Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jayhawks’ top prospects climbing recruiting ranks

Mater Dei forward Stanley Johnson, left, spins around Archbishop Mitty forward Aaron Gordon as he goes to the basket during the second quarter of the CIF boys open division state high school basketball championship game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 23, 2013.

Mater Dei forward Stanley Johnson, left, spins around Archbishop Mitty forward Aaron Gordon as he goes to the basket during the second quarter of the CIF boys open division state high school basketball championship game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 23, 2013.


Basketball recruiting notes. ...

At least two high school blue-chip basketball prospects who have Kansas University on their list of prospective colleges figure to jump in’s updated rankings, to be released this week, analyst Eric Bossi reports.

They are: No. 8-rated Stanley Johnson, a 6-foot-7 senior forward from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., who is considering KU, UCLA, USC, Kentucky, Oregon, Florida and Arizona, and No. 19 Kelly Oubre, 6-7 senior forward from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., who is considering KU, Kentucky, Florida, UConn, Louisville, Oregon, UNLV and Georgetown.

Oubre will visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog. Johnson’s dad informed his son will visit KU at a still-to-be-determined date.

“No matter how you look at rankings, Johnson deserves a move up. Whether you place more value on potential, production or achievement, the beastly 6-foot-7 wing rates high in all areas,” Bossi writes at “He is a proven winner. He has improved and added to his game every step of the way and he doesn’t look like he’s stopping. He’s a lock to move into at least the national top five.”

Recruiting analyst Dave Telep believes Johnson will also improve on his No. 12 ranking.

“Johnson’s game, frame and subsequent success make him a must-have in the national top 10,” Telep writes. “He answered any question college coaches might have (in summer AAU events) and elevated himself to the point where you can expect him to be the best player on his team as a college freshman, depending on the team’s roster. In short, he’s not going to be playing in college for very long.”

Of Oubre, Bossi writes: “A native of Houston who is headed to Findlay Prep, Oubre started to take off during June and, except for a shooting slump at the Peach Jam in July, he has been electric at every stop.”

Packages: Johnson has apparently been talking to Justise Winslow about possibly attending the same school. No. 16-rated Winslow, a 6-6 senior forward from St. John’s High in Houston, and Johnson are both being recruited by KU, USC, UCLA, Kentucky, Florida and Arizona..

One other possible package deal in the class involves No. 1 Jahlil Okafor and No. 2 Tyus Jones, who are visiting Baylor this weekend. They both are being recruited by KU, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Okafor and Jones will visit KU together on Oct. 18 and Duke on Oct. 25. reports the two will visit Kentucky separately, while Okafor will also visit Arizona with unofficial trips to Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. Jones has visited Minnesota unofficially.

Some analysts insist the two will ultimately choose Duke.

“It’s disappointing. It’s taking the fun out of the process for the two boys,” Okafor’s father, Chukwudi Okafor, told, referring to the Duke rumors. “That’s a shame. Let the kids go through the process. I just want them to enjoy it, not the media, not Twitter, not the coaches, not the AAU coaches. Those kids are highly intelligent. They know what to do. Let it play out, and I think the world is in for something special.”

ESPN has also reported that Jones and Okafor have spoken with Winslow about attending the same college.

“I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family,” Winslow told

Alexander update: No. 4-ranked Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 forward from Chicago’s Curie High, who will visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog, recently made an official visit to DePaul. He also is planning trips to Louisville, Arizona and Memphis. Kentucky and Michigan State also remain on his list.

DePaul is a serious player, Curie coach Mike Oliver told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“That’s something that he and his mom have talked about,” Oliver told the Herald-Leader. “They figure he’s a one-and-done, or at most two years. So they figure if they can get a good situation in the state of Illinois, or especially in Chicago, that would be something they would consider.”

Alexander has made unofficial visits to KU, Kentucky and Michigan State. He’ll be back to Lawrence for the Oct. 4 Late Night.

Some analysts believe KU leads for Alexander.

“They say he’s going to Kansas because the girl he dates goes to Kansas,” Oliver said told the Herald-Leader. “People are always spouting rumors.”

Alexander’s AAU coach, Nick Irvin of Mac Irvin Fire, told he sees, “Cliff as being a one-and-done player. Wherever he goes, that school is only going to have him two semesters, and then he’s gone. Cliff is the type of guy that will get a team to the Final Four. He’s the type of guy that can win you a national championship and I believe that to be true. I’m pretty sure the coaches that are recruiting him feel the same way,” he added. “Cliff is just that type of force.”


Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 6 months ago

KU will benefit more from Johnson + Winslow package. Jones being #2 is just bogus, simply overrated. Alexander will be a great great recruit to have. Add Zimmerman, KU will rock once again!!

Ben Simonett 7 years, 6 months ago

Calling Tyus Jones overrated makes me think you know absolutely nothing about basketball.

