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ESPN report says NBA not likely to change age limit rule before 2020

Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson drives as Dallas Mavericks forward Maximilian Kleber (42)) defends, while Suns forward TJ Warren (12) watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson drives as Dallas Mavericks forward Maximilian Kleber (42)) defends, while Suns forward TJ Warren (12) watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Early Wednesday morning, inside a ballroom in Indianapolis, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of The Commission on College Basketball sat at the front of the room and unveiled their recommendations for how to clean up the mess that has made its way to the forefront of college basketball.

After first explaining the how and why of reaching their conclusions, Rice and company listed off the specific recommendations and kicked things off with a doozy — getting rid the one-and-done rule.

Doing that, of course, is up to the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, not the NCAA or a special committee designed to get answers. And it does not appear that the NBA is quite ready to give them.

While the commission's report was the result of nearly seven months of hard work and investigation, the NBA's reaction came in roughly five hours. Just after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski released a story citing sources that said the NBA and NBPA had no plans to lower the age requirement before the 2020 draft.

That would mean two more full draft classes would have to operate under the current rules, which, according to Wojnarowksi, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have discussed in the past. Wojnarowski wrote: "Silver and Roberts have both expressed a desire to change the rule, but it remains to be seen how the process of negotiating a rule change between the league and players will unfold."

Rice and the college basketball commission said Wednesday that their recommendation was for something to change by the start of next basketball season. If it hasn't, Rice said, the committee would be prepared to reconvene and examine a number of possible alternatives that range from ruling freshmen to be ineligible or locking in scholarships for three or four years.

The NBA does allow high school players to make the jump directly to the ever-improving and expanding G League without waiting and a couple of players, including former Syracuse commitment and McDonald's All-American, Darius Bazley, in this year's class already are planning to take advantage of that rule.

Whether there's more of that ahead depends almost entirely on how firm the NBA is in his stance about no changes before 2020 and college basketball's reaction to it.

According to Wojnarowksi's article, the NBA has a record 236 early-entry candidates for the 2018 NBA Draft, which includes 181 NCAA and 81 international players, which is a 30 percent increase on the 2017 draft.

Reply 2 comments from Robert  Brock Karen Mansfield-Stewart

Future Jayhawk David McCormack quietly having an impressive spring

Future KU center David McCormack, one of four players in KU's 2018 recruiting class, recently took part in the Iverson Roundball Classic last weekend in Philadelphia.

Future KU center David McCormack, one of four players in KU's 2018 recruiting class, recently took part in the Iverson Roundball Classic last weekend in Philadelphia. by Matt Tait

Maybe it's because he's a big man in a guard-dominated game.

Maybe it's because his name carries four stars next to it instead of five.

Maybe it's because he's entering a situation where he won't be counted on heavily right away because of the depth that's already in place at his position.

Regardless of the reasons for it, Class of 2018 Kansas signee David McCormack has flown under the radar a little bit while quietly having a monster Spring.

Playing in some of the same games as his future KU teammates Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson, McCormack's numbers and time on the court have not been quite as noteworthy as his counterparts.

But the 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Oak Hill Academy has been just as active on the All-Star circuit, playing in the McDonald's All-American Game and at the Nike Hoop Summit and also playing at the Iverson Classic, the second-year All Star event put on by former NBA legend and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.

Dubbed on the game's official Twitter page as “the most competitive, exciting and disruptive game on earth, the Iverson Classic took place last weekend in Philadelphia and featured some of the top talent in the 2018 class.

In true All-Star game fashion, McCormack's Team Loyalty topped Team Honor, 148-134, and the future Jayhawk had the honor of hearing this postgame speech from The Answer himself.

That was not the only place McCormack distinguished himself from his future teammates this Spring. In addition to being the only future Jayhawk to play in Iverson's event, McCormack also was selected for membership into the Oak Hill chapter of the National Honor Society, which, according to NHS advisor Steve Hebold, is “one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a high school student.”

According to a news release, the National Honor Society “strives to recognize the total student, one who excels in several areas,” including academic performance, leadership, service to one's community and character.

None of this came as any kind of surprise to Paul Biancardi, the national director of recruiting for the ESPN 100, which ranked McCormack at No. 25 overall in its latest Class of 2018 rankings. That was the highest of all of the recruiting rankings for the player whom Biancardi said “embraces being a true center.”

