Give R.J. Hampton an assist for Kansas finding its latest commitment, Class of 2022 guard Tre White
There are plenty of famous stories about how certain Kansas basketball players were discovered on the recruiting trail.
Frank Mason III, who wound up becoming the 2017 national player of the year, was found in a back gym at an AAU event in Las Vegas. Current KU point guard Issac McBride was first seen by KU’s coaches in the same exact gym.
Kansas sophomore Ochai Agbaji was a late find and a player who KU coach Bill Self needed to watch just once before deciding to offer a scholarship.
And Joel Embiid had been playing basketball for just three years when KU assistant Norm Roberts dragged Bill Self down to Florida to watch him at an open scrimmage at The Rock in Gainesville.
The list goes on and on.
And then there’s the story of new KU commitment Tre White, a combo guard in the Class of 2022 who committed to Kansas over the weekend and appears to be full speed ahead toward landing in Lawrence eventually.
Some reports of White’s commitment included chatter about the 6-5 guard from Little Elm, Texas, possibly reclassifying into the 2021 class. But even if he does that, which seems highly likely, it still will be two full years before White is on KU’s campus.
So why Kansas? Why now? And why were the Jayhawks willing to offer so early?
The answer has a lot to do with R.J. Hampton, the former 5-star prospect who reclassified from 2020 to 2019 and came this close to picking KU before electing to skip college altogether for a six-figure professional opportunity in Australia’s National Basketball League.
The Jayhawks might not have wound up with Hampton, but pursuing him with such tenacity led them to White. Time will tell what kind of a trade off that ends up being.
But landing White today certainly puts KU in good shape for tomorrow and, perhaps most importantly, gets the Kansas program back on track for landing the top prospects in the prep ranks after a 2019 class that lacked 5-star signatures.
The star ratings for the 2022 prospects aren’t out yet. But all indications suggest that White will earn a 5-star label and is likely to land somewhere in the Top 15 of his class.
Sometimes, that alone is enough for a blue blood program to offer a player. But as the KU coaches watched Hampton play on what seemed to be a weekly basis during the past several months, White’s game kept jumping out, too.
As a high school freshman, playing against some of the toughest competition on the summer circuit and at Little Elm High, White’s ability to score, defend, play and guard multiple positions while holding his own against older players left the KU coaches intrigued.
From there, KU assistant Jerrance Howard took a deeper look and the feedback he got from some was that, after Hampton, White was the next best prospect on the roster.
From there the relationships were built, with both Howard and Self. And it all led to last weekend, when White was discussing his KU offer with his family and settled in on one simple question as the driving force for making his early decision — what else am I looking for?
White, who is expected to finish his prep career at Washington High in Milwaukee, picked Kansas over offers from Auburn, Illinois, Texas Tech and serious interest from a dozen other programs.
His decision to make the call now instead of waiting several months, or even years, both gets the decision out of the way for White and lays a strong foundation for the Jayhawks.
Recruiting is a never-ending game. And now the Jayhawks have something in the 2022 class to build on instead of starting from scratch.
Here are a couple of quick highlight videos of White’s game, which not only show his skills but also show where he sits in terms of size despite being so young.
For reference, R.J. Hampton is No. 14 in black and can be spotted on White’s team in several highlights during the first video, from last September.
This second video, of White’s debut with AAU program Mac Irvin Fire, comes from April.
And here's a younger look at White, from March 2018.