The SE Elite Florida 16-and-under team did not betray its youth on its way to winning the 17-and-under platinum division of the Sunflower Showcase Sunday at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.
SE Elite Florida edged the SW Illinois Jets, 70-64, in overtime as four players scored in double figures. 6-8 small forward Wyatt Wilkes, who has Kansas University on a long list of possible college landing spots, scored 15 points, all of which came in the second half.
“It was a good tournament. There were a lot of good teams,” Wilkes said, who enjoyed his first visit to Lawrence. “I think we just played harder and better as a team than everybody else.”
Wilkes, who is currently unranked by Rivals in the Class of 2017, told the Journal-World on Friday that he has not been in recent contact with anyone on the Jayhawks’ coaching staff. The Winter Park, Florida native did take note that KU head coach Bill Self was court side for the championship game Sunday, but the two did not communicate at the showcase as NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from talking to AAU players or coaches during tournaments.
Wilkes listed Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia as schools that he has been in regular discussion with, but has not completely ruled out Kansas.
“Self was there to see me today,” Wilkes said. “Maybe he’ll call me. I have no idea.”
The pass-first shoot-second small forward believes that winning a tournament against an older age group can only benefit him and his AAU teammates.
“Everybody is stronger, everybody is quicker,” Wilkes said. “They obviously have a year of experience on us, but I think we’re really, really talented and we work really hard. We really, really want to win. I think that’s what separates us from the other 16-and-under teams.”
KU target Reese nets 11 in loss
Alex Reese, a 6-9 forward from Pelham, Alabama, scored 11 points in SE Elite Alabama’s 85-59 loss to Pumas Sunday. Reese, who was in contact with KU assistant Norm Roberts prior to the tournament, is ranked No. 49 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals and has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Murray State,
Alabama-Birmingham and Vanderbilt. Reese and SE Elite Alabama played in the 17-and-under elite division, which just featured showcase games and did not have tournament play.
Kansas makes offer to Tucker
The NY Lightning was one of the other four teams that joined SE Elite Alabama in the 17-and-under gold division. The Lightning were without two key players this weekend, both who have KU recruiting ties.
The Jayhawks gave an offer to 6-7 shooting guard Jordan Tucker, who confirmed the news Sunday via Twitter.
“Bless to receive an offer from Kansas University!!!! #jayhawksnation,” tweeted Tucker, the No. 28 player overall by ESPN in the Class of 2017.
Tucker, pride of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, competed for Team Loaded (North Carolina) in the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament this weekend.
Tucker’s NY Lightning teammate Rodney Miller, a 6-11 245-pound center from Oak Hill Academy (Virginia), did not make the trip to Lawrence this weekend because of a hand injury. Miller is ranked No. 93 by Rivals out of the Class of 2016, and has received offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Miami, Tulsa, Virginia and Wake Forest. The big man has also heard from KU, Duke, Indiana, Memphis, Notre Dame, Rhode Island, St. John’s, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA.
Hawkins hyped about Showcase’s future
While the first year of the Sunflower Showcase in Lawrence did not attract any players who have received offers from KU, former KU guard and Sports Pavilion Lawrence programs director Jeff Hawkins believes that the tournament has a lot of potential for growth as it develops in the AAU circuit.
“It’s nice to bring a good tournament into Lawrence that has high-caliber players,” Hawkins said. “It always gives an advantage to KU because the kids can view the campus, and not only can they view the campus, but the coaches don’t have to travel as much and they can get kind of a quick look in their back yard to kind of see the local talent.”
Along with the Sunflower Showcase benefiting the Jayhawks, Hawkins said the high school hoops tournament is a great all-around event for Lawrence.
“It’s huge not only for the Sports Pavilion, but the city of Lawrence,” Hawkins said. “The attraction that these teams and these tournaments are bringing in, just pushing revenue out to all of the local businesses.”