According to reports from multiple recruiting outlets including JayhawkSlant.com and Tipton Edits, ESPN five-star Class of 2022 wing Gradey Dick is planning to announce his college decision sometime next week.
A 6-foot-7, 200-pound do-everything player from Wichita, Dick is in his first season at Sunrise Christian Academy after enjoying a standout couple of seasons at Wichita Collegiate.
The Kansas native is deciding between Alabama, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Florida, Texas Tech and Purdue. He trimmed his list to a final eight in late December.
Dick is averaging 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game for Sunrise so far this season.
The Jayhawks appear to be in good shape with Dick, who has attended several KU games with his parents throughout the past few years on unofficial visits.
In addition, two of Dick’s siblings are KU graduates and another sibling is currently enrolled at KU. Beyond that, he is teammates with KU signee Zach Clemence, a four-star Sunrise Christian forward who signed with the Jayhawks last November.
Kansas assistant Norm Roberts and head coach Bill Self have been the lead recruiters for Dick, who received a scholarship offer from KU the summer before his sophomore year of high school.
He transferred to Sunrise before his junior season to get greater exposure and face tougher competition, and Luke Barnwell’s program has delivered exactly that. Earlier this month, Dick was a part of Sunrise’s victory over No. 1-ranked Montverde Academy on Montverde’s home floor. That game featured 13 nationally ranked prospects.
ESPN.com has Dick ranked No. 21 overall in the Class of 2022. He also is ranked as the ninth best small forward in the country by Rivals.com at No. 33 overall and as the nation’s eighth best small forward and at No. 43 overall by 247 Sports.
247 recruiting analysts Eric Bossi, Dushawn London and Brandon Jenkins all recently made their Crystal Ball picks for Kansas in Dick’s recruitment. Two Rivals.com analysts also are picking Kansas in that site’s FutureCast projections.
The Kansas men’s basketball program made the latest cut for five-star, Class of 2022 guard Gradey Dick, who narrowed his list to a final eight earlier this week.
Joining KU on the list of programs still alive for the services of Rivals.com’s No. 37-ranked player in the 2022 class are: Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Texas Tech.
A rising 6-foot-7, 195-pound do-everything guard who transferred from Wichita Collegiate to Sunrise Christian this season in search of more competition, Dick recently told Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com that the down time during winter break allowed him to discuss his options with his family at length.
“It was probably like four or five different schools a day contacting me, whether text or call,” he told Wildeboor of his recruitment up to this point. “But I enjoyed it. I knew that's what was going to come with it. And I was really thankful for everything because I know a lot of people don't get that. It was good. But it's just time to focus on those eight.”
Dick, the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore, has already made an impact at his new school while continuing to be a hot commodity on the recruiting trail.
“Gradey has grown so much defensively and with his energy,” Sunrise Christian coach Luke Barnwell recently told Jake Lieberman of ZagsBlog.com. “He is affecting possessions on both ends of the floor for us. He is so talented that he will score double figures without us noticing.”
Dick has attended several KU games during his life, often sitting behind the Kansas bench on unofficial visits. And he told Wildeboor that the next step in his recruiting journey is to see where things go from here now that he has narrowed his list down to eight schools.
KU assistant Norm Roberts and head coach Bill Self have been the lead recruiters for the talented guard.
The Kansas men’s basketball program picked up its first commitment from the Class of 2022 on Saturday evening, when four-star guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. picked the Jayhawks.
There’s been talk about Cuffe Jr. reclassifying into the 2021 class and joining the Jayhawks next season. But nothing concrete is known about his plans as of yet. Cuffe Jr. chose KU over finalists Kansas State, St. John’s, Georgia, Pitt and Texas A&M.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound shooting guard who currently attends Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., said during his commitment ceremony that the school he was choosing, “gives me the best opportunity (as) a student and at being a basketball player.”
Decked out in gray sweatsuit, with a blue Kansas T-Shirt underneath, which he revealed after announcing his pick, Cuffe Jr. made his commitment at Gauchos Gym in Bronx, N.Y., where he has worked on his game since he was in third grade.
Several friends and family members were on hand for Cuffe Jr.’s announcement, which came just after 6:15 p.m. and was carried on Instagram Live.
In addition to thanking God and several of his coaches past and present, Cuffe Jr. thanked his parents and his sister for supporting him through his recruitment.
His father, Kyle Cuffe Sr., was a standout at St. John’s during his college days, but it was clear on Saturday that the elder Cuffe had no issue with his son going elsewhere for his college experience.
