Originally published October 13, 2010 at 12:08p.m., updated October 14, 2010 at 12:00a.m.

Naadir Tharpe commits to KU men’s basketball team

Brewster Academy point guard says he's always liked Kansas


photo contributed photo

Naadir Tharpe has given an oral commitment to Kansas.


Naadir Tharpe highlights

Naadir Tharpe became a bit emotional upon committing to play basketball at Kansas University on Wednesday morning.

“It’s one of the happiest days of my life. All I could think about is my father,” said Tharpe, a 6-foot-0 senior point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. He chose KU over Oklahoma, Minnesota, St. John’s, UCLA, North Carolina State and others.

His dad, Ronald Edward Tharpe, died after a yearlong battle with lung cancer in 2006 at the age of 47.

“My father always told me, ‘No mercy. Play 110 percent and do what you can to help your team win,’’’ added Naadir Tharpe, who said a prayer in honor of his dad after informing KU coach Bill Self of his decision.

Tharpe — who averaged 13 points and six assists a game for 35-5 national prep champion Brewster last season, then starred for the New England Playaz summertime AAU team — was quite close to his dad, who chose the Islamic name.

“I don’t remember the meaning. I’d say it means he’s one of the great ones,’’’ Naadir’s mom, Lori, said, with a laugh, in an interview from her Worcester, Mass., home on Wednesday night.

“My husband would not be pretty proud, he’d be all the way proud today,” she added following the commitment of’s No. 91-rated player. “There’s no words I can describe to you how proud he would be today.

“He knew what Naadir could do as far as basketball. His concern was Naadir getting an education. Basketball ... it’s nothing that had to be taught. It came natural to him,” Lori added of her son, who started playing Biddy Basketball at the age of 5.

Tharpe, who has four older brothers, starred at Worcester’s St. Peter-Marian High before transferring to Brewster two years ago.

“I’ve told a few people this ... you can do as much research as you want. Nobody involved in high school or prep basketball has played with more high-level players than Naadir,” Brewster coach Jason Smith said.

KU discovered him while recruiting two of the top players in the Class of 2012 — New England Playaz’ Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot center, and Alex Murphy, a 6-8 forward, who are ranked Nos. 13 and 11 respectively.

“He is a true point guard. A lot of high school point guards feel they have to dominate the ball, wear the leather off it. He understands how to play the game. He is an outstanding passer.

“He is a phenomenal kid,” Smith added. “If you randomly call anybody in our community — administrators, dining hall staff, anybody — they would rave about his character. He led us to a national championship at our prep school. He is a winner. He is a leader.”

He’s a guy KU coach Self made a priority after Josiah Turner committed to Arizona several weeks ago.

“When I told coach Self, he was really excited,” Tharpe said of Wednesday’s phone conversation. “He said he can’t wait for me to come up there. He said he needs a point guard and wants it to be me. Kansas is a school I’ve always liked and have been interested in. I have a friend there in Thomas (Robinson, former Brewster teammate). We are real close and talk a lot. I felt it was the right place for me.

“One of the most important reasons I committed to Kansas is, it is a school that wants to win and team that wants to win. KU fans should expect me to play hard every day and always compete to win. They should be ready for the assists I make. I love making the extra pass.”

Tharpe played with a star-studded Brewster team last year that included Memphis signee Will Barton.

“He is a true point guard. He understands the role of a point guard is to be a leader, run the offense, distribute the ball and not turn it over, ever,” Smith said. “He has a high basketball IQ. He is hard-working, always trying to get better. He’s just a great person and basketball player.”

He’s a mature young man, the coach said.

“He was going to attend Late Night, but he will visit the weekend after. The reason is he understands there will be 15 kids on campus then (on official or unofficial visits). He is more interested in getting to watch a couple days of practice and learn as much as he can while he is there,” Smith said.

And as far as his No. 91 ranking ...

“People that put stock in where he is ranked nationally have to understand the people he’s played with,” Smith said. “When you play basketball at Brewster or in the summer or at Kansas, you want winners. He led us to a national championship last year. We’ll be in the mix with him as our point guard this year. When he came here, he had a reputation as somebody who can’t shoot. Go to YouTube. All our highlights are there. You’ll see he can shoot the ball.”

Tharpe, who turned 19 in June, said he doesn’t concern himself with individual rankings. He stressed winning is the only thing on his mind, and that’s why he gobbled up Self’s scholarship offer 48 hours after receiving it.

“It wasn’t anything like, ‘I better take the offer.’ It was the opportunity,” said Tharpe, who committed to Providence in March but decommitted in June. “It was a school I always liked, and there are certain things in life you really can’t turn down.”

