Kansas recruiting heats up

Self & Co. hit road for summer evaluation

Friday, July 6, 2007

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.