“I know I give this kid a lot of flack,” Cuffe Sr. said while welcoming people to the ceremony. “But I’m very, very proud of (him). He worked his tail off. Everything he got, he deserved. … There’s going to be a lot of ESPN and CBS (games) for you guys to watch him, so get ready, get excited. I know we are.”
Known for his explosive play and ability to attack the basket in the halfcourt and in transition, Cuffe Jr. said during a recent interview with Cal Griffin of Young Kings Talk on YouTube that he was focused mostly on developing into a true point guard.
Cuffe Jr. considers himself a combo guard at the moment and he has used his time at Blair Academy, where he transferred to face better competition after starting at a prep school in Connecticut, to become a better playmaker for others.
“Decision-making,” Cuffe Jr. said when asked during the YouTube interview what aspect of his game he wanted to improve most. “I want to be able to come off screens and make the right pass, knowing how and when to shoot the ball, things like that. … Right now I’m a combo, but (I’m) trying to become a point.”
Ranked No. 78 overall in the 2022 class by Rivals.com, Cuffe Jr. recently told Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com that the relationships he had built with KU coach Bill Self and KU assistant Norm Roberts played a big role in his recruitment.
“I love the history of Kansas and what Bill Self has to offer,” Cuffe Jr. said. “I talk to coach Self and coach Norm Roberts on the daily. They let me know what I would bring to them and how much they value me. They also let me know how much I would value them.”
Saturday has emerged as the next day to watch for the Kansas men’s basketball program’s recruiting efforts, with four-star guard Kyle Cuffe Jr., expected to announce his college of choice.
Originally slated to reveal his decision on Dec. 26, Cuffe has moved things up a week and is now expected to make an announcement at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. He lists Kansas, Kansas State, St. John’s, Georgia, Pitt and Texas A&M as his six finalists.
Cuffe is ranked No. 78 in the Class of 2022 by Rivals.com, but there is some speculation that he could look at reclassifying and become a member of the 2021 class.
In mid-November, he told Travis Branham of 247 Sports that he had looked into the option of reclassifying, but added then that he was planning to commit for the Class of 2022.
That was more than a month ago now, though, so his exact plans remain unknown.
KU’s 2021 class currently has four-star forwards KJ Adams and Zach Clemence already signed.
Adding Cuffe to the program — either in 2021 or 2022 — would bring the Jayhawks another option in the backcourt and would help keep balance and depth on the roster into the future.
At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds out of Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., Cuffe is known for his explosive ability to get to the rim and powerful finishes. But he’s also dangerous in transition and has shown the ability to be patient with the ball while waiting for just the right moment to attack the paint.
Throughout his recruitment, it was Cuffe’s relationship with the head coaches at each program that helped him form his list of finalists.
And while KU coach Bill Self, Georgia’s Tom Crean, Pitt’s Jeff Capel, K-State’s Bruce Weber and St. John’s coach Mike Anderson all have drawn praise and mentions from Cuffe in various interviews about his recruitment, Anderson and St. John’s have an added advantage in their pursuit of the talented guard. Cuffe’s father, Kyle Cuffe Sr., played at St. John’s and his mother also attended SJU.
“That’s part of it,” Cuffe recently told Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com. “I mean, it doesn’t matter to me in the way that I’m going to base my choice on it. It’s just one of the many things St. John's has to offer.”
As for what caught his eye about Kansas, Cuffe told Wildeboor it went beyond Self.
“I love the history of Kansas and what Bill Self has to offer,” Cuffe said. “I talk to coach Self and (KU assistant) coach Norm Roberts on the daily. They let me know what I would bring to them and how much they value me. They also let me know how much I would value them.”
In a recent interview with Branham, Cuffe added: “It’s KU. “(They’re) always top contenders for a national title.”
With family members surrounding him inside the Sunrise Christian Academy gymnasium, four-star Class of 2021 forward Zach Clemence made his commitment to Kansas official on Saturday morning by signing his national letter of intent.
"This day has been great so far," Clemence told Jacob Polacheck, a contributor to Zagsblog.com, who was at the Saturday morning signing. "Everything has happened just how I wanted it to."
Decked out in a blue KU hat and a black Kansas T-Shirt, Clemence signed on the dotted line and officially became the second new addition to the KU program this week.
He joined four-star Westlake High forward KJ Adams, who signed with the Jayhawks on Wednesday, the first day of college basketball's early signing period.
“We've got two versatile players in Zach and KJ,” KU coach Bill Self said in a news release announcing Clemence's signing. “Both will be very good players for us (and) they will be impact players for us immediately.”
Neither player will be on the roster until next season, but that versatility Self spoke of falls in line with some of his other recent signings, which have added long, athletic players who can play multiple positions to the KU roster.
