Class of 2018 point guard Devon Dotson, the No. 17-ranked player in the country according to Rivals.com, appears to be down to two finalists in his recruitment — Kansas and Maryland.
And an announcement seems to be forthcoming.
So says Dotson’s father, Dana Dotson, who told Russ Wood, of the Rivals.com site Terrapin Sports Report, that his son’s decision would be revealed, “Pretty soon. Like in a week or so.”
That was Monday, so the smart money is on Dotson making some kind of announcement next week. While it remains to be seen which program he picks, it’s a safe assumption that it will be either KU or Maryland.
Florida was the other program with the best chance at landing Dotson, but the Gators' Monday commitment from five-star point guard Andrew Nembhard is believed to have closed the book on the idea of Dotson becoming a Gator, leaving KU and Maryland as the clear leaders.
Dotson has visited both programs — Kansas in late August and Maryland last weekend — and he also has hosted coaches from each program for in-home visits.
If you’re the type that likes to dive into the reaction from each visit to see if that will predict what decision will be made, you might be inclined to say advantage Kansas.
When asked after the visit to Lawrence how things went, Dotson’s father used the word “great” when recapping the visit for recruiting analysts. When asked the same question by Wood about last week’s visit to Maryland, Dotson’s father said the visit was “good.”
Those are just words. And it’s hardly a safe bet to base any kind of prediction off of a single word. But there’s little denying that most people believe that great is better than good.
Either way, it was information the Dotson family was in search of during these visits. Specifically, how each program saw the 6-foot-1, 180-pound, five-star point guard from Charlotte fitting into their roster next year.
At Kansas, the feedback was favorable, as Dotson’s father told him the coaches continually emphasized that they could see Dotson operating as the team’s point guard right away.
At Maryland, which features sophomore point guard Anthony Cowan already in place, the focus was on how the Terps’ roster would look a year from now.
“The one thing we did ask for on the way out is just their projected depth chart,” Dotson’s father told Wood. “We wanted to see, ‘Who do you really expect to be there next year, who do you really expect to be there sophomore year?’ They have a couple of guys that are pretty talented and have a shot of going to the NBA. We do it ourselves, but we can’t do it from a coach’s point (of view).”
That’s where help from the coaches comes in and they often have to answer the same questions more than once just to reassure players and their families that what they remember or are thinking is correct.
While Maryland gained an advantage in hosting Dotson most recently, it’s worth noting that during the past two weeks alone, KU coaches Bill Self, Norm Roberts and Jerrance Howard all have made their way to Charlotte to check in on Dotson.
With the visits behind them and all of the information and answers in front of them, it seems as if it now is time for the Dotson family to wade through it all and come to a conclusion about which school is best for them.
For what it’s worth, the 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictions have Kansas listed as the heavy favorite for Dotson, at 82 percent.
If you’re the type that likes Pardon The Interruption, First Take or any of those other sports talk shows on television and you’re a fan of Kansas basketball, you might have to add a new one to your DVR or play list.
Between Two Hoops with Devonte’ Graham made its debut during last Saturday’s Late Night in the Phog festivities and it received glowing reviews from the 16,000-plus who watched the first episode.
The final ratings numbers for Graham’s newest project are not in yet, but it’s safe to assume that the Lawrence/Kansas City metro market delivered by far the best marks.
For those of you who missed it, here’s a quick rundown of what the show’s about.
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham, the team’s point guard who is poised for a monster season after deciding to return for his final year in Lawrence, sits between two plastic Little Tikes basketball hoops and welcomes guests onto his show.
At Late Night, Graham’s guests were four members of the KU coaching staff — Jerrance Howard, Norm Roberts, Kurtis Townsend and, of course, Bill Self.
Each segment ended with the coaches telling Graham they’d see him at practice and that he better bring his running shoes, a sure sign that they were disgusted by Graham’s questions and overall ability as a talk show host.
In fact, in one of his final shots, Self even acknowledged that thought. After Graham asked his head coach, “Do you ever get tired of making these other coaches look bad,” Self said simpy: “That’s a dumb question. I’m really proud that you’re a better basketball player than you are an interviewer.”