Tharpe’s mom, who believes she has met KU coach Self, but can’t recall the exact time or place, simply has trusted her son to make the right call.

“We can’t pick it for him. All we can do is give him the tools,” Lori said. “He said it’s one of the top schools. From what he’s saying, I have to believe it. If he’s happy, I’m happy and proud as a mother.

“My son is a real humble person, not a selfish player,” she added. “He knows it takes a team to win. He’s never been blown up in the head like, ‘Look at me, I’m Naadir Tharpe.’ I’m proud to watch him become a young man.

“You have to have a problem with yourself to not like Naadir. He’s not phony. What you see is what you get.”


Tharpe’s first name is pronounced Ny-deer. ... Tharpe had visited Minnesota and canceled a trip to Oklahoma for this weekend. “I want to say the hardest (phone calls to make) probably were Minnesota and Oklahoma. I built a good relationship with both coaches and their assistants,” Tharpe said. ... He was to have visited KU for Late Night, but has decided to wait a week. “Actually a lot of other dudes are coming in on unofficials and all that good stuff. Coach Self said, ‘Come up later and we’ll be able to sit down and be all around campus,’” Tharpe said ... He was in Lawrence for last spring’s Jayhawk Invitational. “It’s a huge school, a big campus,” Tharpe said. ... Self visited Tharpe’s school Monday and offered the scholarship Monday night. ... Brewster coach Smith said Self has compared Tharpe to former KU point guard Aaron Miles. ... Tharpe’s mom on her family’s embracing the Islamic faith. “It’s in my heart,” said Lori, who just started attending classes at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass., in pursuit of her own college degree. “Everyone strives to be perfect. We all know it’s not a perfect world. We all do the best we can.”


chriz 3 years, 6 months ago

Fair enough. I stand corrected. Bill is doing a pretty good job at recruiting. And that might be an understatement. (It wasn't the rudeness from some of you that convinced me, by the way. Maybe a little less of it next time.)


Ed Brown 3 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like he is a pretty wholesome kid. It would be great to see the Kansas "fammily" take him in and show him the ride of his life for 4 years and with a degree. It would be a very consistent with Kansas basketball of old to get a good player that becomes great while getting his education. After all, we are still Kansas UNIVERSITY.


Lebowski 3 years, 6 months ago

REHawk... Self is NOT staying away from top 20 picks because of NCCA investigations. Don't be ridiculous. You should call in to Hawk Talk this year and ask Coach that so we can all listen to him laugh at you. Your stance may have seemed logical at the time, but Bill Gates doesn't avoid buying a sports car because he's afraid he's going to get pulled over.

Sorry, but there just isn't anything to what you just posted. Good theory and all, but try again.


REHawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self is wary enough about Top-20 recruits to know, from firsthand experience, that the eyes of NCAA investigators focus on those kids, many of whom have played at a number of schools and experienced contacts with questionable AAU programs, with their array of watchful agents and runners. Just glancing thru kushaw's list of Jayhawk recruit rankings, up pops the names of players who faced extensive NCAA investigations: Selby, Rush, Arthur, the Morris twins.
Self and staff appear to be doing a cautious successful job of plugging in players who, tho not always in the 5-star ranking, manage to stick around for more than two seasons to become championship calber team members. Players who will not, after departing the program, return to haunt the university with unravelings which lead to vacating wins or championships.


EastBayJHawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh yeah baby!!! I like this guy! We need more guys like Naadir...hard working guys. That's who win's championships. I also see him as a natural born leader, something you always need on your team.


REHawk 3 years, 6 months ago

kushaw: I enjoyed your research and listing of all those individual rankings. RIVALS numbers?


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

If you want to check it out. It's just "Nerdy" recruiting stuff on The Shiver. Honk4tad, who is a great poster on the site just copy and pasted a bunch of twitter responses between Tharpe, Bradley Beal, Alex Murphy, and Kaleb Tarczewski.

Nothing too big, but just reinforces the great relationship Tharpe has with Murphy and Tarczewski.

Look for the thread titled "Everyone loves Naadir".


mikehawk 3 years, 6 months ago

I think we are spoiled and don't know it. Welcome to the next four years of your life at a wonderful place called KU, Naadir. You talk like a veteran of the Jayhawk Nation already.


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

Tommy: I agree with everything you said except "The Slam Dunk" comment. When you're KANSAS and you have two KU guys make the "Best Dunks Ever" list on youtube than KU is certainly in a league of their own. :)


Dale Kroening 3 years, 6 months ago

Rivals lists him at 6'0" and 170 lbs .


