Sunday, April 19, 2015

Transfer target Thorne taps Illinois

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Kansas University basketball recruiting.


Former UNC Charlotte center Mike Thorne Jr., who had Kansas University on his list of possible transfer destinations, on Saturday committed to University of Illinois during his campus visit.

The 6-foot-11, 270-pound graduate transfer who has one season of eligibility left, canceled upcoming visits to KU and Kentucky. He had already visited Pitt.

“I knew it was the right place for me. It felt like a family and I have a great feel for the coaching staff. In knowing that, I decided to commit early,” Thorne told the Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer.

Thorne averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game his junior season. At U of I, he will be playing for coach John Groce. Groce worked with former Charlotte coach Alan Major at Ohio State and Xavier. Charlotte fired Major after this past season.

Diallo update: Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior from Our Savior New American High in Centereach, New York, was to meet with St. John’s coach Chris Mullin on Saturday after visiting with KU coach Bill Self after Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn.

Diallo, who earned co-MVP honors in the Classic with Arizona signee Allonzo Trier, has a final five of KU, St. John’s, Kentucky, Iowa State and Pitt.

“I’m so excited because the MVP award is a different thing. I always thank my teammates because they are passing me the ball. Thank you Briscoe (Isaiah, Kentucky signee). Briscoe gave me a lot of buckets,” Diallo, the country’s No. 7-rated player by, told New York Newsday.

Some say Kentucky has an advantage because prize UK signee Skal Labissiere of Haiti and Diallo have known each other three years.

“All they do is speak French together,” Briscoe told Newsday. “I would like for Cheick to come to Kentucky. Skal, Charles (Matthews, Chicago St. Rita), me and Cheick, that’s a great class.”

There’s also talk Diallo likes the idea of staying close to his New York home and playing for St. John’s.

“There were a lot of fans here,” Diallo said after scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes. “I am so excited to be in New York. That’s where I live.”

And some say KU has an advantage because Cameroon’s Joel Embiid had such a positive experience at KU. Embiid, like Diallo, took up basketball just a few years ago. Also, KU’s brand-new dorms open in August, adding to an already impressive array of new facilities.

What’s more, some cite Iowa State, saying the Cyclones have recruited Diallo the longest of any of his suitors, and he loves the Cyclones’ style of play under Fred Hoiberg, who, by the way, had successful open heart surgery Friday, according to ISU. Recovery time is four to six weeks.

Ingram update: Self conducted an in-home visit with No. 19-ranked Brandon Ingram, 6-8 senior forward from Kinston (North Carolina) High, on Saturday, reports. It was just hours after he met with both Diallo and No. 3-rated Malik Newman (6-3 senior guard, Callaway High, Jackson, Mississippi) on Friday in New York.


Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

Thorne probably made a good selection with his U of I pick. I seriously doubt he would have been able to jump Lucas/Mickelson for PT.

We were in Lawrence last weekend and took a walk though the new bball dorms during the baseball game. The place is coming along nicely and floor general arrangements looks great.

I can't see Diallo picking UK over the Johnnies or the Hawks. I hope he makes a decision soon so we can get on with things one way or the other.

Todd Hill 4 years, 9 months ago

If you don't think Thorne could jump Lucas/Mickelson, why did we bother to recruit him?

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

Thorne was a miss. IL does not make any sense considering where he could have gone. I like his chances agains Lucas and Mickelson for PT.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

LOL Brett you just illustrated how bad Lucas and Mickelson are too.

We need another BIG and we could't even attract a "soft" player like Thorne.

Thanks for the help.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 9 months ago

Reading comprehension failure. The "soft" Brett was referring to was KU's offer meaning that it was conditional as in KU would take Diallo, Maker, or others ahead of Thorne and that there was no guarantee of Thorne being a starter at KU. Thorne was never considered more than a fall back option for KU or Kentucky and he wanted to go somewhere he could play a lot of minutes which was not KU or Kentucky.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

Aaron he used stats first to show Thorne was no better than who we had which is not great. I meant soft as that we cannot ever attract a weak player.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 9 months ago

You said you thought Thorne would beat out Lucas and Mickelson next year. Brett used stats to show that Thorne had similar stats against much weaker competition, then called KU's offer soft in that it was conditional. You respond by using soft in an entirely different context than what Brett used it in. I called you out on that and now you're trying to spin it that you didn't misunderstand what Brett said.

