While much of the weekend in Lawrence was about former KU basketball players moving on — Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Clay Young all walked down the hill at graduation — a handful of potential future Jayhawks were busy trying to put their best foot forward elsewhere.
With Nike's EYBL event in Atlanta taking place over the weekend, a lot of top prospects in the Classes of 2019 and 2020 were evaluated and talked to about their futures by the gang on the recruiting beat.
Not surprisingly, KU was a program that came up quite a bit with some of the best players in both classes.
Here's a quick rundown of who said what over the weekend, as the push for prospects in the 2019 class started to heat up even more.
• PG Jalen Lecque – 6-foot-4, 180-pound, 5-star prospect in 2019 class ranked No. 9 nationally by Rivals.com
It seems as if the big decision for Lecque at this point is whether he will stay in the 2019 class or try to reclassify and join the 2018 crew.
In an interview with Eric Bossi, of Rivals, Lecque said he was more worried at the moment about getting back home and working on his game this summer while discussing his options with his family then.
Asked specifically about KU, Lecque, who hails from Arden, N.C., said simply: “It’s a nice school. I like their school and the facilities, as well, from the videos they send me of the facilities. They are a nice school and I would love to visit there.”
• PG Tre Mann – 6-foot-4, 170-pound, 4-star prospect in 2019 class ranked No. 37 nationally by Rivals.com
The rising point guard from The Villages, Fla., has recently visited Florida and Tennessee and, according to Bossi, appeared to be zeroing in on making a decision between those two programs and maybe one or two more.
But a recent offer from KU inspired Mann to tap the brakes and now Mann is very interested in checking out what Kansas has to offer.
He currently considers KU, Florida and Tennessee as his top three and told Bossi that he was “going with the flow,” regarding his recruitment, adding: "If I feel like I’m confident about a certain school then it will be done. Right now I have three schools that are like my top three, really."
Asked specifically about KU jumping into the mix, Mann made it clear that he was interested.
“They’ve had great players in the past and a great coaching staff,” he told Bossi. “I haven’t been on a visit, so I don’t know the campus yet. But I want to see it."
• SF Samuell Williamson – 6-foot-7, 170-pound, 4-star prospect in 2019 class ranked No. 44 nationally by Rivals.com
There is no shortage of interest in the smooth wing from Rockwall, Texas, whom Bossi said made the game look very easy during the recent EYBL event in Atlanta.
KU, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma and Texas are all showing heavy interest in Williamson, and that's just in the Big 12. Outside of the region, Michigan, Ohio State, Louisville, LSU and others also have shown heavy interest.
While it remains early in the process, Williamson shared with Bossi a tie to KU that might keep the Jayhawks in it as long as they want to be.
“My mom is a (KU) graduate and my brother just graduated last year,” Williamson told Bossi. “They (the KU coaches) say that I could come in and play multiple positions and do a lot of different things in their offense.”
According to Bossi, Williamson hopes to pin down a final five by the end of the summer so he can start taking visits and make a decision sometime in the fall.
After five visits to some of the best programs in college basketball, University of Albany shooting guard Joe Cremo on Tuesday morning announced that the opportunity to join the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats was too good to pass up.
The 6-foot-4 Cremo, who shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range during his three seasons at Albany, announced his commitment to Villanova via Twitter, saying, "After thinking it over and talking to my family and friends, I've decided that I'm going to be committing to the University of Villanova for the last year of my career. ... I want to thank all the coaches that recruited me throughout this process and invested their time in me. I truly appreciate it."
Cremo's decision to stay close to his Scotia, N.Y., home — Villanova's campus is about four hours away while KU's is about 19 hours away — leaves the Jayhawks with one remaining scholarship to hand out to fill out its roster for the 2018-19 season.
KU coach Bill Self has said throughout the early stages of this offseason that he would like to add another shooter to the roster to help offset the loss of the team's top four 3-point shooters from last season, who accounted for 94.4 percent of KU's 3-point makes during the 2017-18 team's run to the Final Four.
Adding such a piece could be tricky, however, because the Jayhawks, outside of 3-point shooting, have quality depth in their backcourt despite the loss of four starting guards from last season's team.
Five-star freshmen Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes appear ready to start right away and sophomore Marcus Garrett, who started seven games and played in all 39 as a true freshman, will be joined by Cal transfer Charlie Moore, under-the-radar freshman Ochai Agbaji and former Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe.
Finding playing time on a team that likely will play more three-guard/two-big sets than it has in the past two seasons could be tough for a late addition and likely played a role in Cremo's decision.