Clemence is known mostly as a stretch 4 type of player, who has the ability to play down low because of his height but is just as comfortable playing — and especially shooting — on the perimeter.
“Zach is a 6-foot-10 youngster that can really shoot the ball,” Self said of the No. 29-ranked player in the nation per Rivals.com. “We haven’t had anybody here like Zach that is truly a 4 that can maybe be the best shooter in a game.”
Self praised the coaching Clemence has received throughout his prep career, calling him “very well drilled,” and saying that he sees him being able to play a number of different roles for the Jayhawks during his KU career.
“I anticipate him coming in and being able to play multiple positions on the perimeter and if we decide to go really small he would be a nightmare-type matchup for 5 men,” Self said. “He’s got a chance to be an impact player that we will be counting on for sure.”
It remains to be seen if Self will add to KU's 2021 recruiting class, which currently ranks 34th according to Rivals' team rankings.
Future decisions by KU seniors Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot, as well as the NCAA's decision on how to handle roster limits in the wake of the extra year of eligibility granted to all winter sports athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic likely will play a role in whether Self adds another player or two or wraps up the class with Adams and Clemence.
Self said recently that the extended recruiting dead period, which has kept coaches from going on the road and prospects from visiting campus, has not hurt the program's efforts.
“I kind of like it,” he said of the virtual visits and world of Zoom-call recruiting. “I like the fact that you can get in front of families and (talk) face to face and have it be more than a phone call. I don't miss recruiting at all, but I miss the opportunity for families and kids to come to our campus.”
The Kansas men’s basketball coaches will conduct a virtual visit with four-star Class of 2021 big man Sam Ayomide Onu on Friday evening, reports Jake Weingarten of stockrisers.com.
The 6-foot-11, 255-pound center from Phelps School in Malvern, Pa., is expected to announce his six finalists on Sunday.
KU almost certainly will be one of them.
In addition to the virtual meeting with KU today, Ayomide Onu was expected to meet with Memphis coaches sometime Friday morning.
Ranked No. 103 in the 2021 class by Rivals.com, Ayomide Onu is known for his ability to dominate inside. However, he also moves well enough to fit into the way the modern game is played.
In a recent write-up about some of this summer’s standouts, Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi noted that Ayomide Onu “loves contact, attacks rebounds with both hands above the rim and makes the most of his offensive opportunities.”
“He looks like a multi-year starter for a high major program,” Bossi added.
In mid-September, in a breakdown of the updated positional rankings, Bossi highlighted Ayomide Onu as the center who is making waves on the national scene, saying, “He’s not trying to float around the perimeter, he just wants to rebound the ball, play tough defense, set crushing screens and then score around the rim when given the opportunity.”
Ayomide Onu’s stock is on the rise. After hovering around the No. 145 mark from January through August, the bruising big man jumped 43 spots in Rivals.com’s most recent rankings and is knocking on the door of becoming a Top-100 player overall. He also jumped several spots in the Rivals positional rankings, where he current projects as the 17th best center in the class.
In addition to KU and Memphis, Ayomide Onu also holds offers from Illinois, LSU, Providence, Seton Hall, TCU, Temple, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, VCU and Wake Forest.
According to Stockrisers, Ayomide Onu conducted virtual meetings with coaches from Illinois and Wake Forest earlier this week.
Originally slated to announce his college pick on Oct. 31, five-star, Class of 2021 point guard JD Davison has moved things up and instead will make his choice known this weekend, according to 247 Sports analyst Travis Branham.
Davison is now expected to reveal his decision on Saturday, and the No. 13-ranked player in the 2021 class per Rivals.com is choosing between Kansas, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan and Memphis.
According to the Tipton Edits Twitter account, Saturday is also Davison's birthday.
Davison, who hails from Calhoun High in Letohatchee, Ala., trimmed his list to his final six in late August.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Dan McDonald recently called the 6-foot-3, 180-pound lead guard “a highlight reel play waiting to happen,” and noted that Davison is “a threat to do something, from an athletic standpoint, that few others can, so you can’t take your eyes off of him.”
McDonald and Rivals.com’s Russ Wood both recorded FutureCast picks for Alabama on Thursday, and the in-state Crimson Tide have long been considered one of the leaders for Davison’s services. Auburn, another Alabama school, also has been a popular pick among prognosticators.
With that said, the 247 Crystal Ball predictions are currently empty for Davison.
No exact time has been given for Davison’s announcement on Saturday.
After being cut from his list of finalists a couple of weeks ago, the Kansas men’s basketball program returned to Class of 2022 point guard Skyy Clark’s top 10 earlier this week.
