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Originally published November 11, 2009 at 01:49p.m., updated November 12, 2009 at 12:00a.m.

Phoenix prep signs with KU

As expected, combo guard Woolridge joins Jayhawks

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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Woolridge makes it official, signs with KU basketball

Royce Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 senior combo guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix, Ariz., signed an official basketball letter of intent with Kansas University Wednesday in a late-morning ceremony at his high school.

Woolridge officially a Jayhawk

Royce Woolridge signed an official basketball letter of intent with Kansas University Wednesday in a late-morning ceremony at his high school.

Some college basketball recruiting battles are full of high drama — dragging out month after month for more than a year — with coaches never exactly knowing where their programs stand until Signing Day.

Others?

Well, they are not as stressful.

Take, for instance, the case of Royce Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 senior combo guard from Phoenix’s Sunnyslope High, who orally committed to KU on May 1, 2008 — 23 days after the prep sophomore and his mom, Victoria, initiated contact with Kansas University coach Bill Self.

“This one was easier than most. It was right after we won the national championship, literally. He liked how we played, and they got word to us. We went and watched him play, offered a scholarship, and, boom, it was done,” Self said Wednesday afternoon, three hours after Woolridge signed a national letter of intent with KU in a ceremony at Sunnyslope High.

“Royce committed over the phone basically after coach (Kurtis) Townsend had seen him a few times. I saw him on tape and liked what I saw on tape.”

Self since has watched a batch of high school and AAU games of Woolridge’s.

“Royce has been loyal and certainly done everything we’ve asked him to do from a loyalty standpoint. We are very appreciative. He was first to jump on board (in recruiting class of 2010), and we always have a fond appreciation of that,” Self said.

Woolridge — who averaged 28.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for last year’s 24-5 Arizona state champs — said he was sold during his sophomore season, thanks in large part to “cousins, uncles and aunts” who live in Prairie Village and filled him in on KU hoops.

“My family that lives in Kansas are Kansas fanatics. They’d talk of KU, and I tried to look into it more,” Royce said in a phone interview after a news conference attended by 60 family members, coaches and friends.

“The history behind it — it’s where basketball started, and the atmosphere is crazy, and the fans love the game. It’s where I feel I’ll fit in best.”

Woolridge, who received recruiting interest from Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Georgetown and other schools, has never regretted his quick decision to become a Jayhawk.

“That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s an old soul. He’s not indecisive. It amazes me,” said his mom, Victoria Sallis-Woolridge, who works in real estate and soon will be applying for her license in Kansas. She has decided to move to a “suburb of Lawrence” to be close to her son and be able to follow his academic and athletic career.

“He made a great choice. He never ever wavered. He wanted to get it (recruiting) done, and if he committed as a sophomore it would be over,” Victoria explained. “We don’t like the recruiting part of it. We don’t believe in taking free vacations. We believe in loyalty and what we want.

“I appreciate how Kansas realizes loyalty should be noticed. Lew Perkins (KU athletic director) made a big deal about that. He acknowledged Royce’s loyalty (when they visited for Late Night in the Phog) and said that’s what he values at KU — loyalty.”

Self is just as impressed with Woolridge’s on-court skills.

“He is a combo guard that has pretty good size. He may have a chance to grow some more. He’s a very good shooter, is good off the bounce. I see him as a guy who will be a real good player in the program,” Self said.

Woolridge — his dad, Orlando, played in the NBA — is currently Rivals.com’s No. 117-ranked player.

“You watch when the rankings come out at the end of the year. He’ll be one of those guys I would say definitely has a chance to be a top-50 player,” Self said, indicating he does not consider rankings when recruiting.

Victoria says the Woolridge family also doesn’t fret over numbers.

“I don’t put any feeling toward rankings. When we get to KU, it’s on,’’ Victoria said. “Royce knows how to use it as ammunition to get better. I think the KU fans will be very surprised. I don’t think they have any inkling of what Royce will bring. He’s been underestimated a bit. I think Royce will wow Kansas.”

He was standing tall among his peers Wednesday.

“I feel so good I'm finally part of the Jayhawk family officially," Woolridge said. "It's a huge moment, a huge day. It’s crazy. It makes me feel great. There’s no school like Kansas.”

Who else?

Self said he’d like to sign at least three players in the Class of 2010.

