Monday, October 25, 2010

Basketball recruit Naadir Tharpe ‘even more excited’ about KU commitment after campus visit



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Naadir Tharpe, who orally committed to Kansas University’s basketball team on Oct. 13, was in town Friday through Sunday on his official, yet somewhat anticlimactic, recruiting visit.

The 6-foot senior point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., left Lawrence the way he arrived — ecstatic about his status as a future Jayhawk.

“I’m even more excited than I was before,” said Tharpe, who attended a pair of KU basketball practices in Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawks’ football game against Texas A&M; at Memorial Stadium.

“Practice is fast, intense, and everything is competitive,” Tharpe noted. “Coach (Bill) Self wants to shoot every shot like it’s the last shot, run every play like it’s your last play. It’s a winning mentality.”’s No. 91-rated player, who chose KU over Oklahoma, Minnesota, UCLA and others, spent a lot of time with his former Brewster teammate Thomas Robinson, as well as freshman guard Josh Selby.

“He’s a beast,” Tharpe said of Robinson, a 6-9, 237-pound sophomore from Washington, D.C. “He’s always smiling. He’s a big kid, that’s what he is.”

Of Selby, Tharpe said: “When it’s my time to come to school, I’ll be the only (true) point guard there besides Tyshawn (Taylor) or Josh if he decides to stay (a second season before heading to NBA). If he stays, that’d be even better because it’d help us win. The main thing I want to do is win.”

Unfortunately, Tharpe saw KU’s football team get annihilated, 45-10, Saturday night. Like almost the entire KU student body, he didn’t make it until the end of the game.

“The football team isn’t bad,” Tharpe said. “It seemed they got to the goal line three to four times, then they’d make bad choices on the goalline. I’m sure they’ll get better. That is football. I’m here to play basketball.”

Tharpe, who averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 assists in leading Brewster to a 35-5 record and national prep title last year, is ready to bring his engaging personality to town. One recruiting analyst called the New England Playaz floor general one of the most popular players on the summer AAU circuit.

“My word to the fans is, you don’t even know what’s coming. Nobody really knows what’s coming,’’ he said with a laugh. “My final statement to the fans is: Automatic for the people.’’

What’s that mean?

“That means everything I do is for the crowd, the team and us to win,” he said.

Tryouts: Fourteen hopefuls attended KU men’s basketball tryouts Sunday night in Allen Fieldhouse. KU assistant coach Danny Manning had the players participate in warmup, transition and defensive drills and also scrimmage situations.

“I told those guys I admire them and respect them for putting forth the effort in coming out because there are a lot of people on campus walking around saying, ‘I woulda, coulda and shoulda and didn’t do it,’’’ Manning said.

“They impressed me with their attention to detail and put forth great effort.”

Some familiar faces were on hand, including Anthony West, a 6-6 freshman forward/center out of Shawnee Mission East High School, and Orlando Newton, a 5-11 sophomore guard out of Kansas City Schlagle.

“I was expecting anything. Just to work out with coach Manning ... it was awesome,” West said of the 90 minutes in the gym. “I was expecting a lot more (tryout participants). When I saw 14, I was sort of able to loosen up a bit.”

Newton, who like West appeared to be in great physical condition, enjoyed running the fieldhouse court Sunday night.

“It was a lot different from what I thought,” said Newton, also a standout football wide receiver at Schlagle. “It was an endurance workout as well as basic skill level. It was a great opportunity.”

Coach Bill Self has said it’d be extremely difficult for walk-on hopefuls this year, considering KU already has 16 players, including three walk-ons (Conner Teahan is on scholarship this season).

“Depending on what they are looking for,” Newton said. “Somebody who can help at practice ... I’d love to do that.”

“I’d love to come in and work hard every day,” noted West.

Manning said players would be contacted in coming days if the KU coaches decide to invite anybody to practice.


Chris Shaw 10 years ago

-I'm loving Tharpe's personality already. It seems to have an "Infectious" feel to it so let's hope he can reel in Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski to become Jayhawks.

-My favorite quote: “The football team isn’t bad,” Tharpe said. “It seemed they got to the goal line three to four times, then they’d make bad choices on the goalline. I’m sure they’ll get better. That is football. I’m here to play basketball.”

I can only hope that Ben McClemore takes a chapter out of Tharpe's book considering he was on Mizzou's campus this past weekend. "So, that was a nice football win over Oklahoma and I had a great time last night with the players, but when was the last time Missouri went to a Final 4, Coach Anderson?"

-When it comes to rankings everybody seems to like "#Numbers#" so hopefully #91 is good to ole' Tharpe. The same ranking for Keith Langford when he came out of High School.

Robert Brock 10 years ago

McLemore was not on the Missouri campus this past weekend. He was in Virginia taking the ACT. He plans to visit Columbia on the 30th (while the Tigers are in Lincoln getting their butts kicked).

Andy Hess 10 years ago

it was already reported that he intended to take the ACT and make his visit in the same weekend.

