evaluators may be down on the competition in Arizona. Daniel Bejarano, a 6-5 guard from Phoenix North (headed to Texas) is ranked No. 57 by Rivals. The only other Arizona prep in the top 150 is Terrell Stoglin, 6-1 of Tucson.

“I think they (scouts) think Arizona basketball may be kind of soft,” Woolridge said.

It’s been speculated Woolridge has been “old news” on the recruiting circuit since he committed in May of 2008.

“I’m glad I committed early regardless of rankings,” Woolridge said. “I knew where I wanted to go, and I’m glad to be going to such a great school.”

One person instrumental in putting out rankings —’s Jerry Meyer — was willing to end the mystery on Sunday night.

“Part of the drop ... he’s not a catch-and-shoot guy,” Meyer said. “At his size and his game, he’s not a point guard. He’s strictly a wing scorer. To be in that four-star range, he needs to be a better catch-and-shoot guy. He’s a scorer-off-the-dribble guy.”

Meyer said Woolridge, who is a three-star player, projects as a “2 (shooting guard), not even a question.”

Of his scoring outburst against Barnes, who Sunday narrowed his list to KU, North Carolina, Duke, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State, Meyer stated: “Harrison is not a good perimeter defender. That’s something nobody who has him ranked No. 1 is talking about. Brandon Knight (Rivals’ No. 1 player) is the elite defender in the country.”

Meyer likes a lot of things about Woolridge’s game.

“What Royce does well is score off the dribble. His left-to-right crossover is a great move. He can attack the rim against lesser competition. He has a nice pull-up jumper. He can score. He is a very good scorer,” Meyer assessed.

Woolridge — he’ll make his official KU recruiting visit at the Oct. 16 Late Night in the Phog — says he’ll continue to work on his game before arriving for the 2010-11 season.

“I’ve got to get stronger and work on my shot. I lost my shot a little bit this summer,” Woolridge said. “I’ll keep shooting. I’ve gotten to going to the basket. Sometimes I don’t get the foul called, so now I’m working on making a move and going mid-range.”

KU coach Bill Self can’t comment on Woolridge until Royce signs his letter of intent this November.

“They just tell me to keep working on myself. They don’t react to that at all,” Woolridge said of KU’s coaches commenting on his No. 117 rating.

“I think it’s a pretty accurate ranking. It’s not bad. He’s 117,” Meyer said. “I think what I can add to the discussion is for Royce to be effective in Kansas’ system and be a player they need, he needs to improve on catching and shooting the ball. He can’t always dribble. I can see him getting more comfortable and doing that with reps.”


Paul Mitten 11 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't Brandon Rush supposed to be a dribbler and then he ended up being a catch and shoot guy?

p.s. I'm not even beginning to compare the two. Brandon Rush was a no-brainer 5-star talent.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 5 months ago

It is amazing that he was as high as 63 early in the summer and has almost doubled that number in his decline. I love it though! The kid seems to have a "Chip" on his shoulder and that is IMO the best way to play. Prove everybody wrong! He'll be fine once he gets here. Recruiting services hate when kids commit that early to schools because it gives them absolutely nothing to talk about or speculate about. I find it pretty funny, but people have to make a living on gossip, rumors, and the 80 some odd schools that kids list as their preferred choices.

thomc6 11 years, 5 months ago

Good points, KUSHAW. Also, the "error bars" for rankings above 30 or so are very wide. Lile the kid's spirit.

Aligned 11 years, 5 months ago

As I read Meyer's comment with regard to Woolridge needing to be a catch-and-shoot guy, I couldn't help but remember how many catch-and-shoot guys we have now, and how many we've had over the years. We have catch-and-shoot guys running out our freakin ears. A catch-and-shoot guy is much more valuable on a team with less offensive talent, but with a team like KU that has a boatload of scoring options, a 2 who can dribble, penetrate & dish is more desirable.

There's no doubt that Jerry Meyer has a lot of basketball knowledge, I just think he's dead wrong in this case. After all, I would much rather have our coaching staff making decisions about which kids are recruited to play for KU than Jerry Meyer.

Royce; just keep doing what you're doing. Listen to your coaches, work on your game, and you'll be just fine.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 5 months ago

he's already in the fold. what he is ranked now, matters not a hill of beans. there's a reason certain kids are ranked high...and some of them are NOT accurate. it's based mainly on who's recruiting them.