Both Rivals.com and 247 Sports ranked McCormack No. 33 overall in the Class of 2018.

McCormack committed to KU last September and made his pledge official in November, with KU coach Bill Self saying simply, "the more we watched, the more we liked."

“I love that kid. I truly love him,” Biancardi told the Journal-World on Monday.

Although Biancardi knew McCormack long before this Spring, he had the opportunity to fly home him with him following the Hoop Summit in Portland and the added quality time simply reminded him what a solid young man McCormack is.

“Anybody who loses 50-some-odd pounds and dedicates himself physically to his craft shows me that he's a willing worker, he's dedicated and he has no problem sacrificing because he did all three of those things,” Biancardi said.

As for what type of player the Jayhawks are getting in McCormack, Biancardi's description sounded like anything but a flashy All Star.

“He's going to defend the post, he's going rebound on both ends, — he's very active rebounder — he's a great screener and he's a guy who can develop a post-up game,” Biancardi said. “I love him, I love his work ethic and I love his humility.”

Reply 4 comments from Alan Walker Harlan Hobbs Karen Mansfield-Stewart Carsonc30

Revisiting Preseason Predictions: Marcus Garrett

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) soars in for a dunk over Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith (2) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 at United Supermarkets Arena.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) soars in for a dunk over Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith (2) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 at United Supermarkets Arena. by Nick Krug

For the past couple of years, I've kick-started yet another season of KU basketball coverage with a series known as “He Will, He Won't, He Might,” which looks at each individual Jayhawk expected to be in the rotation and tosses out a prediction in each of those categories about the player's upcoming season.

For the second year in a row, the guesses were pretty spot on, with just a couple of misses and mostly a good look at what was to be for the Jayhawks.

Before we completely put the 2017-18 season to bed, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at each one from KU's Final Four season.

We'll go in reverse order here, I'll give a quick recap and grade my predictions and we'll try to get to all eight of them this week so keep an eye out and be sure to click the links inside each to go back and look at the original entry.

Next up: Freshman guard Marcus Garrett:

Garrett played in all 39 games for the Jayhawks during their run to the Final Four, starting seven and playing a big role as the top reserve to all four of KU's starting guards.

He finished the season averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, had a couple of big games and became known as the player who did all of those intangible things that did not show up on the stat sheet but often made the difference in a game or a half.

It cannot be overstated how valuable this year's experience was for Garrett. After taking all of that knowledge and information into the offseason, the versatile guard should emerge by entering the 2018-19 season with a ton of confidence and some serious leadership potential.

He Will: Become a fan favorite almost immediately – Given the fact that I've never heard a single KU fan say a single negative thing about the freshman from Dallas, it seems like this is at least mostly correct. On a roster that included Devonte' Graham, it's hard to become the fan favorite, but there's no doubt that people came away from his freshman season impressed by Garrett's game and contributions to the team. I expect his fan favorite status to grow as his career moves along.

He Won't: Play enough minutes to put up big numbers in any category – Not exactly. My guess was that Garrett would log somewhere in the 10-12 minute range on a nightly basis and all he did was double that. In 39 games, the freshman guard played 748 minutes and averaged 19.2 minutes per game. He played 20 or more minutes in 18 games and occasionally found himself playing some pretty important minutes in place of KU's regular guards who found foul trouble or were ineffective on a given night. Garrett's numbers were not huge, but it wasn't because of a lack of playing time. He simply found his role player niche and played it to perfection most of the time.

He Might: Be this team's best defender – Hard to argue with this one. Garrett was always up for whatever challenge was thrown his way and, in limited minutes, finished fourth on the team in steals, with 35, one better than full-time starter Lagerald Vick and just seven behind fellow-starter Malik Newman. Garrett used his active hands, good instincts and physical size and toughness to create problems for offensive players throughout the season. His specialty became immediately getting the possession back after any particularly careless turnovers. Because they were on the floor more and, therefore, drew tougher defensive assignments in bigger moments, I'm only going to take partial credit for this one. But it's clear that the foundation for a solid Bill-Self-defender has been laid by Garrett.

My overall prediction grade for this one: 1.5 out of 3.