And with that, Self stormed out of the interview and left Graham sitting all alone.
That was a common ending to all of the segments and merely added to the comedy value of each. Although it was clear that these were skits, Graham’s interviews were so hillariously awkward to watch that you could see anyone storming out just to make it stop.
Self’s opening was just as good as his exit. As Graham welcomed Self to the show, the point guard said simply, “It’s really good to see you, coach,” in a sort of awkward and forced tone. Disgusted, Self responded, “Really? We just had boot camp 30 minutes ago.”
Another highlight was when Graham asked Townsend what kept him around Kansas as an assistant coach for the past 14 season instead of trying to become a head coach or checking out some other culture.
Townsend’s response: “I’d say working for Coach Self, coaching great players like you and the Warriors job hasn’t opened yet.”
Between Two Hoops — Kurtis Townsend
Between Two Hoops — Jerrance Howard
Between Two Hoops — Norm Roberts
Between Two Hoops — Bill Self
With Adidas being dragged into the FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting practices from the outset and reports of a subpoena connected to Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League surfacing following further investigation on Wednesday, it seems as if the biggest players in the shoe game that have run AAU basketball during recent years have found themselves smack dab in the middle of what many believe could be the biggest scandal in college sports history.
Add to that the fact that Under Armour, the third face on the Mt. Rushmore of modern shoe and apparel companies, is involved, at least in name, through its connection to Auburn — one of six schools named in the initial findings — and you’re looking at an investigation that, in one way or another, could potentially impact nearly every Power 5 school in the country and many mid-major programs, as well.
At the very least, it seems like major changes are ahead for college basketball, the shoe companies that help fund it and recruiting in general.
With that in mind, here’s a quick glance at the shoe affiliations in the Big 12 Conference, where Kansas is king, both on the court — as shown by its 13 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles — and in the apparel game, with its recently agreed upon contract extension with Adidas for 14 years and $191 million representing the fourth largest shoe and apparel deal in the NCAA, according to ESPN Business Reporter Darren Rovell.
While employees at both Adidas and Nike have been directly linked to the ongoing investigation, it’s worth noting that Rovell also reported on Wednesday that sources close to the FBI’s NCAA bribery scandal told him that no Under Armour executives had been subpoenaed.
To this point, Nike’s EYBL has not been named in the case, but a former employee who ran it, Merl Code, is one of the defendants. Code left Nike for Adidas roughly three years ago and, as outlined in the FBI’s findings, is alleged to have assisted James Gatto, Adidas’ global marketing director, in paying players for their loyalty to Adidas.
In addition, KU officials have said that Gatto had nothing to do with the negotiations of KU's recent extension with Adidas and that the university has not received any inquiries from federal investigators.
While we’re taking a look at which schools sit where, it seems like as good a time as any to remind you of the affiliations within the Big 12 Conference, where all but two of the conference’s 10 members are in partnerships with Nike.
Baylor — Nike; $3.5 million annually (years of contract not available)
Iowa State — Nike; $1.47 million annually through 2024
Kansas — Adidas; $13.64 million annually through 2031
Kansas State — Nike; $1.9 million annually through 2021
Oklahoma — Nike; $3.39 million annually through 2018
Oklahoma State — Nike; $4.37 million annually through 2025
TCU — Nike; $2.9 million annually (years of contract not available)
Texas — Nike; $16.67 million annually through 2031
Texas Tech — Under Armour; $2.55 million annually through 2020
West Virginia — Nike; $4.35 million annually through 2026
• Source for contract information: July 12, 2016 article on Forbes.com
Gregg Doyel, sports columnist for the Indianapolis Star, reported on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that five-star guard Romeo Langford, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, from New Albany, Indiana, may be strongly leaning toward committing to Kansas.
In a series of Tweets, Doyel wrote: “Been talking to college coaches all day, and several believe (Indiana) is in final 2 for Romeo Langford (with Kansas). I don't like it because I want this kid in my state, but I’ve got coaches saying Romeo to Kansas is almost done. IU in it, but still... KU.”