“We are only recruiting a handful of guys. Hopefully of that handful we can get a couple more. I don’t know if we’ll get two more early,” Self said.

Harrison Barnes, a 6-8 forward from Ames (Iowa) High, will announce for KU, North Carolina, Duke, Oklahoma, UCLA or Iowa State in a 3 p.m. news conference Friday. The announcement will be aired at 3:10 p.m. on ESPNU.

Three other players who visited KU this semester may wait until the spring, according to Rivals.com.

They are: Brandon Knight, 6-3 point guard from Pine Crest High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Josh Selby, a 6-2 point guard from Lake Clifton High in Baltimore; and Doron Lamb, 6-4 shooting guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Bumps, bruises

Freshman guard C.J. Henry, who has missed two weeks of practice with a swollen right knee, returned to practice Wednesday. He’s been listed day-to-day. It probably will be a longshot for Henry to play in Friday’s 7 p.m. regular-season opener against Hofstra.

Comments

David Reed 12 years ago

Welcome To The Jayhawk Family Royce!!!!!!!!!!

Rodney Stice 12 years ago

I shall watch several games of Royce this winter. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU

Tony Bandle 12 years ago

Let's all watch as "Royce Rolls!!"

Priest Fontaine 12 years ago

wow. even though i have been hoping & prayin for Barnes, Lamb and Knight i gotta say that its nice to have a kid that is this excited to be coming to Kansas. Im sure he's going to bring a lot of great energy and talent!

Plus, he will hands down have the best name on the team! If I had my pick of 5 of the espn 100 incoming recruits based on name:

Royce Woolridge B. Knight A. Payne Vander Blue Fabricio de melo

honorable mentions: Tim Hardaway Jr, Melvin Tabb, Crandall Head, Doron Lamb, Roscoe Smith and Joe Jackson

I also think I read somewhere on this site that he still may be growing? It would be nice to have his skills as a guard but at 6'6"! Maybe Kansas has taken this into consideration...

kranny 12 years ago

You can check out a summarized version of the state champ. game on Youtube. The thing I notice about him is his motor and competitiveness. He attacks the basket relentlessly. The biggest knock on him is his outside shot which apparently runs hot and cold. They say that's why he has only 3 stars. Him and TRob ought to get along well. Can't wait to see him play. Hopefully Sunnyslope will upload a few videos of his games this year to Youtube.

Tony Bandle 12 years ago

Oh, how could you forget the Angelic Kyrie Irving or the unforgettable, Baye Moussa Kieta [ I think that's Italian for kiss my behind!!]

chapel4ku 12 years ago

“It’s Kansas Jayhawk basketball, there’es nothing better than that,” Woolridge told Phog.Net. “Nobody else could have compared to Kansas...They are the best, like in the world."~Future Jayhawk Royce Woolridge, I love the excitement Royce has for becoming a Jayhawk. How many times do you hear about kids making a verbal commitment to a school early in their High School days and back out after being "wooed" by a different school, this guy has never once faltured on his love for the Kansas Jayhawks and just how much it means to be apart of the Program. Heck, some of his quotes on Phog.net could be used in recruiting other players to Kansas!!!! Welcome to Jayhawk Nation, Royce...ROCK CHALK!!!!

Joe Baker 12 years ago

It's called heart. He has heart like EJ and TRob!!

They are incredible!!

RCJHKU

Steve Brown 12 years ago

If one of our recruits has a mother that works for another university in the Big 12 would that matter or make it more likely he would want to not play at Kansas and therefore head off to ACC?

Tony Bandle 12 years ago

lighthawk

Are you talking about Harrison's mom at Iowa State? I think she should get a promotion and come to Kansas.

I will be attending the Hofstra game Friday and I can hardly wait to see Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawk basketball team. I will also be attending the Nebraska game Saturday and I can hardly wait to see Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawk basketball team!!!

Phoggin_Loud 12 years ago

Welcome to KU, Royce. We're glad you chose to be a Jayhawk.

LakeShawnee 12 years ago

Oakville, that makes me laugh out loud.