Light reading:

A quick look back at a few of my favorite Lightfoot stories from the 2017-18 season

• KU freshman Marcus Garrett guides KU to key bucket in relief of Devonte’ Graham, March 18, 2018

• 'He never gives up:' Marcus Garrett’s hustle propels KU to Big 12 title game

• Keegan: Playing for an Eddie Sutton disciple prepared Marcus Garrett for Bill Self

Reply 7 comments from Roger Ortega The_muser Robert  Brock Tony Bandle Pius Waldman

Revisiting Preseason Predictions: Mitch Lightfoot

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) celebrates with Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during a timeout in the first half on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) celebrates with Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during a timeout in the first half on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For the past couple of years, I've kick-started yet another season of KU basketball coverage with a series known as “He Will, He Won't, He Might,” which looks at each individual Jayhawk expected to be in the rotation and tosses out a prediction in each of those categories about the player's upcoming season.

For the second year in a row, the guesses were pretty spot on, with just a couple of misses and mostly a good look at what was to be for the Jayhawks.

Before we completely put the 2017-18 season to bed, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at each one from KU's Final Four season.

We'll go in reverse order here, I'll give a quick recap and grade my predictions and we'll try to get to all eight of them this week so keep an eye out and be sure to click the links inside each to go back and look at the original entry.

First up: Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot.

Lightfoot played in 38 of KU's 39 games this season — missing only the Duke game in the Elite Eight — and made seven starts along the way, including KU's first- and second-round NCAA Tournament victories.

He finished the season averaging 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, had a couple of monster efforts (at TCU is the first one that comes to mind and the Big 12 tourney win over Oklahoma State also is up there) while carving out a key role in the Jayhawks' thin front court.

He Will: Be the leader of the KU big men – This one is hard to grade because being a leader means different things to different people. While there's no doubt that sophomore center Udoka Azubuike was KU's most important big man and also the leader of the group in terms of statistics, Lightfoot definitely took a step forward in trying to lead the unit in practices, with his voice and by working hard and setting a good example. We'll go with half credit on this one.

He Won't: Average more than 15 minutes a game – Nailed it. Despite being KU's only big man who was available for every game this season, the sophomore forward played 531 minutes in 38 games for an average of 13.97 minutes per night. And despite the low overall average, there were 15 games this season in which Lightfoot played more than 15 minutes. But those were offset by 13 games in which Lightfoot played single-digit minutes or did not play at all.

He Might: Increase his playing time if he can hit the outside shot – I'm going to call this a miss. Lightfoot did improve his shot and made six of 17 from 3-point range this season, but his ability to shoot better from the outside had nothing to do with his usage. Lightfoot was a big man through and through this season. It will be interesting to see where his role goes in the future, as KU restocks its front court and if Lightfoot continues to work on his outside game.

All in all, Lightfoot had a solid season during his second year as a Jayhawk and first real season as a rotation guy. He wasn't perfect, but he competed hard, did whatever was asked of him and helped keep KU afloat on nights when Azubuike got in foul trouble.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of his career from here. But armed with valuable experience and an ever-improving game, it's not hard to see him finding some sort of role during the next two, or perhaps even three, seasons.

My overall prediction grade for this one: 1.5 out of 3.

Light reading:

A quick look back at a few of my favorite Lightfoot stories from the 2017-18 season

• Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot logging valuable minutes and delivering for Kansas, Jan. 30, 2018

• Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot delivers strong performance in debut as a KU starter, Feb. 7, 2018

• KU coach Bill Self hopes adding Mitch Lightfoot’s effort to starting lineup will kick-start Kansas, Feb. 5, 2018

• Keegan column: Backup Mitch Lightfoot saves Jayhawks at TCU, Jan. 6, 2018

Reply 2 comments from Dirk Medema Titus Canby

Basketball recruiting back in full swing as KU turns attention to Class of 2019

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Dallas, Texas, became the center of the recruiting universe this weekend, with major AAU events on the EYBL (Nike), Under Armour and Adidas circuits all taking place in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area during the first live evaluation period of the spring, which opened Friday night.

For college basketball staffs around the country, including the crew at Kansas, that means another opportunity to forge ahead in the 2019 and 2020 classes with an eye on future talent.