Do you honestly think Sasha Kaun was a 5 star player? that's what he was when he committed to KU. it was between Duke and Kansas....and he was a 5 star. give me a break about all of these rankings.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 5 months ago

GARY BEDORE: Why do you suck up to Rivals and not give Scout the nod?

Fred Davis 11 years, 5 months ago

What was Keith Langford, a 3-star at the most? And if his knees would've never went bad after his sophomore year, the trajectory of KU history would've been different. That said, Woolridge reminds me of Langford the way he plays, and if KU gets another, healthier version of Langford, I'll live with that... Who cares if Woolridge drops in the rankings, he's got the right attitude, the kid can score and last I checked, Bill Self and his staff have a pretty good eye for talent...

Joe Ross 11 years, 5 months ago

honeyiscool... the Book on Brandon before he got here was that his dribbling needed a lot of improvement. He was great in the open floor but his dribbling was an area of concern, especially because he couldnt dribble "left" very well (I think he had broken his arm or something).

I find the phrase "catch and shoot guy" a little comical to be honest. Basically it just amounts to being a shooter since most kids catch the ball without difficulty. On reflection I can only assume the intent of the phrase is to indicate a quick release while not compromising accuracy of the shot. But even with this thinking, that's all under the umbrella of being a good shooter.

That being said, I dont know either way if Royce is the guy today that the coaching staff thought he'd be. I was curious why his particular recruitment was prosecuted so early, to be honest. A lot can change from year to year. Not just a players abilities, but other players abilities, too (you never know who's gonna show up on the radar). Not only that, but a team's position needs can change if personnel get drafted or leave the program early. Having said all of that, I dont make too much of the "fall" in Woolridge's ranking. Players can develop under good coaching. Russell Robinson? Darnell Jackson? Even walk-on Christian Moody flourished as a product of the system.

Ron_Kellogg 11 years, 5 months ago

I give Meyer credit for not inflating Royce's ranking just because he signed with Kansas.

kranny 11 years, 5 months ago

Make no mistake, this kid is good. A Keith Langford with a better shot. A little shorter but he's good.

Jerry Rockhold 11 years, 5 months ago

I saw Royce play against Barnes in the Jayhawk Invitational & he more than held his own. He was a great penetrator, super quick with an explosive 1st jump & then had very quick "hops" on 2nd & 3rd attempts. He flashed by Barnes & went to the hole for easy baskets or dishes several times in the game. Make no mistake about it, the kid can flat out play & already has a TEAM mentality, something very RARE in many AAU star players. Afterwards, we talked to him & he was a great kid off the court. He spent time talking to my 12 yr. old son & even posed for a pic. I also thought it was very cool that many current Jayhawk players showed up to watch the game as well. None of us, including the SPECULATIVE ranking services know for sure how a high school kid will turn out at the next level for sure. But, I think he's got a very good chance to be a GREAT addition to our Hawks & he seems to be exactly the type of kid that will benefit & flourish under Bill Self's system. Fired up for BOTH football & basketball seasons. It's a GREAT time to be a Jayhawk!

wannabe 11 years, 5 months ago

Ron_Kellog I was thinking exactly the opposite. I think one of the reasons he falls is because he committed so early to KU. I think the ranking are often an example of the tail wagging the dog. The more big name schools after a player the better the ranking. That is why so many of them keep such a big list. hoping the ranking rises and the bigger name school they really want will come knocking. I always wonder which comes first, the ranking or the interest.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 5 months ago

I am just throwing this out there, but maybe Royce hasn't developed or he already reached his "Peak" at an early age in High School. Some kids do that! You hear not all the time, but peridodically that a kid and school will commit to one another in an early fashion only the school will allow that kid to decommitt or take reconsider the scholarship offer. I don't think that is the case in this situation, but you never know. Either way, he looked pretty damn good during that jayhawk invitational.

TrueBlue92 11 years, 5 months ago

I think this is totally a case of follow the money: If Scout, Rivals, ESPN, Jaybate, Tom, Dick, and Harry had a top 30 (or top 100) of kids who are already committed, then who would bother to check their websites?

Once you've committed, you are not valuable to ranking services anymore, and you are rated on hype, not value.

If Bill Self picks the #8,000 rated HS player this year, that guy is Top 10 in my book. End of Story.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 5 months ago

I just look at it like this, Acie Law IV was a legend in Dallas and went to A&M unranked out of rivals. On the other hand, Micha Downs was a 5-star recruit and he pretty much sucked his whole career. Recruiting is generally accurate, but not fool proof. Heart is the one thing thet can't measure and it seems Woolridge has it in spades. If Royce uses this slight as motivation, and works harder than everyone else, the rankings won't matter.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 5 months ago

Prepstars.Com has Royce ranked 93.

