The MOKAN Elite AAU program won the star-studded Peach Jam AAU tournament in Georgia over the weekend and a current KU target was one of the team’s stars.
Dajuan Harris, a 3-star point guard out of Columbia’s Rock Bridge High, who Rivals.com analysts have said is on the fast track to becoming a 4-star prospect when the next rankings come out, helped pace MOKAN Elite to the title.
True to his reputation, Harris did his damage with his athleticism and court vision, getting others involved whenever possible and looking to set up teammates with precision passes before trying to put the ball in the basket.
That, of course, is much easier to do when Peach Jam MVP N’Faly Dante (No. 9 in the 2020 class, per Rivals) and explosive wing Kennedy Chandler (No. 28 in the 2021 class, per Rivals) are among your options to pass to.
But, still, Harris was solid from start to finish in the biggest showcase event of the summer. He reached double figures in a couple of games, averaged well above eight assists per game for the tournament and nearly had a triple-double in one pool play victory, finishing with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Wrote 247 Sports recruiting analysts Evan Daniels, who broke down Harris’ emergence during pool play action: “It was a sensational performance on the biggest stage in grassroots.”
Daniels also caught up with Harris during the event to get an update on his surging recruitment, which includes a recent offer from KU, which Harris announced last week on Twitter.
“What I’m going to bring to the team and to the table is I’m going to defend and I’m going to try to get everybody wide open shots, and make the right plays and be a playmaker,” Harris told Daniels while breaking down his game. “A long time ago I used to play for this coach who always wanted me to score, but I didn’t really care about scoring. I liked to get everybody else open shots.”
Harris told Daniels that his recent recruitment, which has picked back up after he was granted a release from a previous commitment to Missouri State, has included Texas and Missouri, along with Missouri State and KU.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi believes more suitors are coming, recently writing that Harris, currently ranked No. 136 in the 2020 class by Rivals, should expect “high-major offers to flood in during July.”
Harris does not currently have any official visits scheduled and there is no known timeline for his decision.
As for what caught Daniels’ eye, it was Harris’ command of the court from all positions that made him worth watching and writing about.
“The 6-foot-2 wiry lead guard impressed with his passing ability, vision and creativity off the dribble,” Daniels wrote. “He also excelled on the defensive end, where he made things difficult on Sharife Cooper, one of the best point guards in the country. … The pin-point passes off the live dribble and his decision making when he drove particularly stood out.”
One of the fastest rising players in the Class of 2020 appears to have caught the attention of the Kansas basketball program.
Dajuan Harris, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Columbia’s Rock Bridge High, revealed Tuesday on Twitter that he had received a scholarship offer from Kansas.
Harris, a 3-star prospect in the Class of 2020, initially had been committed to Missouri State but, according to Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi, recently received his release from Missouri State and has reopened his recruitment.
Ranked No. 136 in the 2020 class, Harris is the type of player that Bossi said “could have been a potential player of the year in the Missouri Valley (Conference).”
“The guy is just a leader. He wins a lot of games and makes everyone around him better,” Bossi wrote.
In addition to the uncertainty surrounding where Harris might wind up, there also is some uncertainty about when.
After initially committing to Missouri State as a member of the Class of 2019, Harris changed gears and reclassified into the 2020 class, according to what his high school coach, Dana Ford, told the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader back in May.
That move leaves the door open for Harris, who graduated from Rock Bridge this spring after helping lead the school to the Class 5 Missouri state title last winter, to sign in the next couple of months and play college basketball in the 2019-20 season or attend prep school for a year and arrive on a college campus in time for the 2020-21 season.
Rivals.com’s bio for Harris has him listed as a prospect from Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, a basketball powerhouse that fields a post-graduate team each year.
Regardless of the when and the where, both Bossi and KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott believe big things are in store for Harris in the near future.
“Shools are just figuring out that Harris has gotten his release from Missouri State,” Bossi wrote last week. “Expect high-major offers to flood in during July.
