You can cross one top prospect off of the Late Night guest list for Friday night.
Class of 2020 power forward JT Thor, who had reclassified back into his original 2020 class after a brief move to 2021, is no longer making the trip, according to Rivals.com's Corey Evans.
Thor, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound athletic big man from Norcross, Ga., trimmed his list to a final five of Kansas, Georgia, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Kentucky about a month ago and already has made official visits to Georgia and Oklahoma State.
There has been no word yet on whether Thor has removed Kansas from his list of finalist or simply plans to reschedule his visit for a later time. What we do know, though, is he won't be there on Friday night.
While the absence of a Top 50-type player like Thor will always be noticed at any recruiting event by any program, it hardly means KU will be struggling to find prospects to entertain.
More than a dozen other top talents from the 2020, 2021 and 2022 classes — including KU commitment Tre White in the Class of 2022 and top target Bryce Thompson from 2020 — are still scheduled to attend Late Night, which will be headlined by Snoop Dogg and, of course, will feature the first full look at the 2019-20 Jayhawks, who will enter the season ranked among the top two or three teams in the country.
It has yet to arrive in Kansas and might never get here, but if it does KU basketball coach Bill Self believes wild times are ahead for college athletics.
Self for the first time on Wednesday morning publicly shared his thoughts about the new law passed in California that allows college athletes to make money off of their likeness and endorsement deals while still in school.
“It’s wild,” Self said Wednesday on a radio appearance on 610 Sports in Kansas City. “I mean, you’ll have student-athletes doing every barbecue commercial, every dry cleaning commercial, car commercials. You’ll have them doing all this stuff in a way to generate money, which I’m not saying is wrong in theory, I just think it’s going to be the wild, wild west in a way that we’ve never seen before.”
Although there is nothing imminent that suggests such a law is coming to Kansas, the California law, signed by the governor earlier this week and set to go into effect in 2023, has kickstarted the conversation about California’s move could mean for college athletics in general.
One of the most attention-grabbing aspects of the new California law — a Congressman in Ohio recently announced plans to propose a federal law along the same lines — is the potential recruiting advantage it could provide universities and programs in states that follow California’s lead.
KU football coach Les Miles said earlier this week that schools in markets like New York City and Southern California would have more to offer student-athletes from an endorsement perspective. But Miles seemed unfazed by any perceived advantages this might give California and other states that elect to adopt the new rules.
“I think we’ll compete very comfortably,” Miles said. “With the quality of education, the kind of campus we have and the people that are here, I think we’ll compete very well. It’ll be interesting to see.”
Late Night is now just two days away and there appears to be more than ever to keep an eye on this year.
From a rowdy fan base to a deep roster and dozens of skits, one-liners, videos and highlights, this year’s season tipoff figures to be one of the most energetic in recent memory.
Maybe that’s because fans of the program believe today that Kansas basketball is under attack and they’re dying to show their love and support.
Maybe that’s because the Big 12 streak is over, the roster is loaded and this will be the first official opportunity for the team and the fans to put that bad taste from last year’s Auburn loss out of their mouths once and for all.
Regardless of the reasons, this year’s Late Night is loaded with reasons to pay attention and in the lines below I’m going to spell out the five things I’m most looking forward to seeing at Late Night 2019.
I’d say top 6, but I think it goes without saying that having Snoop Dogg in the house is, and should be, at the top of everyone’s list. So there’s no need to waste much time breaking down why Snoop’s presence is a reason to get pumped up.
Whether you’re there to see it or not, Kansas landing a legend like Snoop is a massive deal and should bring all kinds of energy to an already-electric night.
So with Snoop at the top, here’s a look at the rest of the list of things worth looking forward to on Friday night, all of them of the actual basketball variety...
1 - Silvio’s smile
You’ve seen De Sousa on the bench, read about his return to practice and maybe even followed him on Instagram, where he has kept a running diary of how hard he’s been working and how excited he is to play again. But now you’ll actually get to see him run around with his team.
Not since last year’s Late Night has the junior forward been on the Allen Fieldhouse floor for something that mattered. And although Late Night will pale in comparison to the exhibition opener in three weeks or the home opener in early November, seeing Silvio in uniform, feeling the love from the fans and soaking up every minute of it should be a pretty cool moment.