I think you made a lot of false assumptions about what Thorne was looking for and how KU and Kentucky viewed Thorne. Kansas and Kentucky both recruited Thorne like he was a fall back plan if either stilled had scholarships to fill. Thorne viewed himself as someone who with 1 year left to play and dreams of playing in the NBA wanted a situation to showcase his skills and give himself the best chance of making it to the NBA. He did not believe KU or Kentucky offered that the way Illinois did.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

That's fascinating, but what matters is what Thorne saw. He didn't see an easy path to playing time and he's right.

I'm sure Self said we're still looking at other bigs, too. He's honest to a fault in recruiting.

Anyway, Thorne was not an upgrade over what we have, so the folks upset about this can just relax.

Holly Pearle 4 years, 9 months ago

Curious to your source of inside info Tom. Lucas and Mickelson would have played behind Thorne..or why did we after him so hard?

Mike Riches 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm surprised Thorne didn't at least complete his visits...this was his one chance to be treated like a five star recruit, but that's certainly not a big deal to some.

Can we hurry up and make an offer to Georgios Papagiannis? He wouldn't be able to play this summer (neither would Diallo), but appears to have enough talent to compete for some minutes his freshman year, and could certainly be a nice player in the future. We're the only school on his list that hasn't made him an offer...

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

We might have to wait our turn on Georgios four head coaches are currently in Greece right now.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

We have offered scholarships to about 35 players this season, how is that working out for us so far? Has anyone flown to Greece for an in home visit?

Jeremy Bolinger 4 years, 9 months ago

Our inability to recruit a solid "5" is starting to concern me. I thought for sure we'd get either this kid or Zimmerman. I'm worried we'll be reliving last season next season.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

I share your concern, but we had less than a 1% shot at Zimmerman. His mother, and the pull of playing at home were too big. He was not going to leave UNLV unless something blew him away. Add to that the comments his mom made recently and I would call this a bullet dodged.

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

We never had a shot at Zimmerman he was always going to stay out here on the west coast

Holly Pearle 4 years, 9 months ago

No..he was always going to stay home at UNLV which is like calling Tennessee the East Coast.

Ben Simonett 4 years, 9 months ago

Concerns about recruiting should have started in '10-'12. I've passed concerned and am close to completely advocating for a coaching change

Arthur Ankeney 4 years, 9 months ago

The sky is falling the sky is falling!!!

Oh no, it's not. Did we not have a freshman "5" who went number 3 in the NBA draft last year with a broken foot and questions about his back?

Was Jeff Withey not an NBA draft pick at the "5" spot before that?

You can't have a 5 * recruit every year at every position. Our recruiting is fine. The sky is NOT falling. Would a big 7 footer be awesome? Of course. But there's not that many out there and we have great talented guards next year, a returning Big 12 first teamer at the 4 spot, and four upper classmen total down low for next year.

Holly Pearle 4 years, 9 months ago

The 2013-14 team had 4 five-star players starting but still went out in the round of 32. Granted that a poor PG can wreck a team loaded w/talent but that team might end up w/five players in the NBA.

Going out like we did was a very Barnes like coaching performance.

Next year we could have 5 five-star players on the team if we land one more during this late recruitment period but unless there is a major shift in the line-up I doubt all 5 would start.

Steve Ramsey 4 years, 9 months ago

On the plus side, this article happens to be the first update I'd seen on Fred Hoiberg's status, following surgery. Prayers and best wishes for him and for his family.

Danny Hernandez 4 years, 9 months ago

Fred's too young to be dealing with heart issues. I hope this corrects his problems and he lives a long and healthy life. He's my favorite non-Kansas coach.

Gerry Butler 4 years, 9 months ago

I've been telling people and continue telling people, ZIMMERMAN is not that big of a loss. I would take Diallo in a second over him. Zimmerman is SOFT way to soft, plays to far away from the basket, and is another 7 ft kid who thinks he is a guard. that's NOT what we need. Again for the one's who want to try and say Diallo is only 6ft 9 that's true, but again he also has a 7ft 4 wing span. MVP at the McDonald's all star game, and CO MVP at the Jordan classic. 26 pts 11 rebs, 2 steals, a block, and a assist. non stop motor, with power. But I have this feel, unfortunately that he will end up at St John's and that soesn't make any sense the kid that was suspended last year that was starting for St Johns is coming back, he is 6ft 9 and a rim protector, they just landed a 6ft 11 kid and recruiting ANOTHER big kid besides Diallo., and to say on another point that you don't think Thorne would start over lucas or Hunter? OMG exactly why you think we were recruiting him for? to take up another roster spot and sit the bench? especially being a transfer with only 1 yr of playing time left? how much sense would that make? lol

Clarence Haynes 4 years, 9 months ago

Diallo can readily step in and be a force in our system.