Whatever Rivals feeds Bedore is what Gary writes.

truefan 11 years, 5 months ago

I don't really care about his ranking, all I care about is his potential in a KU uniform. Right now he plays like Langford, and is ranked like Langford (Yes, Langford was a 3 star) and that situation worked out pretty well for KU. I think Royce has a better outside game than he is getting credit for, but he'll prove that to everyone once he is on TV every week. I have also heard many rumors that he is supposed to be around 6'6 to 6'8 by the time he is finished growing. There was a report that his dad and I think his brother were about his height until they hit 18 or 19 and then they took off. Royce was 6'0 when KU started recruiting him, he is 6'3 now. If he grows as projected, he'll be a first round NBA draft pick when he decides to make the jump. Either way, he has talent and his love for KU is second to none (maybe Aldrich haha).

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

kushaw (anonymous) says... Recruiting services hate when kids commit that early to schools because it gives them absolutely nothing to talk about

Most of the posts are right on. Who cares what they say. He'll arrive and be one of the best that has ever played for KU. Royce will be a real special Jayhawk!!

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago

Welcome to the Fall 2009-2010 session of online Basketball 101.

Class, digital country club week is over. Your hang-over home remedies are now working (or not) and it is time for your first multiple choice quiz of the young semester. This quiz will not count in your final grade, but it will give me an idea of where your strengths and weaknesses are presently.

Question: The reason Royce's value has fallen on the college recruiting "future's market" is:

a. he is a short two guard;

b. he has not yet trifected (from the infinitive to trifect, i.e., to shoot the three) at a high percentage yet;

c. Arizona high school competition is disrespected;

d. he says very pampered suburban jock kinds of things like "they don't feel me and I don't feel them;"

e. he committed early and so no recruiting scribes want access to him and so use him as a punching bag to drum up attention on slow news days; and

f. all of the above.

The answer, of course, is f, or "all of the above."

I will not lecture again until the last day of the course. All instruction will be handled by my able, but socially maladjusted graduate assistants. Any communication with me is to be via email routed through my graduate assistants, who will keep me apprised of any issues requiring my assistance.

Labs will be Saturdays at 7:20am-:00am. I scheduled the labs at this time in hopes of discouraging as many of you as possible from remaining enrolled in the class. The fewer students I have, the fewer tests and papers I have to grade. The fewer tests and papers I have to grade, the more time I can devote to faculty politics. The more time I can devote to faculty politics, the sooner I can move up to dean and not have to teach at all. The sooner I can move up to dean and not teach at all, the sooner I can delegate all work to staff and focus entirely on KU basketball.


kvskubball 11 years, 5 months ago

LOL Jaybate, or should we "call" you Dr. Jaybate. Oops, I forgot, we're supposed to e-mail you. I can't BELIEVE the ending time on that lab, that is just flat out ridiculous!

I know you are at least hip-deep in the midst of a conspiracy to keep us from getting to early Saturday basketball games! So that there will be a seat available for you.

I'm going to start a petition to have your C-V have an asterik on it. You're thinking politics, huh? I'm going to drag your under-handed ethically-empty policies through the slime and the mud of the media, and you'll be lucky to be teaching kindergarten with Ahhhhnold! Next....

waywardJay 11 years, 5 months ago

a one question test jaybate ? What are we Harrick-era Georgia ?

What color is the sky ? Blue. YAY you get an A !

ku_foaf 11 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if the early commitment has anything to do with this? He probably doesn't get as much attention from coaches now, and if the coaches don't the media doesn't either. I remember Simien committed to KU early and was largely ignored afterwards, but maybe because they didn't know what a talent he was outside the state.

hammr25 11 years, 5 months ago

I'd much rather have him be like Keith Langford than Kenny Gregory which is what Meyer makes him sound like. The opposite end of that would be if he was like JR Giddens while he was at KU. The dude could only catch and shoot.