2 – The Jayhawks’ swagger
Remember last year’s Jayhawks, who struggled to stay in the Big 12 race, lacked depth up front and just never really found their flow on offense and defense? Yeah. Those guys are gone. And in their place — even though it’s many of the same faces — is a group of players hungrier than ever to go claim what they believe is rightfully theirs — win after win, a Big 12 title and a spot among the top national title contenders.
Kansas State and Texas Tech may have won the Big 12 regular season title a year ago, but the guess here is that you’d never know that at Late Night. These Jayhawks are as confident and cocky as ever and it won’t be hard to see that on Friday night.
3 – Isaiah Moss’ shot
It’s just a scrimmage, with very little defense, and there’s usually not a whole lot that can be learned about the team or the season based on who plays with whom, how much they’re out there or what kind of stats they record.
I’ll never forget writing about Carlton Bragg Jr.’s big Late Night a few years back as the indicator that he was ready to pick up the offensive slack left behind by Perry Ellis’ departure. And we all know how that worked out.
But individually speaking, you can see some things. And I think watching newcomer Isaiah Moss shoot the ball will be a big one. Moss, the senior grad transfer from Iowa, was brought to Lawrence to do just that — shoot the rock. And it will be fun to get a look at not only how and where he shoots it, but how often he gets his looks.
Because of the makeup of the rest of the roster, his ability to be a serious threat from 3-point range will be a huge storyline for the Jayhawks this season.
4 – Speed, speed and more speed
Again, Late Night is not really about the basketball portion of the evening — even though that’s always fun to watch and it provides a decent glimpse at some of the individuals — but there’s little doubt that this team’s speed will be on display throughout Friday’s scrimmage.
Starting with Devon Dotson at the point and running all the way through the guards, forwards and even a new-and-in-shape Udoka Azubuike, these Jayhawks are going to play fast and get after it on both ends. You’ll see plenty of that at Late Night and the competition on the roster, from top to bottom and position by position, should create some entertaining individual battles and a competitive scrimmage.
Know this while you’re watching though: Whatever speed you see at Late Night, while probably a little sloppy, figures to look even more impressive when the season starts and they’re all running for the same team.
5 – Bill Self
Entering his 17th season in charge of the Jayhawks, Self said recently that he expected to be as motivated as ever to really lock in and coach this team better than he ever has before.
Part of that comes from the outside distractions facing the program, but the other part of it comes from the fact that Self realizes just how good this roster is and how much potential it has.
Remember in No. 2 when I talked about the swagger that you’ll likely see at Late Night? Don’t be surprised if that extends to Self, too. For one, he’s always in rare form at these events, whether that be in his comments, his wardrobe or his willingness to do something off the wall that nobody expects. We've already seen a heck of a show in that video announcing that Snoop was coming to Late Night and there could be more where that came from.
Although he'll still bring his Joe Cool persona to the event, I think you’ll see a pretty fired up Kansas coach who’s willing to make it crystal clear that he and the Jayhawks mean business this season.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas talks California law and KU vs. the NCAA on Rock Chalk Sports Talk with Nick Schwerdt
Despite the looming cloud of NCAA allegations, the elite status of Kansas basketball is safe, according to ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.
Speaking on Rock Chalk Sports Talk with Nick Schwerdt on Monday afternoon, Bilas discussed KU’s current battle with the NCAA over allegations of recruiting improprieties and put forth the idea that even though KU may have a tough time defending its case in the months ahead, the next year will not hurt the KU brand in the big picture.
“Kansas basketball is in no jeopardy whatsoever,” Bilas told Schwerdt. “This is a short-term issue. It may be very painful in the short term, but (in) the long term I don't think there's any real concern."
Bilas said he was not surprised by how strong the NCAA’s case against KU read and added that the whole thing will come down to the simple matter of whether the newly formed Independent Resolution Panel, which will hear and ultimately rule in the case, believes KU’s defense.
“You can argue it both sides, it’s just going to depend on what the decision makers think that are in that room,” Bilas said. “Independent or not, these folks were brought in by the NCAA. This is not what I would advocate, which is take these cases to the American Arbitration Association, where you’ve got complete independence. I don’t think if you’re being paid by the NCAA you’re independent. But at least it’s better than it used to be, so I would expect a fairer shake than (KU) could have gotten. If this were the old system, I would not have given Kansas, or anybody else that was caught up in this FBI thing, much of a chance at all.”
Just after the 1-hour mark in the clip below Bilas discusses KU’s potential legal action after the ruling comes out sometime next year.
