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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Welcome to Kansas

KU commit Woolridge scores 29 in first 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.

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KU recruit Woolridge shines at invitational

Basketball fans caught a glimpse of the 2010 version of the Kansas basketball team over the weekend.

The future of KU basketball visits Lawrence

Two potential future Jayhawks squared off Friday at the Jayhawk Invitational basketball tournament.

Royce Woolridge insisted nerves weren’t a factor on Friday night. Playing big games in front of bigger crowds, after all, is nothing new for Kansas University’s first men’s basketball commit from the class of 2010.

His Arizona Magic AAU coach, Kenny Mullins, knew better, though. This was different from other tournament trips. This was Woolridge’s first opportunity to play as a Jayhawk commit in front of his future home fan base in Lawrence.

“He said he wasn’t nervous,” Mullins said. “But any 16-year-old kid in an environment like that, going to Kansas, there’s probably going to be a little bit of pressure. He wants to play well. I’m sure he was nervous.”

The extent of Woolridge’s jitters may never be known. He hid them too well with his performance on opening night of the Jayhawk Invitational Tournament. Despite his team’s 78-67 loss against the All- Iowa Attack, Woolridge did not disappoint, scoring a game-high 29 points in front of roughly 2,000 people at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Phoenix Sunnyslope High, demonstrated his ability to penetrate the lane with his crossover dribble and finish difficult layups in traffic. He shot 11 for 25 overall but 10 for 18 from inside three-point range, all while being matched up against All-Iowa Attack’s 6-6 small forward Harrison Barnes, another top recruit from the class of 2010.

“It was fun having somebody like that guarding me,” Woolridge said.

Barnes finished with 23 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-17 shooting from the field.

Woolridge said the butterflies in his stomach dissipated as tipoff drew closer, in part because family members from Johnson County and Iowa made the trip to Haskell.

“It was good to see them, kind of calmed me down a little bit,” he said.

Mullins said Woolridge’s poor three-point shooting performance (1 for 7) was atypical and expected his guard would bounce back today.

“Every guy has an off night from the floor, but he did a good job of attacking the basket like he usually does,” Mullins said.

Woolridge, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 88 prospect in the class of 2010, was asked if the low recruiting ranking bothered him. He did not hide his disappointment, particularly because fellow Phoenix shooting guard Daniel Bejarano, a Texas commit, is listed at No. 16.

“Actually, I do care,” Woolridge said. “In Phoenix, there’s another player ranked way higher than me. Everybody’s like, ‘How come?’ I was like, ‘I dunno. I dunno why they do me like that.’ But, I’m going to keep playing, try to get higher. Show people that I’m good enough to be at the top with everybody else.

Woolridge figures to move up if he continues his strong play this summer on the AAU circuit. That continues today when his Arizona Magic play two games at Lawrence High, the first at 8 a.m. and the second at 12:40 p.m.

Comments

melrank 10 years, 2 months ago

From what little I know about this kid and after watching the above video, does he remind anyone of Sherron? Yes, he's a little taller, but looking closely at the two pictures in this article, he looks really built for a 16 year old.

“He’s a very explosive player, very low (to the ground), with tight handles and can get to the rim,” Barnes said of Woolridge. That sounds like Sherron and him driving on those slow-footed defenders looked familiar.

Does he have a little chip on his shoulder? "But, I’m going to keep playing, try to get higher. Show people that I’m good enough to be at the top with everybody else." Sounds like a younger Sherron.

Heck, he even has an occassional off night shooting 1 for 7 from three (only meant for humor as I am a 100% Sherron supporter).