There is much more to the game than the ability to finish with a fancy dunk or knock down a deep three.

Tyus Jone's basketball IQ is on another level for a kid his age. He is the next Jason Kidd

Evan Bilyeu 7 years, 6 months ago

I think people think he is over rated because of his dull highlight reels. They don't see how much stats he puts up. In the end I think that Mudiay will be the better player though

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 6 months ago

We'll see in a year. The next Jason Kidd? You sure know so much about bball. I'd pick Mason without a doubt!

Cmill1221 7 years, 6 months ago

I saw this and was really hoping it was a football article. Lol. Dont get me wrong, It's always good to see Bill Self is still recruiting quality players.

Dee Shaw 7 years, 6 months ago

Seeing this headline and you thought it was related to football. That's funny. That just made my day. Can't ever imagine reading an article some day that KU Football is on the list of the Top Prospects in the country. So refreshing that Bill Self and his staff works hard and signs the top talent out there.

Boouk 7 years, 6 months ago

Unless someone transfers or Embiid and/or Ellis declare for the draft, we'll only have 2 open scholarships. I'm thinking one big and one guard if I'm Self. Either Jones and Okafor or Alexander/Turner and Oubre/Winslow/Rashad Vaughn would keep us atop the Big 12 and in national title contention.

dylans 7 years, 6 months ago

Selden is on draft boards already, Wiggins is a sure fire OAD, and Black is a Senior. Embiid has much potential as does Ellis. Coach Self doesn't want a repeat of what happened when the Morri and Selby all left unexpectedly.

Cmill1221 7 years, 6 months ago

Ummmm..... You mean the year we played in the championship game?

dylans 7 years, 6 months ago

Great coaching, poor incoming class, mid-level talent returning, no star. TRob and Tyshawn saved the season. Don't pretend you were comfortable with the depth and talent level of that team before the season started.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 6 months ago

Really good point Cmill1221. Just shows you what a good coach can do even if all the experts say differently.

Robert Brock 7 years, 6 months ago

This is a fluff-piece. KU has a chance with Oubre, Alexander, and Turner. The Hawks are not after Johnson and the Okafor/Jones train departed weeks ago. Bedore is slow.

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

Not after Stanley Johnson?

This saddens me.

Stanley has the "character" factor.

And the elbow lingerie that KU big wear so often, too.

Say it ain't so, Brock, say it ain't.

Steve Reigle 7 years, 6 months ago

Actually, the way the headline is worded it very well could have been about football. It's not saying the top prospects in the nation, although the article certainly is about that. The headline refers to the top Jayhawk prospects are climbing the recruiting ranks. And that could appropriately refer to any sport the Jayhawks are involved with.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

It continues to amaze me that coach Self is really focused on the guys that are ranked in the top 20 or so. Those guys doing the rankings don't know anything, right?

Actually, they don't know anything when we are forced to sign guys that aren't highly ranked.

For all you Mason lovers out there (who haven't seen him play one college game) .. babyphog, kingfisher, Keegan, etc. ... just a friendly reminder that Mason was appx. our 6th choice at point guard (see, Harrison, Barber, Jones, Jordan, Jackson). Not saying he won't be a very good player. He seems like a good signing as our 5th guy in this class. But just a reminder that coach Self, himself, determined that Mason was our appx. 6th choice. He didn't take Mason commitment until the others had committed. Another reason to at least think that Mason's ability as a freshman to unseat Tharpe (a junior) might be just a bit overstated. Maybe.

And our ability to land a top post player might be a bit overstated with the stock of players we already have (and the fact that we won't know until April if Embiid or Ellis is turning pro). Lots of chatter about Elbert Robinson. #52 guy. 7'0", 300 lbs. ... huge guy. Guys in this range usually don't expect to start immediately like an Alexander or Turner will. Might be more realistic. Our best chance with Turner/Alexander may be if they decide in the spring, or if they know something we don't on Ellis/Embiid possibly turning pro.

BucknellJayhawk3 7 years, 6 months ago

I saw Hunter Mickelson on as a second rounder next year! They also left off Embiid. Well, I do hope Hunter is NBA material, but don't understand quite where the hype comes from for him.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

Mickelson is in the 2015 mock; Embiid is #7 in the 2014 mock. But interesting anyway that Mickelson is listed for 2015.

Joe Baker 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm anxious to see more of Mickelson. Right now, I am really skeptical compared to what is coming.

Steve Reigle 7 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Self say this Summer that Mason is proving to be far better than he expected? I thought the hullabaloo about him was based on what he's showing now that he's on campus rather than what was thought of him prior to that. Maybe my memory is faulty but that sure rings a bell.

