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Friday, July 6, 2007

Kansas recruiting heats up

Self & Co. hit road for summer evaluation

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Given a choice, Bill Self would rather spend the month of July golfing and hanging out with his family than living out of a suitcase while on the road recruiting.

"Personally, for me, recruiting : it's never been fun. I don't know if there are a lot of college coaches who would say recruiting is fun," said Self, Kansas University's fifth-year basketball coach, who nonetheless realizes it's a major part of the job.

He and KU assistants Joe Dooley, Danny Manning and Kurtis Townsend today until July 15 will hit the road evaluating high school players at various AAU camps.

After an NCAA-mandated break July 16-21, Self and his aides will close out the final nine days of the month continuing to try to attract top talent to KU.

"It's something you can enjoy. It's enjoyable when you get to know the families," Self said of recruiting.

However :

"There are so many factors involved in recruiting that were not there 15 years ago, which makes it more difficult," he explained. "You never know quite where everybody stands, because everybody is trying to get involved and have a say-so in what is going on, where before you recruited the coach and the parents, and that was about it.

"Now there are so many factors."

The emergence of the AAU coach in recruiting has grown steadily throughout the years. In fact, in many, if not most, cases, summer coaches have more influence on the process than the high school mentors.

Whatever the case, there's a big job to be done in the summer of '07.

The Jayhawks, who already have received an oral commitment from Roeland Park Miege guard Travis Releford, need to replace five departing seniors, as well as any players who decide to enter the 2008 NBA draft.

"We've got to sign enough guys. You look at who we could potentially lose," Self said. "We have five seniors, and there will be a great opportunity for at least a couple of these guys deciding to leave before their eligibility is done.

"We're looking at probably signing seven guys. You know it could be more.

"We are not worried about, 'Oh we've got to get one guard or one big guy.' We need to get multiple (players) in each spot in order to fill out a roster. Certainly we're one down and several to go," continued Self, who can't comment specifically on the Releford commitment in accordance with NCAA rules.

The recruiting landscape has changed a bit for this summer. No longer is there an ABCD camp in Teaneck, N.J., a Nike camp in Indianapolis and Adidas Superstar camp in Atlanta.

Nike this year invited top prep players to work at four camps in June (with NBA players Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire). The approximately 80 players who attended those camps will congregate at the LeBron James U.S. Skills Academy Friday through Monday in Akron, Ohio.

Adidas this year started its Adidas Nations program, which has brought Releford and other top preps together to play exhibition games and work on fundamentals. An Adidas Nations Take Five camp, in fact, will be held today through Sunday in Cincinnati.

Reebok will serve as host for a 120-player camp today through Tuesday in Philadelphia. Reebok recently took a group of players to Italy to play a series of international games.

Several of the traditional summer AAU events remain, including the Nike Peach Jam, July 12-15 in North Augusta, S.C., as well as Nike Main Event, adidas Super 64 and Reebok Summer championships, all July 22-26 in Las Vegas.

Here's a look at some of the players the Jayhawks are recruiting this summer into the fall. They are listed in no particular order.

Phillip McDonald, 6-5, Cypress (Texas) Springs High School: McDonald, the No. 84-rated player in the country by Rivals.com, has a final list of KU, Oklahoma, Cincinnati and New Mexico. He also has received scholarship offers from Iowa State, Texas A&M; and UNLV.

Scott Suggs, 6-6, Washington High, Augusta, Mo: Suggs, the No. 79 player in the class, has a final seven of KU, Missouri, Illinois, Florida, Clemson, Washington and Wisconsin. He hopes to narrow his list to three after July.

Willie Warren, 6-3, North Crowley High, Fort Worth, Texas: Warren, the No. 13-rated player in the class, had talked about committing to Baylor last weekend, but didn't. He also likes KU, Kentucky, Oklahoma and others.

Greg Monroe, 6-10, Helen Cox High, Harvey, La.: The country's top-rated player has not yet sliced his list of schools. In fact, he may wait until the spring to sign. He has received scholarship offers from KU, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, LSU, Louisville, Southern California, Texas, North Carolina, Baylor, Connecticut and Kentucky.

Rotnei Clarke, 6-0, Verdigris High, Claremore, Okla.: The country's No. 62-rated player has made several unofficial visits to KU. He also likes Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, Marquette, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Arkansas, Missouri State and others.

J'Mison Morgan, 6-10, South Oak Cliff High, Dallas: Morgan, who attended the same high school as Darrell Arthur, is the country's No. 39-rated player. He still has a long list of schools including KU, Alabama, Arizona, Georgetown, Baylor, UCLA, Louisville, Kentucky, Florida and UNLV.