Dale Kroening 3 years, 6 months ago

Welcome Naadir ! For all those complaining, heres who all was recruiting this kid :

Kansas Boston College
Iowa State
North Carolina State Oklahoma
Seton Hall
St. John's
Wake Forest

Kid must have some talent if this many D-1 schools were looking at him. I trust coach, especially when it comes to recruiting pgs.


TommySmithElbow 3 years, 6 months ago

Chrisz and Bennybob: Come on! Enjoy the journey! It is no cakewalk to get people into the middle of the country, in spite of how much WE love our university.

Remember that Roy constantly moaned about how difficult it was getting elite recruits to Kansas, and NEVER would try to go after someone that an ACC team seemed to have an edge. Bill has never moaned about it, but has taken it on as a challenge, and shown that he is willing to go ANYWHERE for talent (look at where all of his recruits have come from, he’s backing it up!) Plus, if we had ALL elite talent, the “Prisoner of the Moment” fans would then be upset that we weren’t winning a National Championship every year because they haven’t been watching the last 40 years to see how difficult an accomplishment it is to achieve.

Our school doesn’t have the slam-dunk appeal of UNC, Duke, or Kentucky (for reasons mentioned in several of the above columns), but unlike any previous KU coach, Bill has taken recruiting to a national and elite stage, he’s been successful, and that is SWEET! Trust Bill's instincts. Respect them. Treasure them. Enjoy the journey!


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

Chriz: Those articles reinforce the fact that KU needs to give Joe Dooley more money and keep him as Bill Self's right hand man. Once Manning gets more comfortable in recruiting (As he has learned this past year under Dooley, Townsend, and Self), he is going to be the John Thompson of the Midwest. Nothing like a 6'10 monster coming into your living room. How could you say "No" to that? Manning may be the reason that Norvell Pelle chooses KU. We'll see.


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

Chriz: I'm doing this a very nice manner so I'm not attacking you (Some would think otherwise). You can not look at recruiting as an "Average" as you posted above. Recruiting is building a foundation of talent and then "Plugging" and "Filling" the needs that your team warrants for that year.

I mean, do you really think the 2006 class was a failure because Self only landed 2 players and was only ranked #12? He landed 2 Top 20 talent in Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur and enhanced on his Top 5 recruiting classes of 2004 and 2005.

You mention 2007 because it was "NR" as a possible failure? Nobody knew exactly for sure who was leaving after the 2007 campaign (Elite 8 year) because every single important piece off that team was an underclassment. Simply getting both Aldrich and Reed was a success in order to build for the future on a very experienced dominated team.

Unless you know for a fact that you're going to have 5 players leave every year (Very Rare-Would you want to be Kentucky?) it's a puzzle trying to figure out where "Your Needs" will be after each season. I mean, KU brought the #1 recruit in the nation into Lawrence along with another recruit and only managed a #23 ranking? Is that a failure?

I know, what about the unused scholarship this past year? Well, would you rather sign a #140 recruit in the likes of what Duke did with Tyler Thornton (That signing boosted Duke's ranking) or would you rather save the schollie and give it to Conner Teahan and use it in the 2011 class or 2012 class?

IMO Self is doing fantastic in recruiting. If Self would increase tempo, pressure a little more, and control tempo against Mid-Majors in the NCAA tournament than I would be a 100 percent satisfied. As of now, I'm only 96 percent satisfied.


REHawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self is managing successfully to maintain and retain a topflight stable of talented ponies for our annual viewing/cheering pleasure. So much incoming talent that last season we redshirted a former national jc #1 rated player and a mcD All-American. The jayhawk training/coaching staff has worked marvels with recruits who were not ranked among the Top-25 high school grads. It is a bittersweet situation, trolling for recruits who arrive in Lawrence with the thought of rushing off to NBA riches after a season or two of "minor league" performing. To date, Self and Co. have worked a few topnotch recruits into the program wthout major disruptions in stability. (Well, we did spend a bit too much attention, perhaps, on Giddens, Downes, Giles; but few coaches can win em all!) Anyway, it is a joy to read that we have received a commitment from another top 100 recruit who cherishes the opportunity to become a Jayhawk. WELCOME, Naadir!


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

Chriz-I think you missed this the first time so let me repost and expand a little further.