KansasComet 7 years, 6 months ago

It's all about a team's talent, chemistry, and confidence. I think under Coach Self that we will continue to be a team mixed with 5 star talent, solid 3-4 year players, and a few "Rudy's" (different sport, but you get the idea). It works, because Coach Self makes it work year in and year out.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 6 months ago

What strikes me most in this article is how HCBS already has his eyes on players BEFORE they move up in the rankings. I'm sure most coaches already had had their eyes on these players but how many times has Coach Self found NBA talent from players near or even lower than the top 50?

No other coaches consistently recognizes talent outside the top 50 then Coach Self.

Looking at next year's team, it might be barely recognizable from this year's team. I think it's possible that we could lose four players to the NBA. Wiggins, Selden, Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid. We will also lose Black and Wesley to graduation. This puts a lot of pressure on the coaches to secure some players who will be here for more than one year and possibly a couple of OADs.

I guess that's why he gets paid so much.

And just a throw in, there has been a lot of speculation that possibly HCBS goes to the NBA sometime in the near future. Pure conjecture on my part but I just don't see it. He has the best fans and the top program in the NCAA.

kcmojayhawker 7 years, 6 months ago

Jhawk7782 & KSComet, I agree with both of your statements. We should know by now without a doubt, that HCBS knows how to build a championship caliber team! Roch Chalk!

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self has only put two non top 50 guys in the NBA and they are Darnell Jackson and Tyshawn Taylor. Kaun was drafted, but never has and likely never will play a minute in the NBA.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 5 months ago

Really? Would have sworn Markief was ranked #49. Tyshawn was ranked #77. But who's counting?


Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

texashawk10's point is a good one there .. and actually, I'd suggest that we really haven't nailed down talent outside of the normal rankings scheme.

That is, guys that played substantially better than their rankings. jhawk7782 pointed out two -- Taylor and Jackson. And Taylor was not substantially better than his ranking until the second half of his senior season. It also took Darnell time to develop. Their finished, four year product exceeded their ranking.

But where is our Trey Burke or Derrick Williams? A guy outside the top 100 that comes in and is a top guy.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 5 months ago

HEM...maybe you've heard of Tyrell Reed #109 and Brady Morningstar who wasn't even ranked along with #77 Tyshawn Taylor, #49 Markief Morris and #32 Marcus Morris who made it to the Elite 8 in 2011?

Travis Releford i#70 didn't play substantially better than his rankings? Oh yeah...he played in this years summer leagues.

Marcus, TRob, Cole, McLemore were all ranked in the 30s and all were lottery picks.

You either have a very short term memory, aren't paying attention or just speaking out a different part of your anatomy that most people use. Kind of sad and shortsighted.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 6 months ago

Six days until kickoff and there are more comments on a kind of basketball story than the football story...I'm actually excited about a bowl game this year.

Matt Spitzli 7 years, 6 months ago

A bowl game? You mean, one in which the jayhawks play? I just laughed out loud. I'll be happy with three wins.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

The only Bowl that KU football fans will see is a toilet bowl after they drink themselves into oblivion trying to stomach watching a KU football game.

I will call 3 wins a miraculous achievement for KU football this year.

KJD 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the frontcourt lacks some ommph and shine to be a preseason #1. If we ended up with that backcourt I would still be happily content to watch that rotation of five play and KU could still be well ranked–especially with a solid 2014 frontcourt recruiting class to add depth and ability. If that was our 2015 backcourt we would only lose Tharpe to graduation and we would return talented, seasoned, and sinfully deadly wicked from beyond the arc for 2016.

With a lack of any super solid, unshakable reason in this age of NBA millions I keep imaging a bright future for KU and Perry Ellis anchoring the front court until he graduates in 2016. I find myself stubbornly irrational on this when making personal day dreamy projections though there are enough reasons to stitch together to keep this dream animated in perpetual limbo until I hear Ellis declare early. Perhaps I’m being Sunflower State selfish in hoping that we get to see Ellis as a Senior and Frankamp as a Junior develop their games together and set the national stage a blaze with Free State hooping extraordinariness.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 6 months ago

turdferguson - he does call himself " TheDrunkenJayhawk " LOL

Robert Brown 7 years, 6 months ago

On, this is about basketball recruiting!!

Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

"I'd like to know... if CS starts looking at a guy who is lowly ranked (or not ranked in #100), and Self shows interest or makes an offer... does CS carry some weight and help start the momentum on that guy up the charts?"

Great point .. and the answer is absolutely yes. And the second answer is "sometimes."

It's been what I've tried to point out to some of the anti-rankings folks here. Rivals, scout, etc., get info from all sources, including college coaches. I saw a roundtable deal a while back and some of the recruiting guys described in detail how they compile and adjust rankings.

Great example is Embiid. He wasn't even ranked. But the momentum of having Kansas, Florida, Texas, etc. on him, got him even more attention, and rightfully so. But his talent level is/was pretty extreme, too.

But other examples are Peters and Woolridge. Self offered them early, but they didn't shoot up the charts. There were reasons for that.

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