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


Now that Ahnold, like an Austrian-Manchurian-Sacramento Candidate has finished his mission of assassinating my beloved Golden State, his base aka Msr. Rothschild, has now finished with Ahnold and is about to clear his wake of Ahnold by having Ahnold watch the 10th and 11th episodes of Murder She Wrote. Embedded in these widely overlooked and under-appreciated episodes are Red Queen and One-Eyed Jack allusions by Angela Lansbury that will cause Ahnold to run around Sacramento chasing a Frank Sinatra look alike and making marriage proposals to him. Ahnold will claim to be a genetic hybridization of Laurence Harvey and Mort Sahl on steroids. Alas, Ahnold will be found mysteriously dazed in the track bed of the vintage steam locomotive tracks alongside the Sacramento River repeating "momma, momma, momma, they call you Jessica, but I call you momma," and be sent to The California State Psychiatric Hospital for Former Actors and Weight Lifters in Gold Country. He will not be heard from again until interviewed by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio "in the year 2525/if man is still alive," where Ahnold will remember nothing and admit only that he was in fact the illegitimate son of Lee Strasberg and Imogene Coca, who was herself the real Sid Ceasar, after a sex change. And that's...the rest of the psy-ops story. :-)

Note: John Frankenheimer may or may not have existed in his own mind.

Joel Hood 11 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone remember this kid from Louisiana that KU was after about 4 or 5 years ago? He verbally committed during his Jr. year, but then had a lackluster AAU summer before his Sr. year. If I remember correctly, the KU coaching staff had no problem rescinding the scholarship offer back then. Does anyone remember the details of that situation??

My point is that I trust our staff to make the best recruiting decisions and not Rivals, Scout, etc. I cannot imagine they’d keep after a kid who wasn’t going to produce for KU.

kvskubball 11 years, 5 months ago

Uh, Dr. Jaybate,

I still want you to change the ending time of the lab, if it isn't really too much trouble. You know the men want to watch their sports, and the women have ALL kinds of things they need to be doing, especially those who are sports fans as well. So show a little compassion, bleed a little crimson and blue for the tried and true KU fans! Or we'll send you all kinds of grumpy old men e-mails.

Joe Ross 11 years, 5 months ago

...some of these comments are drifting ever farther from the point of the article. blogs may be appropriate outlets?

Ron_Kellogg 11 years, 5 months ago

wannabe, I agree that a "wag the dog" phenomenon exists. Royce's recent fall may simply be a correction in the market. Royce may initially have been overvalued due to signing with KU.

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


Revised lab time: start 7:20am,end 7:21am. Just long enough to force you to get up early on a Saturday. ;-)

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


Okay, here's something relevant. :-)

Any kid who can put 29 or 33 points against the high powered AAU teams has some game.

People expect more consistency out of these teeny boppers than they do out of the speed of light.

And every two-guard that gets an offer does not have to be the second coming of Jerry West.

Royce is skinny and not putting on the prison body muscle mass. And he has a daddy who played at the Golden Dome and then in the pros.

Royce is struggling with Omar Wilkes Syndrome.

Not as big as daddy.

Probably not as dominant as daddy.

Kind of little.

Kind of skinny.

But battling Dickensian Great Expectations.

Cut Royce some slack.

He's a player.

He's just not a super star.

There is nothing wrong with Royce's rep that Carl Henry couldn't hype up 50 places! :-)

kvskubball 11 years, 5 months ago

Not every two guard is going to come in and be Mario Chalmers!

With Tyshawn, EJ, Brady, and Tyrel, Royce doesn't need to come in ready to shoot the lights out and howl at the moon!

Projecting or ranking an athlete's talent isn't an exact science. It would be nice if these rating service guys would put in their rankings how many times they actually saw (in person) each player play, and against who. That would help all of us hacks have an idea if they've seen someone enough to justify the rating they give. If they've seen Royce once each summer, and they see Brandon Knight 10 times each summer, then they'll have a better understanding of Knight's talent that Royce's....

I do wonder about Meyer's comments on the game that Royce and Harrison were playing in. Meyer seemed to be down-playing the 29 that Royce put on Harrison, and I've heard that Barnes was guarding him for part of the game. Barnes is a top-10 rated player, he's taller than Royce, and Royce puts up 29 on him. So Meyer says that Barnes, isn't really very good on defense. Then my question would be, how the heck is he a top 10 player if his defense isn't that good. Do the rating services rate a player based only on his offensive game???

Chris Shaw 11 years, 5 months ago

kvskubball: Okay, I'm ready! I got no problem flying all over the country watching High School basketball. If that is the only component that is lacking in these recruiting services than that is the catch "Idea". Let's get the LJW for some backing and be on our way. How hard can it be? LOL!