Added Scott of Harris’ game: “He’s the closest thing you’ll see today to a true point guard. He can completely control a game without scoring a ton of points. He’s good. He’s just not someone who’s going to be ranked all that high because he isn’t a flashy scorer.”
Harris currently is in Georgia with MOKAN Elite, playing in the EYBL’s annual summer Peach Jam AAU event.
Since he rejoined the MOKAN roster after decommitting from Missouri State, Harris and company have not lost a game.
That streak continued on Wednesday, when MOKAN knocked off Mean Streets (Ill.), 80-62. Harris played 27 minutes and finished with 4 points, 7 assists and 2 steals while shooting 2-of-4 from the floor. Among the game’s highlights were this steal and flush from Harris.
Class of 2020 KU target Bryce Thompson invited to USA Basketball training camp, eyeing date to trim list
According to his Twitter account, Class of 2020 Kansas basketball target Bryce Thompson is headed to training camp for the USA Basketball Junior National Team.
That fact is only going to add fuel to his fast-rising recruitment, which already includes KU and North Carolina and figures to reach the best of the best by the time it’s finished.
Thompson, a 5-star guard from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla., recently made another unofficial visit to KU to meet with KU coach Bill Self, the rest of the Kansas coaching staff, see the facilities and get a feel for how the Jayhawks see him playing at the college level.
Ranked No. 18 overall by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard who jumped more than 20 spots in the most recent Rivals rankings has been lauded for his vision, play-making ability and knack for scoring.
“Tremendous basketball IQ,” KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott said of Thompson. “He really knows how to control the tempo and set up his teammates and he can completely control games that he only scores 6 points in because he’s so good at getting others involved and playing to his teammates’ strengths.”
Rivals recruiting analyst Shay Wildeboor recently caught up with Thompson’s father, Rod, to talk about the family’s recent visit to Kansas and more.
“The visit to Kansas went great,” Rod Thompson told Wildeboor. “It was really good. We were very eager to get back up to Kansas for this visit. One thing you look at, you know, is the players, so last time Bryce was on campus, he didn’t really get to interact with him like he did this time around. It was just good to get back up to Kansas and talk with Coach Self and interact with the coaching staff and players.”
Thompson's father, you may recall, played for Self for one season at Tulsa back in the late 1990s.
“I’ve known Coach Self for a long time,” Rod Thompson told Wildeboor. “We were able to ask questions we had and stuff like that, which was great for us. Coach Self, you know, is a competitor and he wants the best players. Of course, we’ve always known, but Coach Self just reiterated how much he wants Bryce and he was sure to let us know how early he offered Bryce.
He continued: “Coach Self told Bryce that he wants to push him and make him work and that he’s a priority for them in the 2020 class. Coach Self has said all of those things before, but as it gets closer, and as Bryce continues to ascend and get better and improve, which I think is very attractive to a lot of guys, Coach Self just wanted to let Bryce know all of those things again."
While Thompson’s immediate future includes the USA Basketball minicamp — July 25-28 in Colorado Springs, Colo. — his dad told Wildeboor that the family also would likely spend some time in the near future narrowing down his list to a more manageable group of finalists.
After taking official visits last fall to Arkansas, Colorado and Texas A&M, Thompson has a long list of schools that are interested in him including that trio, KU, Carolina, in-state programs Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Houston, Iowa, Marquette, Notre Dame, Michigan State and a dozen more.
“We’ve been trying to get a lot of the visits out of the way,” Rod Thompson told Wildeboor. “We’re going to cut the list pretty soon so that we won’t have to take a bunch of time and try to take five official visits and all that kind of stuff. We want to go ahead and try to get a lot of that done right now. “We’ll cut the list, probably to five, after USA basketball.”
Now that the Kansas men’s basketball program has figured out a way to fill up its 2019 recruiting class, the KU coaches can spend their time focusing on what comes next.
