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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prep guard Naadir Tharpe emotional after picking Kansas

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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 Rivals.com’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 (KU) coach (Bill) 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 everyday 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,” she 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.”

Notes

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 high school on 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.”

Comments

ldjayhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't buy into the player rankings. Sounds like we get another competitive type of guard and a team player, which is what HCBS's philosophy is all about. Welcome on broad, Naadir!

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 11 months ago

Nice! From what I saw on You Tube I'd say we have got ourselves a great addition to the Jayhawk family. I love how moms can't recall if she met the coach...hilarious. Usually its HCBS that is a huge factor for parents. You'll love him mom! Thank godness your son didn't choose a slimball like a certain coach in the Bluegrass state. Anyway, he has a bud here in TRob who will help he adjust, he's smart, mature, skilled and played for winners...what's not to like so far? Plus he's a PC decommit so I can bust on my best bud who went there back when God Shamgod and Austin Croshere were there.

Rock Chalk Mr. Tharpe!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben Simonett 8 years, 11 months ago

his mom not knowing if she had ever met self if an indication of how much of a reach this signing was.

self stupidly went all in on josiah turner and had to fall back on naadir at the last minute when that failed.

ku_phanatik 8 years, 11 months ago

I am sure Arizona could use another fan if it bothers you that bad, you might feel better in the long run. :)

s6u6r6f 8 years, 11 months ago

God Shammgod...best basketball name ever (sorry World B. Free).

Ron Franklin 8 years, 11 months ago

We need guys like Naadir. Humble, hardworking, and respectful. It was pretty nice to see that he was bragging about passing the ball......that is rare these days.

Based on what I've read and watched on youtube, Naadir reminds me of Aaron Miles and Russ Robb, which is exactly what we need. A smart, hard-working player, who sticks around for four year and gets better every year. Maybe he won't score a ton, because he doesn't appear to be a natural scorer, but seemingly has the tools to develop into a great floor general by his junior and senior years.

Jaminrawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Watching Naadir's highlights, the things that stuck out at me were that he is very, very fast with the ball going coast-to-coast. He's also a very good ballhandler. I think that was probably why the coaches said he reminds them of Aaron Miles. Self seems to favor fast running teams and Naadir might be just the point guard to run that type of show after Selby leaves. That would definitely allow guys like Taylor and EJ get out in the open court and use their athleticism.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 11 months ago

TT will be gone before Naadir contribute significantly, since he has at most one yr left.

Jaminrawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Taylor is a 4-year guy. I seriously doubt he declares this year unless his game dramatically improves in several ways. That would mean they play together next year in some fashion.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Assuming all the items mentioned in the article are true [and I chose to believe they are], Naadir has only one downside........he can only play for Kansas for four seasons!!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Does the article imply that Robinson, Tharpe, Tarczewski and Murphy all were on the same team!!!!!???

Holy Crappoli if that was so. Tar and Murph would have been Frosh but they could have been good even then!!

If all things could fall into place, they would surely all be on the same team at Kansas. Robinson-Sen., Tharpe-Soph., Tar and Murph-Frosh.

Andy Hess 8 years, 11 months ago

Robinson and Tharpe played on the same prep school team at Brewster Academy. Tarczewski and Murphy played with Tharpe on the same AAU team (New England Playaz). they weren't all together at once, unfortunately.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Thank you.....but they could be at KU!!! :)

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

Looks like Self may be looking far ahead at the potential these guys have for KU. I like the thinking. Throw in Peters and Ellis, you have the makings of a young talented long term team...no OADs! These kids will stay around and develop.

It would appear that Self may be building the team around TRob's senior yr. If TRob develops, dang! He works/ed with Cole, Twins, Withey and Manning. TRob is only getting better!!

Rock Chalk

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

A junior floor general who averaged 13 and 6 on a national championship prep school team...that ain't bad! And yeah, his mother is in for a real treat when she happens upon the smiling aura of Bill Self. Naadir and family, you have committed to a dandy second home!

Steve Kubler 8 years, 11 months ago

Fast with the ball

Great passer

Always looking for the extra pass

Planning on four years

Players like this make everyone around them better. Forget the ratings, teams need a leader and it sounds like Naadir has that capability and the desire to match. I am excited with this one!

Andrew Moore 8 years, 11 months ago

No, because Tarcz and Murphy played with Tharpe's AAU team, not Brewster

quigley 8 years, 11 months ago

All you need to know about this kids character comes from this quote, "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." Most kids would have commited and just let the other schools find out through the media instead of being a man, calling a coach to thank him but tell him you are going elsewhere. That is something.