Tyler Zeller, 6-11, Washington (Ind.) High: Zeller, who has made an unofficial visit to KU, is the country's No. 14-rated player. He's considering KU, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, North Carolina and others.

Terrance Henry, 6-9, Caroll High, Monroe, La.: The No. 64-rated player in the class, is considering KU, Mississippi, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Oklahoma, USC and others.

Murphy Holloway, 6-7, Dutch Fork High, Irmo, S.C.: The country's No. 122-rated player has a list of KU, Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia and others.

Quintrell Thomas, 6-8, St. Patrick High, Elizabeth, N.J.: Thomas, who is not ranked in the top 150, has a list of KU, Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Wake Forest and Miami. He has said he wants to visit KU this fall.

Clarence Trent, 6-7, Gig Harbor (Wash.) High: Trent, who is ranked 104th in the class, has a list of KU, Arkansas, UConn, Florida, Gonzaga, Washington, Illinois, Arizona and Louisville.

Verdell Jones, 6-4, Central High, Champaign, Ill.: Jones, the No. 111th-rated player in the class, has made several unofficial recruiting trips to KU. He also likes Illinois, Southern Illinois, Kentucky, DePaul, Louisville and others.

Iman Shumpert, 6-4, Oak Park (Ill.) High: The country's No. 32-rated player, who has not listed KU of late, likes Clemson, Notre Dame, Illinois, Georgia Tech and others.

Michael Dunigan, 6-9, Farragut High, Chicago: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Georgetown and KU are on the list of the country's No. 56-rated player.

Andrew Steele, 6-3, Carroll High, Birmingham, Ala.: Steele, the No. 46-rated player, has a list of Alabama, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Tennessee, KU and others.

Darius Miller, 6-6, Mason County High, Maysville, Ky.: The country's No. 31-rated player has heard mainly from Louisville, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Miami, Kansas State and Indiana. He in the past has had KU on his list.

Jeff Taylor, 6-7, Hobbs (N.M.) High: Taylor, who is not rated, has heard from KU, New Mexico State, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee and others.

Justin Brownlee, 6-7, Covenant Christian High, Tifton, Ga.: Brownlee, who is not rated, has just started to emerge and draw the attention of KU, Arizona, Auburn, Georgia, Murray State, Florida State, Colorado and others.

London Giles, 6-3, Kimball High, Dallas: Giles, who is not rated, says he currently prefers KU and USC over Oregon, Texas A&M; and SMU.

Troy Gillenwater, 6-8, Stone Ridge Prep High, Los Angeles: The country's No. 73-rated player has a list of USC, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, KU and Kansas State. He originally committed to Oklahoma State but has changed his mind and reopened recruiting.

Obviously this is not a complete list. Coaches cannot comment about recruits in accordance with NCAA rules.

Comments

Christian Hinton 15 years ago

There's another Giles on this list?

Any relation to CJ?

Tom Pritchard 15 years ago

Thanks Gary for keeping the Jayhawk Nation informed about recruits it helps our withdrawal..

mariofan11 15 years ago

7 recruits? Wow. Let the process begin.

Robert Brock 15 years ago

London Giles. I think that Bedore made a mistake. I think he is referring to David Kyles, 6'2 from Kimball H.S. He has visited Lawrence for either the Jayhawk Invitational or the Elite Camp and really likes KU. He is quick, has great hops, plays excellent defense (the motor is always running) and can shoot. Reminds me a little of Donald Sloan who was a freshman last year at A&M. In a structured program he would be effective, IMO.

Brock

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 15 years ago

heres who i hope to get

Monroe Clark Warren Zeller and suggs

DocBean 15 years ago

Greg Monroe would be huge for KU. He could step right in and combined with Aldrich, who will have matured for a year, would give us two Solid low posts. There are a lot of guards out there that can play at the D1 Level, and Self has proven he can spot the talent at the guard possition, but not many players out there can give you what Monroe can. Put a solid cast of 3 and 4 star players around him that you can develop for a few years, and maybe we won't have to fill 7 spots in the future.

Jaydub 15 years ago

What are our chances of getting Greg Monroe? I assume he hasn't been on campus yet. Does anyone know if he has scheduled a visit?

JayCeph 15 years ago

Why is Rotnei on this list? I thought he already committed to UK... no?

Jeremy LeMaster 15 years ago

I agree with DocBean. Getting Monroe would be huge. I like the potential mix out of the class with getting some stars and some role players. I would love to see KU get the number 1 rated player and see how they do as a frosh at KU.

Having Arthur, Aldrich and Monroe with Chalmers and Collins (among others)... I am liking that team, a lot!

