5-star KU target Jeremiah Robinson-Earl picks Villanova


Kansas basketball recruits, from left to right, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cassius Stanley and James Wiseman, take in the scene at Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.

Kansas basketball recruits, from left to right, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cassius Stanley and James Wiseman, take in the scene at Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. by Kyle Babson

Tuesday afternoon, seven months after Villanova ended the Kansas basketball program’s 2017-18 season with a 95-79 victory at the Final Four in San Antonio, the Wildcats beat the Jayhawks again.

Five-star prospect Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., who played his first three years of high school basketball at nearby Bishop Miege, orally committed to Villanova on Tuesday, picking Jay Wright’s defending national champions over Bill Self and Kansas.

Robinson-Earl told of his commitment to Villanova shortly after 5:30 p.m. and announced it on his Instagram page minutes later.

"It's a small community so everybody is real tight with each other and when I went on my visit I enjoyed how tight everybody is and how much they support the team," Robinson-Earl told's Eric Bossi. "Philadelphia is kind of a pro town but everybody there is down for Villanova and I thought that was cool. I respected them a lot to even offer me as a kid from the Kansas area because a lot of schools held back because of where I'm from."

Earlier this month, Robinson-Earl trimmed his list of finalists to KU and Nova after naming those two programs, along with Arizona, North Carolina and Notre Dame as his final five.

The son of former KU forward Lester Earl, Robinson-Earl has long been at the top of KU’s wish list in the 2019 recruiting class, where he ranks No. 10 overall according to

The Kansas coaching staff now figures to turn its full attention to forward Matt Hurt, who has been at the top of the team's wish list with Robinson-Earl all along, as a signature piece in the 2019 class.

Hurt, a five-star prospect from Rochester, Minn., is ranked No. 6 overall by in the 2019 class and is known as more of a perimeter forward with an excellent jump shot and elite athleticism. Robinson-Earl is more of a true power forward who does a lot of his damage down low.

Other names who figure to get some added attention from the Kansas coaches now that Robinson-Earl is off the board include: 4-star Zeke Nnaji (6-10, 215), Hurt’s AAU teammate who is ranked No. 37 in the 2019 class; 4-star Chandler Lawson (6-9, 215), the younger brother of current KU players Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who is ranked No. 87 in the 2019 class; and 5-star Precious Achiuwa (6-9, 215), a power player from Monteverde Academy ranked No. 8 in the 2019 class.

KU also remains in the hunt for No. 2 overall prospect James Wiseman, a 7-foot center from Memphis.

It’s too early to tell — and may never be known — what role, if any, KU’s alleged involvement in the recent college basketball scandal played in Robinson-Earl’s decision to pick Villanova. But Self said last week that the subsequent trial and KU’s name being so prevalent in the news had impacted the team's recruiting efforts.

“I would say that it hasn’t helped by any stretch, and there’s been a lot more explaining that you try to do concerning what’s transpired in New York,” Self said. “But, with that being said, the explaining is limited because you can’t talk about it in a way that you would like to. So when I say I can’t talk about certain things to you (media), I’m saying the exact same things to other people, also. It’s not like I’m picking and choosing who I’m saying that to.”

It’s logical to think that KU being mentioned in the trial has created questions and uncertainty for a few of the families and players KU is recruiting. And Self said such an environment could open the door for programs in the hunt for the same players as Kansas to paint themselves in a better light and cast doubt on what committing to Kansas might mean.

“I’m not going to run from this,” Self said last week. “If our name comes up, I’ll talk to recruits. Our name came up. (And I tell them) this is how our name came up. Whatever. Without going into specific details of the trial. Because those are facts. It came out. That’s what has been reported.

“I think it does put you in a situation where you need to explain. And it’s been hard because we haven’t been able to explain.”

KU currently has two players committed in the 2019 class — four-star guards Christian Braun (No. 112) and Issac McBride (No. 109) — and figures to be in the hunt for at least two or three more players in the class.

The early signing period opens Nov. 14 and runs through Nov. 21, and the regular signing period hits April 17, 2019.