The Albany guard said in early April that he wanted to go somewhere he deemed to be a good fit, where he could compete for serious playing time. Cremo picked Villanova over Kansas, Texas, Gonzaga and Creighton.
While it seems likely that Self and company will continue to mine the graduate transfer pool in an attempt to fill that final spot, there are a handful of unsigned players still available in the 2018 recruiting class, three sitting in the Rivals150 rankings.
However, none of those three — No. 11 Jordan Brown (6-10, 220 PF), No. 123 Emmitt Matthews (6-7, 180, SF) and No. 148 Isaac Likekele (6-5, 195 SG) — fit the profile of what Kansas is looking for.
With the KU roster set up well in terms of numbers — potentially six deep in the backcourt and six deep up front if Udoka Azubuike returns and you count K.J. Lawson as a forward — the remaining scholarship could be used in a variety of ways.
They could find a grad transfer like Cremo. Matt Mooney, of the University of South Dakota, and Brock Stull, of Milwaukee, are two names to keep an eye on there.
They could give it to a red-shirt transfer like they did with Malik Newman, the Lawson brothers and Charlie Moore. Remember, transfer numbers are way up these days and continuing to rise. The big center from Florida State (Ike Obiagu) is one of the most intriguing options on that front.
They also could give it to a late 2018 project type of player. They could hold onto it in case the need for it pops up down the road. (Think a 2019 prospect reclassifying or something like that). Or they could go searching for a diamond in the rough and gamble on a player who has not yet received the kind of pub and hype that most KU recruits come with.
The options are plenty. We just now know that Joe Cremo is not one of them.
While the Kansas basketball program is still searching to fill its final scholarship in the 2018 recruiting class, the Jayhawks also are adding to their roster via a walk-on.
Elijah “EJ” Elliott, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard from outside of Dallas, who attended both Southlake Carroll and IMG Academy last season, has announced that he will walk-on at KU for the 2018-19 season.
Elliott revealed his plans on his Instagram account, saying, “I will be continuing my Basketball and Academic career at the University of Kansas. Rock Chalk!”
Elliott's account, which already pegs him as a “Kansas Basketball Commit” features just three pictures. One of them is his message about walking on and another is a picture of him attacking the rim.
Elliott's father played basketball at Texas-Arlington and Elliott himself received more than a little interest from several programs during the past few months, including Alabama, Arizona, Baylor, Nebraska, North Texas, TCU, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and more.
Elliott told Shay Wildeboor, of JayhawkSlant.com, that Wake Forest, UConn and UTA, along with Nebraska, were his top schools until he made his decision to join the Jayhawks.
Elliott, a shooting guard, is expected to arrive on campus on June 1, when the rest of the 2018-19 roster reports to campus to begin summer workouts.
Stay tuned to KUsports.com for more on Elliott's addition to the Kansas basketball program.
While the Kansas men's basketball program still has some work to do to fill out its 2018 recruiting class — Albany grad transfer Joe Cremo is headed to campus this weekend for one of his five official visits (Creighton, Gonzaga, Texas and Villanova are the others) — the KU coaching staff continues to work hard in the 2019 and 2020 classes.
With back-to-back open evaluation weekends now in the books, the KU coaches can start to zero in even more on the players they want to target in the next two classes.
Some of them received offers as a result of their play during the past two weekends. Others, like Minnesota prospect Matthew Hurt, have been on KU's radar for a while.
Hurt first caught KU's eye early in his high school career. The 6-foot-9 forward from John Marshall High in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 5 overall in the Rivals 150 for 2019 and carries with him a five-star rating and plenty of interest from some of the top programs in the country.
Rivals.com's Eric Bossi recently provided an update on where Hurt stands in his recruitment and, based on what Bossi is hearing, the Jayhawks appear to be in great shape.
“Hurt isn't saying much about his recruitment or leaders,” Bossi wrote this week. “But, after spending a few weeks on the road and asking around about what people think is going on with Hurt, a few patterns developed. Many feel that Hurt is likely to leave his home state and speculation is that if there is an early leader it may be Kansas.”
Bossi indicated that, as of today, it seems as if Hurt would like to make his choice this fall so he can focus on his senior season with John Marshall.
As for his current thoughts about Kansas, the versatile forward, who uses his athleticism, strength and size to create match-up issues all over the floor, clearly has a good feel for how he might be used by KU coach Bill Self should he sign with the Jayhawks.