With four players signed in the Class of 2018 — and just one spot still to fill in the current class — KU coach Bill Self and his assistants have been on the 2019 and 2020 athletes for a while. In fact, point guard Markese Jacobs, one of the 20 or so top-tier KU targets in the next two classes who will be competing in the Lone Star State this weekend already committed to KU months ago.

According to recruiting analyst Matt Scott, the idea behind this weekend's events — which essentially function as opening day for the recruiting season — is not to find new players, but to further evaluate and break down the targets they've been tracking for a while.

“They already have an idea of guys going into it, from the high school seasons,” Scott said. “A lot of it is they want to see how much guys have improved from the last time they saw them. It's really about who fits what they're looking for and what the program's needs are. Are they looking to fit more bigs or more wings? And personality and style of play also are a big factor.”

Scott said that constant tracking of a player's progress is the reason there are multiple evaluation periods.

“They really want to see how kids are improving and if they're ascending,” he said. While some of that can be done by word of mouth, talking to coaches and watching film, Scott said there is no substitute for seeing it live and that's why weekend extravaganzas like the one happening around Dallas this weekend draw so much attention.

Coaches from just about every major program, and dozens of smaller schools as well, sent huge chunks of their coaching staffs to maximize the opportunity to see all of that talent in roughly the same area.

“When there's a college coach with a shirt that says Duke or Kansas or North Carolina on it, that kind of ramps things up,” Scott said. “It really is different for these kids when those kinds of coaches are there in person.”

With that in mind, here's a quick glance at some of the key names for the 2019 class who Self and company are evaluating this weekend.

Adidas circuit

• Matthew Hurt – The No. 5-ranked player in the class and a KU target for the past few years, this 6-foot-9, 200-pound athletic power forward from Rochester, Minn., is drawing serious interest from every Big Ten program and all of college basketball's bluebloods.

• Onyeka Okongwu - 5-star power forward ranked No. 18 in the 2019 class stands 6-foot-8, 215 pounds with serious room to grow. Hails from Chino Hills, Calif., and is receiving offers up and down the West Coast. Also has Big 12 offers from KU, Oklahoma State and TCU. His Top 5, as of January, was Arizona State, KU, UCLA, Washington and USC.

Nike EYBL circuit

• Cole Anthony – Ranked as the No. 4 player in the 2019 class, this 6-foot-2, 180-pound 5-star point guard from New York City is drawing major interest from Georgetown, Oregon, Pitt, St. John's, Kansas, Wake Forest and UCLA.

• Chandler Lawson – Ranked No. 73 in the class but holding a 5-star rating nonetheless, the younger brother of KU's Lawson brothers stands 6-8, 200 pounds and is listed as a power forward. His top suitors at this point appear to be Baylor, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kansas and Memphis.

• Malik Hall – A local prospect from Wichita's Sunrise Academy, this 4-star, 6-7, 210-pound wing is drawing interest from a wide range of more than two dozen schools, including Kansas. Hall is ranked No. 49 in the Rivals 150.

• Markese Jacobs – KU commitment who orally pledged his services to the Jayhawks after Late Night 2016, is a 4-star, point guard from Chicago who has a strong connection with current Kansas player Charlie Moore and former KU legend Sherron Collins, both Chicago natives, as well. Jacobs is listed at 5-11, 170 pounds and was recruited mostly by KU assistant Jerrance Howard.

• Vernon Carey Jr. – The No. 1-ranked player in the 2019 class, according to Rivals, Carey is a 5-star, 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who is wide open at this point and drawing interest from all of the big players.

• James Wiseman – Ranked No. 2 overall by Rivals, this 7-foot, 210-pound 5-star power forward from Memphis is rumored to be eyeing an attempt to reclassify for 2018 class, which would make him eligible this fall. Kentucky and Memphis are two of the major players here.

• Jalen Lecque – Ranked No. 9 in the class, Lecque is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound 5-star point guard who has more than two dozen of the country's top basketball schools pursuing him. KU assistant Norm Roberts is listed as the lead recruiter for Lecque, who hails from Arden, N.C.

• Isaiah Stewart – 5-star prospect from Indiana who is ranked as the No. 10 overall player in the class, Stewart is listed at 6-8, 230 pounds and has more than three dozen schools trying to convince him that they are the right fit. Has been compared to a young Elton Brand, who starred at Duke and in the NBA.