Mike Hart 1 year, 3 months ago

Grow up, Robert. Villanova is a top program too. As far as "Thanks Adidas"... it takes 2 to tango. Kansas is no angel in this matter.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

+Mike...Robert is 100% correct...Adidas is to blame for this loss...KU has long been the heavy favorite to land JRE..Ive even visited the NOVA fan page, they too expected him to go to bet $$ that if it werent for this FBI fiasco that Adidas is responsible for, JRE would have selected KU..just like EVERYONE thought he would.

Matt Kenton 1 year, 3 months ago

Looks like Nike is still paying out and Adidas has stopped.

Matt Stone 1 year, 3 months ago

I hate this loss but Matthew Hurt is who I really hope we get! Precious Achiuwa would be my 2nd choice but either or both would be amazing! Robert I agree, thanks Adidas for creating doubt. Guessing with McCormick here that Wiseman goes to Memphis. McCormick should be a beast next year.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 3 months ago

Coaches dropped ball on this one. That being said I didn’t want this kid. Something screams overrated and soft.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

just read one reason JRE flipped was KU"s history on real recently having such a load of big men Doke - - -- McCormack - - - D Lawson - - - Kj Lawson - - - -Lightfoot. - -JRE being straight up with Coach Self saying he was sorry that people thought he was 100 % committed to KU - Said he loves KU BUT. - -he said the FBI thing had nothing to do with it - -he plays on the AAU team with Under Armor - -not Adidias - he loves KU - -however feels like he wants to be able to contribute - get playing time sooner.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

that doesnt make sense..Dok, Dedric Lawson will be gone after this season..Lightfoot is more of a 4 than he is a true big..McCormack (hopefully) will be back for his 2nd season, but other than that, the Front court is wide open..KJ is more of a small forward anyway

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

Id be happy with KU landing Hurt and his teammate NNaji...maybe throw in the young Lawson and you have the makings of a pretty decent front court..especially if McCormack stays for 2-3 years...

Dee Shaw 1 year, 3 months ago

I’m sure whoever KU gets in recruiting will have some issue with eligibility or some kind of drama.

Town Thomas 1 year, 3 months ago

You are pathetic. You have nothing but negativity. Why are you even here?

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

Myself and some others feel believe that this FBI scandal for sure had an impact on this. - -But there is more - -fully feel Zeke as the upmost importance of getting him to commit. with Hurt holding off until spring - -wait and watch he isn't coming either.

Maybe on a positive note , this might be ok as it might just enough with JRE committing - -this just might be enough to push Zeke over the top to commit to us - still a really good player in the over all long term 3-4 yr player actually has a better upside then JRE. Like has been also , don't be shocked if we see KU really turn up the heat in the recruitment of Chandler possibly him following his brothers to KU

Also some may not believe but KU actually sits pretty good with Stanley , one - -his dad really loves Ku an Self that' counts a lot - still going to be hard to pull him off the Coast just sit back and see- -we got a pretty decent chance. - If we could land Zeke and manage to get Stanley with the other two that's committed would still be a decent class - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

ideally id like KU to land Hurt, Zeke and Lawson...Zeke and Lawson would be will be multi year players whereas Hurt could be OAD..Memphis with Hardaway will be hard to beat for Lawson..lets hope his older siblings can help recruit him to KU...but if KU losses out on Hurt, Zeke and Lawson become absolute must haves..I havent heard a lot about Stanley so I cant say too much...but losing Earl to Nova of all schools is a kick in the nutts

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 3 months ago

'Nova and Philly are nice places but this kid just made a big mistake, IMO, if he wants to be a pro.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

I dont think Wright is a good OAD coach..not really his strength

Mike Hart 1 year, 3 months ago

Right, because Villanova "only" has 8 former players CURRENTLY on NBA rosters.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

And please remind me. -- How many former KU players are in the NBA ? - Believe it's like 13-14. - -that is currently on NBA rosters? - - and how many of those 8 players were OAD'S from Villanova? - -Go ahead refresh my memory -- I'll wait. lmao

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

@Mike...reading in fundamental, so try going back and READING my freaking post..I said ONE AND DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..I dont care how many Nova players are in he NBA..NONE of them were OAD type of players..JRE is likely only gonna be on campus for 10 reading some of your post id swear you're a little bit thinking you rode the short bus to school

Doug Longstaff 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't think the coach has a lot to do with a player becoming a OAD. 9 out of 10 of them pretty much know what they are before they get to college, and one year is the plan all along.

