Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prep juniors flourish


With college basketball recruits getting younger and younger - Aurora, Ill., eighth grader Ryan Boatright recently orally committed to the University of Southern California - it should come as no surprise some high school juniors-to-be have flourished this summer on the AAU circuit.

Putnam City (Okla.) High's Xavier Henry, No. 2-rated prospect in the Class of 2009, on Tuesday scored 21 points to lead Athletes First to a 74-66 victory over Alabama Storm in the finals of the 16 and Under AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.

The 6-foot-6 Henry, who recently accepted an invitation to North Carolina's Late Night With Roy Williams, has a final list of KU, UNC, Memphis, Louisville, Ohio State and Texas.

Ex-Jayhawk standout Carl Henry's son has accepted an invitation to the Nike Global Challenge tournament Sunday through Tuesday in Portland.

"He's looked really good this summer," analyst Jerry Meyer told the Daily Oklahoman. "He is an elite prospect and has the chance to be a superstar in the NBA one day. He's that good."

Other KU junior targets competing at the Nike Challenge include Daniel Orton, 6-9, McGuinness High, Oklahoma City; Lance Stephenson, 6-4, Lincoln High, Brooklyn, N.Y.; as well as seniors Greg Monroe, 6-10, Cox High, Harvey, La.; Rotnei Clarke, 6-1, Verdigris High, Claremore, Okla.; and Willie Warren, 6-4, North Crowley (Texas) High.

Other players who have yet to begin their junior seasons who have KU on their list of prospective schools are: Abdul Gaddy, 6-3, Bellarmine Prep, Tacoma, Wash.; Jerry Brown, 6-6, Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco; Anthony Marshall, 6-3, Mojave High, Las Vegas; and Brendan Lane, 6-8, Rocklin (Calif.) High.

Gaddy told he favors Gonzaga and Washington over KU, Oregon, Arizona and Pepperdine.

Brown told he hopes to make an unofficial visit to KU in September. He also likes UCLA, USC, Texas, Washington, Pepperdine, Arizona and Texas.

Lane said his list consists of USC, Cal-Berkeley, Arizona State, KU, Stanford, UCLA, Kentucky, Utah and Washington.

Marshall lists KU, Kansas State, UNLV, Colorado State, Arizona, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Washington and Washington State.

¢Rush honored: KU junior Brandon Rush has made Dick Vitale's first-team All-Rolls Royce squad. He's joined by Roy Hibbert, Georgetown; Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina; Chris Lofton, Tennessee and Drew Neitzel, Michigan State.

¢Warren outstanding: Add analyst Antonio Williams to those impressed by the play of Texan Warren at this week's Adidas tournament in Vegas.

"Warren did not look to score during this game, but he did an exceptional job of creating offense for his teammates. He has great ball-handling skills and court vision.

Warren proved that he was the best player on the court without forcing on offense," Williams wrote after one contest.


seattlehawk_78 14 years, 9 months ago

I think orally committing as an eighth grader is the equivalent of simply stating that you want to play for a given team. They can't actually sign a letter of intent can they?

jayhawkinATL 14 years, 9 months ago


Jaydub 14 years, 9 months ago

Elaborate on staying away from Willie. Maybe you know something the rest of us don't. Is it just the cocky quotes you're worried about?

If so, this article shows that he can be unselfish and get his teammates involved. Maybe his confidence and swagger will rub off on the rest of the team, Self probably knows better than me though. I hope I'm not sounding like a broken record, but kids mature in college.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

I've written in disapproval of some of the past antics by Mr. Warren, and then I saw a clip of him last night on youtube dunking on this cat back in May, I think. I can definitely say after watching that he's the real deal. I'm not sure he's a perfect fit for our program, but I'm not the one to make that decision. Go to youtube, see this dunk, and draw your own conclusions.