Bilas spoke for about 20 minutes total — from the 43-minute mark through 1:04 — and also weighed in on this week’s new law in California that allows college athletes in the state to be compensated for their likeness through endorsement deals and other means.
While the new law, signed by the California governor on Monday, does not go into effect until 2023, Bilas believes that it marks the beginning of some major changes forthcoming for the NCAA.
“This is probably the tipping point, if you will, of action,” he said. “They’re going to have to do something here. This is over. Everybody knows this. This is not amateur sports. This is professional sports. And they’re just calling it amateur. Amateur sports doesn’t make billions of dollars.”
Here is Monday's entire RCST podcast, with Bilas talking for 21 minutes from :43 through 1:04.
Down a guard after the sudden departure of freshman Issac McBride, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self recently said McBride’s departure did nothing to hurt KU’s depth in the backcourt.
According to Self, KU already had a more experienced option behind starting point guard Devon Dotson in place in junior Marcus Garrett.
“He wasn’t a point anyway,” Self said of McBride. “Marcus was probably going to be our backup point regardless.”
Listed by both Rivals.com and 247 Sports as a point guard out of Arkansas’ Baptist Prep, McBride came to KU known more as a scorer and shot maker than anything else.
And had he played for the Jayhawks this season, that’s exactly the role he likely would have had, Self said.
“I get such a kick out of this. (People say), 'Well he's a point guard because he's not very tall.' Or, 'He's a big guy because he's tall,’” explained Self. “Everybody's skill set is different and Mackey's skill set was one in which he was a scorer and not an initiator so much. So I wasn't really looking at him to be that anyway.”
With McBride now gone after citing KU no longer being a “good fit,” the Jayhawks will move forward with Garrett as the immediate backup to Dotson and plenty of capable scorers lining the rest of the roster.
“I think he's very excited about it,” Self said of Garrett and the opportunity to play a little more with the ball in his hands.
Primarily a point guard throughout his high school days, Garrett said last week that he actually missed playing the position since coming to Kansas.
“That's just what I played for 18 years of my life,” he said.
During his time as a Jayhawk, Garrett has played more at the 4 position than the point, with a lack of depth to KU’s front court because of injuries and eligibility issues forcing him into action down low.
But Garrett said last Thursday, after the Jayhawks’ first official practice of the 2019-20 season that playing the 4 this season was no longer in the plans. It’s strictly 1 through 3 for the versatile junior from Dallas.
“I think so,” he said when asked if point guard duties would be a bigger part of his role this season than in the past. “I mean, if coach decides to move me there and have me play backup point guard.”
As for McBride’s future, the 6-foot, 180-pound scoring guard visited Arkansas over the weekend in search of a place to transfer.
Arkansas, like Kansas does now with McBride gone, has one scholarship left to hand out in the 2019 class.
Interestingly enough, Arkansas also has upcoming visits set with a handful of Kansas targets in the 2020 class — guard/forward Kyree Walker, point guard KK Robinson and shooting guard Moses Moody.
There has been no word yet on whether the Jayhawks will look to fill the scholarship made available by McBride’s departure, but with a loaded roster and stability at the point, it seems likely that the Jayhawks will head into October with the idea of hanging on to it.
One interesting option could be Walker, who can play some point and has dabbled with the idea of reclassifying into the 2019 class and joining his chosen college team after the first semester.
When it comes to covering the Kansas basketball program, there are few things more fun than taking a look at all of the different lineups available to KU coach Bill Self before another season of Jayhawk basketball.
Most years, because of the depth and talent lining the Kansas locker room, this exercise is full of options and new ways to build a half dozen different lineups.
And this year is certainly no exception. In fact, this year might feature the most flexible roster in recent memory.
“You know, we could be really big,” Self recently to the Journal-World. “We could play bully ball, or I think that we could put a team on the court that’s small enough that you could play kind of the way we played the last couple years.”
And while we’ll take a look at a few of those options in a minute, the one thing that jumps out to me that’s even more impressive than Self’s ability to create different lineups is how much versatility he has with plugging several of his players into different positions.
That, by itself, unlocks the opportunity to turn two or three different lineup options into eight or nine.
The biggest trait that creates that reality is length. And although newcomers like Tristan Enaruna, Jalen Wilson and Christian Braun all bring good length — and, therefore versatility — to the program, Self said targeting length on the recruiting trail was not exactly his primary focus.