And Tim Langford, the father of the No. 6-ranked player in the 2018 class, per Rivals.com, told Matt Scott of TheShiver.com that his son had scheduled an official visit to Kansas for Oct. 28.
Langford, already has visited Vanderbilt and also has visits scheduled to North Carolina (Oct. 13) and Indiana (Oct. 21) before checking out Kansas. If the five-star pure scorer were to choose to take his fifth and final visit, it likely would be with one of the three remaining schools that cracked his final seven — Louisville, Kentucky and UCLA.
KU assistant Jerrance Howard and head coach Bill Self were in Indiana on Monday night for an in-home visit with Langford and his family.
The five-star guard averaged 29 points per game last season and led New Albany High to a 25-4 record. He was named an Indiana Junior All-Star and first-team All-State by the Associated Press.
After a year of waiting and watching and four exhibition games in Italy to whet his appetite, Kansas guard Malik Newman is finally ready to get back to college basketball.
The Mississippi State transfer and Jackson, Miss., native came to Kansas after his freshman season with the Bulldogs during which he averaged 11.3 points per game while playing in all 29 games that season and making 21 starts.
Despite the solid numbers and key role, Newman left MSU in search of a better fit. He found it in Kansas, a program which he strongly considered while being recruited out of high school and has been quietly putting in work and waiting for his big return ever since.
Before moving into what we can expect from Newman during his first season as a Jayhawk, let’s take one last look back at what he accomplished as a freshman at Mississippi State during the 2015-16 season.
• Named SEC freshman of the week in late December.
• Scored a career-high 25 points against Ole Miss in late January.
• During that Ole Miss explosion, Newman hit seven 3-pointers, one shy of tying the MSU single game record.
• Reached double digits in scoring 16 times and topped 20 points twice.
• His 329 points that season marked the 10th most by a freshman in school history and his 61 3-pointers were the second most all-time for an MSU freshman. For some perspective, last season, as a KU junior, Svi Mykhailiuk scored 351 points and dropped in 70 3-pointers.
With all of that in mind, here’s what we can expect from Newman during the 2017-18 season:
He Will: Lead the Jayhawks in scoring, with his averaging finishing between 17-20 points per game.
Quick, tough and hungry. Those are the three words that first come to mind when thinking about KU guard Malik Newman and all three should factor into his ability to put points on the board during the upcoming season.
As his final game in Italy showed, Newman can get red hot in a hurry and score in bunches.
In that one, the third-year sophomore went off for 32 points — 25 in the first half — on 13-of-17 shooting and a 6-of-8 clip from 3-point range.
The competition wasn’t all that impressive, but Newman’s game was. And he did not operate solely as a jump shooter. He scored in transition. He hit the offensive glass. He flashed his pull-up game. And that versatility and his ability to score in a variety of ways is why so many people believe Newman can and will lead Kansas in scoring this year.
Add to his own skills the fact that he will be surrounded and supported by some big time talent, inside and out, and it’s easy to see how and why Newman could be in for a big season during his first year with the Jayhawks.
He Won’t: Be the same type of player as Frank Mason III but that won’t keep Kansas from being in the conversation for the nation’s most dynamic one-two punch in the backcourt.
One of the coolest things about Kansas plugging Newman in to “replace” Mason this season is just how different the two players are.
Sure Newman is capable of picking up the scoring slack that Mason’s graduation has left for this team. But that does not mean he will do it in the same way.
A much more naturally gifted shooter than Mason, with a smoother stroke and quicker release, Newman will catch defenders sleeping and get shots off even if they’re right in his face.
Mason also often had defenders right in his face, but that more often came when he initiated the action and drove right to their chests on his way to the rim. Newman won’t do as much of that, but, alongside senior Devonte’ Graham, should be able to fly up and down the floor, making this Kansas backcourt just as exciting to watch even if it’s for different reasons.
He Might: Leave for the NBA after the 2017-18 season.
Remember when Newman first announced he was coming to Kansas how people said he could come to KU, sit out a year and still leave for the NBA without ever playing a minute for the Jayhawks?