Jaminrawk 8 years, 11 months ago

I think the odds of his stock rising are pretty good since he will be carrying more of the load this year now that Will Barton is gone. Think Eric Bledsoe except astronomically smarter. Lol.

Kramer10287 8 years, 11 months ago

Not so fast my friend. This year at Brewster he's scheduled to play with another star-studded lineup! Brewster and New England Playaz pipeline would be great! At Brewster, they already have commits to Villanova, Pitt, and St. John's, as well as another top 25 talent in the class of 2013 (per ESPN).

Omari Miller 8 years, 11 months ago

Gary, "Naadir" is Arabic, not "Islamic". There is a pretty big difference. And it means "rare". From everything we've heard about this kid, it seems fitting, doesn't it?

ragingsquanto 8 years, 11 months ago

Finally! All the tickling has paid off. Now someone just needs to tickle the NCAA clearinghouse.

Matt Bowers 8 years, 11 months ago

Welcome aboard Naadir. This is exactly the kind of player that KU and HCBS want. A player that is probably going to be redshirted a year, come up learning under great talent, and stay four years. Hat's off to you HCBS, for always taking KU in the right direction.

Rock Chalk

Matt Bowers 8 years, 11 months ago

Welcome aboard Naadir. This is exactly the kind of player that KU and HCBS want. A player that is probably going to be redshirted a year, come up learning under great talent, and stay four years. Hat's off to you HCBS, for always taking KU in the right direction.

Rock Chalk

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Now Self and staff can zoom in on a muscleball big (eh, Jaybate?) and a powerful 3 player to back up Releford, once Mario, Brady and Tyrel have moved on.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

RE- I really hope we land McLemore, Chol and/or Nash at that 3 spot. If you look beyond the next 1-2 yrs:

EJ/Tharpe- 1 Woolridge- 2 McLemore/Nash- 3 Ellis/Chol-4 TRob/Peters-5 (Peters should be able to get that other inch or two before stepping foot on campus) Not sure about Withey

jayhawk15 8 years, 11 months ago

Great pick up! Sounds like a hard working, talented 4 year player. Yeah we missed out on J. Turner, but we still were able to snag a very good top 100 player. Some one mentioned earlier what happened to Q. Cook, but I feel like the KU staff realized we were to far behind to really have a chance with Q. Cook and decided to go after strong N. Tharpe who is still a very good recruit. You need quality guys that will be here 4 years to surround with top notch guys. Think of Russell robinson, darnell jackson both of them were 4 star guys. And the rankings are not always right there are ton of great players that were ranked farther down the 100 list. Now if we get only Tharpe than yeah it would be a disappointing class, but if we land Mclemore (which I think we will), and either Chol or Pelle than we will have a pretty competitive class for this year, especially considering how loaded our 2012 and 2013 classes most likely will be. 1.) Tharpe 91st 2.) Mclemore 17th 3.) Pelle/Chol both top 100 ranked players. I will take that class any year

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

Pelle is 19th and the #2 center in the class.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

shaw- Any word on Pelle? Last I heard, he was leaning Washington's way.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

There really isn't much info on Pelle! Some people have heard "Rumors" about him, but I can't get anyone to divulge what those rumors are.

Pelle hasn't given much to the media so it's even shocking to me that you heard that he was leaning towards Washington. The only thing I know is that nobody really knows what this kid is going to do because he has been pretty quiet about his recruitment.

Honestly, I have no clue and have zero idea.

Phoggin_Loud 8 years, 11 months ago

“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 everyday and always compete to win."

Sweet!!

Awesome attitude.

David Robinett 8 years, 11 months ago

Apparently he grew an inch since yesterday when he announced.

thought I read 5-11 yesterday and 6-0 today

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

Yeah Dave- I'm with you! I don't understand. My guess is he's a true 5-11 and lists at 6-0 in the programs.

Mo Mosallaei 8 years, 11 months ago

From everything that I've seen, this kid will be carving up "Missouri's 40 minutes of heck" press like butter.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Cool. Can Naadir coach football? The football team needs a coach pretty bad. Naadir, will you take the yob? All of Kansas would be grateful, after the hurt Bill "AARP" Snyder just put on KU. Coach Snyder is proving that you can win with the offense of the late 20th Century in the 21st Century playing against KU. Could this be because our Nebraska bred coach has KU playing Tom Osborne ball from the late 70s without the great defensive players and the offensive players Dr. Tom once apparently fattened on diethylstylbesterol? How about an i-back like Jarvis Redwine and a fullback with a neck the width of his shoulders, and a whole herd of steroid pocked guards and tackles; that would turn this KU team right around!

Do Chancellor Bernie and Perk know how to clear wakes, or what? No one will even be able to give a second thought about investigations, because the football program is sinking in a flood.

Next.

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