2004 #2 Recruiting Class-Russell Robinson, Alex Galindo, CJ Giles, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson

2005 #4 Recruiting Class-Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Julian Wright, Micah Downs

2006 #12 Recruiting Class (Let's keep in mind that Self only had 2 scholarships available)- Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur

2007 NR- Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed

2008 #2 recruiting class-Marcus, Kieff, Taylor, Little, Releford, Q. Thomas, and T. Appleton

2009 #6 Recruiting class-X. Henry, EJ, Thomas Robinson, and Jeff Withey

2010 #23 Recruiting Class-Josh Selby and Royce Woolridge

Josh Selby-#1

X. Henry-#8

Julian Wright #8

Mario Chalmers #11

Brandon Rush #12

Darrell Arthur #16

Sherron Collins #21

Elijah Johnson #24

Russell Robinson #27

Micah Downs #28

Marcus Morris #29

Cole Aldrich #30

Thomas Robinson #31

Sasha Kaun #34

Jeff Withey #36

Mario Little-#1 Juco Player

Plenty of others ranked #36 to #80


chriz 3 years, 6 months ago

Gosh, you all are getting a little snippy towards me with your comments! Relax--I'm as much of a fan as you are. I am just a little confused as to why we seem to have a difficult time competing with the likes of UNC, Duke, and Kentucky to land some of these top 25 prospects. I would be curious to see the top 10 lists of the top recruiting classes during each year of Bill Self's tenure at KU. And maybe I'm wrong--maybe Self is in the top 10 overall throughout his tenure. But if he's not, why not? Why would there be lesser programs who have higher-ranked recruiting classes than his?

It could be argued that the rankings are meaningless, and I will acknowledge that that might be the case. But I would ask this: What if it's not the case? What if we could have had two championships instead of one in Self's tenure thus far?

It could also be argued that the results match the true rankings of the class (e.g. the '08 team). That's fine, and that class with Rush and Chalmers was perhaps the number 1 overall class that Self has had.

I understand that role players are important, and that it's not good to always have five top 50 recruits in a single class. But this still comes down to three things for me: 1) Whether this is this the best we can do in terms of the talent we recruit, 2) if it isn't, why?, and 3) if Self recruited a higher level of talent, is it at all possible that he could effectively manage the talent and egos?

I think the starters in the '08 season has set the standard for him in terms of talent, and I think KU should have an average class ranking of around 3-7 over his tenure, even if he's not in that range every year. Kansas has too much to sell--not being there doesn't make much sense to me.

(By the way, regarding Self's comments that he would like to improve upon his recruiting, he was asked if there was one thing he would like to improve as a head coach, what it would be, and he said it would be recruiting. I may be wrong, but I think he also said that it was his least favorite part of the job. And I can't say that I blame him. Recruiting would not be fun.)


JJHAWK 3 years, 6 months ago

I think the important question is . . . (drum roll please)

Is he as quick as a hic-up? (sp)


Chris Bruning 3 years, 6 months ago

chriz, you and bennyboobs clearly like star wars more than college sports. we are pulling in top talent and will continue to pull in top talent in years to come....just so you know elite talent does stretch further than the top 5. i believe we have like 15 top TOP recruits gonna be there friday for late night, that a good enough start for you chriz and bennyboobs????


Sam Constance 3 years, 6 months ago

Clearly we should fire Bill Self and hire bennyboob as our head coach. Self is grasping at desperation straws and all the while we have a recruiting savant right here under our noses.


chriz 3 years, 6 months ago

I gotta agree with bennybob. Not sure why we're having a hard time getting the elite talent. Top 5 program. Elite coach. Recent championship. History. Great college town. Self's doing a good job overall, but I think he could do better at recruiting. (And before all of you Self-Kool-aid drinkers start slamming me, remember that Self agrees.)


jaybate 3 years, 6 months ago

With Sherron, we learned Self had no fear of short point guards.

With Naadir, we learn Self has no fear of short, skinny point guards.

Naadir is so skinny, they don't even mention his weight.

Naasir is so skinny he makes a one micron fiber optic thread look like a prison body.

Multiple Choice time:

a) Self sees the next Tiny Archibald inside Naadir;

b) Self sees Naadir as a magnet for two other players mentioned above;

c) Self is positive Selby won't be here next season and he's decided EJ and Royce cannot play the point; or

d) all of the above.

Correct answer: d


REHawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self KNOWS point guards. A 5'11" point guard is likely not to jump ship early for the NBA. If the kid reminds our staff of Aaron Miles, then he must be a nugget. Congratulations, Naadir! I enjoyed reading what your Brewster coach had to say.


Michael Luby 3 years, 6 months ago

That is super cool. Kid's got a killer work ethic and I suspect he'll be a killer PG for us as well. I completely missed that Perry Ellis is gonna be here too!


Chris Bruning 3 years, 6 months ago

bennybob the only one missed on was blake griffin??? how about terrence williams not even in their top 100 dumbass....know your facts......


Tony Bandle 3 years, 6 months ago

Coach Bill Self is a genius!

