The work is not done in the 2018 recruiting class for the Kansas men’s basketball program, which, after landing three big time commitments in the past couple of months, currently boasts the No. 2-ranked class to date per Rivals.com, just three points behind Michigan State, which has five 2018 players committed.
Among the 2018 class thus far, Bill Self and company are tied for tops in the nation, with Arizona and Duke, with two five-star commitments and also sit tied with Arizona with a 4.67 average-per-playing star rating.
Point guard Devon Dotson, who committed to Kansas last week, and Oak Hill big man David McCormack, are both five-star prospects. And IMG forward Silvio De Sousa, who was the first in the class to commit to Kansas, is a listed as a four-star prospect with the potential to move up.
Needless to say, that trio alone would leave Kansas in pretty good shape, both in terms of reloading its roster and in the team rankings when the ink on all of the signings is dry.
But the fact that KU is still heavily involved with some of the top players in the class, including powerhouse forward Zion Williamson, leaves the potential for KU’s 2018 recruiting class to be the best in school history, no small feat.
The Jayhawks remain in the hunt for Williamson, and also are pursuing guards Quentin Grimes and Romeo Langford. It’s not impossible to envision a scenario in which all three decide to become Jayhawks and it seems likely that at least one of them will.
KU has been rumored for weeks to be a strong possibility for Langford and the addition of Dotson only strengthens KU’s chances at landing Williamson because the 6-7, 230-pound, do-everything forward who visited KU for Late Night absolutely loves playing with Dotson.
Add to that the fact that Dotson is now in hot pursuit of any and all potential Kansas teammates and it’s easy to see that the Jayhawks are far from done in what is already shaping up to be a stellar class.
“Of course I’m gonna be going hard after some other players in my class trying to get them to join me,” Dotson wrote in his USA Today blog after his commitment. “I’m gonna be talking to Zion. I feel like me and Quentin Grimes would play well together and Romeo Langford too. Those are the players I’m focusing on for now.”
While Dotson turns up the heat on some of the top remaining talent in the 2018 class, the KU coaches continue to try to close the deal on a couple more 2018 prospects while also exploring possibilities for 2019 and beyond.
Self and company got some good news on that front earlier this week, when Vernon Carey, the No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class, per Rivals.com, revealed his Top 8, with Kansas firmly in the mix.
Carey, a 6-9, 230-pound forward from University High in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, listed Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State, UCLA and UNC as his finalists, telling Corey Evans of Rivals.com: “I just feel like I have good relationship with all their coaching staffs. I am probably talking to Duke, Michigan State and Miami the most.”
KU has some work to do to crack Carey’s final list, but the Jayhawks also have time. Carey told Evans that he planned to trim his list one final time next summer before making a decision.
That gives the KU coaches time to continue to make their pitch to the versatile lefty while also continuing efforts to add to the already-stacked 2018 class that just keeps getting better and has taken a lot of the stress of the class out of the equation by landing so many quality early commitments.
Remember, KU had just one early commitment in the 2017 class — four-star guard Marcus Garrett — and only wound up with two players in the entire class, leaving KU with one unused scholarship heading into the 2017-18 season.
While college programs across the country continue to pursue them at a fevered rate, some of the best high school players in the country will get a break from the recruiting rumbling this weekend for an opportunity with USA Basketball.
Saturday and Sunday in Colorado Springs, 54 elite prep prospects will participate in a USA Basketball minicamp, with the goal of giving the athletes continued exposure to the international game while also advancing and developing their overall skills in a fun and ferocious setting.
“This minicamp will be extremely competitive as we are bringing the top seniors in the country along with the top U17 players together,” said USA Basketball’s Don Showalter, who has guided USA Basketball to nine-straight gold medals as head coach of the USA Men’s U16 and U17 National Teams since 2009. “These players will be competing against the best, so the scrimmages will be intense. They are all familiar with the FIBA rules and understand international competition to a degree, and most will come in with some knowledge of the USA Basketball culture, having been to a training camp previously.”
Eighteen of the 54 invitees are from the prep class of 2018, including Kansas targets Zion Williamson, Quentin Grimes and Romeo Langford.
The remaining 36 spots will be filled by players in the classes of 2019, 2020 and 2021, including R.J. Hampton, Jalen Suggs, James Wiseman and many other players on KU’s radar.