Well, we now know that won’t be the case and, in all reality, it never was on the table.
However, there was plenty of talk when Newman was being recruited out of high school about him being a one-and-done player. Now, here we are three years later and, thanks to his transfer year, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard is set to enter his third season of college basketball.
With the skills, talent, good guard size and athleticism that Newman possesses, there’s no doubt that the NBA scouts already have taken notice.
But if he’s able to add to that a big year at a big program like Kansas, it will almost certainly seal his fate as a player destined to leave early for the NBA.
Like many in his position, the whole thing figures to come down to what Newman is hearing from the NBA. If told he’s a sure-fire first-round pick, he’s probably gone. But if he’s on the fringe, much like Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk were last season, he could come back for a second year at Kansas.
Newman seems like a smart dude with a realistic view of the world. And his family looks at things in a similar way. They’ll know if the time is right. And if he leads the Jayhawks in scoring and is a key part of a deep NCAA Tournament run, it absolutely could be right.
He Will, He Won't, He Might 2017:
Part I: • Devonte' Graham
Part II: • Lagerald Vick
Part III: • Svi Mykhailiuk
With Late Night in the Phog now just five days away, the anticipation and preparation for the annual season tip-off event are beginning to reach new levels.
While the week leading up to Late Night typically drags for Kansas fans who have been counting down the days since the end of the previous season, it also brings with it a flood of memories from Late Nights past.
While those memories include celebrity appearances, on-court highlights and even memorable skits, musical guests and wild entrances, Kansas coach Bill Self said a couple of times this week that what the program has in store for this year’s event could rival anything that has come before it.
“We’ve got something planned this year that’ll have the line as long as it’s been to get in,” Self said during a television interview with Spectrum Sports, before adding on Rock Chalk Sports Talk on KLWN, “We’re gonna have well-known, live entertainment and young people will absolutely love it.”
Who, or perhaps what, that is remains to be seen (Self said he thought an announcement from KU was planned for Tuesday), but there is absolutely no uncertainty about the importance of Late Night to this program, its fans or the Jayhawks themselves.
“Our players love it,” Self told Spectrum. “There’s one thing about this place, and it’s this way at a lot of places, but there’s a lot of times where players, during the grind, they’re going, ‘Why are we doing this?’ We’re going through boot camp now and it ain’t easy. ‘Why are we doing this, why are we doing this?’ And then the second Late Night hits, ‘Ohhh, now I understand why we’re doing it.’ There’s a price to pay to be treated like that. And our guys certainly appreciate that.”
The other major piece of Late Night that goes beyond the current team or fun with the fans is the recruiting aspect, which, for the future of the program, is absolutely as important as any other part of the opening-night extravaganza.
Nearly two dozen prospects from multiple recruiting classes will be at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday — most of them as unofficial visitors — to get a feel for one of the biggest basketball nights in Lawrence each year.
“It’s a great tip-off to our season,” Self said on Rock Chalk Sports Talk. “And then, of course, from a recruiting perspective, it never hurts to have 16,000 in there watching the guys. So I’m excited to get going.”
For those of you who are right there with him and need something to help kill time while you count down the final hours, here’s a quick and brief look back at some of the highlights from every year of Late Night since the beginning with Larry Brown back in 1985.
Stay in touch with KUsports.com throughout the week for much more on this year's Late Night in the Phog.
While the immediate reaction to and impact from Kansas basketball’s ability to land Class of 2018 big man David McCormack took the minds of most people to the KU front court and just how loaded the forward/center position will/could be during the 2018-19 season, there was an overlooked aspect of McCormack’s Sunday evening announcement that might wind up being just as big for the Jayhawks.
With only McCormack and small forward Zion Williamson down as official visitors for Saturday’s annual Late Night in the Phog extravaganza, the Jayhawks already were in a position to spend a good chunk of their time and attention on Williamson, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2018 class according to the 247Sports rankings.
But now, with McCormack already committed, the Jayhawks — and McCormack, for that matter — can spend the overwhelming majority of their time giving their undivided attention to Williamson. And that can only help the five-star small forward’s feelings toward KU.