“You know they are a great program,” Hurt told Bossi when asked about KU. “All of these programs (recruiting me) are great, really. I think they have a pretty good usage (history) of a big guard. Look at Josh Jackson, Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins, those type of players.”
While Hurt is not cut from the exact same cloth as that trio, he does have that wing element to his game and his stats clearly reflect that.
During a junior season in which he averaged 33.9 points and 15.1 rebounds per game during 2017-18, Hurt chipped in 36 3-pointers, 124 blocks and 107 assists while swiping 61 steals. (Stats according to mnbasketballhub.com)
He topped the 30-point mark in 22 of his team's 29 games, including a season-high of 51 points in an eight-point victory last December.
According to Bossi, Hurt will play on the grassroots AAU circuit this summer, with D1 Minnesota, and plans to cut his list down toward the end of the summer.
This spring, Duke, Memphis, Indiana, Minnesota (where his older brother plays), Kentucky, UCLA and Kansas were the programs that were most active in tracking his performances.
Talking Romeo Langford and where KU goes next.
Albany graduate transfer Joe Cremo could be one option, but it's not as if Cremo, wherever he lands, is going to be considered a savior of any program.
And speaking of saviors, boy did Langford play his recruiting right. Ranked No. 5/6 in his own class and yet he's got people calling him one of the best prospects in years.
More on that with my man Nick Schwerdt in the podcast below.
Just days after the Kansas basketball program officially became linked to a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, five-star recruit Romeo Langford, who chose Indiana over KU and Vanderbilt on Monday night, said KU's tie to the FBI probe would not impact his decision.
That may have held true in the eyes of the player. But news out of Indiana on Monday night, shortly after Langford made his commitment, illustrated that the FBI investigation did have at least some impact on Langford's father.
In an interview with Mike Miller of HoosierSportsReport.com, Tim Langford discussed the impact of the FBI investigation and KU's mention in the federal indictment on his son's decision. And it's clear from Mr. Langford's words that the impact was both significant and likely shared with Romeo.
“It pushed it out for me,” Tim Langford told Miller. “Just having that name (FBI) on your school.”
According to the article, Tim Langford's biggest concern about KU being named in the federal indictment does not appear to come from the fact that the Jayhawks could find themselves in future trouble — that may or may not still be the case and also may or may not impact the 2018-19 season, which likely will be Romeo's only year of college ball — but, instead, that his son, by attending KU, could have to answer questions about whether he received money over and over again.
“I didn’t take (Kansas) out of the three verbally,” Tim Langford explained to Miller. “But in my mind, we just didn’t want him going there and anybody asking him that type of question. So we don’t want him going to school there. We don’t care how good the basketball is.”
While the FBI investigation remains ongoing, with no known time table for an ending or a resolution, it remains to be seen if this type of situation will become more common among players Kansas targets in the future.
It's worth noting that nothing has changed in terms of KU's link to the investigation. At this point, KU remains mentioned merely because it was defrauded by Adidas executive Jim Gatto and a colleague, who are said to have provided more than $100,000 to a separate parent and guardian of two KU players in exchange for those players to attend Kansas. Also worth noting here is the fact that Indiana, like Kansas, is an Adidas school.
So unless anything more concrete comes out about any wrongdoing on the part of KU, it's easy to see how both the Kansas coaching staff and prospective recruits and their families can take things at face value and say and believe that KU played no role in any of the schemes outlined in the indictment.
Because of that, it's probably unlikely to have a negative effect because most of the issue surrounding the investigation is on one-and-done players and Kansas, as well as other major college programs, only recruit a couple of those every year and do not reel one in in every class.
In the 2018 recruiting class alone, Devon Dotson, David McCormack and Ochai Agbaji all are expected to be at Kansas for multiple seasons, with only No. 8-ranked prospect Quentin Grimes projecting as a possible one-and-done player.
Grimes is currently listed as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft — one spot behind Langford — in a 2019 mock draft put together by ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony on April 20.
The recruitment of five-star guard Romeo Langford ended right where most people expected it would — with the star of the Hoosier State committing to the Hoosiers.
Monday night, in front of more than 80 credentialed media members and a jam-packed high school gymnasium buzzing with anticipation, five-star guard Romeo Langford picked up a red Indiana Hoosiers hat, placed it on his head and ended one of the most high-profile recruitments of the decade.
After thanking a laundry list of people who helped him reach that moment in his life, Langford said simply, “With that being said, I will continue my education and basketball career at... [long pause as he placed the hat on his head] Indiana University.”