• Kofi Cockburn – Ranked No. 31 overall, this 6-foot-10, 300-pound monster of a man hails from Middle Village, N.Y., and is drawing major interest from more than 30 programs, most of them from back east.

Under Armour circuit

• Bryan Antoine – A 5-star shooting guard in the Top 20, Antoine, who plays for the Mario Chalmers-backed Team Rio, is a 6-4, 170-pound teammate of Scottie Lewis' at Ranney Prep School in Tinton Falls, N.J., who is drawing the same kind of interest as his close friend.

• Scottie Lewis – One of the few shooting guards in the top of Rivals' rankings, Lewis is a 6-4, 170-pound 5-star scorer from Tinton Falls, N.J., who is ranked No. 11 overall and holds 18 offers from all of the country's powerhouse programs. Also plays for Team Rio.

• Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – Local prospect from nearby Bishop Miege High, who is the son of former KU forward Lester Earl, the 5-star Robinson-Earl has bulked up during recent months and now stands at a solid 6-10, 236 pounds. Ranked No. 16 overall, JRE has been on KU's target list for years and has continued to improve and impress each year.

• Zach Harvey – Four-star shooting guard from nearby Hayden High in Topeka, Harvey stands 6-4, 170 pounds and has made several unofficial visits to Kansas throughout his prep career.

• Precious Achiuwa – Ranked No. 6 in the class and rising, this 6-9, 200-pound small forward from Newark, N.J. is a 5-star prospect who is drawing heavy interest from several schools back east and Big 12 programs Kansas, Oklahoma State and TCU.

• Christian Brown – Five-star small forward from Columbia, S.C., is ranked No. 27 in the class and has nearly that many offers from schools throughout the south, east coast and Midwest. Stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds.

• Wendell Moore – Another small forward from the Carolinas, this 5-star wing who stands 6-4, 190 pounds hails from Concord, N.C., and has offers from Duke and North Carolina and interest from KU and Kentucky.

• Josh Green – Tall, long shooting guard from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this 5-star, 6-5, 185-pound scorer ranks No. 19 in the class and is drawing the most interest from the West Coast.

There are, of course, other players who the Jayhawks will be watching and potentially targeting in the 2019 class, but this group represents the best of the best among those that Kansas has its eye on.

One thing worth pointing out is that the Jayhawks don't actually have any scholarship seniors on the 2018-19 roster so, at this point, it is uncertain how many players they will need to/be able to take in the 2019 class.

Dedric Lawson, Udoka Azubuike (if he returns) and Quentin Grimes all could be candidates to leave early. Plus, KU still has one unfilled scholarship in the Class of 2018 — which has been ear-marked for five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford or another shooter if the Jayhawks don't get him — and there is at least a little uncertainty surrounding the status of sophomore-to-be Silvio De Sousa given his status in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

All of that added together means Self's squad could be in the market for anywhere between 2-4 players in the 2019 class, which already includes one scholarship headed to Jacobs.

Reply 5 comments from Marius7782 Rob Byrd Dirk Medema

Is KU big man Udoka Azubuike nearing a decision?

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike by Nick Krug

It appears as if decision time may have arrived for Kansas center Udoka Azubuike.

Sources told the Journal-World on Wednesday that the KU big man could announce his decision about testing the NBA draft waters or returning to KU for his junior season by the end of the week, perhaps as soon as Thursday.

Thanks to a new rule put in place in 2016, underclassmen are now allowed to test their standing with NBA teams and still return to school if they do not like what they hear, provided they do not hire an agent.

The deadline to declare for early entry in this year's draft arrives Sunday. The date to for early entries to pull their name out of the draft is June 11, although the NCAA requires written notice of any such decision by May 30. This year's NBA Draft will take place June 21 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The 7-foot, 280-pound center who started 34 of 39 games for Kansas this season has not appeared on any mock drafts throughout his time as a Jayhawk.

Azubuike, who missed time because of injuries during both his freshman and sophomore seasons at KU, averaged 13 points and seven rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game this season while leading the nation with a 77 percent field goal percentage.

Azubuike said at last week's team banquet that he hoped to make a decision in the next week or so.

“Yeah it is. It definitely is,” he said when asked if it was a tough decision. “Like I said, I spoke to my family about it and all that, and right now it's pretty much my decision. Probably the next couple of days or the next week, I'll make my decision about what I'm going to do.”

