Woolridge’s coach doesn’t buy recruit’s ranking

Friday, August 28, 2009

Royce Woolridge isn’t the only person shaking his head over his drop in the national high school basketball recruiting rankings.

The future Kansas University combo guard’s AAU coach — Kenny Mullins — also takes exception to his prize pupil’s fall as chronicled in Monday’s Journal-World.

“I’ve seen 80 of the top 100 more than once. I think Royce should be in the 30s, 40s,” Mullins said, responding to Woolridge’s being ranked No. 117 in the class of 2010 by Rivals.com after being tapped No. 93 overall entering the summer AAU season.

The 6-foot-3 senior from Phoenix’s Sunnyslope High is ranked No. 94 by ESPN and is not included in Scout.com’s top 100.

Arizona Magic coach Mullins said a problem is that talent evaluators simply didn’t see Woolridge play much this summer. Woolridge erupted for 29 points in a Jayhawk Invitational game against Rivals.com’s No. 2-rated player — Harrison Barnes.

He also scored 33 points against Team Odom in a tournament in Las Vegas and had 37 points in another summertime outing

“I read that Harrison is the top player in the class (of 2010) because of how well-rounded his game is. How many scored 29 on him all year? Maybe one? That’s exactly one,” Mullins said, admitting he grows defensive when talking about the well-rounded Woolridge, who’s also a 4.0 student. “And Royce was 1-for-7 (from three vs. Barnes’ All Iowa Attack team). What if he’d been 4-of-7?” he added, referring to a more typical Woolridge outing.

“He had 28 and Isaiah Epps (New Jersey point) guarded him the entire game. He (Woolridge) hit a 30-foot three at the buzzer to send that game into overtime. No scouts were at that game. He had 26 against Bakari Turner, who is going to Baylor.”

Of Woolridge’s game, Mullins said: “He has a lot more than a left to right crossover. He’s got spin moves, back reverse through his legs, hesitation moves. Royce can shoot and he can get by somebody which makes him a lot more effective.”

He also stated that Woolridge, who turned 17 on June 30, can indeed play the point guard position, but he didn’t do so at the two all-star camps (Pangos and Reebok) he attended because those camps had some of the top point guards in the country.

“He can handle the ball well enough to play point and is a good enough passer,” Mullins said of the player who led Sunnyslope High to a state title last season.

Mullins said he’s encouraged Woolridge to not read much of what’s being discussed about him online. He said fans on various Web sites, including KUSports.com, soon will be able to view a highlight video he’s putting together of Woolridge from play at an AAU tourney in Las Vegas.

“It’s frustrating to him because he feels he’s doing the right things, working hard. His team is winning games. He’s getting buckets against great players,” Mullins said. “He’s always humble when he’s interviewed. Royce is done with the rankings now. He doesn’t care anymore. He’s just going to work on his game and try for another state championship.”

Woolridge figures to feel the love from KU fans at the Oct. 16 Late Night in the Phog. He’s making his official recruiting visit here that weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot about it,” Woolridge said.

Kanter on list?

Rivals.com reports that several of the country’s top programs are beginning to recruit Enes Kanter, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound high school senior center from Turkey, who will be playing this season for Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.

Rivals says more than 50 schools have inquired about recruiting the MVP of the Under 18 European championships.

KU is included on the list, along with Texas, North Carolina, Memphis, Kentucky, Florida, Ohio State, Connecticut, UCLA, USC and others.

Self to speak

KU coach Bill Self will present “Activity and Exercise, What Improves the Heart of a Champion,” from 8:30-9:20 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in Yardley Hall of the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. The event is free and open to the public. Self’s presentation will be made possible by a gift to the JCCC Foundation by the estate of Nell Mitchell, an Overland Park resident and physical education instructor at Paseo High School, to be used for physical education scholarships and promoting wellness in the community.