Monday, October 5, 2015

Diallo, Bragg go 1-2 in hype

Standing from left, KU basketball players Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Carlton Bragg Jr., Landen Lucas and Dwight Coleby, wait for a team photograph Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, during the men's basketball media day.

Standing from left, KU basketball players Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Carlton Bragg Jr., Landen Lucas and Dwight Coleby, wait for a team photograph Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, during the men's basketball media day.


Highly acclaimed Cheick Diallo, who enters college as the No. 5-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2015 by, figures to be a lock for Big 12 preseason freshman-of-the-year honors.

He might not be the only Kansas University freshman to garner votes for the honor, however, especially if the fact he has yet to be cleared for participation in games (by the NCAA Eligibility Center) is taken into consideration.

Hot on his heels in the hype department is fellow forward Carlton Bragg,’s No. 21-rated player in the Class of ’15, who has impressed since arriving on campus last June.

After Diallo and Bragg, the next highest-rated incoming player in the league is Texas’ Kerwin Roach, ranked No. 34 by Rivals.

Jawun Evans of Oklahoma State is No. 36, Eric Davis of Texas No. 59, Tevin Mack of Texas No. 61, Esa Ahmad of West Virginia No. 72 and King McClure of Baylor No. 78.

Those are the only top-100 prospects represented on rosters of the 10 league teams.

“Carlton is a great kid. He works hard. He’s going to be a great player,” KU senior forward Perry Ellis said of the 6-foot-9 Cleveland native. “He’s definitely a real skilled player. He gets after it and listens to coach, soaks up what coach is telling him. He’s definitely a key coming in as a freshman.”

Coach Bill Self boasted a bit about Bragg, who averaged 21.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks his senior year at state champion Villa Angela-St. Joseph High, at Thursday’s KU Media Day.

“Carlton is one of the most talented big guys we’ve had since I’ve been here. Offensively, obviously, a Marcus Morris-type guy. He’s one of those guys that has that type of skill, and it’s going to take time, but certainly I think he has a chance to be a special guy,” Self said.

Bragg — he broke his nose at practice right before the start of the World University Games in Korea — contributed 3.8 points and 3.8 boards while logging 11.8 minutes a game for KU’s gold-medal-winning squad.

“This summer helped a lot,” Bragg said. “It helps you adapt from high school to college. Playing in the World University Games was a big challenge. My teammates got me ready for that. I just love being here, being a proud Jayhawk. I think it’s going to be a pretty special year.”

Ellis POY?: Ellis figures to be a candidate for Big 12 preseason player-of-the-year honors after averaging 13.8 points and 6.9 boards a game his junior season.

“I expect him to be as good as or better than any player in the league. I expect him to play to an All-American-type level,” Self said of the Wichita forward.

“I think he’s capable of doing that. I thought last year before he got hurt (knee at end of regular season into postseason), there was about a six-game stretch where I think he was playing to an All-American level. He seems to be in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger. I don’t mean from a weight standpoint, but you can just tell the way he carries himself, he’s stronger and more confident. I expect him to have a big year, and when I say that, I expect other players to have comparable type years to Perry.”

Ellis had a quote sure to please KU fans at last week’s Media Day.

“I have a goal to go to the Final Four. That’s a goal of mine. It takes a lot of hard work. It starts from the first game. We have to take it game-by-game,” Ellis said.

Other top contenders for preseason player of the year — which should be announced any day now — are Iowa State’s Georges Niang, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Baylor’s Rico Gathers.

Top-recruit coaches: ESPN recently released a list of the coaches who have signed the most top-25 recruits (in ESPN’s 100) since 2007. Kentucky’s John Calipari has signed 28, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski 22, North Carolina’s Roy Williams 13 and KU’s Bill Self and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim 10 apiece. Top senior players expected to attend Friday’s Late Night in the Phog are: No. 2 Harry Giles, No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, No. 6 Malik Monk, No. 16 Marques Bolden and No. 34 Schnider Herard.


Doug Cramer 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm more excited about the veteran leadership and experience we have on this team.

One and dones don't win championships in Bill Self's program.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 7 months ago

Bad timing for Late Night coming during Fall Break weekend when many students will be off campus somewhere. Although many may want to attend Late Night, a home Baylor game certainly does not provide added incentive to hang around campus.