With that, the place went wild and all of those rabid Hoosiers fans who showed up to the public announcement rejoiced over landing the No. 5-ranked player in the 2018 recruiting class, Indiana's Mr. Basketball, a player who many believe can single-handedly expedite Indiana's rebuilding project under head coach Archie Miller.
Left sitting on the podium in front of Langford were Kansas and Vanderbilt hats, representatives of the two programs that came oh-so-close to bringing the Hoosier hero to their campuses.
Instead, the pull of staying home and playing out a college career in front of a state full of people who already adore him proved to be too much for any other program to overcome.
The 6-foot-5 wing who has been described as “a bucket getter,” likely would have been pencilled in as a starter at Kansas.
Some speculated that Langford waited so long to make his decision because he wanted to see what would happen with KU's roster. And after both Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick elected to leave school early — making it all four of KU's starting guards departing before next season — that fueled the belief, at least locally, that Langford could pick KU.
Ultimately, it came down to his desire to help rebuild Indiana into the national powerhouse it once was while doing it in front of a state full of adoring fans who have been just as active as the IU coaching staff in recruiting Langford to stay home.
Langford's decision leaves KU with one open scholarship still to hand out before the 2018-19 season arrives and, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, the Jayhawks will host Albany graduate transfer Joe Cremo for an official visit this weekend.
Cremo, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists during the 2017-18 season at Albany, played in all 100 games games in which he suited up during his three years at Albany, starting 67 of them.
The shooting guard from Scotia, N.Y., played 35.2 minutes per game this season and shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range.
Cremo likely is not the only Plan B option for the Jayhawks to fill that final spot, but, because of his ability to shoot the ball, he has to be considered one of the more intriguing options.
As for the rest of KU's 2018 class, it remains one of the Top 5 or 6 classes in the country, with five-star guards Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes expected to step in and compete for starting spots, four-star big man David McCormack adding depth and insurance inside in the form of someone who truly embraces a center's role and three-star local prospect Ochai Agbaji, of Oak Park High in Kansas City, Mo., coming in as the wild card of the class.
Those of you who following Kansas basketball recruiting closely, and probably even a decent chunk of those of you who don't, surely know that today is unofficially known as Romeo Langford Day.
Today is the day the top remaining unsigned player in the Class of 2018 makes official his choice between finalists Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt, and, even the most die-hard KU fans who wear nothing but crimson-and-blue-colored glasses have to admit that it sure looks like this one is headed to Indiana.
The 6-foot-5 guard ranked No. 5 overall in the class is from New Albany, Ind. He recently was named Indiana's Mr. Basketball. And he — or at least his crew — has opened up his announcement to the public, with rumors of an invitation to the governor of Indiana swirling, as well.
While all of those signs point to one of the bright young stars in the Hoosier State becoming the next Hoosier, one that might be even stronger than those surfaced Monday.
Bright and early Monday morning, ESPN's Jeff Goodman sent out a Tweet that said Albany guard Joe Cremo, a graduate transfer who stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall, had told ESPN that he would visit Villanova on Wednesday and KU over the weekend.
Now, it's entirely possible that Cremo's interest in visiting Kansas is completely unrelated to Langford's decision. But it sure makes a lot more sense to look at it this way: Romeo's headed to Indiana, KU knows it and the Jayhawks are making moves to fill the one available scholarship they have remaining with someone who could take some of those minutes they were hoping to give to Romeo.
Although Cremo (pronounced Cream-Oh) is no Romeo, he could be exactly what the Jayhawks are looking for.
As a junior during the 2017-18 season, Cremo started all 32 games for Albany and played 35.2 minutes per outing. He averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range (76-of-166).
As a sophomore, he shot 37.6 percent from downtown while starting all 35 Albany games. And during his freshman season, in 2015-16, played in all 33 Albany games, with zero starts, while averaging 20.7 minutes per game and shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point range.
Convincing the 6-4 gunner to come to Kansas — provided Langford does not — certainly will not be automatic. Cremo hails from Scotia, N.Y., which sits just four hours north of the Villanova campus, a tad bit closer than the 19-hour trek to Kansas.
Beyond that, Villanova and head coach Jay Wright are sort of the darlings of college basketball right now. Wright has that program humming as well as any program in the country, has for a handful of years now, and also is bringing in one of the best recruiting classes he's ever signed at Villanova.
