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Jayhawks adding walk-on shooting guard to 2018-19 roster

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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.

Next Chapter..🙏🏻 #rockchalk

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Reply 3 comments from Dustin The_muser Dale Rogers

Is Kansas the early leader for 2019, 5-star forward Matthew Hurt?

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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.

Reply 7 comments from Jmfitz85 Carsonc30 Matt Tait Marius7782

Say What? Tait’s weekly appearance on Rock Chalk Sports Talk

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.

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Report says Romeo Langford’s father had issue with KU being mentioned in FBI investigation

Romeo Langford discusses his decision to continue his basketball career at Indiana University following his college announcement ceremony at New Albany High School, Monday, April 30, 2018, in New Albany, Ind.

Romeo Langford discusses his decision to continue his basketball career at Indiana University following his college announcement ceremony at New Albany High School, Monday, April 30, 2018, in New Albany, Ind. by Tyler Stewart/News and Tribune via AP

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.

“It doesn't hurt them at all,” said Langford on April 13, in an interview with USA Today.

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.

Reply 53 comments from Philip  Bowman Noel Graham Carsonc30 Janet Olin Ronfranklin Goku Allin Herring Brad Avery Tim Orel Jmfitz85 and 20 others

Five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford picks Indiana

Romeo Langford places an Indiana University cap onto his head after selecting to continue his basketball career with the Hoosiers on Monday at New Albany High School, Monday, April 30, 2018, in New Albany, Ind.

Romeo Langford places an Indiana University cap onto his head after selecting to continue his basketball career with the Hoosiers on Monday at New Albany High School, Monday, April 30, 2018, in New Albany, Ind. by Tyler Stewart/News and Tribune via AP

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.

Reply 19 comments from Jmfitz85 Tony Bandle Allin Herring Dwphawk60 Steve Corder Adam Bengtson Chrisdeweese Plasticjhawk Ronfranklin Karen Mansfield-Stewart and 7 others

What’s next if KU doesn’t land Romeo Langford?

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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.

None by Jeff Goodman

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.

Reply 20 comments from Marius7782 Joe Ross Joe Baker Plasticjhawk Dirk Medema Allin Herring Navyhawk Jmfitz85 Harlan Hobbs Steve Corder and 6 others

KU notebook: Agbaji to make official visit, offering future classes and barn storming and charity events featuring Frank Mason

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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."

Offers flying

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.

Reply 2 comments from Marius7782 Harlan Hobbs

Future Jayhawk David McCormack quietly having an impressive spring

Future KU center David McCormack, one of four players in KU's 2018 recruiting class, recently took part in the Iverson Roundball Classic last weekend in Philadelphia.

Future KU center David McCormack, one of four players in KU's 2018 recruiting class, recently took part in the Iverson Roundball Classic last weekend in Philadelphia. by Matt Tait

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.”

Reply 5 comments from Brad Avery Alan Walker Harlan Hobbs Karen Mansfield-Stewart Carsonc30

Basketball recruiting back in full swing as KU turns attention to Class of 2019

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Dallas, Texas, became the center of the recruiting universe this weekend, with major AAU events on the EYBL (Nike), Under Armour and Adidas circuits all taking place in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area during the first live evaluation period of the spring, which opened Friday night.

For college basketball staffs around the country, including the crew at Kansas, that means another opportunity to forge ahead in the 2019 and 2020 classes with an eye on future talent.

With four players signed in the Class of 2018 — and just one spot still to fill in the current class — KU coach Bill Self and his assistants have been on the 2019 and 2020 athletes for a while. In fact, point guard Markese Jacobs, one of the 20 or so top-tier KU targets in the next two classes who will be competing in the Lone Star State this weekend already committed to KU months ago.

According to recruiting analyst Matt Scott, the idea behind this weekend's events — which essentially function as opening day for the recruiting season — is not to find new players, but to further evaluate and break down the targets they've been tracking for a while.

“They already have an idea of guys going into it, from the high school seasons,” Scott said. “A lot of it is they want to see how much guys have improved from the last time they saw them. It's really about who fits what they're looking for and what the program's needs are. Are they looking to fit more bigs or more wings? And personality and style of play also are a big factor.”

Scott said that constant tracking of a player's progress is the reason there are multiple evaluation periods.