While the big-picture answer to that question remains up in the air, the more immediate focus is clear. And it started Thursday, when Kansas welcomed Class of 2020 guard Bryce Thompson to town for an unofficial visit.
Thompson, a 5-star prospect from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla. has long been on the Jayhawks radar and is shaping up to be one of the top players in the class.
Ranked No. 18 overall by Rivals.com in the current 2020 rankings — up 22 spots from his previous mark a few months back — the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard is known as a gifted scorer and play maker with good size and plenty of versatility to his game.
“Tremendous basketball IQ,” KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott said of Thompson. “He really knows how to control the tempo and set up his teammates, and he can completely control games that he only scores 6 points in because he’s so good at getting others involved and playing to his teammates’ strengths.”
The race to land Thompson will be a battle. After officially visiting Arkansas, Colorado and Texas A&M last fall, Thompson has jumped on the unofficial circuit this summer, with recent stops to Arkansas and North Carolina stamped in his travel log.
Other programs vying for Thompson’s signature include Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Thompson almost certainly will plan an official visit to KU in the not-too-distant future and he already has been to town once for an unofficial visit. What he’s looking for this time around is the chance to take his connection to KU to another level.
“I’ll get to talk to (KU coach Bill Self) and I’ll get to talk to the staff more, you know be more personal with them,” Thompson recently told Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi when looking ahead to his summer visits. “I’ll see what they like about me, tell them what I like about them and just build a relationship.”
One thing worth noting about Thompson’s connection to Kansas is the fact that his father, Rod Thompson, played for Self for one season at Tulsa back in 1997-98.
There is no real known timeline for Thompson’s decision, and Bossi expects his recruitment to take some time.
“He’s pretty dedicated to exploring his options as deeply as possible and schools will wait on him,” Bossi recently wrote. “He scores efficiently, is a big-time passer and is just beginning to mature physically.”
Added Scott: “He’s a legit 6-4 and long, and that size and his length allow him to see over many defenders when initiating offense and rack up steals in passing lanes on the defensive end of the floor.”
While it remains to be seen how many scholarships the Jayhawks will have available in the 2020 class — Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot and grad transfer Isaiah Moss are the only seniors — adding another combo guard with the skills of Thompson is never going to be something the Jayhawks shy away from.
Thompson has the ability to play as a team’s lead guard, off guard or in a combination of those two roles for a program that prefers to have multiple ball handlers and play makers on the floor at the same time like Self has during most of his time at Kansas.
And with Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji likely to explore their pro futures after the 2019-20 season, the need for a player like Thompson quickly could vault to the top of KU’s wish list.
There are plenty of famous stories about how certain Kansas basketball players were discovered on the recruiting trail.
Frank Mason III, who wound up becoming the 2017 national player of the year, was found in a back gym at an AAU event in Las Vegas. Current KU point guard Issac McBride was first seen by KU’s coaches in the same exact gym.
Kansas sophomore Ochai Agbaji was a late find and a player who KU coach Bill Self needed to watch just once before deciding to offer a scholarship.
And Joel Embiid had been playing basketball for just three years when KU assistant Norm Roberts dragged Bill Self down to Florida to watch him at an open scrimmage at The Rock in Gainesville.
The list goes on and on.
And then there’s the story of new KU commitment Tre White, a combo guard in the Class of 2022 who committed to Kansas over the weekend and appears to be full speed ahead toward landing in Lawrence eventually.
Some reports of White’s commitment included chatter about the 6-5 guard from Little Elm, Texas, possibly reclassifying into the 2021 class. But even if he does that, which seems highly likely, it still will be two full years before White is on KU’s campus.
So why Kansas? Why now? And why were the Jayhawks willing to offer so early?
The answer has a lot to do with R.J. Hampton, the former 5-star prospect who reclassified from 2020 to 2019 and came this close to picking KU before electing to skip college altogether for a six-figure professional opportunity in Australia’s National Basketball League.