The 2018 graduates are eligible for the 2018 USA Junior National Select Team that will compete in the 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit next April. The underclassmen will be eligible for the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Cup Team, which will compete in Argentina next summer.
Thirty-nine of the invited minicamp participants own prior USA Basketball experience, including 15 gold medalists. They will be coached by Showalter and a group of assistants that includes former NBA star Penny Hardaway.
The two-day minicamp will feature morning and afternoon sessions each day, with scrimmages and skill sessions accounting for the majority of their time in Colorado.
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.
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.
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.
The next couple of days will determine quite a bit about the Kansas basketball program’s 2018 recruiting class.
With 2018 big man Silvio De Sousa already committed, the Jayhawks will learn this weekend about the decisions of a couple more highly touted 2018 prospects.
Around 5 p.m. today, five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley will announce his decision from the gymnasium at John Carroll High in Bel Air, Maryland.
Quickley, who is ranked as the No. 2 point guard in the 2018 class, is expected to decide between Kansas, Kentucky and Miami.
Most have pegged the point guard as a Kentucky guy for months, with the Wildcats always being high on his list and the fact that he played for UK coach John Calipari with USA Basketball this summer both adding strength to that claim.
But one source familiar with Quickley’s recruiting told the Journal-World on Thursday that the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard ranked No. 10 overall by Rivals.com had no plans to let even the coaches know before his big announcement.
That obviously could have changed this morning, but, either way, Quickley will end the suspense — if there really is any — this evening.
His announcement, as well as a mini documentary of his journey to decision day, will be carried live on Facebook and will begin at 5 p.m.
Today also is Quickley’s mother’s birthday. Not a bad little birthday present for mom.
Regardless of what decision Quickley makes — pro-KU or otherwise — the Jayhawks will not have to wait long for another big announcement.
Five-star center David McCormack, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound beast from Oak Hill Academy, plans to reveal his decision at 5 p.m. Sunday on live television in Virginia, according to his AAU program’s Twitter feed, @teamloadedaau.
Although he has a final list of six schools (Duke, Kansas, NC State, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Xavier) McCormack likely will be deciding between Kansas, Xavier and NC State, the three schools which he has visited.
McCormack, No. 33 overall in the 2018 class per Rivals, averaged 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game as a junior at Oak Hill and 14.8 and 9.8 for Team Loaded this spring and summer on the AAU circuit.
It’s interesting that McCormack’s announcement will come before his official visit to KU, which is set for next weekend, coinciding with Late Night.
As it stands now, if the big man who was a teammate of current KU forward Billy Preston’s at Oak Hill last year picks somewhere other than Kansas, that visit may not happen. But if he picks Kansas, which pretty much every recruiting analyst out there expects to be the case, McCormack’s visit for Late Night will serve as one heck of a way to celebrate his big decision.
Adding McCormack to a class that starts with Silvio De Sousa (6-9, 245) would be a clear indication that the Jayhawks have shored up their front court situation for the 2018-19 season.
Even if Preston and sophomore big man Udoka Azubuike leave for the NBA after the upcoming season, the Jayhawks would hit the floor the following season with a big-man rotation that includes De Sousa, McCormack, Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson and would-be-junior Mitch Lightfoot, by far KU’s deepest and most talented frontcourt since the 2015-16 season.
I know no one really cares at this point. And I’m not sure anyone should.
But since I wrote roughly 3,543,267 words about him this summer and most of you read every one, I felt compelled to put a neat and tidy bow on the mess that is Mitchell Robinson.
Surely, you remember the name.
If not, here’s a brief recap: McDonald’s All-American and Top 10 player in the 2017 class who committed to Western Kentucky only to leave Western Kentucky after his godfather left the coaching staff. He had already committed to Texas A&M before that but followed A&M assistant Rick Stansbury to WKU when Stansbury got the job.
After asking for his release after his godfather left, Robinson visited LSU only to have them back off. Then visited Kansas only to have them back off. And also visited the University of New Orleans during that time. Two of the three were close to his hometown in Louisiana so that made sense and, well, Kansas is Kansas.