Graham, Svi pick agents

Former Kansas guards Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte' Graham have selected the agencies that will represent them throughout the upcoming NBA Draft process and the early part of the pro careers.

Graham, who leaves Kansas as one of the most beloved players of all-time and the reigning Big 12 player of the year, signed with CAA Sports, an agency that has a client list of more than 1,700 professional athletes, including some of the best NBA players in today's game.

Those players include: Former Jayhawk Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George, Tony Parker and dozens more.

Mykhailiuk, who finished his career as the single-season record holder for 3-point makes, with 115 this season, and in fourth place on KU's all-time list with 237 threes, has signed with SIG Sports as his representation ahead of this summer's NBA Draft.

SIG also represents former Jayhawk Tarik Black, who boasts on the agency's web site that, “SIG is not just an agency, it’s a family. From Day 1, everyone in the agency has accepted me, not only as a client, but into the bond that they all share. I know I’m not supposed to be anywhere else or with anyone else. With this agency is where I belong. They’ve worked extremely hard and have been very professional in representing me. They are a major part of my success.”

Early entrees Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman, who announced earlier this month that they would forego the rest of their college eligibility, have yet to sign with agents.

Vick's mother, LaLa Vick, said she and her son were discussing his options Wednesday night. And Malik Newman's father, Horatio Webster, said his son could have his plans finalized by the end of the week.

ESPN updates rankings

The 2018 KU recruiting class features a trio of Top 25 prospects, according to ESPN.com's recruiting rankings, which were updated and released this week.

Five-star guard Quentin Grimes (No. 8) made the Top 10, while five-star point guard Devon Dotson (No. 22) and four-star center David McCormack (No. 25) both cracked the Top 25.

Earlier in the week, Rivals.com also released its updated player rankings, with Grimes, Dotson and McCormack ranking Nos. 8, 18 and 33.

That group puts KU's overall haul at No. 6 in ESPN's team standings, with Duke and Kentucky finishing 1-2 for the fifth consecutive year.

Reply 36 comments from Marius7782 Etnkc Pius Waldman Jeff Foster Matt Tait Plasticjhawk Kerby Rice Dannyboy4hawks Carsonc30 Kurt Eskilson and 10 others

Kansas basketball signee makes major jump in updated Rivals rankings

Oak Park High guard Ochai Agbaji drives to the rim during a recent high school game against Liberty North in the William Jewell Tourney last December. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing recently became one of the hottest unsigned prospects in the country after picking up offers from Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, Agbaji committed to KU during a ceremony at his high school.

Oak Park High guard Ochai Agbaji drives to the rim during a recent high school game against Liberty North in the William Jewell Tourney last December. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing recently became one of the hottest unsigned prospects in the country after picking up offers from Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, Agbaji committed to KU during a ceremony at his high school. by Darryl Woods/810 Varsity

The updated Rivals.com recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018 came out on Monday and one future Jayhawk made a monster jump.

Unranked when he committed to Kansas earlier this year, three-star guard Ochai Agbaji, of Oak Park High in Kansas City, Mo., cracked the Top 150 in Rivals' latest release, moving all the way up to No. 141.

Agbaji, a shooting guard with good size and a versatile skill set that inspired KU coach Bill Self to compare him to former Jayhawk Travis Releford, officially signed with the Jayhawks last week. He became the fourth player in the 2018 class to make his commitment official and sign a letter of intent with KU.

Two of the other three prospects — combo guard Quentin Grimes and center David McCormack — moved up, with Grimes jumping two spots from No. 10 to No. 8 and McCormack moving up one spot to No. 33.

Point guard Devon Dotson was the only future Jayhawk in the 2018 class — for now — who dropped in the updated rankings, falling one spot from No. 17 to No. 18.

Dotson, Grimes and McCormack all played in last month's McDonald's All-American Game, while Grimes and McCormack followed that up by playing in the Nike Hoop Summit game for Team USA.

Grimes also competed in the Jordan Brand Classic.

One other notable ranking for the Jayhawks came in the form of the top remaining player in the class, five-star guard Romeo Langford, staying in the No. 6 spot overall.