“We were thinking shooting as much as anything,” Self said. “But length is obviously a factor, too. I think we were in a mode to get the best players that we possibly could at that point in time. But the reality of it is, when you look at the best players out there, obviously length is a factor in getting the best.
“Even though we didn’t say, ‘We have to have length,’ that was one of the things we got.”
Because of that, and because the Jayhawks have so much depth at multiple positions this season, the combinations of lineup possibilities are virtually endless.
With the exception of point guard (for the most part) and center (because no one in college basketball brings what Udoka Azubuike brings to the floor), the Jayhawks can plug and play all kinds of players at the three other positions, while also having options at the point and even at center depending on what kinds of looks they want to give opponents.
Here’s a quick glance at some of my favorite potential lineups the 2019-20 Jayhawks could — could — use at different points during the upcoming season.
PG – Devon Dotson
SG – Ochai Agbaji
3G – Marcus Garrett
PF – Silvio De Sousa
C – Udoka Azubuike
You’re going to have a hard time talking me out of believing this is KU’s best five to open the season. Experience, size, athleticism and two anchors, in Dotson at point and Azubuike at center, are the reason many have KU ranked among the top two or three teams in the country heading into 2019-20.
PG – Marcus Garrett
SG – Isaiah Moss
SF – Jalen Wilson
PF – Mitch Lightfoot
C – David McCormack
You’ve heard the chatter before, about how KU’s second five could compete for a spot in the top half of the Big 12. And while that’s not always true, it certainly appears to be this season. In Lightfoot and McCormack, you’ve got experienced players who have started multiple games at KU in their careers. Add to that the veteran presence provided by Moss and Garrett and the scoring and athleticism of Wilson and you’re looking at a pretty stout lineup.
PG – Marcus Garrett
SG – Jalen Wilson
3G – Silvio De Sousa
PF – David McCormack
C – Udoka Azubuike
Oh, what I would give to see De Sousa, McCormack and Azubuike on the floor together even just a few times this season. It’s going to take a monster opponent — which I’m not sure actually exists — and even then it might not be in KU’s best interest to roll this way exactly. But putting that trio out there with Dotson and Agbaji could be fun. Going with Garrett, who can play point, and Wilson, a versatile wing player, merely maximizes KU’s size at each spot in a realistic way.
PG – Devon Dotson
SG – Ochai Agbaji
3G – Isaiah Moss
PF – Marcus Garrett
C – Silvio De Sousa
What’s the opposite of having those three monsters on the floor like in the lineup before? Going small. Even KU’s “small” lineup isn’t actually that small. It just takes their biggest player off the floor and plugs Garrett into the 4, where he has played in the past and where Josh Jackson and Svi Mykhailiuk before him each had success as well. But there’s nothing small about Agbaji and Moss. Putting them out there together, though, gives KU its best shooting lineup, and that tends to be called a small ball look by some people.
PG – Marcus Garrett
SG – Isaiah Moss
3G – Mitch Lightfoot
PF – Silvio De Sousa
C – Udoka Azubuike
The elder statesmen of the roster make a pretty intriguing mix. With Garrett, Moss and Lightfoot in the 1 through 3 spots, you’re giving up some ball handling and athleticism. So we probably won’t see this at all this season. But if you’re looking to get the most experienced players on the floor together at the same time, this is your group.
Run Like The Wind
PG – Devon Dotson
SG – Ochai Agbaji
3G – Tristan Enaruna
PF – Marcus Garrett
C – Jalen Wilson
This one’s fun. No one’s ever going to call Wilson a center, but I dare you to tell him he can’t play there — especially in a lineup like this built to fly up and down the floor, making traditional position assignments irrelevant. Dotson, Agbaji, Enaruna and Garrett can all get up and down the floor with him and, in this lineup, you wouldn’t have to worry much about who was handling the ball or where he had it. In fact, as fast as this group could be, you might be looking at no more than two or three dribbles per player per trip down the floor. Like I said, fun.
PG – Devon Dotson
SG – Ochai Agbaji
3G – Isaiah Moss
PF – Christian Braun
C – Jalen Wilson
The one subtle thing that jumped out at me during Dotson’s freshman season was how good of a 3-point shooter he was when he had time to catch, square, load and shoot. So plug him into the lineup with the best 3-point shooters and see how things go. Freshman Braun, who, at 6-7, absolutely can play the 4 if needed, would definitely be in this lineup. His stroke is so smooth, and he has range and often finds nothing but net with his jumper. Wilson’s another guy capable of getting hot from anywhere, and we already know that Moss was brought in for his 3-point shooting ability and that Agbaji has been working to improve his already-solid jumper all offseason. Let it fly with this group.