Robert Brock 4 years, 9 months ago

P.S. The KU staff deserves extra demerits for being desperate and having to recruit 2015 kids at this remarkably late date (summer classes start soon). The Hawks have three available scholarships and seem to be stuck in the past while most excellent programs are feverishly working on the 2016 and 2017 classes.

Coach Self may have to make some adjustments to his staff.

Adam Tyler 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree about the assistants.

I thought Jerrance Howard was brought in because he was an ace on the recruiting trail.

He's inked Cliff, and no one else in two years now.

Joe Ross 4 years, 9 months ago

To be fair you have to consider that the best kids are waiting later to decide. They are doing this because they want PT and they are waiting to see who goes pro from college teams they are interested in. Coaches cant be blamed on late decisions by recruits.

Jay Scott 4 years, 9 months ago

They didn't know they had schollies. Were you going to have 15 players on scholarship?

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

We had an open scholarship to start the year. We knew KO was leaving as well. Cliff too since his situation was not going to fix itself. I am not sure you can use that as an excuse.

Add to that coaches can find a scholarship if they need it due to transfers. MI is trying to recruit a top player and they have no scholarships available. How? They will push a current player off scholarship to make room if the player wants to join their team. It happens sometimes.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

Not all the best players Joe, there are only a handful waiting still. Why did many of the top schools have 2 or more commitments before the NCAA's>

I just do not think you can use them waiting as an excuse any more.

Losing two top assistants a few years ago has affected our recruiting. I agree with Adam, I think we need to take a look at the staff.

Jeremy Bolinger 4 years, 9 months ago

Any shot with Thon Maker? What about this Greek big man as well?

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe with maker 247 sports has us tied with Kentucky to land him but Diallo is a much better player. Also the Greek kid is being recruited heavily by Maryland Kansas is kind of late on him.

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

We still have a shot with maker 247 sports has us tied with Kentucky to land him but Diallo is a much better player. Also the Greek kid is being recruited heavily by Maryland Kansas is kind of late on him. Don't count on brown,Newman,or Ingram comming to Kansas either 247 sports has st,John's over Kansas to land Diallo 46% to 29%

Ted Adams 4 years, 9 months ago

First off, any forward that looks to come to KU is going to see the 3 Senior and 1 Junior forwards in front of him, and wonder where he is going to get playing time. Coaches can talk your ear off about earning a spot, but when you have that many upperclassmen in front of you who have been at the program for that many years, it's going to bring up questions in your mind.

Secondly, if KU can't get a big man or two in this recruiting class, you've got to think they are going to hit it hard immediately for several big men for 2016-17, and it will probably include a transfer or two. They can't afford to lose Mikelson, Ellis, and Traylor and fill all three of those spots with freshmen with the hope they will perform at an exceptional level.

By the way, regardless of how the recruiting season for 2015-16 turns out, just be glad your not Duke. With the early exits of 3 of their 5 starters, they don't look too good for next year.

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

Duke has already reloaded and filled those spots with all Americans lmao!!!!!! Chase Jeter 6'11 center and Luke Kennard 6'9 stretch 4 (who by the way has quietly one of the best all around game in this class and is a lights out shooter.)

Ben Simonett 4 years, 9 months ago

This is what is meant when you say recruiting has a lagging impact on a program. The '10-'12 classes were terrible and resulted in a roster of seniors/junior bigs that aren't very talented but still deter other recruits from signing

Glen Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

Any of the mentioned bigs we are after will play...... playing time is not a concern. Look at our depth chart... do you not think that Diallo, Zimmerman or whoever else would jump Lucas, Mari and Hunter?? I don't want them if they can't get minutes over those guys. Ellis, Bragg and another big would eat up most of the minutes. Any 5 star would be able to see that and I would think would be salivating at that. We are truely, in my opinion, one good big man away from being a legitimate title contender.