On another note, I watched a couple highlight sessions of Clarke, and I do not see how he's a top-100 player. The shot goes down, but like others have said, it comes from the hip, which is a bad sign. Furthermore, the athleticism is nowhere near Div 1 level. He stuggled to get around opponents of his in his tiny-class OK league, has no hops, and while I can't say for sure he lacks defensive ability, there was nothing to show of it, and given his lack of athleticism, I can't see how he would be able to guard in the Big 12, let alone anywhere in Div 1.

mdonahue 14 years, 9 months ago

Look closely at that clip, he's dunking on Xavier Henry

JayCeph 14 years, 9 months ago

Wow, if the kid (Warren) is selfless on the court and plays with a team mentality, I don't really care what quotes he gives the press. (It just provides more fodder to take pot-shots at him)

He just better be careful about how he reps himself in the long run because nobody wants to deal with a hard case... perceived or real.

yovoy 14 years, 9 months ago

i was going to say that it was henry as well. my friend (whose kid plays with warren) called and told me about that after it happened. i was glad i could see it though. thanks youtube.

as for no-one wanting a hardcase - wrong. most of these elite kids know that if you're "the best", there will always be someone that will want you. from more-storied programs, to less-storied ones. the same goes with coaches: ksu w/ huggins, anyone?

Jim Baker 14 years, 9 months ago

Re: YouTube...Nice dunk over Henry, sure looked like Henry was there to take the charge, not to mention the ref T-ed up Warren. Can't tell what the technical was for, but it sure looked like it was for taunting. Who needs that???

JayhawkPhil 14 years, 9 months ago

Although he has said a few goofy things, the general consensus of reviews that I have read about Warren's performance in AAU games is that he is a good hardworking kid who would be a good team player. It is silly to judge a kid by a few comments. He's a kid for chrissakes. If you want to worry about a potential KU recruit it would be Daniel Orton. He has incredible talent but loafed more that any other player I ever saw in the AAU tournament at KU last spring. He played on the team from Oklahoma with Xavier Henry. His brother, who used to play for Oklahoma St,(last name was Crawford)was very frustrated with him. The thing is, during interviews he said all the right things so you would have never known what kind of player he was by what he said. It was amazing though. He would go along loafing around and then he suddenly make some fantastic pass or shot or pull down any rebound he wanted and then he would go back to loafing again. I don't know whether he will mature and become a star or become another Ricky Ross. I wished Crawford good luck with his brother and he said he would need it. I don't know whether we want to recruit him or not. I am sure some of you guys that regularly post here are from the KC or Lawrence area--did any of you see him and what did you think?

JayhawkPhil 14 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of silly, it does seem silly to commit to a school, particularly one out of state, in your eigth grade year.

justanotherfan 14 years, 9 months ago

On the Warren YouTube clip. It's just one dunk, so I don't want to get too carried away, but that's some serious elevation. He did what I'd like to see a lot more guys do - went strong to the rim with the intent to dunk on someone. That shows that he won't just settle for jacking up threes like some guys do. As for the taunting, its hard to say if they t'd him up for saying something or just because he was standing over him. That also may have had something to do with the game itself (maybe both teams were getting a little chippy, so the refs t'd up one teams star after dunking on the other teams star to make sure nothing went too far), I don't know. Looks like the kid is athletic at the very least.

The only concern I have is that all of the focus is on Warren and Henry and Clarke, but still we NEED big men. I think we will be ok on the perimeter with Releford and the remaining guys, but we need interior help in 08-09 and the more names I see, the more wing guys I see. I know Coach Self is a great recruiter, and it's possible that the 08-09 class is just thin on quality bigs, but we need bigs. Does anybody know if there is a shortage of quality 4s and 5s for next years recruiting?

lyon3 14 years, 9 months ago

lets give this Warren kid a break we were all young once. And all of us had are own me complex going on at one time are another. But i bet that over half of us got over it real quick. So lets look at his up side and try and get as many good players to fill the holes that the players leaving. Every one said that they did not want a Rush and now none of us want him to leave, so give this kid a shoot and lets try and get him here and no where else to play againt us

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 9 months ago

I think lyon3 has a point. I, too, was critical of this 17yr olds comments to the press, but maybe it not only highlights the youthfullness of Willie, but also the need for better off-court chaperoning/coaching when it comes to speaking to the media. Take a couple of examples from the NBA: MJ was always thoughtful and reserved with the media, but known to taunt mercilessly on the court with opponents. That was OK I think, because he always was able to back up the taunts. The counterpoint would be everyone's favorite team player Kobe Bryant, who when he came into the league was SO 'respectful' of the game, etc,... but now he is a head-case of the highest order, second-to-none. My point is that time will tell one's true colors, along with age + experience. Brandon Rush is a nice example of someone busting the recruit-hype, one who is a team player (on the court) almost to a fault. Who knew? (Yes, I realize I am giving a counterpoint to my own comments on Willie in my post on the preceding story...)

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