But after all of that, after dragging out his visits and his decision and flirting with the idea of going overseas or sitting out the season entirely to prepare for the 2018 NBA Draft, Robinson went back to Western Kentucky, where he knew with 100 percent certainty that he would be eligible to play.
That is, until he didn’t.
Sunday afternoon, the 7-foot projected lottery pick told Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he was starting the whole thing over again.
OK. That might not be exactly what he said. And, hopefully for everyone’s sake, he’s not going to go through something as wild and crazy as his wishy washy summer. But he is leaving WKU for the second time.
“I’ve decided to leave Western Kentucky and just focus on next year’s NBA Draft,” Robinson told Daniels. “I want to thank Western Kentucky, the coaching staff, the fans and my teammates, but I decided to pursue a professional career.”
Added Robinson’s mother: “He’s strictly focusing on training in Dallas. He has another plan and it’s training.”
I won’t bore you with the why or the how or even the huh? of all of this.
It just seemed like a travesty for those of you who wasted so much time reading up on Robinson’s decision(s) to not know how things ended up.
“The lifetime goal of mine is to play in the NBA and I feel like forgoing my year of college and going straight to work on a day to day basis will help prepare me, so I can focus just on basketball and maturing,” Robinson told Daniels. “I just want to get better and just grow as a person.”
When it comes to talking to the media about their current teams, coaches, in all sports, often refrain from dealing in absolutes.
Kansas football coach David Beaty and his “earn it” philosophy is a great example, with nothing being promised to anyone and every player on his roster having to earn his spot day after day, week after week.
Even Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, whose roster always has both more talent and stability than Beaty’s, has been known to dabble in the art of the uncertainty, whether when discussing potential starting lineups or how he’ll divvy up the minutes between a trio of big men.
But when it comes to recruiting, things can get a lot more concrete in a hurry. And while it’s never the coaches who make it that way — for one, it’s against NCAA rules for them to comment on recruits and, for two, they likely wouldn’t change their approach anyway — their messages to recruits of all shapes, sizes and rankings often get out.
Take Class of 2018 point guard Devon Dotson, for example.
Fresh off an official visit to KU’s campus a couple of weeks ago, the five-star point guard from Charlotte hosted Kansas coach Bill Self and KU assistant Norm Roberts at his home last night, merely the latest in an incredibly busy week of in-home visits for the KU staff.
In addition to all of the regular stuff that he they found out about during Dotson's official visit to campus — from talk about academics and the support staff to questions about where they’ll live, what they’ll eat and how closely they’ll be monitored — the Dotson family, according to Dotson's father Dana, liked what they heard from Self and Roberts during the visit, which featured a series of follow-up questions and inquiries from the Dotson family.
“They believe he's the starting PG from day one,” Dana Dotson told Matt Scott of 247 Sports site TheShiver.com. “He stressed that over and over.”
A couple of things about that comment are important to remember.
First, it’s not a promise or a guarantee. You’ll notice that the father said, “They believe...” That does not mean they said, “We promise you he’ll start at point guard.” Instead, it means that based on the younger Dotson’s talent and skills and KU’s need at the position, the coaches think and hope that the young man, should he pick Kansas, would be a guy they could plug into the starting point guard role right away so long as he put in the work and picked up the system enough to handle the job. Pretty standard stuff, but still important to note.
Second, this is not a case of a coaching staff telling a kid and his family what they want to hear. Because of their blue blood status and all of the interest from so many of the top-ranked players in each class, the Kansas coaching staff does not have to operate that way. They can be — and always are — 100 percent up-front and honest, for better or worse, with these recruits during the entire process. Sometimes that honesty is exactly what an athlete and his family want and need to hear. Other times it has turned people off and left them looking to go in a different direction.
Which direction Dotson goes remains to be seen. But, between the official visit to Lawrence and the in-home visit Thursday night, the Jayhawks appear to be in as good a shape as anybody in their pursuit of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard who is ranked No. 17 nationally by Rivals.com.
“(It went) great,” Dana Dotson told Scott when asked about the visit. “Coach Self talked about why Kansas is the best fit for Devon. A lot of talk about the vision for Devon and what is, and should be, important for Devon and how Kansas fits those wants.”
Dotson and his family will visit Florida this weekend and many recruiting analysts believe the recruitment of the Charlotte point guard is down to a three-team race between KU, Florida and Maryland.