Nutflush21 10 years ago

Brock is right. McLemore will be at MU next weekend.

REHawk 10 years ago

"Automatic for the peoople. That means everything I do is for the crowd, the team and us to win." I think Bill Self has unearthed a jewell from Brewster Academy. Now if the Mizzou football mania doesn't affect the hoops dreams of Ben Mc, and he soon commits to the Jayhawks, our coaching staff can focus on bigs to fill out the 2011 roster.

JHWK 10 years ago

Either that or he's a huge R.E.M. fan??

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

I was in Columbia this weekend with my in-laws and, unfortunately, Missouri put on a real show all day [19,000 at ESPN Gameday, 15,000+ at the basketball practice, 71,000 at the football game].

I still believe it will be the Missouri cap sitting on the table after the choice is made!!

Joe Baker 10 years ago

Both are close to final decisions, but "he's (Quinn Cook) probably going to (commit) first," McLemore said Thursday "Everybody knows my high interest is in Kansas," McLemore said. "After the (Missouri) visit, me and mom will sit down and talk."

I'd say that McLemore is a very heavy lean to KU at this point. We'll learn in November.

nohohawk 10 years ago

All over Twitter it says that he took the ACT this weekend and going to Missouri next weekend. And they also say he is officially down to KU and MU.

Chris Shaw 10 years ago

Let me rephrase........Suppose to be in Columbia this "Past" weekend. Who knows what happened after his ACT and him getting on his flight.

kcglowboy 10 years ago

Seriously! I know HCBS is a master recruiter. But what in the holy heck was he thinking taking a recruit to a football game at KU these days? 48,500 empty seats at the start of the fourth quarter (and that is NOT a knock on our fan base) can't possibly help recruiting ...

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

My guess is they were long gone before the start of the fourth quarter!!

Tony Bandle 10 years ago unintentionally gave me a great laugh this morning.

I thought you had posted "Girl's football team is not helping recruiting in basketball. LOL. I was going to respond, " Well, it couldn't do any worse!! :)

brooksmd 10 years ago

“When it’s my time to come to school, I’ll be the only (true) point guard there besides Tyshawn (Taylor) or Josh if he decides to stay (a second season before heading to NBA). If he stays, that’d be even better because it’d help us win. The main thing I want to do is win.”

Nice attitude. I like this kid.

minnhawk84 10 years ago

as for the walk-ons, thanks! Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!

Chris Shaw 10 years ago

Speaking of Walk-Ons........Here is a great ESPN Insider article talking about the best of the best in the Big 12.

When I sent interview requests to sports information directions of the Big 12, most of them quickly responded to let me know that the conference is called the "Big 12" and not the "Big XII," as I had always thought. At first I was embarrassed with my mistake, but then I realized that the conference's logo is the Roman numeral, so it's not really my fault that it is so misleading. Plus, we're talking about the same conference with schools like the University of Kansas (known as "KU" instead of "UK" or "U of K"), the University of Oklahoma ("OU"), the University of Colorado ("CU") and the University of Missouri ("MU"). It's pretty obvious that this is a conference that has a history of being misleading with its names. I set out to get to the bottom of all this by talking with a few walk-ons from the conference, but I never got my answers because we somehow got sidetracked and talked about cheerleaders and which school has the most comfortable bench.

The best team: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas spent most of last season as college basketball's top-ranked team before ultimately being added to the long list of heavyweights to have been knocked out by Ali. No, not Muhammad Ali, but rather Ali Farokhmanesh and everyone's darling team of last year's NCAA tournament, the Northern Iowa Panthers. Kansas will have to replace a ton of talent from last season, but as is usually the case with the Jayhawks, finding talent to fill in the holes is never much of a problem.

The best player: Marcus Morris, Kansas

Morris, a junior, is yet another head-scratching example of one twin teammate being better than the other. Brook Lopez was better than his twin brother, Robin, when they played at Stanford, and before them Reggie Miller was better than his twin brother, Brad, when they both played for the Pacers. I'll never understand it. Sure, Marcus' brother, Markieff, is no slouch himself, but the walk-ons of the Big 12 have made it clear that Marcus is not only the best twin, but also the best player in the entire conference.

The best student section: Texas A&M Aggies

It's no secret that Texas A&M has one of the best college football student sections in the country, but the Big 12 walk-ons think the Aggies' basketball student section is every bit as good. I'm no expert on this kind of thing, but it seems to me that any student section that actually has "yell leaders" to go along with its cheerleaders is a student section that takes its job quite seriously.

Bench ratings

The most comfortable? Those at the home of the Kansas State Wildcats.


Chris Shaw 10 years ago

Least? Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Having never played (read: sat on the bench) at either of these schools in my career, I really can't speak for the comfort of the benches, but luckily there is someone who can at least explain what makes Kansas State's bench so great.

Texas A&M's Marshall Carrell: "Most schools other than A&M (and Kansas State) like to short the visitors by roughly four chairs."