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

Some interesting information I was curious. Obviously, Bill Self loves his "Combo" guards and I was curious to see what Deron Williams (Illinois and currently with Utah Jazz) was ranked coming out of High School. Williams was in the same class as Felton, Dee Brown, McNamara, Anthony Roberson and was ranked as the 8th best point guard coming out of High School. If you all remember, Self signed both Brown and Williams from that class. The reason I was curious because I originially thought that maybe Royce was kind of in a similar recruiting position as Williams was back in 2002. I was right, Deron Williams signed early with Illinois and was kind of "Forgotten" during the recruiting process. I think the same could be said with Royce Woolridge and his recruitment. Even though Woolridge is listed as a shooting guard and is ranked about 45 spots lower than Williams at the time, I think there may definitely be some similarities there. If we really want to dig, Tyshawn Taylor may be a better comparison to Willaims, but Taylor really didn't have KU on his radar until the Tom Crean coaching change, but their rankings were certainly similar. I think Woolridge could be a special player for KU and he could do it by flying under the radar like Deron Williams did his frist two seasons in college. We shall see, but interesting stuff.

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

I hope I am pleasantly surprised on Friday, but I am now getting the feeling that Barnes is ACC bound. I am completely wafering on this decision, but my "Gut" has completely changed over the last 24 hours. If Little and Releford red-shirt this year, KU is in the running for 4 of the Top 10 "Rush Spots" from next year's class. I guess that would be a good consolation prize should KU lose out on Barnes on Friday.

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

I have heard about this guy over the years, but it's one of the best "Insider" historian basketball stories I have read in a while. I love stories like this and it gives you "True History" of the game.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/11/10/konchalski/index.html

100 12 years ago

Welcome Royce!

Can't wait to see you win a few rings in the House of Wilt Chamberlain.

"Practice Wins Championships."

Glen Darge 12 years ago

I think it is wrong for the news media asks us who impressed us the most after last nights game against Pittsburgh. It took the efforts of the entire team who acted professionally and like gentlemen. God knows they had reason to celebrate after a basket or two. Go Coach Self and your Jayhawks!!

Martin Rosenblum 12 years ago

OakvilleJHawk -

You stole my line!

I'm checking back to see when I posted that first.

Oh well, it is a natural. We just have the same creativity I guess.

Jerry Rockhold 12 years 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.

jayhawker97 12 years ago

i really like Royce's attitude. very committed and loyal. Royce, i can assure you that you won't be disappointed playing for KU. you've made the right move! welcome to the family!

!!!!!rock chalk!!!!

actorman 12 years ago

Interesting comments, rockcjayhawk. It seems like sons of former college players and especially former NBA players are almost always solid in basketball fundamentals and solid off the court (Brady's recent lapse notwithstanding). Can anyone recall a time where a son of a former player turned out to be not very good or to have attitude problems?

omng392 12 years ago

The only reason this kid is a three star is because he lives in Arizona and its not a hot bed of basketball talent. If he lived on the east or west coast this kid would be solid 4, maybe 5 star recruit. If coach Self thinks enough of him to offer a scholarship, then its good enough for me. After all, who can argue with Chalmers, Rush, Collins, Rus Robinson etc..

Blake Post 12 years ago

More weapons for the arsenal of Killer Kansas.

kill nu

E4KUJHawks 12 years ago

Like Coach and Lew, I appreciate this young man's loyalty to KANSAS! Guy's gotta good head on his shoulders! Welcome to the Jayhawk family Royce...we're happy to have ya!

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

omng392: Your reasoning isn't totally consistent. I mean, Chalmers came from the "Hotbed" state of Alaska and was the #2 ranked point guard (Behind Paulus, Insert Laughs now) and #11 recruit overall. Recruiting is a business and it is amazing to me how the services can have such discrepencies on certain guys. It sounds like the only guy who usually gets it right is Tom K. You can read that article from CnnSi and it's an awesome read. I am sure there will be a book from all his legal pad notes. It really is good stuff.

As for Rush, Collins, and Rus Rob, they were all in "Hotbed" media outlets so they all had Top 25 overall rankings. Nobody will convince me otherwise, but I do believe there is Media bias and bias within these services for certain KU recruits, but not all. Take Woolridge this year, Take X last year, Cole dropped some spots when he committed to KU his junior year. Take the H. Barnes recruiting. How many articles have you all seen about Duke/UNC or UNC/Duke claiming it's a two way race for Barnes services? A lot and I don't get it and these are national publications! Do they think KU is chop liver and can't get the guy? He is in KU's backyard! That is why more than anything if Barnes doesn't commit to KU (I don't think he will) I would really like to see him in an ISU uniform (Not likely either). I would rather see if I had a choice between the two , Duke or UNC, I would rather Barnes go to Duke. UNC did stop recruiting CJ Leslie and Leslie has been quoted as saying that UNC is going to snatch up Barnes. Yuck!

http://mobile.wral.com/w/hsot-news/story/7740199/

Ryan Mullen 12 years ago

He sounds like a great kid but, I don't see him cracking the starting lineup ever.