The Jayhawks might not have wound up with Hampton, but pursuing him with such tenacity led them to White. Time will tell what kind of a trade off that ends up being.
But landing White today certainly puts KU in good shape for tomorrow and, perhaps most importantly, gets the Kansas program back on track for landing the top prospects in the prep ranks after a 2019 class that lacked 5-star signatures.
The star ratings for the 2022 prospects aren’t out yet. But all indications suggest that White will earn a 5-star label and is likely to land somewhere in the Top 15 of his class.
Sometimes, that alone is enough for a blue blood program to offer a player. But as the KU coaches watched Hampton play on what seemed to be a weekly basis during the past several months, White’s game kept jumping out, too.
As a high school freshman, playing against some of the toughest competition on the summer circuit and at Little Elm High, White’s ability to score, defend, play and guard multiple positions while holding his own against older players left the KU coaches intrigued.
From there, KU assistant Jerrance Howard took a deeper look and the feedback he got from some was that, after Hampton, White was the next best prospect on the roster.
From there the relationships were built, with both Howard and Self. And it all led to last weekend, when White was discussing his KU offer with his family and settled in on one simple question as the driving force for making his early decision — what else am I looking for?
White, who is expected to finish his prep career at Washington High in Milwaukee, picked Kansas over offers from Auburn, Illinois, Texas Tech and serious interest from a dozen other programs.
His decision to make the call now instead of waiting several months, or even years, both gets the decision out of the way for White and lays a strong foundation for the Jayhawks.
Recruiting is a never-ending game. And now the Jayhawks have something in the 2022 class to build on instead of starting from scratch.
Here are a couple of quick highlight videos of White’s game, which not only show his skills but also show where he sits in terms of size despite being so young.
For reference, R.J. Hampton is No. 14 in black and can be spotted on White’s team in several highlights during the first video, from last September.
This second video, of White’s debut with AAU program Mac Irvin Fire, comes from April.
And here's a younger look at White, from March 2018.
It may have taken a while for the Kansas men’s basketball program to fill its 2019 recruiting class, but the Jayhawks are off to major headstart in the Class of 2022.
Tre White, a top-talent guard at Washington High in Milwaukee, on Sunday orally committed to Kansas, a move that was confirmed on Twitter by White’s AAU program, Mac Irvin Fire. The Tweet included a typo, calling White a member of the Class of 2020 instead of 2022.
Originally from Little Elm, Texas, White committed to KU without visiting, largely on the strength of his love of KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Jerrance Howard.
"Coach Howard is my guy and has been my guy,” White told Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com. “He’s been to a lot of my games and he was just on me early. He’s been watching me develop and watching me grow as a player and he likes that.
A 6-foot-5, 175-pound point guard with a wide variety of skills, White chose KU over offers from Illinois, Texas Tech, Auburn and a dozen other schools showing serious interest.
KU’s status as one of the first schools to show interest played a big role with White.
“Kansas has just always been on me early and I just feel like Kansas is the best fit for me,” he told Wildeboor. “They always show love and they still do.”
That also played a role in White committing and effectively ending his recruitment before the start of his sophomore year of high school.
“I just really wanted to get my recruitment out of the way,” he told Wildeboor. “I wanted to get my recruitment out of the way and focus on building my game for the next couple of years. Kansas, you know, they offered me a long time ago, so I was ready to commit.”
Although it’s rare for a player to commit to any program so early — especially a 5-star prospect who figures to be one of the most highly recruited players in his class — it is not unheard of. Just a few years ago, KU received an early commitment from Chicago point guard Markese Jacobs, who eventually wound up signing with DePaul. Jacobs, however, was a 3-star point guard who committed to KU after visiting Late Night in the Phog during his sophomore season of high school.
White is the first player to commit to Kansas beyond the 2019 class, which actually still has one scholarship still available. KU coach Bill Self previously told the Journal-World it would have to be a "no-brainer" for the Jayhawks to use that 13th and final scholarship in the current class.