Kansas currently leads all schools in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions at 43 percent for the 6-foot-7, 230-pound athlete from Spartanburg, S.C. Fellow blue bloods Kentucky (29), Duke (14) and North Carolina (7) round out the site’s top four predictions and Williamson plans to visit at least three of the four by the time the recruiting process is over.
He was scheduled to visit Kentucky last weekend but had to postpone because of a family matter, according to Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi.
While that might seem like good news for Kansas on the surface, a possible reschedule date falls in line with UK’s version of Late Night, which obviously would compete favorably with what KU can offer Williamson this weekend.
The elite prospect, who also has visited South Carolina and Clemson unofficially, has a visit to Duke scheduled for Oct. 22 and UCLA for Oct. 27. It’s not yet known if he’ll take his fifth and final official visit.
The goal for Kansas, of course, will be to not let Williamson get to that point by wowing him so much during his visit to Lawrence this weekend. Late Night, and the overwhelming love from the fans, the insane production and hype that goes along with all of it, have been known to make quite an impression on recruits in the past.
And the presence of McCormack, who, no doubt, will be riding high after his commitment to Kansas, certainly won’t hurt KU’s pursuit of Williamson.
In fact, McCormack, in the not-too-distant past, has talked about playing with Williamson in college.
Asked with whom he would like to play with most in the 2018 class during a quick August video interview by Max Holm of itsovertime.com, McCormack said simply, “Probably going to have to say my boy Zion. Zion’s definitely one.”
Wrote Holm of the idea of the two physical athletes' playing on the same team next year: “Just think about Zion and David for a second. The size and pure power of them would be untouchable. That’s a pairing that would dominate almost anyone. Only question is, is Zion down?”
That very question figures to come up often this weekend, as both McCormack and the KU coaching staff figure to bring up the topic a time or two throughout Williamson’s visit, be it in sincere fashion or more of a lighthearted, joking manner.
Either way, their ability to tag-team Williamson during his official visit during one of the biggest basketball weekends of the year can only help KU’s chances of adding the skilled playmaker to a 2018 recruiting class that’s already off to a terrific start.
The Kansas men's basketball program picked up another big time commitment in the Class of 2018 on Sunday evening when four-star center David McCormack (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) chose the Jayhawks.
McCormack officially announced his decision during a live appearance on a local news broadcast in Virginia. With UCLA, NC State and Duke hats sitting on the table in front him, McCormack went for the shock-the-world approach by unbuttoning his dress shirt to reveal a Kansas basketball T-Shirt when it came time to make his pick.
"Kids dream of (this moment) all their childhood," McCormack said on WAVY 10's live broadcast. "I've been waiting on this moment, I've been blessed to be in this moment. I'm excited, kind of nervous and looking forward to a bright future."
With that, the elite center began to unbutton his shirt and said simply, "Next year, I decided I will attend Kansas University."
Asked why he chose KU, McCormack pointed to KU's coaching staff and strong tradition.
"Coach (Bill) Self is an amazing coach. He's great as far as player development, relationships, he's a winning coach, there's a lot of history behind Kansas... (I'm) looking forward to making more championships and more memories at Kansas."
McCormack also gave KU assistant coach Jerrance Howard some serious credit for helping him reach Sunday's decision.
"He was a great guy," McCormack said of Howard. "He made it an easy decision. He was very trustworthy."
McCormack, who made an unofficial visit to KU a month ago and has scheduled an official visit to Lawrence for next weekend's Late Night in the Phog, chose KU over finalists Duke, NC State, Oklahoma State, Xavier and UCLA.
McCormack joins five-star forward Silvio De Sousa (6-9, 245) in representing the starting point for KU's 2018 recruiting class, a group that Kansas coach Bill Self repeatedly has said could be one of the most important he has had at KU given the potential for as many as five or six players from the 2017-18 roster to leave KU after the upcoming season.
McCormack is the No. 26-ranked player in the 2018 class, according to 247 Sports and the No. 2-ranked center, who recruiting guru Jerry Meyer called "a beast down low."
Stay tuned for much more on McCormack's commitment.