The rare exception that we've had at Kansas, of course, was Embiid. Nobody thought he was OAD before the season started. Bill knew what he had in him, but even Bill thought it would take a year or two to get it out of him.

Chuck Baldwin 1 year, 3 months ago

If a recruit comes to Late Night and doesn’t pick KU after that experience... they were never meant to be a part of the Jayhawk Family.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

i honestly think the FBI thing tipped the scales to Nova's favor

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

I will say this. I have watched Jeremiah Earl in person and I find him to be highly overrated. I've seen him play McPherson for 3 straight years at Bishop Miege in the 4A State championship game and every time he was outplayed and out toughed by a bunch of well coached white boys. He is soft and evidently his heart was never really in it. Not that big of a loss in my personal opinion. Sometimes it can also be a disadvantage for some kids to be too close to a school that you grew up around your whole life. Some people like something new. May prove me wrong but I'm not sure he comes close to Kelly Oubre and he was about as soft as it gets. Life goes on. Rockchalk

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

well I hated to miss out on JRE , over rated? -- ummm I think not. - -I think I will take the people who evaluates these guys, watches them for years and rates their talent over yours. you know who I'm talking about - the guys where this is their living getting paid to evaluate these kids , JRE is right there with Kelly for sure. Oh then why the hell do you feel you needed to bring race in this? - -Come on man that's pretty bad ( well Coached White boys?) Sheez don't really think that was called for. oh ya please remind me - -how many of those 3 games did McPherson win again? - -I know JRE and company won 3 straight in a row, So seeing how JRE is just now a Senior and he won 3 in a row, hmmm that means Mcpherson won - -ZERO. - -and soft? - -well the 10th ranked player in the Nation --- - and if I remember right did pretty dam good in the Summer games this year - -pretty well hold his own for sure while playing on that team Coached by Coach Self- -so if he was soft and overrated , the others must of been REALLY soft

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

Fair point Gerry. Certainly don't mean anything by the white boys comment haha. Miege certainly won those games but they had far superior athletes to Mac....cough cough recruiting.... I think having watched those games among others there was a lot to be desired from JRE. That may change in college but my point was that on too many occasions a 5'10" kid from MAC would out hustle him, beat to loose balls, etc. He was just bigger faster stronger. I may very well be wrong, just my opinion after seeing him vs other great Kansas kids like Perry, Cauley Stein, Frankamp, Ojeleye, etc. Rockchalk Gerry

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 3 months ago

Jack don't back off the white boys comment. Anyone in the state of Kansas knows exactly what you mean. Anyone with SJW mindset saw the race comment. Gerry your soft.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

Very true. I do agree with you on maybe being soft. - I like several really don.t think that JRE IS a OAD. - -I think they think with JRE this is one of THE REAL reasons why he transferred - to play against stronger more Athletic better players. - -He knows he had to do something or otherwise he would be lost. Most likely he was stronger here against Kansas kids Bigger - that's why he realized he needed to step out and play against better competition if he was going to get any better. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't know shocks me more, lost Jeremiah to Nova or the kid from Nova going 10 for 11 in the semi game

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

It seems clear to me that the not only did the FBI investigation push JER away but it is going to gain momentum with each high profile recruit that follows suit.

Why would any of the elite players mentioned in the article and by you fellow posters risk a decision that could adversely effect their future?

Unlike a lot of you, I see this as a very dangerous time for the KU's recruiting class of 2019!

Feel free to call me over-reacting, a chicken little, paranoid and anything my opinion, this situation has just moved to DEFCON 5, especially now that the 1.5 million payment circumstances have become a state secret.

Lord in Heaven, what a frigging mess!!!!!!!

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

yes, you are way overreacting...sure,this FBI fiasco will hurt KU n recruiting at least for a year..but it isnt like they are gonna have to settle for 3 kids...KU isnt likely to face any real sanctions so I dont see why you'd think any recruits are "risking" their futures by coming to KU..though Im sure a lot of other programs are gonna spin it that way when talking to kids and their parents..but hell, UNC made 2 FF and won a NC while not being able to land 5 talent due to the NCAA investigation..I be happy with a few solid 4* multi year kids

James Miller 1 year, 3 months ago

The investigation only hurts us because now we can't pay for 5-star players. Therefore, we will now lose out to schools that are not under the microscope and still able to ante up.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

KU wasnt paying anyone to begin with!!!!!!!!!!.Gassnola wasnt employed by KU....