One of the most noticeable and immediate potential pitfalls from the NCAA’s case against the Kansas men’s basketball program figures to come on the recruiting trail.
With the stage set for a hefty battle between Kansas and the NCAA in the coming months following the delivery of Monday’s Notice of Allegations to Lawrence, KU coach Bill Self on Thursday shared his thoughts on the status of KU’s recruiting efforts.
“To be honest with you, I’ve been concerned about recruiting challenges the last 27 years I’ve been a head coach,” Self said. “I mean every place has its own challenges. Now, this gives us some unique challenges that also we can somehow look at as opportunities, too. But, sure, sure; that’s always going to be an issue.”
Although he did not go into detail about what, if anything, might have to change, those opportunities Self spoke of may lie in the program turning some of its attention to the under-the-radar prospects instead of the five-star, Top 10 types that typically draw the attention of other blue blood programs in the sport on an annual basis.
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham and Ochai Agbaji, to name just a few, all were a bit overlooked during their recruitments and all three wound up doing big things at Kansas. KU’s history has other players cut from that same mold as do programs around the country.
“In the past, when you’ve gone against Kentucky and Carolina and Duke and Michigan State or UCLA or whoever to get the players that we recruited, they’re all challenges,” Self said.
With KU’s Late Night in the Phog now just a week away and the prospect visit list packed full yet again, the Journal-World on Tuesday night briefly caught up with class of 2022 forward Tre White (6-6, 200, San Antonio’s Cornerstone High), the lone player currently committed in any of KU’s future classes.
White, who will attend Late Night on an unofficial visit, said he has faith in the Kansas coaching staff to find its way through the current situation and the Top 10 prospect, per 247 Sports, did not seem worried about the NCAA’s case impacting his decision to become a Jayhawk.
But there’s little doubt that the rest of the college basketball world will do everything it can to use the Jayhawks’ current troubles against them in recruiting battles for some of the top talent in 2020, 2021 and beyond.
“The reality is that being brought up in the trial has already been a thorn in the side of Kansas recruiting,” wrote Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi earlier this week. “And it stands to reason that the news of an actual investigation will only make recruiting, which had already become tougher during the FBI investigation, even more difficult for the Jayhawks.”
Bossi pointed out that there’s more to KU’s recruiting concerns than rival coaches encouraging prospects to think twice about signing with the Jayhawks.
“The other difficult issue for Kansas is how long investigations like this can take to reach a conclusion,” Bossi wrote. “It’s very possible that any decisions about innocence or guilt or possible penalties could take at least a year or even longer. If that happens, does it spill into recruiting for 2021 and beyond?”
Even while taking an honest look at the realities and challenges suddenly facing his program, Self remained upbeat about the chances of his staff continuing to land quality basketball players well into the future.
“Certainly we’ve got our hands full with this,” he said. “But we’ll end up, I think, having a very good recruiting class.”
Although KU’s 2020 class does not currently include any commitments, decision day for some of the top prospects and targets is nearing and the Nov. 13-20 early signing period is now just six weeks away.
On Thursday afternoon, three days after the University of Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program received a one-year postseason ban and four years probation for its own recruiting improprieties.
So what can KU fans learn from the Georgia Tech punishment about the Jayhawks’ situation, which is still months from being known or wrapped up?
Not a lot, says Josephine Potuto, a University of Nebraska College of Law professor and former chair of the NCAA committee on infractions.
“The (Committee on Infractions) bases its decision on penalties based on NCAA bylaws that provide general parameters and on the facts and circumstances of each particular case,” Potuto told the Journal-World via email Thursday afternoon. “These vary a great deal case to case, making comparisons difficult. To the extent that the COI believes that cases are similar in scope, (with) individuals found to be involved, and the type, nature, and number of violations, the COI strives to provide consistency in penalties.”
As Potuto points out, the specifics of the Kansas and Georgia Tech cases differ quite a bit but are, at their core, similar. Both are rooted in impermissible benefits and involve head coaches, assistant coaches and third parties connected to the programs.
Georgia Tech’s punishment — some of which was self-reported — included the postseason ban, the probation, a reduction in scholarships and fines and came from two Level 1 charges by the NCAA.