While most programs Clark dropped when announcing his final eight simply went away, the Kansas coaching staff stayed in touch and grabbed Clark’s attention by doing so.
“Even though they didn’t make the top eight, they went harder in recruiting me and that meant a lot to me,” Clark recently told JayhawkSlant.com. “A lot of schools I never heard from again, but Kansas turned it up a notch, which I loved. It showed me how they thought of me as a player and a person.”
KU and DePaul both were added to Clark’s list of finalists, bringing the total to 10 — KU, DePaul, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee State, UCLA and USC.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound guard who will attend Brentwood Academy in Nashville this season averaged 25 points and four assists per game as a sophomore at Heritage Christian in Los Angeles.
A five-star prospect ranked No. 16 overall in the 2022 recruiting class by Rivals.com, there is some talk in recruiting circles that he is considering reclassifying into the 2021 class.
The Jayhawks are still heavily pursuing at least two other top tier point guards in the 2021 class, Omaha’s Hunter Sallis (6-5, 175, ranked No. 11 per Rivals) and Alabama prep standout JD Davison (6-3, 175, No. 15).
New offer goes out
According to Rivals.com’s Corey Evans, Kansas on Thursday extended a scholarship offer to Class of 2022 point guard Kyle Cuffe Jr.
Cuffe announced the KU offer with a message on Twitter earlier this week.
Cuffe is a four-star prospect ranked No. 68 overall by Rivals. The 6-foot-2, 173-pound guard attends Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., and currently has 16 offers, most of them coming from back east.
Pitt and St. John’s are believed to be the current leaders for Cuffe, whose father, Kyle Cuffe Sr., played at St. John’s in the early 2000s.
True big man in the mix
With the Jayhawks already holding commitments from athletic Class of 2021 players Zach Clemence and KJ Adams, the door is open for Kansas to add another player or two in the 2021 class.
KU would like to add a point guard as one of those pieces and might pursue size as well.
Class of 2021 center Sam Ayomide certainly would bring that to campus.
At 6-foot-11, 255 pounds, Ayomide is an athletic and powerful player near the basket.
Currently ranked No. 144 in the 2021 class, — up 21 spots from the last round of rankings — the three-star center holds 13 offers and is receiving more and more interest from major programs each week.
Included among the schools joining Kansas in offering Ayomide are: LSU, Illinois, Seton Hall, Wake Forest, TCU, Virginia Tech and Memphis.
Other names to watch as KU continues to explore the idea of adding size to the class are four-star Atlanta big man Daimion Collins (6-9, 205 No. 20) and four-star power forward Arthur Koluma (6-7, 200, No. 59) of Glendale, Ariz.
New to the game?
According to JayhawkSlant.com, the KU coaching staff conducted a Zoom call visit with 6-9, 190-pound small forward Langston Wilson of Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Ga., on Wednesday.
Now, because he did not play high school basketball, Wilson’s name is not one you’ll find on any of the recruiting rankings. But he has emerged as an intriguing prospect and attracted more than 40 scholarship offers because of his athleticism and natural ability.
Despite not playing in high school, Wilson told JayhawkSlant’s Shay Wildeboor that he landed a scholarship at Georgia Highlands after film of him playing pick-up ball made its way to the head coach’s office.
Wilson made the most of his first year of college ball. Not only did he find a way to play, but he also averaged 10.1 point and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Originally from Bonner-Prendie High in Philadelphia, Wilson, who graduated high school in 2018, slowly became an option for coaches at schools of all sizes.
One of his first offers came from Iona, now coached by Rick Pitino, and his first major offer came from Maryland in late May.
“Around June, it just went crazy,” he told Wildeboor. “I think in one day Wichita State, Oregon, Ole Miss, and a few others offered me. I had like five offers in one day. It was just ridiculous, and everything just started picking up, picking up, picking up and picking up.”
Late last week, his recruitment reached a level that included Kansas and KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Jerrance Howard informed Wilson that KU wanted to offer him a scholarship.
“I was at a loss for words for a long period of time,” Wilson told Wildeboor. “I called my coach and had tears in my eyes. I called my dad and I was balling and crying after the scholarship offer from Kansas. Not just because of the school itself, but also because of the level of basketball and being recognized at that level.”
Wilson, who calls himself “a positionless forward who can do a bunch of different things,” told Wildeboor that he would like to take as many visits as possible if things ever open up to the point where visiting college campuses is allowed.
Class of 2021 shooting guard Tamar Bates, from nearby Piper High in Kansas City, Kan., sent out a message on social media on Wednesday that teased the potential end of his recruitment.