Even lacking a Top 40 prospect, KU’s 2019 recruiting class not all that different from a few past classes
All of the recent talk about the Kansas basketball program not landing a Top 40 recruit in the 2019 recruiting class made me curious about which past class the current one most favorably compares to.
The classes in 2008 and 2011 immediately came to mind.
While both of those classes included a Top 40 prospect — 29th-ranked Marcus Morris in 2008 and 34th-ranked Ben McLemore in 2011 — they also included a nice mixture of guys in the middle of the pack and others closer to the 100 spot in the Rivals.com rankings.
The 2019 class, which currently has five players and could (but probably won’t) add one more, is built in that same mold.
Per the Rivals rankings, 4-star forward Tristan Enaruna, at No. 44, is the highest-ranked Jayhawk, followed closely by fellow-4-star prospect Jalen Wilson, who just signed this week, at No. 47.
After that, it’s 4-star guard Christian Braun at No. 90, 4-star point guard Issac McBride at No. 103 and former 3-star Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss, who, back in his day, was not even ranked in the Rivals 150 in the 2015 class.
That group puts KU in the No. 17 spot in the Rivals team rankings for 2019, 11 spots behind where the Jayhawks ended up in the 2018 team rankings and one of the rare times when a Self haul wound up outside of the Top 10.
Here’s the thing, though. While the five players the Jayhawks are bringing in this summer might not be Top 20 type talents today, all of them stand to make a serious impact on the Kansas program over the long haul, for two, three, four or even five years, which is a drastic change from what the one-and-done prospects have been able to bring to the table in recent years.
That’s not to knock the one-and-done approach. Say what you will about those types of players and their impact on the college game, but Kansas has both benefited from them and been severely underwhelmed by them, something I think you’d find to be true in the grand scheme of things at most places that routinely land them.
KU went after a few projected one-and-done players again this recruiting cycle and will go after more until the NBA changes that rule and eliminates the phrase “one-and-done” from our vocabularies.
And at a place like KU, where attracting those types of talents is a natural fit, it makes sense for them to do so.
But that does not mean that classes that feature quality 4-star prospects can’t be just as effective and occasionally even more so. KU’s history under Bill Self has proven that to be true, with players like Frank Mason III (76), Tyshawn Taylor (77), Travis Releford (70), Darnell Jackson (54), Devonte’ Graham (36), Thomas Robinson (31) Cole Aldrich (30) and countless others residing outside of the Top 20 but making a monster impact on the KU program and the college game during their time at Kansas.
There’s no telling if this class has a player or two who one day will be added to that list. But I certainly wouldn’t bet against it just because of the number that’s next to their name.
Here's a quick look back at the 15 other recruiting classes brought to Kansas by Bill Self:
Highest rated prospect: Quentin Grimes 8
Others: Devon Dotson 20, David McCormack 35, Ochai Agbaji 145
Highest rated prospect: Billy Preston 11
Others: Silvio De Sousa 18, Garrett 41
Highest rated prospect: Josh Jackson 1
Others: Udoka Azubuike 31, Mitch Lightfoot 107
Highest rated prospect: Cheick Diallo 5
Others: Carlton Bragg 21, Lagerald Vick 81
Highest rated prospect: Cliff Alexander 4
Others: Kelly Oubre 6, Devonte’ Graham 36, Svi Mykhailiuk Outside of Rivals150
Highest rated prospect: Andrew Wiggins 1
Others: Wayne Selden Jr. 12, Joel Embiid 25, Frank Mason III 76, Brannen Greene 29, Conner Frankamp 34
Highest rated prospect: Perry Ellis 24
Others: Andrew White III 51, Zach Peters 137, Anrio Adams 98, Landen Lucas Outside of Rivals150
Highest rated prospect: Ben McLemore 34
Others: Jamari Traylor 141, Naadir Tharpe 92, Merv Lindsay and Braeden Anderson Both Outside of Rivals150
Highest rated prospect: Josh Selby 1
Others: Royce Woolridge 120
Highest rated prospect: Xavier Henry 8
Others: Thomas Robinson 31, Elijah Johnson 24
Highest rated prospect: Marcus Morris 29
Others: Markieff Morris 49, Tyshawn Taylor 77, Quintrell Thomas 149, Travis Releford 70, Mario Little and Tyrone Appleton Both Outside of Rivals150
Highest rated prospect: Cole Aldrich 30
Others: Tyrel Reed 109
Highest rated prospect: Darrell Arthur 16
Others: Sherron Collins 21, Brady Morningstar Outside Rivals150
Highest rated prospect: Julian Wright 8
Others: Brandon Rush 13, Mario Chalmers 12, Micah Downs 28
Highest rated prospect: Russell Robinson 27
Others: C.J. Giles 62, Alex Galindo 65, Darnell Jackson 54, Sasha Kaun 34
It’s been a wild ride for Kansas basketball fans who have been tracking the Jayhawks’ efforts in the 2019 recruiting class.