Tyler Capone 4 years, 9 months ago

The crystal ball on 247 pretty much has us as a longshot for everyone outside of Maker and Diallo, who we are still 2nd for...not sure why, I thought we would have more of a chance at Jaylen Brown

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

For Brown it might just be a location thing. Tony Parker was another top recruit out of Georgia and he committed to ucla. Kansas would be a better fit for him but you can't compare the weather out here with Kansas.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 9 months ago

Undecided HS Centers - Rank, Name, Height and Weight
All of which are worth having as a long term prospect.

10 Georgios Papagiannis 7-1 250
20 Mamadou Amare C 7-0 210
28 Torrie Thomas C 6-10 220
29 Tanner Breazile C 6-8 210
31 Levi Cook C 6-10 305
34 Greyson Smallwood C 6-11 200
35 Jimbo Lull C 6-11 235

Undecided HS Power Forwards - Rank, Name, Height and Weight
We want Diallo, if not, IMO Adams, who plays big, scores, protects the rim, and is underrated, then Davis, Okongwu and Baldwin might be ok.

3 Cheick Diallo PF 6-9 225
29 Shawntrez Davis PF 6-8 205
30 Chris Baldwin PF 6-7 230
46 Andre Adams PF 6-9 220
49 Nnamdi Okongwu PF 6-9 215
55 Chris Moody PF 6-7 215
59 Admir Radoncic PF 6-7 230
61 Zavier Harris PF 6-8 220

Undecided Transfers eligible to play next year:
I could grabbing one of these Centers for 1 year to add size and protect the rim.

4 C Joseph Uchebo SR 6-8 245 Yes Pittsburgh
3.3 C Willy Kouassi RS SR 6-10 230 Yes Kennesaw State
3 C Kenyatta Smith RS SR 6-8 250 Yes Harvard
2.7 C Lekan Ajayi RS SR 6-10 245 Yes Eastern Michigan
2.3 C J.P. Kambola RS SR 6-9 240 Yes Marshall
2 C Rafael Maia RS SR 6-9 230 Yes Brown
2 C Rawane Ndiaye RS SR 6-11 260 Yes Tennessee
2 C Will Simonton RS SR 6-10 217 Yes UIC
2 C Nate Wells RS SR 7-1 260 Yes Bradley
2 C David Wishon RS SR 7-2 265 Yes College of Charleston
2 C Miroslav Jaksic SR 6-11 220 Yes Grand Canyon

I can't see any of these PF's coming because of what we already have. But maybe Tyler Harris who averaged 11 pts/gm and has tournamanet experience.

3.3 PF Tyler Harris RS SR 6-9 223 Yes Providence
3 PF Braeden Anderson RS JR 6-9 235 Yes Fresno State
2 PF James Bourne RS SR 6-8 240 Yes Winthrop
2 PF Ben Dickinson RS SR 6-9 223 Yes UNC Greensboro
2 PF Tomasz Gielo SR 6-9 220 Yes Liberty
2 PF Scott King RS SR 6-10 230 Yes Stony Brook
2 PF Uros Ljeskovic SR 6-8 240 Yes Coastal Carolina
2 PF Evan Sims RS SR 6-8 235 Yes Louisiana-Monroe
2 PF Mark Tollefsen RS SR 6-8 210 Yes San Francisco

Tony Bandle 4 years, 9 months ago

Great that your real name or are you a big Beach Boys fan. :)

Rodney Crain 4 years, 9 months ago

LOL, you should call this wonderful list "Mostly Lower ranked Players that other Elite schools do not want or need that KU can still sign".

Nice research Brian. Sad you had to put it together, but still nice work.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 9 months ago

What are you talking about Rodney? All of the centers on the list are in the top 35 and 5 of the PF's are in the top 50!. Everybody wants 4 year players, but no one wants guys outside the top 10 apparently (where most of the OAD's come from). All those other "lower ranked" bigs like TRob, Morris Twins, Withey, etc. sure turned out horrible didn't they...

Tony Bandle 4 years, 9 months ago

Holy Crap, Brian. Maybe you ought to quit your day job and get into the recruitment analysis business...very nicely done!!!

My take on the recruitment one, especially the recruits themselves, know right now exactly where they are going.