When the House of Cards falls at UK and Coach Consonants moves on at Duke and UNC becomes irrelevant with Roy's eventual retirement, all roads will to Lawrence!!!


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

I posted this a few weeks ago, but if you missed from the Boston Globe, Self attended as well as many other coaches in the country the open gym of Kaleb Tarczewski and Alex Murphy.

Would be a freaking "Home Run" if Self with the help of Tharpe could land these two prized recruits and teammates to conclude that the trio are together again.


Jaminrawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Let's also not forget that Naadir's AAU teammates are Kaleb Tarczewski and Alex Murphy. Both huge targets in the 2012 class.


Danny Hernandez 3 years, 6 months ago

I really like this student-athlete....Believe he'll be a great point guard for Kansas. Welcome aboard Naadir!


conner33 3 years, 6 months ago


     Welcome to the Jayhawk family, and congrats on making one of the toughest decisions of your life a wise one. We look forward to seeing you play at the grand ol' girl we call Allen Fieldhouse in the near future. We welcome you with open arms into our community and know you will represent our fine university, basketball team, and state well. We look forward to seeing you soon. Again, congrats and welcome aboard young man.

Very Respectfully, A Jayhawk Lifer


Tony Bandle 3 years, 6 months ago

Recruiting Check list:


Point guard - Tharpe - Check Shooting Guard - McLemore - Check Power Forward - Nash - Check Center - Chol - Check


Combo guard - Nino Jackson - Check Power Forward/Center - Peters - Check Shooting Forward - Ellis - Check


Julius Randle - Forward - Check The Harrison Twins - Point and Shooting - Check & Check


rockemchalkemrobots 3 years, 6 months ago

Is the reference in the article to his AAU team supposed to match the picture, which indicates that the team mascot is actually "PlayaZ"? If so, welcome to the Jayhoxz, playa!


kushaw 3 years, 6 months ago

This is my favorite quote from the article:

"“He was going to attend Late Night, but he will visit the weekend after. The reason is he understands there will be 15 kids on campus then (on official or unofficial visits). He is more interested in getting to watch a couple days of practice and learn as much as he can while he is there,” Smith said."


gchawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Welcome to the Jayhawk nation, Naadir, really good to have you on board. I gurantee in 5 years you'll be very pleased with the decision you made to attend KU. Rock chalk!


billhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully he'll be a four year guy and develop into an exceptional PG.


hopsnhawks 3 years, 6 months ago

welcome to Kansas Naadir, we like smart PG's

don't worry about missing out on Late Night, the Phog will be rocking every time you play


Jaminrawk 3 years, 6 months ago

I like the kid. Considering KU will still have EJ and most likely Taylor, they should be set at point. Everyone wants the Top 10 guys but a lot of times those overlooked guys develop into better players. Bill Self knows point guards and wouldn't have offered the kid if he couldn't play.


JayCeph 3 years, 6 months ago

na·dir    /ˈneɪdər, ˈneɪdɪər/ Show Spelled[ney-der, ney-deer] Show IPA – noun

  1. Astronomy . the point on the celestial sphere directly beneath a given position or observer and diametrically opposite the zenith.
  2. Astrology . the point of a Horoscope opposite the midheaven: the cusp of the fourth house.
  3. the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair.

—Can be confused:  nadir, zenith.

—Synonyms 3. bottom, floor, foot, depths.


Jared Grillot 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah... dig that... "four more". He really wants to play for Kansas, not for "a high level program that will give me visibility before the draft LIKE Kansas". Brushed off OU, brushed off UCLA. Good to have him on board.


bennybob 3 years, 6 months ago

so self misses out on a legit 5 star stud in Turner and this is his fall back plan?......

swing and a miss!

what happened to quinn cook?


Tony Bandle 3 years, 6 months ago


Tharpe Speed - his ability to move with the ball. Naadir Radar - Hitting the open man Tharpe Point Play - his ability to hit the trifecta


Tony Bandle 3 years, 6 months ago

To everyone who can make "Late Night", cheer your friggin' lungs out. We'll have enough young recruiting talent in the stands to last for seasons to come.

A good sign, Angelo Chol is dropping in the rankings. That must mean he is going to sign with Kansas!! :)


Matt1958 3 years, 6 months ago

Welcome Naadir! I read things like poised, smart, high basketball IQ. Sounds like a great kid.


Selbyville 3 years, 6 months ago

Mclemore and Nash are the game changers. I think Ben is in the bag though


KuKain 3 years, 6 months ago

"The history and tradition was important. He won a national championship ring last year at Brewster. He wants four more at Kansas.""

I like this kid already.


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