I hope he proves all the experts wrong and arrives with a 5-Star top 10 rating. Then when he throws one down on Bejarano and Texas during the Big XII season the wrong will be fully righted.

kupark 10 years, 2 months ago

Seems to go to his right only, but he is still developing his game. Looks good. Both him and Barnes need to muscle up though.

fansincewilt 10 years, 2 months ago

He will get his chance to move up under Bill Self. That is when it will count. What he is in Bill Self's eyes is all that counts. Nothing else really matters. Sounds to me like a taller Sherron. That will be dangerous. Maybe another Kirk. Bill Self is taking this program to a level I surely can't ever remember having. I thought when Williams left we might experience a lower level. Boy, was I wrong. Not only can he get players, he can coach them. Probably, at the moment, the two top coaches in America are Self and Williams. I just did not think this would happen.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 2 months ago

I'd say Mr. Wooldridge is doing just fine, thank you very much. can't wait to see him in a Jayhawk uni in a year and a half.

Barnes had a nice game too....what a coup for Self, if he could land him as well....right in Iowa St's front yard.

tstanlick1909 10 years, 2 months ago

Can I speculate for a second

2010 11 lineup

Taylor/EJ Woolridge/EJ Harrison Barnes(please lord) Robinson/Marcus Withey/Kieff

kranny 10 years, 2 months ago

Youtube shows that Woolridge was able to score well against Barnes who's a much taller defender and he's able to create a shot from nothing. I see a little comparison to Langford but Langford didn't seem to me to be a true guard. This kid is miles ahead of Langford. Ball handling skills are very good and he's pretty quick. Not sure where Jesse gets the Langford being a better shooter. Langford was horrible from the three. Barnes looks very athletic for a 6'6" guy. Remember though, this is AAU ball where defense is an option and these are 16 and 17 year old kids. The talent is obviously there, though.

Jesse Newell 10 years, 2 months ago

Langford shot 35.8 percent from three his junior year and 35.2 percent from three his senior year. That might not be spectacular, but I don't think it's horrible either.

Joe Baker 10 years, 2 months ago

I think the world of Woolridge and really respect his ability to make decisive decisions on and off the court. I'm afraid that Barnes will pull another X and Lance. The Barnes list is too deep and it will be difficult for him to make an expedient decision. I don't see how any player at this point needs to take so much time. Yes, it's an important decision, but you consider yourself fortunate that a NC caliber team is considering you and narrow it down, then decide on the team that will win a NC.
Barnes has to look into the next 1-2 years and the experience that KU will return even with Collins, Cole, Little and possibly X leaving. Royce, Barnes, Withey, Robinson, Twins, Taylor and EJ would be contending for another NC in 2010-2011 and/or possibly 2011-12. Yes, other teams will be as loaded and talented but this team will have a huge amount of experience coming from a possible NC season. Yes, I'm biased and believe the Collins, Cole, X, Taylor, Little will win a NC. It's the main reason for the return of Collins/Aldrich period.
Harrison...come join Royce and the boys for the next few years and win a NC. I don't see any other team that has a better chance.

Rock Chalk

John Randall 10 years, 2 months ago

"I hope he proves all the experts wrong and arrives with a 5-Star top 10 rating. Then when he throws one down on Bejarano and Texas during the Big XII season the wrong will be fully righted."

Or not . . . I'm more interested in bragging about how guys play at AFH than on their ranking when they commit.
I just hope he is one of those with a lot of up-side when he gets here, as opposed to one of those who hit their peak at sixteen or seventeen and never get much better.
Bill Self has shown a real knack for a) finding kids who can (and want to) get better, b) putting them in situations (physical and mental) where it happens. Those (a,b) may be the greatest qualities in successful coaching.

melrank 10 years, 2 months ago

KU62 - Fair enough. But Xavier, Wall, Stevenson, etc. prove that top rankings do mean something - both to the kids and to fans. Just follow this board for the last 30 days and I'm sure you would agree. In any event, the comment was meant more for smiles than hard core analysis.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

"The Barnes list is too deep and it will be difficult for him to make an expedient decision."

That takes the cake. The kid hasn't even finished his jr year in HS, and some fans are expecting him to have his decision made up already. So absurdly ridiculous it's funny in a saddly pathetic sort of way.

Rock Chalk

TexasHawk44 10 years, 2 months ago

dagger108: you nailed it. there are a lot of people on here that are both ridiculous and pathetic.

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