Monday, July 27, 2009

Kansas recruit excels in Vegas

Woolridge scores 33 in tourney game

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.


There’s no rest on tap for future Kansas University basketball guard Royce Woolridge’s Arizona Magic AAU team.

“I’m filling up the car now. We’re going to get something to eat, drive five hours, then get up at 6 (a.m.) for the Duel in the Desert in Phoenix,” Magic coach Kenny Mullins said at 5 p.m. PDT Sunday in Las Vegas.

Mullins’ squad — which hit the road in a car caravan on the heels of an impressive 6-1 Final Four performance at the 104-team Star Vision Sports Center Stage Tournament — has an 8 a.m. opening-round Duel in the Desert tipoff today.

A batch of college coaches likely will be in the stands, as they were over the weekend in Vegas.

Most of them would love to be recruiting Woolridge, who exploded for 33 points in a 73-71 victory over Team Odom on Saturday. They can’t, however, because the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior from Phoenix’s Sunnyslope High has been firmly committed to KU since May of 2008.

Arizona Magic point guard Blake Nash was so impressed with that 33-point effort, he grabbed Mullins after the game to say: “Royce is unbelievable. Like a robot, a frigging video game,” Mullins said in his update on’s basketball message board.

Mullins expounded on Woolridge’s effort in a Sunday night interview with the Journal-World on a highway in Nevada.

“Our game against Team Odom was taped. We’re going to put it on YouTube or somewhere. I can’t wait. People will puke on themselves,” Mullins joked.

He’s starting to grow weary of talent evaluators who do not believe in Woolridge, who is’s No. 93-rated player.

“His defense is awesome. He blocks shots like a monster, can drive, can shoot,” Mullins said, calling Woolridge “kind of an enigma.

“Scouts don’t like him or they are not there to see him at the right time. There’s a lot of hating on that young man. I don’t know what there is not to like. Maybe it’s because he’s undersized.”

Mullins pointed out that Woolridge didn’t score a batch of points at the Pangos All American camp in Long Beach, Calif., and Reebok All-America camp in Philadelphia, where many recruiting analysts gathered.

“He wants to make the right play, the extra pass. He doesn’t yell for the ball. He doesn’t care about that,” Mullins said of putting up big personal numbers.

“The target is so big on him. He committed to Kansas so early, so it’s like he has to make every shot. He’s held to a higher standard. Whenever you have a recruit at a major school like Kansas … when you commit, you are opening the door for scouts to say what you don’t have at that level.

“When you are not committed, they are touting what you can do for schools. When you are committed, scouts don’t need a report on him because he’s already chosen a school. They look for a huge breakout performance. Royce has had his share of those, too, probably every five games or so.”

He hovered around the 20-point mark in most of the games at the tourney in Vegas to go with the 33-point explosion.

“I know he can play at that level,” Mullins said of KU. “He’s a great player, a good player, man. Somebody said he can’t go left. That’s ridiculous. He puts 29 on the nation’s No. 1 consensus player who is 6-6 and long (Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa at Jayhawk Invitational). He had 29 and doesn’t even shoot that night, 1-of-7 from three.”

Woolridge is firmly committed to KU and will sign in November.

“He wears the KU shirts around,” Mullins said. “A lot of coaches are there to see us play, and he likes to wear them (KU shirts and shorts).”

He’ll be up early ready to go again today.

“Some of the kids say they are sore,” Mullins said of early-morning wake-up calls, “but when it’s time to play, they are ready.”


Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 8 months ago

Okay, I'm ready to watch that youtubalooza on Royce the FutureHawk. Anybody got any popcorn ready???

Rock Chalk!!

Jfanallways 10 years, 8 months ago

i love hearing about our guys that already wear thier ku gear proudly even before they make it on campus.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

“The target is so big on him. He committed to Kansas so early...When you are not committed, they are touting what you can do for schools."

Exactly why they don't like Royce! He doesn't need the media's endorsement. He already has HCBS's endorsement and that's all that matters. I love when someone doesn't play by the media's rules or moulds. They can choke on RW all day long. He needs to keep wearing those shirts and shorts to remind others where he calls home for the next four years.


Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm having trouble finding the right words here, but the all of the scouting services seem very funny to me. I found it very ironic during the 2009 recruiting saga that the entire year Xavier Henry was ranked #1, #2, or #3 the entire year depending on the service and site you were exploring. However, as soon as he committed to Kansas from his release at Memphis, he fell anywhere from 8-10. I've been looking at these recruiting rankings for sometime now and I've never seen a drop like that for supposedly a Top 3 player in the class. Maybe it has something to do with the "Kansas" name? I don't know, but there is something about Kansas that the media and others throughout the country like to degrade to a certain degree. The same could be said about Royce Woolridge and his recruiting circle. I am convinced that if he wasn't already "Attached" to the Kansas name, his ranking would be much higher. I do think we have a "Hidden Gem" in Woolridge, but players who committ to schools like Texas (I don't get it), UNC, and Duke with early committments seem to be unaffected. Anyone else feel the sameway?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

You also know how sweet it would be to pull off two more championships in the Next 5 years. I know, I know, I am looking too far forward, but think about the class Self would be a part of. Not many and I don't see UNC winning it again anytime soon. I would love to get this 2009-2010 NCAA title to stay on par with UNC and then somehow tie NCAA championships in the next 5 years would be the ultimate birdie.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Finally, I will be glad to see Roy retire here in the near future. I would like to see to see someone other than Smith or Williams lead them to victory. It would be nice to see McGrath or Haase take the Helms and prove once again the the Tar Holes need a Jayhawk to lead their program.