“Decision coming soon,” Bates wrote on Twitter.
To be thorough, a decision and an announcement are two different things, but the implication, both from the Tweet and those who have analyzed it, is that Bates is ready to make his college choice known.
We don’t know exactly what “soon” means, of course. So it could be this week, by the end of this month or sometime in early September.
We also don’t know which school Bates will pick yet, but there are a couple of different schools of thought on that.
Throughout the past several months, many have pegged Kansas as the likely landing spot for the 6-foot-5, 180-pound four-star talent.
The connection is obvious, given how close Bates grew up to KU’s campus. And his length and skill set fit in nicely with the players KU coach Bill Self and company have added to the roster in recent recruiting classes.
But in the past week, there has been a lot of talk about Bates eyeing Texas as his destination.
Three of Rivals.com’s FutureCast picks that were made this week went to the Longhorns, including two analysts who switched their pick from KU to UT.
Beyond that, over at 247 Sports, Bates’ to Texas is currently at 100% likely in their Crystal Ball predictions.
Anything can still happen, of course, but it seems like we’ll know the outcome sooner rather than later.
Bates, who will finish his prep career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this season, is ranked No. 83 overall by Rivals.com and No. 112 nationally by 247 Sports.
He trimmed his list to a top seven 10 days ago, with Alabama, Creighton, Iowa State, Missouri and Oregon joining Kansas and Texas on his list of finalists.
3:05 p.m. Update
Looks like "soon" means Friday, Aug. 28. Here's more from Rivals.com's Eric Bossi...
It was a busy week for point guards in the 2021 recruiting class, with one top prospect coming off the board and two others including Kansas while trimming their lists of finalists.
Nolan Hickman, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound from Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, committed to Kentucky on Saturday.
The four-star guard who is originally from the Seattle area, is ranked No. 76 overall in the 2021 class by Rivals.com and was also considering KU, Arizona and UCLA. His connection to Kentucky was not widely known until he pulled the trigger on his commitment.
Hickman became the first player in the 2021 class to commit to John Calipari’s Wildcats and, like always, UK figures to be in the mix for several other top targets as well.
One of them is five-star talent Hunter Sallis, from Omaha, Neb., who cut his list of suitors to 12 on Sunday evening.
Both Kansas and Kentucky are on the 12-school list, joining Michigan, Oregon, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Auburn, Iowa State, Alabama, Creighton, Louisville and UCLA.
Interestingly enough, the hometown Creighton Blue Jays made the most recent cut for the 6-5, 175-pound point guard from Omaha’s Millard North High while in-state Nebraska did not.
Rivals ranks Sallis No. 11 overall in the 2021 class, and he is listed as the No. 2 point guard in the class behind Sunrise Christian Academy’s Kennedy Chandler, who is ranked No. 10 overall and recently committed to Tennessee.
The Jayhawks area also still alive in the hunt for third-ranked point guard JD Davison (No. 15 overall), who trimmed his list to a final six last week — KU, Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, LSU and Memphis.
While the Jayhawks have added a bunch of versatile wing pieces in the past couple of classes — Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna, Tyon Grant-Foster, Bryce Thompson and K.J. Adams — the coaching staff continues to prioritize the point guard position in the 2021 class because of KU’s desired style of play.
KU coach Bill Self has always preferred to have multiple ball handlers on the floor at the same time, and that approach makes it entirely possible for the Jayhawks to keep two, three or even four true point guards on the roster at any given time.
Heading into the 2020-21 season, the Jayhawks have senior Marcus Garrett and redshirt freshman Dajuan Harris pencilled in as their top point guards.
Braun and Thompson also can initiate offense and handle the ball, but those two are equally as effective off the ball, as well.
Garrett’s departure following the 2020-21 season and the versatility of those other players would create plenty of opportunity for any incoming point guard to have an immediate impact at Kansas. That’s especially true for top-15 talents like Sallis and Davison.
Both recruitments are worth watching closely, both because of their elite talent and the fact that Sallis and Davison are just two of the five 2021 point guards still available on Rivals’ list of the top 25 point guards in the current recruiting class.
Twenty others already have given verbal commitments to their schools of choice.
Four-star prospects Carter Whitt (No. 10 point guard, No. 62 overall), Ty Ty Washington Jr. (No. 17 point guard, No. 99 overall) and Wade Taylor (No. 20 point guard, No. 111 overall) are the three other point guards who are undecided on Rivals’ list of the top 25 players at the position.
But, according to the Rivals database, KU is not currently listed as being involved with that trio.