From the days of banking on 5-star prospects like Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Matt Hurt coming to town to the whiffs and near-misses that surrounded both, it’s been a tough spring for fans of Kansas recruiting.
But Wednesday’s commitment from Jalen Wilson, a 4-star prospect ranked No. 47 nationally by Rivals.com, changed all of that and set off a pretty wild party.
No, the Wilson signature does not change the fact that this is Bill Self’s first class at Kansas without a Top 40 player. And, no, you shouldn’t believe your buddy who tells you Wilson is a better player than all of those other guys anyway and Kansas is better off with him than they would’ve been with JRE, Hurt, R.J. Hampton or a handful of others.
But that’s the thing that’s so much fun about following recruiting — if you have the stomach for it.
One day, a player ranked No. 47 in the nation could barely be worth tracking. I mean, after all, guys in the 30s and 40s are typically only 4-star prospects.
But then the next, be it because of hype, circumstance or a wicked combination of both, that same prospect could be viewed as the guy, an absolutely steal and a big time pick-up for your favorite college basketball team.
Jalen Wilson can play. There’s no denying that, and it’s not just his highlight videos or extreme confidence that will tell you that.
At 6-foot-8 with room to grow and a physical frame that’s already built for a quick adjustment to the college game, Wilson will step into the Kansas locker room and be ready to fight for a spot in the rotation right away. The guess here is that he’ll probably earn significant minutes and will give Self and company the kind of flexibility they want in terms of who to play and how to play this year and also as they try to stockpile assets for the years ahead.
Last season, it looked like Ochai Agbaji would redshirt only to have injuries change his path. This season, it’s now almost certain that a couple of players will redshirt, with freshmen Christian Braun and Tristan Enaruna and senior Mitch Lightfoot leading my list of potential redshirt candidates.
Things can change. We saw that last year. And all three of those guys — along with the nine other scholarship players on the KU roster — are more than capable of playing big roles right away.
But there are only so many minutes to go around, and if a guy can save a year and play a bigger role on a future KU team, why would he want to fight his butt off to play 4 or 5 minutes a game on a team that’s stacked?
Enough about that. Let’s get back to Wilson. The biggest reason he’s not on my list of possible redshirt candidates is because of that versatility we talked about earlier.
He doesn’t have the same raw talent of a player like Josh Jackson and he’s nowhere near the type of shooter that Svi Mykahiliuk was/is, but in terms of his body type, he can fill that role. If the Jayhawks want to play small and use Wilson as a 4 man who plays on the perimeter, his presence allows them to do it.
If Self and company want to play big and decided to use Wilson as a 3 with two other bigs in there with him, Wilson’s presence allows them to do that, too.
Imagine a lineup that includes Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, Jalen Wilson, Silvio De Sousa and Udoka Azubuike. That’s a big bunch, but it still has three players — 3 and a half if you count Silvio — who are incredibly comfortable playing on the perimeter.