Jerry Rockhold 10 years, 8 months ago

I saw Royce play against Harrison in the Jayhawk Classic & he was the better player that night. Harrison tried guarding him on the outside & Royce repeatedly was able to drive around him for baskets or to set up easy assists for his teammates. He's exceptionally quick & has great "hops", getting off the floor very quickly. Afterwards, we talked to Royce briefly & he took the time to talk to my youngest son, pose for a pic, and sign an autograph for him. Also encouraging was the number of current J-hawk players who showed up to watch the game & let Royce & possible recruit Harrison know they were interested. Both players are the "real deal."

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

His dad wasn't exactly chopped liver. He knew how to get it done in a variety of ways. Why we have been so lucky beats me. Thanks Bill Self and the rest involved in recruiting.

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

I just thought. It must be true. God must be a Jayhawk.

keith horinek 10 years, 8 months ago

Does anybody else find it odd that when a good player like Wooldridge, who has already committed, doesn't get ranked very high, but an uncommitted player who has talent gets ranked in the top 50? Maybe all the hoopla surrounding good players is all media?

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 8 months ago

I think that Henry had already started to move backward in the rankings at the time of his commitment to Memphis. It's hard to say why this happened. I doubt it had anything to do with his accident and recovery, but it might have been due to him not being able to work out and play during that time. Other recruits were playing during the HS season and he was recovering from injury, so they were being evaluated and moving up.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Royce is going to surprise those recruiting "experts". I think they may undervalue him because he is more of a college player than an NBA talent right now. Royce is most likely a 4-year guy with loads of talent. Self will develop this kid into something special. I firmly believer this kid will be a better version of Keith Langford. He may not slash as well as Langford but he will definitley bring better defense and a better mid-range game.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

This kid has it all: mid range, deep ball, drive and he can assist! He can sky like his dad. Watch him fly over the defender in this video. The defender is probably a high school big man 6-6 or so. Royce flushes the rock over this kid!!

He's big, quick and one of the best recruits KU has landed.

mandomax 10 years, 8 months ago

KUshaw did you forget that Roy Williams is a Tarheel product? He grew up in North Carolina, played ball for the UNC Junior Varsity squad and studied under Dean Smith, coached NC high school ball, then was an assistant for Smith for 10 years, all before coming to coach at Kansas when Brown left. North Carolina fans argue (in fact, one argued this to me the other night at a bar) that the Jayhawks needed a Tar Heel to run a winning program! So be careful with your words, and research your facts.

tstanlick1909 10 years, 8 months ago

truehawk, great vid, that boom at the end made me jump out of my chair!

63Jayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

mandomax. I don't think kushaw said or implied that Roy was a jayhawk.

kunomu 10 years, 8 months ago

plastic - Thats exactly why Henry started to slide. He got in that car accident and wasn't able to play for a while and when he did come back he was sluggish for a little while after the lay off. Everyone agrees, when Henry is healthy he is a top 3 player.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

mandomax- Don't forget the big pic! Mr Smith is a KU Alum and played for Coach Phog!!!!!!!!!! So...Roy learned from a KU product, which, sorry, makes Ol' Roy a product of KU by default!! You might say that Roy is a heel but all he does was inspired and taught by Coach Phog and Coach Smith!! Once a Hawk, always a might go even further and say those heel championships were, yep, Jayhawk inspired. LOL


Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Royce is going to rock KU b-ball!!

He's almost several players in one. He can do it all!!

He is so underrated by the b-ball community and he's a Jayhawk! He can be our little secret.

Page Butler 10 years, 8 months ago

Mandomax........... you may need to be careful with your words and research your facts before you post. Just a thought.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Mandomax: Damn, I guess I must have offended you in a big way. It is a known fact that I am not a Tar Heel fan by no stretch of the imagination. I live in the State and have to deal with the Carolina Blue on a daily basis so I get a little "Twitchy" with the subject. LOL!

Yes, I do know the history of Roy Williams and his track record. Maybe I left a little too much space for open assumptions in my post, but my main point I was trying to state that it will be nice once the Dean Smith and Roy Williams era is finally done with the Tar Heels. I know Mcgrath and Haase would technically be continuing that era to some degree should they get hired as the head coach, but it would be a completely fresh start similar to Williams back in 1989 with zero expectations. I wish success for both McGrath and Haase because they are true Jayhawks, but I would like to see North Carolina have some trouble, similar to what Kentucky has experienced the last 5 or 6 years, after Roy retires.