Duke, which previously had locked down the top three players in the class — R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson — now has the Nos. 1, 3 and 5, as Williamson dropped two spots from No. 3 to No. 5 and UNC-bound small forward Nassir Little jumped up to No. 2.

Reply 9 comments from Sean_sw Brian Skelly Maxhawk Matt Tait Marius7782 Pius Waldman Sam Allen Phil Leister Ashwingrao Metaljhawk

Could KU freshman Silvio De Sousa’s situation become Billy Preston Part II?

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa comes in for a dunk during practice on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa comes in for a dunk during practice on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

When it comes to the concept of worst case scenarios, the thought is so subjective that it can mean different things to different people.

In the world of sports, when you're talking worst case scenarios, you could be talking about outcomes, injuries, seasons and more.

For the Kansas men's basketball team, which is coming off of its first trip to the Final Four in six years and facing the very real scenario of losing four of its five starters from that team — with one more, in sophomore center Udoka Azubuike, still contemplating his future — the idea of worst case scenario for the 2018-19 season has quickly morphed from wondering who would start and how the team would look, into bringing the FBI's investigation of college basketball into the picture.

To this point, according to a superseding indictment released last week by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, KU's link to the investigation is limited to a couple of unnamed players and their parents/guardians allegedly taking money from one of the defendants named in the indictment.

While the identity of the two KU players referenced in the document is unknown, specific dates, sources at other news outlets and general speculation have pegged Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa as the likely identities of those two unnamed players.

Time will tell if that is accurate, but let's assume for a second, while looking ahead to next season, that it is.

It remains to be seen whether KU (a) will find itself linked further in the ongoing investigation, (b) will face any NCAA penalties as a result of the investigation when all is said and done, whenever that is, or (c) will move forward with any kind of internal investigation that might lead to a better understanding of KU's link to this mess.

And it's far too early to know or even speculate about any of that at this point.

But getting back to the idea of worst case scenarios, let's dive into that topic a little more, as it pertains to the two players mentioned in the indictment.

If one of them is Preston, KU may be in the clear on that one, at least moving forward. For one, the indictment does not allege any wrongdoing by KU. For two, Preston never played an official minute for that Jayhawks. So his involvement, if proven and later revealed, is almost irrelevant for Kansas at this point.

If De Sousa is the other player, that becomes a different story. The biggest reason many believe that the 6-foot-9 freshman from IMG Academy who joined KU midway through the 2017-18 season is one of the two players referenced stems from the date of his commitment — Aug. 30, 2017 — which the indictment uses when introducing a second player.

Because De Sousa did play in several games — 20 to be exact — and because he could be deemed ineligible if the allegations are proven true, De Sousa's future with the Jayhawks becomes a little bit murky.

Again, with the FBI investigation still ongoing, it's unlikely that KU or any other university will face any kind of penalty from the NCAA until there is concrete proof of an infraction or some kind of ruling.

Sources told the Journal-World that the FBI, in no uncertain terms, has told the NCAA to stay far away from its investigation until it is closed.

That leaves the De Sousa situation in a strange spot.

In monitoring Twitter, messages boards and general conversation about De Sousa, it seems clear that most people believe that the worst case scenario for KU — again, as things stand today — would be that De Sousa eventually is ruled ineligible and does not play another game for the Jayhawks.

While that would be a blow to KU's roster, there actually is a worse worst case scenario out there. And it involves De Sousa staying on the roster.

Here's how that would play out.

If the investigation somehow wraps up and the allegations are proven true — or worse — and KU is forced to part ways with De Sousa, the KU program would get his scholarship back — provided KU is not found to be culpable in any way — and Bill Self and company would at least be able to find a replacement for his spot.

Granted, that replacement probably would not be a 6-9, 245-pound physical specimen with serious skills and a pro basketball future, but somebody is better than nobody.

The real worst case scenario for Kansas has the case still ongoing and De Sousa's status in limbo entering the 2018-19 season. And it's not hard to envision that happening. Sure, the 2017-18 season just ended, but the start of next season is just six months away and I have yet to talk to anybody who believes the FBI will be wrapped up in six months.

So what KU could be facing is Billy Preston Part II, a situation where the Kansas coaching staff has to decide whether to play De Sousa and risk using an ineligible player or hold him out, like they did Preston, until the whole thing is cleared up.