As outlined in the NOA, Kansas is facing three Level 1 penalties along with a lack of institutional control tag and a coach’s responsibility charge.
Kansas has 90 days to respond to the NOA and the NCAA then has 60 days to answer that before a hearing is scheduled to reach a final decision.
Most experts agree that the earliest a conclusion can be reached would be late spring or early summer next year.
Five-star Class of 2020 point guard Caleb Love on Wednesday trimmed his list of finalists to two — Missouri and North Carolina — and called off scheduled visits to Kansas and Louisville.
Evan Daniels, of 247 Sports, first reported the news and it should not come as a surprise to Kansas fans.
While Love was scheduled to visit KU the weekend of Oct. 11 — rescheduled from earlier this month because of a schedule conflict with USA Basketball — everyone I talked to in recruiting circles in recent weeks seemed to think there was next to no chance that the 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard from Christian Brothers College High in St. Louis was coming to Kansas.
The No. 21-ranked prospect in the Rivals.com 2020 class has long been tied to Missouri, both because of the Tigers’ proximity to his hometown and his relationship with MU coach Cuonzo Martin. But it appears his visit to North Carolina last weekend really got things moving toward a final decision.
As of Sept. 17, in an interview with Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi, Love said he expected things to become clearer after he took “all of these visits.” At that time, the expectation was that he would visit all four of his finalists (he had already made an unofficial visit to KU this summer) and then make a decision, perhaps as soon as the November signing period.
But then the trip to UNC happened and Love cancelled his visits to KU and Louisville and trimmed his list to a final two. You’d have to be blind not to see how good that looks for the Tar Heels.
There will be some speculation that Love made the decision to cut Kansas in reaction to this week’s Notice of Allegations news, but I don’t think that’s the case here. I think this was coming the minute he made the trip to Carolina and I’d be surprised if the five-star point guard does not end up playing for Roy Williams next season.
Wrote Daniels of Love’s skill set: “Love can play either guard spot and shows significant potential on the defensive end. A score-first point guard, he has the ability to put his team on his back as a bucket getter or a facilitator. Right now, he is more comfortable taking shots than setting up teammates, but his passing has improved and he is doing a better job of running a team. Ultimately, it comes down to Love’s ability to run a team at the college level and beyond, but there is no doubt he can score.”
Class of 2022 small forward and Kansas commitment, Tre White, received a visit from KU assistant coach Jerrance Howard on Tuesday, one day after the program received a highly public notice of allegations from the NCAA.
White, who currently is the lone prospect committed to KU in future classes, posted a photo of Howard’s visit to his Instagram account with the caption “Family showing love,” written below a picture of White and Howard in the gym.
Reached by the Journal-World on Tuesday night, White said the visit from Howard “meant a lot” and he added that he was still solidly committed to Kansas.
“I tried not to listen to everything,” White told the Journal-World of the reaction to Monday’s news. “But it’s all good, man. I love Kansas. It’s a dream. My relationship with the coaches is crazy. It really is a family. I said family on Instagram, but it really is family. I don’t know how to explain it, but I knew everything was all right.”
White, who recently jumped into the No. 10 slot in the updated 247 Sports rankings for the Class of 2022, also revealed Tuesday night that he had made plans to make an unofficial visit to KU for Late Night in the Phog next Friday.
“I want to go,” White said with growing enthusiasm. “I’m going. I’ve always wanted to go.”
One reason for his desire to see KU’s season tip-off extravaganza in person is the recommendation of a former high school teammate who nearly came to KU himself.
“R.J. Hampton’s like a big brother to me,” said White of the former five-star prospect who chose a pro contract in New Zealand over Kansas and college earlier this year. “He texts me every day, making sure I’m in the gym and eating right, and he said I’ve got to go to that if I ever get the chance. He said that about a year ago and it’s finally right around the corner.”
With recruiting still in a live period, White said his team’s preseason conditioning sessions were drawing about five college coaches per day to watch the various prospects on White’s Cornerstone High squad in San Antonio. He also said none of the coaches had really spoken to him.
The young and still-growing forward, who said he recently measured 6-foot-6, 200 pounds and also is a straight-A student, said he had started to realized more and more in the months since his commitment in June just how big his commitment to KU was to others.
“It still hasn’t sunk in all the way, but it’s starting to,” he said. “I’m starting to grow a little bit, with the people and everything. I’m getting a lot more questions and a lot more fans so it’s starting to sink in.”