That lineup won’t be out there much. For one, it’s going to be awfully hard to take Devon Dotson off the floor. For two, teams throughout college basketball are going smaller and smaller each year and that often forces a coach’s hand in terms of match-ups, even when that coach wants to play big.
But the point is, with Wilson in the mix now, that lineup — and so many others — is entirely possible. And that alone should be excited for Kansas fans.
For what it’s worth, Enaruna brings a lot of the same things to the table as Wilson does. So KU may have been able to go this route even if Wilson picked North Carolina or Michigan. But he didn’t. And now KU can bring Enaruna along slowly and at a more comfortable pace and watch him blossom into a big time player in his own right, both because of the coaching and development tools he’ll receive and as a result of having to compete with a player like Wilson every day.
It’s worth noting here that the timing of Wilson’s commitment has a lot to do with the hype surrounding his addition to the roster. Had he been the first player in the class to pick KU, his commitment, at No. 47 overall, might not have wowed anybody. But with it coming today — in June, by God — after KU missed on those other players in whom KU fans had invested so much time following and longing for, adding a player like Wilson must seem like a dream come true.
A similar thing happened last season with Romeo Langford, who wound up picking Indiana and is now preparing for next week’s NBA Draft. Langford would have been a nice pick up for Kansas and might have had a monster season. But because he was the last major player to make his decision, it magnified just how bright his star shined.
Speaking of past comparisons, take a look at these familiar Jayhawks, who all were ranked by Rivals.com within 10 spots of Wilson in their respective classes.
Marcus Garrett was ranked No. 41. Enaruna was ranked No. 44. Markieff Morris was ranked No. 49. Andrew White III was ranked No. 51. And Darnell Jackson was ranked No. 54.
While the book is still being written for Garrett and Enaruna, those other former Jayhawks all enjoyed pretty stellar college careers, with two of them winding up as NBA draft picks.
If Wilson can follow in their footsteps, regardless of how long he’s at KU, he’ll be remembered as a wild success and no one will care where he was ranked or when he signed. What’s funny about that is, Wilson’s game, if you look at it from all angles, is pretty much a combination of what those five players brought to the table.
Versatility wins. And the 2019-20 Jayhawks now have a ton of it.
It’s time for another high-profile announcement from Class of 2019.
And this time, most of the national recruiting analysts believe things will end well for the Kansas men’s basketball program.
Per his Twitter account, 4-star wing Jalen Wilson, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound prospect from Guyer High in Denton, Texas, is expected to announce his college decision at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Wilson is choosing between Kansas, North Carolina and Michigan and is the last member of the Rivals 150 for 2019 who has yet to finalize his plans.
Initially, Wilson was one of the first to outline his future, picking Michigan in May of 2018 and signing his letter of intent last November. But a coaching change this spring led to Wilson asking for his release and that allowed KU and Carolina back into the mix.
Wilson visited both programs in the past couple of weeks and also spoke with new Michigan coach and former Fab 5 member Juwan Howard. He announced the date for his decision late last week and again appears ready to move forward.
All of the major recruiting analysts at Rivals.com are picking Kansas in this one. And KU currently leads Wilson’s Crystal Ball rating at 247 Sports, with 65 percent of the picks going to KU and 30 percent still going to Michigan. 247 Sports analysts Evan Daniels and Jerry Meyer are both picking KU, and Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans, who also picked Wilson to Kansas, explained what the 6-8 wing would bring to whatever program he picks.
“Valued for his shot making prowess and ability to play up or down a position, the talented small forward brings tremendous versatility and shot-making to the perimeter,” Evans wrote Tuesday.
Earlier this week, the Jayhawks picked up a commitment from Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss, who will join the Jayhawks in August after finishing his summer internship in Chicago.
While Moss officially goes down as another signee in the 2019 class — No. 4 for those keeping track — the Kansas fan base is still waiting for the signature piece to the 2019 class and Wilson, with his Top 50 ranking and ties to former target R.J. Hampton could be just that.