I didn't mean to lead you astray with my post. Your debate with the guy in the bar the other night left you a great opening for a response. Because I supposedly had gotten my facts wrong that would have been a great opportunity to say, "You're exactly right, it would be nice to have a Tar Heel running our program to restore victory"........."However, we had Roy Williams for 15 years and that didn't produce us anything except the winningest program in the 90's without a championship." I guess it's a good thing we resorted to Okie Baller (As Jaybate would always say) Self and the Henry Iba Connection to restore not only our winning ways, but to our championship caliber level that was expected for two decades after Larry Brown left.

Hawkaholic22 10 years, 8 months ago


Totally agree on the recruiting rankings, man. Whats up with Xavier moving down in not only recruiting, but also NBA mock drafts... I know various NBA people think calipari can get guys ready for the league, but come on. Self's no scrub at sending players to the league.

Robert Brock 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't know how good Woolridge will be, but it has been fun following Mullins' day-to-day reports on Scout about Royce and the Magic. KU has not had an abundance of perimeter players in recent years that can attack the rim consistently, other than Sherron and Langford, so it will definitely be interesting seeing how he fits in and progresses.

Being ranked the 90s is surprisingly low, but you just can't read into any of that garbage. It is meaningless. With all the media attention and AAU summer tournaments, we know who the elite 15-25 kids are every year, but after that it is mostly a toss up -- a lot of rankings are based on hype and name just like with who is selected for the McDonalds game.

mjlindsm 10 years, 8 months ago

I disagree with the couple of people who seem to think Kansas players get dropped in recruiting rankings. It's simply not true. Most recently, Thomas Robinson moved up significantly after signing with Kansas. I think he was in the 50s before in Rivals and maybe 80s or so in ESPN.

The best example of this would be Micah Downs. He wasn't even a top 100 recruit before signing with Kansas, then suddenly was top 20 and a hamburger boy. I'm sure there have been more. I think it really just goes more based on who is recruiting them and how they perform at the few games or tournaments that the recruiting services see them at. Not an exact science, but they usually do a pretty good job.

Lone_salina_kufan 10 years, 8 months ago

Chris Douglass Roberts was ranked in the 90s on rivals coming out of high school. I think this kid has every chance to be every bit as good as CDR. Hes also more athletic than you'd think.


I think this kid will be one of our favorite players when his career in Lawrence is over. He seems to embrace school and probably doesn't need to go to the League for financial reasons due to his father's career in the NBA

kw11b2p 10 years, 8 months ago



I am so sick and tired of the lack of respect that KU teams get in the national media. Don't even get me started on Dicky V.......He's so far in the tank for Duke and UNC you would think he was a former athletic director. Why is it that Kansas, even after being listed as the second winningest program in college hoops history by ESPN (which itself was a shocker) continues to receive only a fraction of the respect that other perennial power houses do? It makes me so mad I could choke someone. Hopefully we store that frustration and take it out on all the teams we face next March and Yes....April as we once again reclaim our rightful place as National Champions.....they can keep their praising articles. We'll take the trophy.

I'm still pissed though

LAJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago


If your UNC friend actually made that argument, then he (or she) is a moron. Roy Williams' first season was immediately following a National Championship. I'm not sure you can be any more "winning" than that. Certainly Roy brought us a lot of success, and I have no problem crediting a UNC product for that (aside from the whole UNC man running KU or KU man running UNC argument being really idiotic and fairly childish anyway). But to say we "needed a Tar Heel to run a winning program" is perhaps the most asinine thing I've heard all day.

And I've heard some stupid things today.

trmatlock 10 years, 8 months ago

I am excited about the new kids and the upcoming sports year. My question is- What do the ads with Miss Porno Queen have to do with anything? Aren't there other advertisers out there who would pay just as much for the space? Let's get back to the family format.

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

I love the use of Kanye also..... it's very subtle, like Mr. Woolridge... they save that last little hammer for the end.... steals... Deals the blocked shot coming from a guard.... if I were harrison Barnes..... and I heard his utmost commitment to Kansas...After playing ina AAU event there, and hearing the fans.... There's no way in hell i go anywhere else..... These two get to talking, and getting along we could just be NAAAASTY next year also......

One last thought.... I know you like to show off, but i never though tthat you would take it this far.........

VancouverJHawkr 10 years, 8 months ago

LAJayhawk wrote "Roy Williams' first season was immediately following a National Championship. I'm not sure you can be any more "winning" than that."

Umm, you do realize that the coach before Roy Williams, who won that National Championship was a UNC alumnus?

mjlindsm 10 years, 8 months ago

The Woolridge highlights are pretty darn impressive. That crossover of his is incredible.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm happy he's underated. Keep bringing in talent under the radar that will shine like Kobe Bryant's wife's diamond collection after a year of Self's ways.

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