JayCeph 15 years ago

Here is some scuttlebutt on some future college players (some of which could be playing @ KU):

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/seth_davis/07/05/summer.preview/index.html

DocBean 15 years ago

TaCityHawkFan: Monroe wouldn't play next year, it would be the year after. No way will Arthur still be around unless he gets injured like Rush did, and must stick around for another year. There is a chance Chalmers and Collins will jump to the league by then also. That's why Self is recruiting like he will have 7 scholarships, even though he'll only have 5 seniors leaving.

Craig Lang 15 years ago

Frankly, I think Zeller sounds like exactly the type of player we need here.

Baha 15 years ago

First of all, lets all stop be homers... Shady will most likely be gone after next year. Monroe is a one and done player so why bother, I would rather recruit some one ranked 15th to 30th like Aldrich who will stick around more than a year. As much as I love our guards, do you really believe that the have a shot at "The League" much less leave KU early??? come on no way, Mario needs to stay and continue to develop a NBA game, Charron has a outside chance at best to leave early... Think about it, Brandon would of been drafted probably around 20th and he is a better NBA propect than those two... Right now Rush, Shady and Aldrich are the only true NBA prospect on this team... FACT...

emeryhawk 15 years ago

Baha - Agreed on Arthur. Unless he is a huge disappointment next year, he's gone. A lot of people think he has a good chance to be an all-american. We'll see if he can cut down on his fouling... I disagree about the one-and-done players. That's where the top talent is. Durant almost went to UNC last year. Think about what that would have done for their team. I mean, obviously you have to recruit some guys who are going to stick around, but you have to go after the top-20. Monroe would be huge. Also, I think that both Sherron and Chalmers have a good shot at the league. Whether they'll stick is anyone's guess. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that both could leave early if they pick their games up. Also, if this draft shows anything it's that NBA scouts pay attention to the NCAA tourney. If this team wins an NC or makes the title game, that helps everyone's stock. I think there are as many as 8 players on the current team who have a shot at the league if they play well. Out of those eight, I'd bet on maybe four making it. I'd rank the NBA prospects of our players as follows: Arthur, Rush, Kaun, Sherron, Aldrich, Mario, everyone else, in that order.

bmkjayhawk 15 years ago

My take:

Warren: A year ago he was favoring Kansas State. Once the hype of Huggins kind of died down (even before he left KSU), Warren changed and was favoring KU. Then KU got thrown back into equal contention with a dozen other schools. Then he favored KU, OU and UK. Now it's Baylor. I don't think KU is going to land him because it seems like all the schools on his list have an equal shot and he'll probably just go somewhere seemingly random, like Baylor.

Morgan: I know it's illegal for Keith Langford to call players from his high school (Warren) and put in a good word for KU, but can Darrell Arthur say anything to J'Mison Morgan? Sounds like a guy who is on the rise, who we might like to see commit to KU.

Monroe: Obviously we'd all like to have this one. I hear he's going to trim his list to five (including KU) and make all five of his official visits in the fall. Hopefully he'd pick his KU visit during Late Night.

Zeller: Has family who went to Shawnee Mission East in Johnson County. My old roommate knows his cousins and said that Self and Co. has called this guy's family in KC trying to get the word on him. But it sounds like it might be tough to keep him out of the Big Ten.

Anyway, just random comments of mine.

KURUSH1530 15 years ago

Bedore didn't make a mistake (from what I've read Kyles isn't even considering KU anymore)..he was referring to London Giles, no relation to C.J. I'm sure. I haven't been able to find too much information on him, but the picture will start to clear up soon enough on all of these guys. It would be huge to get Monroe playing in a Jayhawk uniform next year. However, as Self said, we're also going to need to add depth at almost every position. Nobody really knows what these kids will do nowadays, you can't recruit guys who you think will stay for 2-4 years, because they could come and have an amazing freshman season and take off.

justanotherfan 15 years ago

Obviously with Case, Robinson, Kaun, Jackson and Stewart all guaranteed to be gone you have to think Self needs a point guard, two wings (maybe three since we already know that Brandon will leave after next year in almost any case) and at least two bigs (although we should plan on three just in case Shady leaves.

With those needs, we already have one wing (Releford). Warren will probably choose a school in Texas (gut feeling). Steele's brother is a starter at Alabama, so I am guessing he will follow along. That leaves Suggs, McDonald and Giles, and we will probably need two of those three.

The lead guard situation isn't as tenuous, provided that either Mario or Sherron stays and since I think it's unlikely that both will leave, we can use that extra scholarship on a big guy, which is a must since the rotation could be trimmed to just Aldrich after this season.

