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Friday, November 18, 2016

2017 PF Billy Preston picks Kansas

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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The Kansas men’s basketball program finally landed its top-tier player in the Class of 2017 on Friday, when Billy Preston chose the Jayhawks on ESPNU.

Preston, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward from Oak Hill Academy, is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 8 player in the 2017 class and many believe his potential might be higher than that.

Preston (seated in jeans and hat in photo above) chose Kansas over finalists Indiana, Syracuse and USC and did so on the strength of his stellar visit during Late Night in the Phog back in early October.

Preston was one of several visitors in Lawrence that weekend and he appeared to be the one having the most fun, playing to the crowd, wearing the KU gear, enjoying every aspect of the season kick-off event that has proven plenty successful in helping the Jayhawks land recruits during the past several years.

Another thing that seemed to help Preston pick Kansas was his comfort and familiarity with the KU coaching staff.

“Coach (Bill) Self and Coach (Kurtis) Townsend are both great coaches,” Preston told HoopPhenomReport.com recently. “I couldn’t say anything bad about them because they have been recruiting since my 8th grade year. All through adversity, they still stayed with me through the process and the coaches want me to come there and play my game.”

While Preston’s talent is unquestioned, he has been a player on the move throughout his prep career and that has raised at least a few eligibility concerns during the past couple of months.

But KU rarely has shied away from players with eligibility questions and also has a good track record of helping players become eligible, academically or otherwise.

Oak Hill marks his fifth school in five years, but Preston’s bond with Oak Hill coach Steve Smith seems to be something that has refocused him. It also seems like something that easily could continue at Kansas with Self and other members of the coaching staff.

“I’ve never coached a player at his size with his skills,” Smith told USA Today. “I don’t think he’s fully aware of how good he is, but he’s starting to realize it. He’s just happier now.”

Added Preston: “Things are different for me now. I always wanted to play for a coach that I would do anything for and I’ve definitely found that in Coach Smith.”

Preston joins Dallas combo guard Marcus Garrett (No. 37, according to Rivals) as the first two players in KU’s 2017 recruiting class. Garrett signed his national letter of intent earlier this month.

Self has said he could need to sign as many as six players in the current class if KU loses multiple underclassmen to the NBA Draft, but grabbing a versatile guard and a skilled big man puts the class off to a good start.

The Jayhawks remain in the running for top-tier point guards Trevon Duval (No. 3) and Trae Young (No. 14) and still are pursuing several other big men and guards in the class.

Regardless of where it goes from here, landing Preston helps ease the pain of missing out on three of the top 12 players in the class — DeAndre Ayton (No. 1, Arizona), Collin Sexton (No. 7, Alabama) and Troy Brown (No. 12, Oregon).

None by Bleacher Report

Comments

Eliott Reeder 1 year ago

Welcome to Kansas Mr. Billy "No Limit" Preston !!!!!!!

Todd Conner 1 year ago

Welcome to the Family Mr. Preston. Congrats on your decision & we look forward to watching you next year in a Kansas uniform.

Michael Sillman 1 year ago

Well, you called it Matt. What tell did you pick up from Preston?

Clarence Haynes 1 year ago

Nice cap! Welcome to Rock Chalk land!

Waylon Cook 1 year ago

Welcome Big Man!

Btw Chicken Littles? Where are u?

Rob Bedford III 1 year ago

The Chicken Little comments have been cornered by Jay. You have to come up with your own material.

Jay Scott 1 year ago

Jay claims no exclusive domain on common sense or truth.

Tyler Capone 1 year ago

Another mis-...wait what???? But in all seriousness this is awesome. If we can add Duval and Wooten this will be a great class. Bill Self and staff really no how to shut people (me) up after slow starts in recruiting.

Gerry Butler 1 year ago

sweet pick up for us, and it sure doesn't hurt that Billy & Duval are friends, let Billy do his magic get Duval to come on also. Duval is so sweet, so fluid , a lot of people say he is NBA ready right now, keep fingers crossed - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Suzi Marshall 1 year ago

The Beatles (or 1/5 of them) are coming to Lawrence, KS!

Rumor has it that Preston was the coaching staff's top big over Ayton, which explains the his seemly sudden about face from Kansas to AZ. It's not often a school can miss on the top rated player only to shrug it off and basically say.."We are still on our man." Since Bragg is likely to return along with Azubuike, all we need now is to sign a couple of top guards. Duval and Young will fill that bill.

Dillon Davis 1 year ago

Don't bet on Bragg returning. Preston is there to fill that role alongside Udoka. And we will not be getting both Duval and Young, especially with Vick and Newman running the backcourt next year.

Noah Oone 1 year ago

We would be fairly loaded if we get Duval or another top guard and Devonte came back.

Jay Scott 1 year ago

Newman, Vick and Garret with either Svi or Graham back would be formidable. Both plus Az, Lightfoot, Coleby and Maxwell up front with Preston...somewhere.. is insane. If Bragg were to return....

Noah Oone 1 year ago

That would be incredible. I don't know who UK and Duke have lined up for next year but I can't imagine they would put more talent than that on the court.

Tom Jones 1 year ago

Kentucky will. Dook might, but it'll depend on who stays, as usual.

Brad Richardson 1 year ago

That's the way God planned it, that's the way God wants it to be!

Jay Scott 1 year ago

A gift on Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen's birthday!

Steve Zimmerman 1 year ago

WOOHOO!!! Welcome to the Jayhawks family! This is soooo sweeeet!!

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