John Strayer 12 years ago

Technically, basketball started in Springfield, Mass., but KU did hire the game's inventor as its first coach (who was KU's worse coach by wins & losses).

Tony Bandle 12 years ago

memhawk

We'll share it....although I must say that since I graduated 38 years ago, I have never seen Kansas lose a football game in Memorial and only seen Kansas lose one basketball game in Allen.

Needless to say, I am a little more worried about Saturday's game than Friday's game, but I think we can do it!!

Logic would point to a Nebraska victory which is exactly what has NOT happened in the Big 12 this year i.e. Colorado over Kansas, Iowa State over Nebraska, Nebraska over Oklahoma, Baylor over Missouri [YES!!], K-State in first place, etc........this is the year of surprises and I think Saturday may be a big one!!!!!

bad_dog 12 years ago

"Can anyone recall a time where a son of a former player turned out to be not very good or to have attitude problems?"

actorman-two words: Kellen Winslow.

Given he's a Mizzery grad, that's not such a big surprise.

KANSTUCKY 12 years ago

Looks like an aggressive B. Rush.

Benjamin Clay Jones 12 years ago

He and his mother both sound like class acts. Welcome, Royce and Victoria.

Steve Brown 12 years ago

actorman: two words: Suzette Stewart, outstanding volleyball forward for Creighton, blocked a lot of shots but wouldn't sit down during timeouts and kept working the refs.Had lot of black and gold nike stuff though her team wore blue.

Joe Baker 12 years ago

“I feel so good I'm finally part of the Jayhawk family officially," Woolridge said. "It's a huge moment, a huge day. It’s crazy. It makes me feel great. There’s no school like Kansas.”

Outstanding! Never waivered...I like that attitude!!

RCJHKU

Joe Baker 12 years ago

jayhawkinmullen (anonymous) says... He sounds like a great kid but, I don't see him cracking the starting lineup ever.

He will most definitely crack the starting line-up.

You obviously haven't seen him play. I'm not convincing you of anything. Just watch him play! Not just high school clips, but when he gets to KU, you'll see, oh you will see a lot of Royce!!

Steve Brown 12 years ago

Victoria Woolridge: "I think Royce will wow Kansas."

from your lips to God's ears. We don't wow easily yet LOVE your confidence.

We hope to 'wow' your son, that if he works hard, learns to play tough and never quit on Defense and put the team ahead of personal goals and eliminate turnovers, and shoot high average and better yet lead in assists, and not get back doored or give up open shots, then yes, he will wow us, If he strives to be of high caliber both on and more importantly off the court, as a role model for others that don't get the chance to wear the Crimson&Blue, then yes, he can wow us. As many that came before that had the chance to play pro and the legions that didn't get to play pro, Archie Marshall e.g. I know you don't know who that is, it's okay.

We are 'wowed' by two time consensus all-americans we've had a dozen, and by most valuable final four players, we've had 4-5 and by players whose teams win the league 3 out of 4 years, we've had multiple, and even by those that are subs and give it all up at practice to help the team and maybe only play the last few minutes of each game, for we are family and are wowed by the spirit of college basketball past, present and future.

Welcome to the cradle of college basketball.

Let's hope he wows us.

Joe Baker 12 years ago

Lighten up Lighthawk!

You act as though we did him a favor!

Jeesh!

This kid will wow you like EJ. I'd say he's a little more consistent than EJ on his shooting. He's quick, tenacious, smart and can shoot. His work ethic is much like TRob. I think these three will be future KU phenoms: EJ, TRob and Royce...there's probably three of your starters in 2-3 yrs. I could see TRob going his junior yr if he continues to improve.

This apple didn't fall far from the tree, that tree being Orlando Woolridge who just happened to wow the NBA. If you don't know Orlando, please google: O-r-l-a-n-d-o W-o-o-l-r-i-d-g-e !! Oh, his brother is 6-8 and plays for Georgetown. He didn't have to come to KU. He could've went to Arizona, Georgetown, UCLA and a few others.