“They really want to see how kids are improving and if they're ascending,” he said. While some of that can be done by word of mouth, talking to coaches and watching film, Scott said there is no substitute for seeing it live and that's why weekend extravaganzas like the one happening around Dallas this weekend draw so much attention.

Coaches from just about every major program, and dozens of smaller schools as well, sent huge chunks of their coaching staffs to maximize the opportunity to see all of that talent in roughly the same area.

“When there's a college coach with a shirt that says Duke or Kansas or North Carolina on it, that kind of ramps things up,” Scott said. “It really is different for these kids when those kinds of coaches are there in person.”

With that in mind, here's a quick glance at some of the key names for the 2019 class who Self and company are evaluating this weekend.

Adidas circuit

• Matthew Hurt – The No. 5-ranked player in the class and a KU target for the past few years, this 6-foot-9, 200-pound athletic power forward from Rochester, Minn., is drawing serious interest from every Big Ten program and all of college basketball's bluebloods.

• Onyeka Okongwu - 5-star power forward ranked No. 18 in the 2019 class stands 6-foot-8, 215 pounds with serious room to grow. Hails from Chino Hills, Calif., and is receiving offers up and down the West Coast. Also has Big 12 offers from KU, Oklahoma State and TCU. His Top 5, as of January, was Arizona State, KU, UCLA, Washington and USC.

Nike EYBL circuit

• Cole Anthony – Ranked as the No. 4 player in the 2019 class, this 6-foot-2, 180-pound 5-star point guard from New York City is drawing major interest from Georgetown, Oregon, Pitt, St. John's, Kansas, Wake Forest and UCLA.

• Chandler Lawson – Ranked No. 73 in the class but holding a 5-star rating nonetheless, the younger brother of KU's Lawson brothers stands 6-8, 200 pounds and is listed as a power forward. His top suitors at this point appear to be Baylor, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kansas and Memphis.

• Malik Hall – A local prospect from Wichita's Sunrise Academy, this 4-star, 6-7, 210-pound wing is drawing interest from a wide range of more than two dozen schools, including Kansas. Hall is ranked No. 49 in the Rivals 150.

• Markese Jacobs – KU commitment who orally pledged his services to the Jayhawks after Late Night 2016, is a 4-star, point guard from Chicago who has a strong connection with current Kansas player Charlie Moore and former KU legend Sherron Collins, both Chicago natives, as well. Jacobs is listed at 5-11, 170 pounds and was recruited mostly by KU assistant Jerrance Howard.

• Vernon Carey Jr. – The No. 1-ranked player in the 2019 class, according to Rivals, Carey is a 5-star, 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who is wide open at this point and drawing interest from all of the big players.

• James Wiseman – Ranked No. 2 overall by Rivals, this 7-foot, 210-pound 5-star power forward from Memphis is rumored to be eyeing an attempt to reclassify for 2018 class, which would make him eligible this fall. Kentucky and Memphis are two of the major players here.

• Jalen Lecque – Ranked No. 9 in the class, Lecque is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound 5-star point guard who has more than two dozen of the country's top basketball schools pursuing him. KU assistant Norm Roberts is listed as the lead recruiter for Lecque, who hails from Arden, N.C.

• Isaiah Stewart – 5-star prospect from Indiana who is ranked as the No. 10 overall player in the class, Stewart is listed at 6-8, 230 pounds and has more than three dozen schools trying to convince him that they are the right fit. Has been compared to a young Elton Brand, who starred at Duke and in the NBA.

• Kofi Cockburn – Ranked No. 31 overall, this 6-foot-10, 300-pound monster of a man hails from Middle Village, N.Y., and is drawing major interest from more than 30 programs, most of them from back east.

Under Armour circuit

• Bryan Antoine – A 5-star shooting guard in the Top 20, Antoine, who plays for the Mario Chalmers-backed Team Rio, is a 6-4, 170-pound teammate of Scottie Lewis' at Ranney Prep School in Tinton Falls, N.J., who is drawing the same kind of interest as his close friend.

• Scottie Lewis – One of the few shooting guards in the top of Rivals' rankings, Lewis is a 6-4, 170-pound 5-star scorer from Tinton Falls, N.J., who is ranked No. 11 overall and holds 18 offers from all of the country's powerhouse programs. Also plays for Team Rio.

• Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – Local prospect from nearby Bishop Miege High, who is the son of former KU forward Lester Earl, the 5-star Robinson-Earl has bulked up during recent months and now stands at a solid 6-10, 236 pounds. Ranked No. 16 overall, JRE has been on KU's target list for years and has continued to improve and impress each year.