There’s a story going around about new Kansas guard Isaiah Moss scoring anywhere from 14 to 19 points in anywhere from 1:30 to 3 minutes during a game at Minnesota while he was at Iowa.
I first saw the eye-popping numbers on Twitter, didn’t quite believe it and then asked Moss about it directly when I was on the phone with him yesterday shortly after the 6-foot-5 graduate transfer known as “Zay” committed to KU.
Unlike some of the tweets, Moss downplayed the performance, saying simply that his team was down big and he was trying to help the team catch up.
“It was a stop-clock (situation),” Moss recalled. “But we were down like 14 points and we had this inbounds play, it’s an iso play, and they just kept giving me the ball so I just kept trying to take it down for pull-up 3s, fouls, I went to the (free-throw) line a couple of times, we were just playing catch-up.”
Here’s how it played out.
In late February of the 2017-18 season, the Hawkeyes played at Minnesota in the second-to-last regular season game of what was Moss’ redshirt sophomore season.
Iowa lost the game, 86-82, but not before Moss lit the net on fire to make it close down the stretch.
With 1:41 to play, the Gophers scored a fastbreak dunk that pushed their lead to 14 points — 74-60 — and pretty much sealed the game in the eyes of everyone watching.
But during the next 96 seconds, the new KU guard went off, scoring 19 points to help pull the Hawkeyes within two before Minnesota iced the game with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
Moss started the party with an and-one jumper in the paint, added another jumper a few seconds later and then hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a quick 11.
From there, Moss hit another mid-range jumper, added three consecutive free throws (including a miss on the fourth attempt, which kept his run from being a 20-point outburst) and then drilled his final 3-pointer of the night with 3 seconds to play to pull the Hawkeyes within a bucket at 84-82.
“It was pretty much typical of being in the zone,” recalled Moss during Monday’s phone interview. “I don’t even know how to explain it, really. They just kept giving me the ball and I just kept trying to do what I do. But to know I can get into that zone felt good. I’m not gonna lie.”
Dargan Southard, who covers the Hawkeyes for The Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen, said nights and stretches like that were typical of Moss’ Iowa career.
The minutes might not have always been consistent and his shots didn’t always fall, but when they did, you usually remembered it, Southard said.
“When he gets hot he can do some pretty crazy things,” Southard told the Journal-World. “He has games where he goes off and hits five or six 3s, and when he’s good, he’s really good and is a pretty potent outside threat. But it kind of came in waves this year.”
In a 20-point game against Iowa State during the 2018-19 season, Moss hit 8 of 12 shots from the floor, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range in a 14-point Hawkeyes’ win. The very next time out, in a win over Northern Iowa, Moss finished with 4 points and misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts.
But even at that, 4 of 5 one night and 0 of 3 the next still produced a 50% stretch, a fact that inspired Southard to call Moss, “one of Iowa’s more reliable offensive pieces for sure.”
That kind of up-and-down reality, however, kept him from gaining more notoriety and becoming a bona fide star at Iowa. But Southard said he could see Moss’ skill set translating well to what Kansas is looking for from him.
“I would imagine his role at Kansas is going to be very defined,” Southard said. “It’s not like he’s going to be asked to carry the load night in and night out. Knowing what he’s going to be asked to do each night, I would guess, is going to be much more comforting for him and I would guess he’s open to rolling with whatever role they give him.”
Moss said exactly that when I caught up with him on the phone.
He’s not looking for highlight moments or to have his name plastered across the headlines. If those things come, he’ll take them. But as long as the wins come, as well, Moss said he would be thrilled with whatever the future holds for him at Kansas.
“I just want to win at the highest level,” Moss said. “And I feel like if I play hard and do whatever coach asks me to do, that will help me fit in just fine.”
Scoring 19 points in 96 seconds certainly will never be frowned upon, but, at Kansas, the need for him to do that is less likely to arise.