Taylor Mermis 12 years ago

“suburb of Lawrence”?? I recommend Vinland :)

kerbyd 12 years ago

Kushaw, great article on Konchalski, thanks! Could be Woolridge will grow a few inches based on his dad's size.

Joe Baker 12 years ago

Keep legislating drgnslayr...can't hurt in the final hours!!

All eight good reasons over any school right now.

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

Speaking of "Wow" and the quote from Royce's Mother. Here is an example of how not to say "wow"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZlegO1CwFw

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

drgnslayer: You really think H. Barnes is coming to KU? I am being serious! I just have this gut feeling he's not coming. I love your enthusiasm and I hope your enthusiasm proves me completely wrong, but I don't think it's happening. I really want to come back to this forum on Friday evening and see you say, "See Kushaw, you should never doubt the drgnslayer"!

Joe Baker 12 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H4g8Y_ufBk

If you have any doubts about Royce- Watch this clip and note that Royce is #22. But watch the kid in #15. Royce picks him on D and then spots up and nails the jumper on #15...that #15 is our current EJ. He can tell you all about Royce!!

Now they'll be teammates!! LOL

Joe Baker 12 years ago

kushaw- That's funny Crap...that's Tyler Hansborough!!!!

Funny Stuff!!

actorman 12 years ago

"actorman-two words: Kellen Winslow."

I'm not sure I buy that one when it comes to his playing, since he had that injury from the motorcycle accident early in his career. Who knows how good he could have been if he hadn't gotten hurt. Of course if you're referring to the problem off the field (i.e., lying about the motorcycle), that's a different story ...

Steve Brown 12 years ago

truehawk: point well taken.

I look forward to it. Mighty glad to have him with us. yes, appreciate his attitude, ability & devotion. will grow to admire his performance.

re: Hansborough in the WOW saturn too bad they didn't end the commercial with Cole A. passing him in the new 1.2 million $ Aston Martin with wow on the back plate.

Joe Baker 12 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imQ57ZZToJo&NR=1 If you haven't seen this already!!

Notice his D Watch his separation during the dribble Watch his shot off the dribble Watch his ability to catch the pass and shoot Then note his strong drives to the rim One other thing, he shoots left and right handed from short range

Some may think, he's playing against little boys. Most of those defenders are bigger. Also remember, he's only a HS Soph or maybe a Junior in some of these vids. Like all our Freshman, he's only getting better. He understands work ethic and he is super competitive. He should come into his own this year, his Senior season. Stay tuned, there's more to come....

I can't say enough about this kid...but I digress at this point! Welcome to KU Royce and thank you for your decisiveness on and off the court! We anticipate great things.

Joe Baker 12 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlJ0ujbMJwY&feature=related

I know, I know...I can't see this kid enough!

Watch as Royce and Barnes go at it during the Jayhawk Invitaitonal.

Also, watch who arrives at the game.

4jhawks4ku 12 years ago

Can someone explain to me why half the chairback seats on the east side of Allen were empty? I'm sure there are lots of average fans who would love to purchase those seats even to watch Pitt state. If the wine and cheesers arent going to attend, we need a program where those seats become available at a decent price so we can have a section of loud and screaming fans at least for these early games. It seems they could notify Will Call and they could make these available in the last couple hours before the game. I dont mind my rafter seats but I'd love to sit there for a couple games

Chris Shaw 12 years ago

truehawk: You want to hear something really funny! Your link two posts up on Royce! I was watching it and my wife came home. She walked into the kitchen came back out after about a minute and said, "Are you watching Porn"? LOL! Got to love the music for the Royce Woolridge video! LMAO!

Ron Franklin 12 years ago

Wishful thinking to believe H.B. is coming to Lawrence. Sorry folks, as much as I hate to say it, he IS Duke bound....it's all but done.

Ron Franklin 12 years ago

-I'll officially re-begin strongly disliking Ol Roy if that's the case. I'm ok with him going to Duke. I never want to see anoter soul choose Heels over Hawks.

thedudelovesKU 12 years ago

i agree with you blownjay...H.B. is going to Duke. i feel that he is looking for the best basketball/education he can receive. As much as i love KU, and think its a great school for any education one would pursue...Duke is a far more ahead when it comes to academics.

the dude abides

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