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

Are we all talking about the same kid? You need to review this kids videos. I think he's as special as Chalmers. He can definitely shoot the lights out at will. I would refer you to the Arizona HS championship game.

Jaybate is the closest in evaluating this kid. He is 6-2 maybe 6-3. I saw him drive the lane and dunk on kids 6-5, 6-6 or even 6-8. He is every bit as dominate as his dad, smaller, but his tenacity is as intense.

Rivals is very off on this rank and it is simply because he commits early to KU. This kid committed his freshman year!!! This is unprecedented. My take is Rivals doesn't need to rank him because he's already committed. It has nothing to do with his skills. Also, Royce's D is steller. He is very much like Chalmers in my book. Go Royce and thank you for the early KU commitment!!

TKELuke 11 years, 5 months ago

Its pretty common for players to drop spots after they commit to KU. I think its a conspiracy.

Tracy L. Cauley 11 years, 5 months ago

I think most of the comments here are true. Wasn't Jeff Boshee a McDonalds All American. How many people you think got to North Dakota. It's all about the Nike camp the ABCD camp. For Boshee I think it was just the fact that KU was recruiting him because he never put up the numbers Royce has. As for Royce I don't even know if he attended those camps this season if not that could be the reason some guys pass him up or keeps him from moving up. Wayne Simien wasn't a lock McDonald All American until he went to those camps and just wore those higher ranked players out. I don't think Roy would have said no we don't want him anymore if he had went there and not did as well and fell in the rankings. What really matters is what he does after he puts on the Jayhawk uniform then we can judge. Until then trust the coaching staff they have done great so far.

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


Not even Mario Chalmers could come in and be Mario Chalmers.

Mario was the point guard who couldn't handle the point his first season and had to play the two.

And by the time Mario was ready to handle the point, we had another point, but didn't have a true two, so he did his duty for Self and the team.

He did not truly fulfill expectations as a trinitarian either, until he got cut from the international team for not shooting the rock well; then he worked like a mad-man and become not only a great clutch trey shooter, but a high percentage trey shooter.


We have to keep Royce in perspective. He seems very intelligent and articulate. He is tremendously athletic. He has a lot of confidence. He often comes up big against good competition. He's 6'3." He's a two. Gee, he sounds a lot like Tyshawn. People were happy to land Tyshawn. People are happy now to have Tyshawn now. The guy started as a frosh, even with his sub 40% trey. As much as I am a proponent of loading up on guys who can shoot the trey at 40% plus, there will always be room for great penetrators, at any position on the floor. Great penetrators make opportunities for both your bigs and your trinitarians. And as we have seen, sometimes guys in the high thirties in trey percentage can, over the course of their careers, and with an increase in arm strength and a ton of practice, nudge it to 40% plus. But almost no one learns to be a great penetrator of the kind that Royce already is.

Could it turn out that Royce does not grow another inch or two, as many probably thought he might when he signed? Could it turn out he is too slight for Self Defense, as Omar Wilkes more or less proved to be?

Yes. But it is just as likely that he will bring to the table what both Mario and Tyshawn brought: intelligence, extreme quickness, extreme speed, the ability to learn to play Self Defense, great penetration, enormous toughness, wicked penetration and impact plays.

There is always room for a guy like this, whether or not he super novas like Mario did finally.

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago

Dear anthonyzal,

Well, at the very least, you disgusted me, with your remark above, and I don't disgust easily, after years on this board.

I am writing the online editor next.

Respectfully submitted, jaybate

Dear JNewell,

anthonyzal's post above seems racist and it disgusted me. I am a free speech monger, so I did not click "suggest removal," but if I did believe in clicking "suggest removal," then I surely would have clicked on anthonyzal's post above. It repulsed me.

Respectfully submitted, jaybate

Joseph Kuebel 11 years, 5 months ago

Anthony zal...also says offering a scholarship to someone in the pacific northwest is dumb...

Joel Hood 11 years, 5 months ago

For what it’s worth, I read anthonyzal’s original post on August 26, 2009 at 10:20 a.m. It clearly violated the user agreement. He called an earlier poster a 3-letter obscenity (rhymes with pass) and then called that poster a racist who was secretly a white supremacist. He also claimed to be African-American and this somehow justified his accusations against the earlier poster.

I’m not sure if this guy is really that immature or if he is simply trolling for attention. I enjoy the good-natured banter that goes on here, but I’ve never understood race baiting and I’m not sure why he’s trying it on this message board.

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