It's not hard to envision Cremo squinting his eyes and envisioning himself playing the role of Ryan Arcidiacono or Donte DiVincenzo, who both starred as fearless, gunner-type guards on Villanova national title teams.
The biggest thing KU would have to sell Cremo would be playing time and an opportunity.
With the Jayhawks losing all four guards from their starting lineup in 2017-18, there not only exists an opportunity to pick up guard minutes, but also — and more importantly — a need for someone to shoot the ball from the outside.
Five-star feshmen Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes will both get a lot of minutes — both are starters if you ask me — and back-up point guard Charlie Moore also should be a valuable fixture in the rotation given his skills and experience.
Add to that the return of sophomore-to-be Marcus Garrett and the Jayhawks have a pretty strong, albeit different, set of guards in their 2018-19 rotation. The one thing that quartet is missing however is someone who can burn the nets. Cremo can do that. And the fact that he would bring valuable experience and maturity to a pretty young team would merely be icing on the cake.
It's kind of a win-win-win for all three parties involved with Cremo at this point. If he ends up picking between KU and Villanova, he pretty much can't go wrong. And if that does in fact happen, whichever program lands him would be getting a quality piece to add to its already dangerous roster.
There is, of course, also the possibility that Cremo elects to go elsewhere. After all, as of April 2, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reported that 15 different college programs — Arizona, Cincinnati, Creighton, Louisville, Marquette, Ohio State, Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, UConn, West Virginia and Wichita State — already had reached out to the 21-year-old Cremo about joining their roster. In the weeks since then, at least another dozen programs also have shown interest.
First things first, though. KU has to hear, for sure, what Langford is doing. If the answer is suiting up in red-and-white candy-striped IU pants next season, the pursuit of Cremo will begin. And if the Jayhawks don't land Cremo, be it because he picks another program or they move on, Bill Self and his staff no doubt have other players on their radar to fill that final scholarship.
KU notebook: Agbaji to make official visit, offering future classes and barn storming and charity events featuring Frank Mason
Class of 2018 shooting guard Ochai Agbaji is finally taking that official visit to Kansas.
Consider it a bit of a victory lap for the incoming freshman from Oak Park High in Kansas City, Mo., who committed to KU and officially signed earlier this year.
According to JayhawkSlant.com, Agbaji will make his official visit to KU's campus the weekend of May 4-6. While the visit may be a little different than those roll-out-the-red-carpet visits that come with prospects who are still in the decision-making process, that does not mean it will not be just as valuable.
In fact, Agbaji, who said recently that he expected to move to Lawrence on June 1, could actually get more out of this than an actual official visit in that it will give him an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the KU coaches and support staff, therein preparing him even better for what's to come when he arrives in June.
Agbaji, you may have seen, recently made a monster jump in the Rivals.com rankings for players in the Class of 2018, from unranked a couple of months ago to No. 141 overall in the site's most recent rankings.
Agbaji, who earned a handful of Kansas City-area player of the year honors came onto the scene late in the recruiting process, but quickly drew the interest of some of the top programs around the country.
With his options growing by the day earlier this year, Agbaji's recruitment came to an abrupt end when KU jumped into the picture and offered him a scholarship after KU coach Bill Self saw him in late January, following a few viewings by KU assistant Norm Roberts.
He committed just a few days after the offer, saying then, "What more are we really looking for," and Self discussed the 6-foot-5 guard's potential after receiving his letter of intent earlier this month.
"Ochai could be a high major defender early in his career," Self said. "And his skill set is such that I think he could be an immediate impact player for us."
As you might have read, it was a big recruiting weekend down in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and some of the moves since Sunday seem to back that up.
With coaches already having pinpointed the players they wanted to get a second or third look at heading into the weekend, the aftermath created a situation where those second and third looks became offers.
According to recruiting analysts across the country, at least two players received that kind of treatment from the Kansas coaching staff, with Class of 2019 big man Kofi Cockburn (6-11, 300 pounds, 4-stars, ranked No. 31) and Class of 2020 shooting guard Bryce Thompson (6-3, 160, 4 stars, ranked No. 45) picking up offers from KU.
Cockburn is in that true center mold, a dominant shot blocker who can rebound, be physical and control the paint.
Thompson, meanwhile, who sounded like he had been waiting on an offer from KU for quite sometime, is more of a scorer with good length and athleticism.
Thompson, who topped 20 points twice last weekend, is attracting all kinds of attention from across college basketball and, in a recent interview with Pat Lawless of PrepCircuit.com, he explained what he liked about KU.