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

You know Kansas kids don't always pick KU? The best prospect in Kansas that never really even got a look from KU went to Duke and went on to eventually be the Conference player of the year at SMU and is now playing for the Celtics. Semi Ojeleye. Still blows my mind that Bill never recruited this kid, smart, humble, freakishly athletic and well coached. Not to mention Villanova has actually been the superior program over the last 5 years so should it really be all that shocking that a kid would want to go there? Kicked KU's butts the last three times they have played and have two national championships to show for it. Why not go to Nova? Not sure why everyone seems so confused. Highly ranked Kansas kids go other places all the time. Earl is not some once in a generation talent that we missed out on. I suspect things will be okay.

Cora Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Ojeleye told KU right up front that he was not interested in coming to play for us.

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

Didn't know that Cora! Thanks for sharing. Certainly would have loved to see him be a jayhawk!

Joe Black 1 year, 3 months ago

He wasn't just a highly ranked Kansas kid, he had a connection with KU. His dad played for the Jayhawks!

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

Good point Joe. Certainly adds a different dynamic and feel to missing a recruit like that. I still think sometimes that can play against a school with kids who want to do their own thing and chart their own path. But I can imagine Lester would have been pushing for him to be a hawk

Michael Leiker 1 year, 3 months ago

Good. The less of these extremely high level guys we get the better.

Dee Shaw 1 year, 3 months ago

I am hearing from my source that Coach Townsend only offered him a $75,000 signing bonus.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

so are you saying Nova offered him $$$$

Jeff Polaski 1 year, 3 months ago

Sounds like Nike agreed to pay more like they did for Zion Williamson.

Jacob Bateson 1 year, 3 months ago

Congrats to JRE. Lester Earl was one of my favorite players and I would have loved to see JRE in Crimson and Blue, but Villanova is a great school and you can't fault him for his decision.

On to the next recruit! #RCJH

Doug Longstaff 1 year, 3 months ago

Everybody wanted this guy to come to Kansas, regardless of what the revisionist historians are posting now about how they always thought he was overrated. He was a legacy, and as good of a player to come out of the KC metro since Wayne. We wanted him, and losing him hurts.

That said, it is completely understandable that the young man might want to get away from home a little bit for college. KU was comfortable and familiar. Philly is new and exotic. He's going to play college ball for one, maybe two years. Hard to begrudge a kid for wanting to get as much out of his college experience as possible, which can include learning new things, meeting new people, seeing new sights, if that's what interests you.

Good luck to him! Now, let's go complete this class!

Jack Hoff 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm to the point where I don't even really mind Kansas not getting any of those top "10-20" guys in the ranking. Bill Self can land them from time to time but they are never the players that really embody what it means to be Jayhawk. I mean when you think about Self's best teams it's the diamond in the rough type guys that really become the backbone to those teams. Self seems to coach better with those guys as well. It's the Frank Mason's of the world that we need. Obviously there are exceptions.. I feel like Josh Jackson is the only true One and Done Self has had recently that really bought in all the way and played like his life depended on it. They are nice to get from a raw talent standpoint but the best Self teams are the one's built with those upperclassmen with a chip on their shoulder.The Big 12 streak is nice but if we really want another natty we need those blue collar players that Self teams thrive with. Self has yet to show that he can cut down the nets in March with a team built around one and dones. In fact those are typically his worse teams. Disclaimer; Bill Self is a much better talent evaluater than I could ever dream of being. That said. ROCKCHALK.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 3 months ago

100% about Josh Jackson. Only 1 and done I can even say came close to reaching what any fan thinks when they get a top 2-3 player.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 3 months ago

i think everyone, including self, are pinning this too much on the FBI scandal. i honestly believe this was primarily due to nova winning 2 rings in past 3 years. Recruits care about rings, not about conf championships. we can continue to beat out chests about 15 straight, but it no where comes close to a championship.

Pius Waldman 1 year, 3 months ago

Like others my thinking is maybe a little different. He shared that some schools didn't recruit him much because they felt he was a lock for Kansas. So just maybe he was saying hey I'll show them that Kansas wasn't a lock. So I'm going to go elsewhere. Villanova came in late and benefited from that thinking.

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