For a long run in the playofs next year, one of two things must happen:

1] KU lands a big rim protector to anchor the center of the defense.


2] Coach Self modifies his game philosophy to accommodate three guards and two forwards.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 9 months ago

It is strange that a lot of people don't know what they are doing. WTH, even Calipari has been searching into Canada for missed prospects. And, that is the point. Every year there are a bunch of players that go missed just because they don't go through all the hype and to all the camps. It's hard to believe that as poor and middle class as some of the prospects families are that the kids can get the money and support to travel and go to so many camps.

There are also a lot of missed prospects in Europe that want to come. They just need a scholarship. For the most part, college over in Europe is cheap.

Seriously, any of the remaining centers on the list are pretty good and could help out. The biggest issue is conditioning and how many minutes they can play early on. You can watch tape on Youtube for most and see that a lot of them could give us some minutes providing size and defense, rim protection.

Well that is kind of what BS wants to do, play to big PF's as twin posts along with 3 big guards if he can get them.

Diallo will be smart if he comes to KU. We have plenty of experienced players to put around him and Bragg. If he goes to Kentucky they will have to start all over with team chemistry after losing 7 starters, Also, 5 of those players stayed a second year so that in their mind they would be handed a championship. So much for 2nd year chemistry which now does not bode well for Kentucky making another run next year.

Joseph Bullock 4 years, 9 months ago

Outstanding post, Brian! That is great info to see. I knew there were quite a few low flying prospects out there, but I didn't realize there were that many. Also folks, another reason, every year, in the Tourney, we see all these kids we have never heard of, have monster games against great teams, is because they don't get marketed by their high school or AAU coaches, like they should. I guess they are afraid of them transferring, or going to another summer league team. They hurt the kids! Has anyone heard anything on Thon Makers grades, yet. I still like him, or Dialo! I'm also still hoping for Brown, to come and replace Kelly! Oh, and does anyone wish we still had Danny Manning on our coaching staff? I know, but, Just sayin!

Jay Hawkinson 4 years, 9 months ago

Focusing on the raw numbers of recruits we have committed seems silly. Duke just won a national championship with 8 scholarship players. Self feels like he has a solid core and no gaping holes after a couple classes where they did get big numbers, and so he has the freedom to swing for the fences in this class. Maybe it's not likely, but it is plausible that KU could land Diallo and one of the wings. Given that many of the guys who would normally be candidates to transfer out if we ended up overbooked on scholarships (Jamari, Landen, Hunter) have already used redshirts and thus might not be able to transfer, keeping some slots open until the 5 stars decide seems pretty reasonable.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

Just heard that Self is "inches" from closing the deal to land Diallo! Apparently a decision is very close and it's a photo finish with StJ with Self closing hard. I hope this is true. Kansas can have no better and a more competitive person than Self making out front to close the deal.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 9 months ago

Getting Bragg is a great year. Adding Diallo would be a stellar coup. I'm crossing my crimson red talons.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

These things oscillate all over. As an interested by stander, it's best to not get wrapped up with the vagaries of a teenager.

Tyson Ailshie 4 years, 9 months ago

Looks to be neck and neck for both Diallo and Maker. Probably a flip of the coin at this point. Hope you're right, Suzi. I think, at this point, I'd be floored with just Diallo and Bragg for the 2015 class. And then, anything else would just be icing.

David Lara 4 years, 9 months ago

Good God! I know its silly to feel like Diallo is a make or break for us next year, but he is the biggest impact we could make to this squad. This is a ray of hope.

Adam Tyler 4 years, 9 months ago

Love to hear this!

May I ask where you heard this terrific piece of info?

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

A friend of mine has a friend who is a friend of one of the senior inside Kansas basketball operators.

Adam Tyler 4 years, 9 months ago

That is some crazy 6 degrees of separation, but I appreciate the insight.

I hope your friends, friends, friends, friend is right!

Joseph Bullock 4 years, 9 months ago

Tyson, you mentioned Thon Maker, who was my #1 hope, from the time it was first rumored he was going to Re-Classify! Have you heard anything on his Academic status? My wish list is still: Maker, Dialo, and Brown!

Adam Tyler 4 years, 9 months ago

I wish I shared your optimism about Maker.

He just has so many red flags!

He doesn't graduate high school until August. And may or may not play first semester.

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