“I like their fans,” he told Lawless. They have a great fan base and coach Bill Self is a Hall of Fame-caliber coach. There's a lot to like about them. I went to Late Night in the Phog at the beginning of the year. It was amazing and something I've never experienced before.”
Jayhawks set to go barn storming
In keeping with tradition, the departing seniors from this year's Kansas men's basketball team will be playing together one more time, Saturday night at Lansing High in their annual barn storming fun.
Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Clay Young, who graduated from Lansing High, will team with other collegiate players from around the area to take on a group of 810 Varsity high school all-stars, including future KU walk-on Garrett Luinstra, of Free State High, in a game that will tip off at 7:30 p.m., and feature a night of fun on and off the court.
"For KU or basketball fans not able to go to Allen Fieldhouse, this will be a fun event, watching some of KU's best players in recent years up close and getting an autograph for cheaper than a movie,” said event organizer and Lansing High and KU graduate Chad Rader. “This will be a great event for Kansas fans, as well as the Lansing community and Leavenworth County.”
Tickets will be sold at the door and will cost $10 for adults and $7 for children 10 and under. An autograph session will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Mason back on the mound
Former KU point guard Frank Mason III will be returning to the area for the first of two times this summer on May 22, when he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2018 season for the Kansas City T-Bones minor league baseball team.
Mason, who has a history of toeing the rubber to toss out a first pitch, will be on hand for the T-Bones' home opener and also will stick around to sign autographs during the game.
Later in the summer, Mason will return to Kansas City to host his first Frank Mason III Charity Softball Game at T-Bones Stadium on June 16. For tickets to that event, log on to www.FM3softballcharitygame.com. Proceeds from that event will help benefit the Children’s Mercy Kansas City & National Youth Foundation.
Maybe it's because he's a big man in a guard-dominated game.
Maybe it's because his name carries four stars next to it instead of five.
Maybe it's because he's entering a situation where he won't be counted on heavily right away because of the depth that's already in place at his position.
Regardless of the reasons for it, Class of 2018 Kansas signee David McCormack has flown under the radar a little bit while quietly having a monster Spring.
Playing in some of the same games as his future KU teammates Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson, McCormack's numbers and time on the court have not been quite as noteworthy as his counterparts.
But the 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Oak Hill Academy has been just as active on the All-Star circuit, playing in the McDonald's All-American Game and at the Nike Hoop Summit and also playing at the Iverson Classic, the second-year All Star event put on by former NBA legend and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.
Dubbed on the game's official Twitter page as “the most competitive, exciting and disruptive game on earth, the Iverson Classic took place last weekend in Philadelphia and featured some of the top talent in the 2018 class.
In true All-Star game fashion, McCormack's Team Loyalty topped Team Honor, 148-134, and the future Jayhawk had the honor of hearing this postgame speech from The Answer himself.
That was not the only place McCormack distinguished himself from his future teammates this Spring. In addition to being the only future Jayhawk to play in Iverson's event, McCormack also was selected for membership into the Oak Hill chapter of the National Honor Society, which, according to NHS advisor Steve Hebold, is “one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a high school student.”
According to a news release, the National Honor Society “strives to recognize the total student, one who excels in several areas,” including academic performance, leadership, service to one's community and character.
None of this came as any kind of surprise to Paul Biancardi, the national director of recruiting for the ESPN 100, which ranked McCormack at No. 25 overall in its latest Class of 2018 rankings. That was the highest of all of the recruiting rankings for the player whom Biancardi said “embraces being a true center.”
Both Rivals.com and 247 Sports ranked McCormack No. 33 overall in the Class of 2018.
McCormack committed to KU last September and made his pledge official in November, with KU coach Bill Self saying simply, "the more we watched, the more we liked."
“I love that kid. I truly love him,” Biancardi told the Journal-World on Monday.
Although Biancardi knew McCormack long before this Spring, he had the opportunity to fly home him with him following the Hoop Summit in Portland and the added quality time simply reminded him what a solid young man McCormack is.
“Anybody who loses 50-some-odd pounds and dedicates himself physically to his craft shows me that he's a willing worker, he's dedicated and he has no problem sacrificing because he did all three of those things,” Biancardi said.
As for what type of player the Jayhawks are getting in McCormack, Biancardi's description sounded like anything but a flashy All Star.
“He's going to defend the post, he's going rebound on both ends, — he's very active rebounder — he's a great screener and he's a guy who can develop a post-up game,” Biancardi said. “I love him, I love his work ethic and I love his humility.”