That, at least in my eyes, would be the true worst case scenario because it not only would keep a player's status in limbo, but it also would eat up a scholarship and keep a major distraction hovering around the program.

Time will tell how it all plays out. On one hand, KU could be cleared entirely and, on the other, KU could be dragged down a path that has the program wishing for the De Sousa dilemma. And then there's the in between.

Regardless of where KU falls on that spectrum, the guess here is that none of it is going to be resolved quickly.

Reply 95 comments from Carsonc30 Navyhawk Sasquatch2310 Marius7782 Jay Hawkinson Shannon Gustafson Mike Riches Jim Stauffer Brian Babcock David Morrison and 27 others

KU target Romeo Langford says latest FBI news hasn’t hurt Kansas

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

In the wake of the latest news in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, this time involving a mention of players and parents associated with Kansas, there was some movement in the 247 Sports Crystal Ball prediction world regarding unsigned, five-star prospect Romeo Langford.

Langford, the top remaining available prospect in the 2018 recruiting class — ranked No. 5 overall by 247 Sports and No. 6 by Rivals.com — is closing in on making a decision between finalists Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt.

The New Albany, Ind., native, who has become a Hoosier State hero throughout his stellar high school career, revealed earlier this week that he would announce his decision during a ceremony at his high school on April 30.

While the news of KU's potential involvement in the federal investigation led some to switch their prediction from Kansas to Indiana this week, the recruit himself went on record as saying that the investigation was not weighing on his mind.

“They’re still in my top three,” Langford said of Kansas in a Thursday interview with USA Today's Hayes Gardner. “It doesn’t hurt them. It doesn’t make them any better — Well, I don’t know why it would make them better — but it doesn’t hurt them at all.”

Langford told Gardner that he had not been in contact with KU coach Bill Self since news of the indictment tying KU to the investigation was released Tuesday.

Langford, who is in Portland participating at the Nike Hoop Summit, with KU signees Quentin Grimes and David McCormack, among others, also told Gardner that he had not yet made a decision but reiterated that his choice would come from his final three.

As for the approaching end to what has been a wild couple of years on the recruiting trail, Langford said he never was bothered the attention from media members, adoring fans and recruiting analysts who constantly checked in with him about his recruitment during the past several months.

“It’s been enjoyable,” Langford told Gardner. “I feel like me and my family have handled it real well, so it hasn’t been too overwhelming at all.”

Reply 27 comments from Jasontodd Daniel Kennamore Gerry Butler Ryan Zimmerman Reggiecomedy Plasticjhawk Pius Waldman Jmfitz85 Tony Bandle Carsonc30 and 9 others

Prized 2018 recruit Romeo Langford to announce decision April 30

None by Evan Daniels

We've known for a couple of weeks now that New Albany, Ind., shooting guard Romeo Langford planned to make his decision between Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt before the end of the month.

And now we have an exact date.

Sneaking in just under the gun, Langford, according to Evan Daniels, a national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports and FOX Sports 1 Insider, plans to announce his decision on April 30, the final day of the month.

The top remaining unsigned player in the 2018 class, Langford, ranked No. 5 overall by 247 Sports and No. 6 by Rivals.com, has had his list of three finalists for several weeks and appears to be waiting for the end of an All-Star circuit that saw him play in the McDonald's All-American game and Jordan Brand Classic in recent weeks and will see him compete at the Nike Hoop Summit this weekend.

After that, Langford has said he will sit down with his family, get serious about his three finalists and make a final decision.

KU, which currently has the No. 6-ranked class in the 2018 class per Rivals, is believed to still be alive and in the hunt for Langford's services, but it remains to be seen whether Tuesday's news of Kansas being tied up in the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball will have any impact on Langford's decision.

The good news for KU coach Bill Self and company is that, with 19 days remaining before Langford makes his choice known, they will have time to gather more information about the FBI's case and communicate that clearly to Langford and his family.

Playing time at KU certainly does not seem to be an issue for Langford, who would likely be pencilled in as an opening day starter in KU's backcourt and a major player to inherit the minutes vacated by the departure of both Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick, who announced last week that they were leaving KU early to turn pro.

Reply 9 comments from Tony Bandle Shannon Gustafson Robert  Brock Dale Rogers Gerry Butler Barry Weiss Dannyboy4hawks

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