Monroe would be nice, but the word is that he is thinking seriously about staying close to home (LSU?). Darrell could contact Morgan unofficially (i.e. Self can't tell him to call him on his behalf), but the influence that would have is a toss up since Darrell may not even be in Lawrence by the time Morgan would arrive.

I think it's important to land either Monroe or Morgan. The word is that they are the best low post scorers in the class and the offense KU runs is much more effective if there is a dominant post scorer in it. Zeller would be nice, but getting him out of Big Ten country will be hard. If we land either Monroe or Morgan (doubtful that both would commit to the same school), a couple of athletic 6-8 range guys would be nice to fill the Darnell Jackson mold (bangers who rebound and develop an offensive game later).

Depending on the extent of departures, KU may have to go the juco route to shore up any surprise exits (Collins, Chalmers, Aldrich).

Also, let's not discount the Morningstar-Reed combo. If one of them can step up this year, that may also ease the recruiting burden and allow that to shift to the 08-09 class when we will hopefully welcome Xavier Henry and others.

Joe Ross 15 years ago

We need to land several super-studs to keep it going...

BigTamale 15 years ago

justanotherfan...

Good analysis.

With the players left on the board, I wouldn't worry about trying to use up all the 5 defintate and 7 more than likely scholarship openings.

Self needs to land 3 more Solid Players to complete the year.

1 Point Guard Shooting Guard (Releford) 2 Big Guys...This is a MUST! You don't want Aldrich as your only big man.

Save the rest for the NCAA violation and for 2009 season and hope for the best.

JayhawkPhil 15 years ago

In Oklahoma they used to say there were just two sports seasons, Football season and Spring Football season. At KU there is Basketball Season and Basketball Recruiting season. As a longtime subscriber to the Van Coleman Report(now Hoopmasters online), I have to admit I get just as excited during recruiting as I do during the regular season. Everybody looks like a star! It is a major understatement to say this is an important recruiting class.

jaybate 15 years ago

jross1972...you nailed it. If you lose superstuds, you have to replace them with superstuds or you fall off. Based on this LJW story, and Jayceph's SI link, I don't see even one superstud coming to Lawrence. Just a bunch of mid 50s to 100s coming when they don't get their first pick. This is very disappointing and confirms my thinking that Self is an excellent coach, but only about 3/4s of the recruiter everyone thinks. Townsend is letting them down on the left coast IMHO. One of those two great guards out of LA should be coming to KU, but isn't. Joe is not dragging any blue chips in from the eastern seaboard. It appears anyone we get is going to be because Self knows how to recruit the midwest--Chicago to Houston. If Joe and Townsend can't attract on the coasts, Self is going to have to get someone who can. Dan Manning is apparently finding out that having been in the show more than five years ago doesn't count with highschoolers.

And Bill Self, Mr. Sunshine, is saying recruiting isn't fun.

To quote John Fogarty, "I see a bad moon a'risin'."

But of course in basketball, one top player changing his mind can make everything look much, much better. Things suddenly looked much rosier when Brandon Rush decided at the last minute to come to KU. Maybe lightening will strike twice for Self and KU. But I think it is a very, VERY bad sign when a player the caliber of Rotnei Clark, a guy with no NBA future at all and not even a sure starter at the D1 level tells Self to wait around.

justanotherfan 15 years ago

Rush is replaced by Releford, a stud of a player.

Arthur can be replaced by either Monroe or Morgan.

If Chalmers or Collins leaves, they have to be replaced, but if not, we should be fine and still have a ton of scholarships for 08-09.

The only wild cards are injuries and transfers. And don't discount the fact that most of these guys aren't making decisions until after Late Night (when we may have two or three potential recruits in house). Self is an excellent recruiter, as proven by his ability to land quite a haul every year he's been at KU.

As for the Rush, Chalmers, Wright, Downs class being a disappointment, what are you thinking?!

Rush - arguably the best player on the team each of the last two years. First round NBA pick next year. Top shut down defender. Consistent three point threat. Not a bust.

Wright - NBA lottery pick. When in beast mode, one of the best fifteen players in the country. Maybe inconsistent (frustratingly so) at times, but far from a bust. There are 345 or so D1 programs. Every one of them would LOVE to have a player of that caliber on their team.

Chalmers - When the team is hurting for scoring, it seems like he almost always knocks down a big shot. Game winner as a frosh vs. OU. Game tying shot this year against Texas in the Big XII final. Holds the Big XII freshman steals record. Might break the career mark if he sticks around 4 years. Definitely no bust.

Downs - Transferred. A bust a KU.

3 of 4 ain't bad. One legitimate bust, three starters on top flight teams. That's pretty good.

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