• Zach Harvey – Four-star shooting guard from nearby Hayden High in Topeka, Harvey stands 6-4, 170 pounds and has made several unofficial visits to Kansas throughout his prep career.

• Precious Achiuwa – Ranked No. 6 in the class and rising, this 6-9, 200-pound small forward from Newark, N.J. is a 5-star prospect who is drawing heavy interest from several schools back east and Big 12 programs Kansas, Oklahoma State and TCU.

• Christian Brown – Five-star small forward from Columbia, S.C., is ranked No. 27 in the class and has nearly that many offers from schools throughout the south, east coast and Midwest. Stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds.

• Wendell Moore – Another small forward from the Carolinas, this 5-star wing who stands 6-4, 190 pounds hails from Concord, N.C., and has offers from Duke and North Carolina and interest from KU and Kentucky.

• Josh Green – Tall, long shooting guard from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this 5-star, 6-5, 185-pound scorer ranks No. 19 in the class and is drawing the most interest from the West Coast.

There are, of course, other players who the Jayhawks will be watching and potentially targeting in the 2019 class, but this group represents the best of the best among those that Kansas has its eye on.

One thing worth pointing out is that the Jayhawks don't actually have any scholarship seniors on the 2018-19 roster so, at this point, it is uncertain how many players they will need to/be able to take in the 2019 class.

Dedric Lawson, Udoka Azubuike (if he returns) and Quentin Grimes all could be candidates to leave early. Plus, KU still has one unfilled scholarship in the Class of 2018 — which has been ear-marked for five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford or another shooter if the Jayhawks don't get him — and there is at least a little uncertainty surrounding the status of sophomore-to-be Silvio De Sousa given his status in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

All of that added together means Self's squad could be in the market for anywhere between 2-4 players in the 2019 class, which already includes one scholarship headed to Jacobs.

Reply 5 comments from Marius7782 Rob Byrd Dirk Medema

Kansas basketball signee makes major jump in updated Rivals rankings

Oak Park High guard Ochai Agbaji drives to the rim during a recent high school game against Liberty North in the William Jewell Tourney last December. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing recently became one of the hottest unsigned prospects in the country after picking up offers from Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, Agbaji committed to KU during a ceremony at his high school.

Oak Park High guard Ochai Agbaji drives to the rim during a recent high school game against Liberty North in the William Jewell Tourney last December. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing recently became one of the hottest unsigned prospects in the country after picking up offers from Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, Agbaji committed to KU during a ceremony at his high school. by Darryl Woods/810 Varsity

The updated Rivals.com recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018 came out on Monday and one future Jayhawk made a monster jump.

Unranked when he committed to Kansas earlier this year, three-star guard Ochai Agbaji, of Oak Park High in Kansas City, Mo., cracked the Top 150 in Rivals' latest release, moving all the way up to No. 141.

Agbaji, a shooting guard with good size and a versatile skill set that inspired KU coach Bill Self to compare him to former Jayhawk Travis Releford, officially signed with the Jayhawks last week. He became the fourth player in the 2018 class to make his commitment official and sign a letter of intent with KU.

Two of the other three prospects — combo guard Quentin Grimes and center David McCormack — moved up, with Grimes jumping two spots from No. 10 to No. 8 and McCormack moving up one spot to No. 33.

Point guard Devon Dotson was the only future Jayhawk in the 2018 class — for now — who dropped in the updated rankings, falling one spot from No. 17 to No. 18.

Dotson, Grimes and McCormack all played in last month's McDonald's All-American Game, while Grimes and McCormack followed that up by playing in the Nike Hoop Summit game for Team USA.

Grimes also competed in the Jordan Brand Classic.

One other notable ranking for the Jayhawks came in the form of the top remaining player in the class, five-star guard Romeo Langford, staying in the No. 6 spot overall.

Duke, which previously had locked down the top three players in the class — R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson — now has the Nos. 1, 3 and 5, as Williamson dropped two spots from No. 3 to No. 5 and UNC-bound small forward Nassir Little jumped up to No. 2.

Reply 9 comments from Sean_sw Brian Skelly Maxhawk Matt Tait Marius7782 Pius Waldman Sam Allen Phil Leister Ashwingrao Metaljhawk