The Big 12's inability to sign top ranked players to this year's class may be due to the high number of quality returnees and the poor performance of the conference in the NCAA tournament the past couple of years.

Robert Brock 6 years, 7 months ago

"And here we have a partial score (thanks George Carlin):

Baylor 77..."

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

I would stay away from the FB game at all costs. The under is what 61 lol. We are having enough trouble getting recruits to sign.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 7 months ago

Not trying to be a jerk here, but I believe Georges Niang, Buddy Hield, and Rico Gathers are no longer eligible for "newcomer" of the year.

Player of the year, maybe... :)

Glen Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

"Other top contenders for preseason player of the year — which should be announced any day now — are Iowa State’s Georges Niang, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Baylor’s Rico Gathers."

How much more cut and dry do you need it to be.... It said exactly what you did. lol

Rob Bedford III 6 years, 7 months ago

No. 34 Schnider Herard is the only player KU has any real shot at landing. The others are headed for Kentucky or Duke.

Glen Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

Are you a part of the recruiting process for all of the other players outside of Herard? Listen, every year we get excited or freak out about "projections". Until these kids actually choose a school, typically none of us have as good of a clue as we think we do. Self will get some players, he always does. Calm down and watch the magic unfold my friend!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

He's not wrong. Harry Giles is from NC and when was the last time an elite recruit of his caliber left the state for college ball? De'Aaron is likely going to Kentucky based on his comments. Fox isn't coming to KU and playing over senior Mason or junior Graham. Malik Monk has long been considered a very strong Arkansas lean with Kentucky being the only other school with a shot at him. Jerrance Howard has completely botched the Marques Bolden recruitment and has allowed the once heavy KU lean to have KU running third behind Duke and Alabama.

KU was never considered the favorite for 3 of those 4 players, but losing significant ground on the one who was a heavy favorite to the point where KU sits 3rd right now is not a good thing. And yes, people do have pretty good reads on where these kids are leaning because of interviews they give and how they talk about schools on various social media sites.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

More Rumblings about KU not getting early commitments from other posters........

Hmmmm... maybe we do have an issue with how we recruit in the early period.

Aaron you are right on spot, Howard needs to go, he is not helping and now he is hurting us in recruiting. We are clearly behind folks and if you don't think that is true try explaining how we are not even getting a chance for any, not some, of these top players. I get why the gaurds are not coming, but Big men should not be an issue but it is. We have openings, starting PT, and everything to get these top players to the lottery in the draft and still crickets.

Houston we have a problem and Howard is where to start to fix it.

Tom Jones 6 years, 7 months ago

Why? It's MUCH easier to say the sky is falling...

Self's record for landing talent needs no justification or explanation to anyone that actually knows a shred about recruiting.

Sure is fun watching trolls like Rodney squirm and whine, though. For that reason alone, I hope he takes his time.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

Not true. I think we have a strong shot at Udoka Azubuike as well as Herald. Both would potentially play major roles with so many bigs leaving after this season. There is still plenty of unsigned talent left who are waiting to see where they have the best chance of getting a starting or in the rotation role.

Our first sign last year was Bragg and then the chips fell into place. Self knows how to put a class together either w/early commits or late.

Rob Bedford III 6 years, 7 months ago

I was just referring to the players listed in the article. I'm sure KU has shot a several other players.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Joe, I believe a second reading of the article is in order. The names you mention are designated as candidates for preseason player of the year.

Rob, I will keep your comment on file for future reference. You may end up being right, but I am willing to bet that you will be wrong based upon Coach Self's track record. Either way, I wouldn't trade him for Calipari or Coach K no matter how successful they are. Coach Self is as classy as they come.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

Did you know that there's this crazy new invention that lets online articles get edited even after posting when a mistake gets pointed out so those mistakes like the one Joe pointed out get corrected? Crazy time we live in I tell you.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

Harlan start with the word binary, then go from there. You will catch up quick no doubt.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Rodney, you sound like a poster child for evolution!

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

Because I understand how a web page article works?

Jerry Walker 6 years, 7 months ago

Or evidence of the missing link in human evolution?

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

For understanding how a web page article works Jerry?

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