The most attractive cheerleaders: Texas Longhorns

Some comments I got here are unprintable, but let's just say the notion of an overall No. 1 quality rating was won in a landslide.

Best conference road trip: Again, Texas

This happened in the Big East too: Miami won cheerleaders, Miami won road trip. Austin has now won cheerleaders and road trip.

Missouri's Jarrett Sutton: "I love their city, their food, their atmosphere, and the history and traditions that Texas has." Colorado's Javon Coney adds: "Austin is a great town. They have great barbecue and other food there. There city has great scenery. Also, the hotel we stay at there is always pretty nice."

Coolest tradition: Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

In a recent poll that I just conducted in my head, research shows that zero percent of people living outside of Lawrence, Kan., have any idea what "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" actually means. Heck, my guess is that even some Kansas fans have no idea what it means. But that's not important. What is important is that Teddy Roosevelt once called the "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" the greatest college chant he had ever heard. And while that tells me that Roosevelt never heard the O-H-I-O chant at Ohio State, it also tells me that "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" is obviously pretty awesome if it impressed the toughest president in American history.


Rick Arnoldy 10 years ago

I live in Ohio. O-H-I-O doesn't even compare.

Chris Shaw 10 years ago

The risers

These are some guys who were benchwarmers last year but figure to have a much bigger impact (or at least an impact) this season:

Getty Images Watch Nolan Dennis as a riser for Baylor this year.

For Texas A&M, look at Derrek Lewis and Andrew Darko. Their teammate Carrell says: "Derrek has always been a great player, but he's always had to play behind even greater players. He has a great 3-point percentage, hustles every play, and moves well without the ball. Andrew currently has the highest percentage shooting in our preseason workouts. He has earned a scholarship and works extremely hard every day. Darko is a freak athlete who will surprise a lot of people this year with his explosiveness and leadership."

For the Missouri Tigers, check out Steve Moore. Sutton says: "He played in a spot role last year and he gave us great minutes when we lost Justin Safford last season. I feel he has improved in certain areas that he needed to improve. Time will tell, but I love Steve's attitude and work ethic and feel he has made significant strides."

Nolan Dennis is a guy to watch on the Baylor Bears, who made the Elite Eight last year. This pick is all mine, and not based on interviews with walk-ons. With the departure of Tweety Carter and the recent suspension of Baylor's leading scorer from last season, LaceDarius Dunn, Dennis will have to take over a good chunk of those abandoned minutes at the guard position. Sure, he doesn't have a cool name like Tweety or LaceDarius, but if the sophomore guard can turn his opportunity into a breakout season, I sincerely doubt that Baylor fans will mind all that much.

I also like Jai Lucas for the Horns. He had to ride behind Avery Bradley for a while, but Bradley is gone (to the NBA). Lucas was one of the top high school recruits in America a couple of years ago -- he initially played for the Florida Gators -- and this seems like the season he should establish himself as a very legitimate college player, as well.

Mark Titus, a former Ohio State Buckeye (a walk-on from 2006 to 2010), is the author and founder of the blog Club Trillion and is a contributor to ESPN Insider

dynamitehawk 10 years ago

We would have been friends in college. I can tell that you are the 'don't hide it - divide it' type. My favorite sorts of peopes.

jaybate 10 years ago

Hey, Mark Titus, how about watching Kieff Morris, Mario Little, and Tyrel Reed!

jaybate 10 years ago

P.S.: Kieff and Reed were hardly bench warmers, but they also were hardly household names. And they are going to make impacts this season. kushaw, you're hired. Mark, you're fired. :-)

rockchalk4442 10 years ago

Haha.... steve moore is absolutely terrible. it boggles my mind why mizzou ever recruited him in the first place.

bigXIImatters 10 years ago

Naadir seems like a bright kid with a good head on his shoulders. He seems mature beyond his years and he is only a Senior in High School!! He exemplifies all that is right in college sports, with his dedication to work hard and his wonderful demeanor. I welcome him to the KU basketball family.

jaybate 10 years ago

John Irving is working on a new novel: "The World According to Tharpe."

It is the story of a young basketball player with the right stuff, who is automatic for the people.

I love this stick.

No wonder Self signed him.

Every team needs a stick...if its got the XTReme Muscle Ballers to back up the stick.

Rock Chalk, Nadiir!

REHawk 10 years ago

Looks as tho that moniker "Automatic" just might STICK!

REHawk 10 years ago

Or perhaps the moniker "Stick" just might....

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years ago

heard selby is going to be cleared tomorrow.

just going to keep posting it and one day i'll be able to say "told you so"

KU_FanSince75 10 years ago

14 walk-ons----cool. Hey, anybody remember on ESPN, Bobby Knight had walk-ons try out at Texas Tech, and it was dubbed, "Knight School?" The Jayhawks should coin this tryout, "Self Awareness," for making HCBS's day!

Rock Chalk!

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