Friday quickly becomes huge day for KU hoops recruiting


Kansas recruit Cliff Alexander, second from right, hangs out with members of the Kansas men's team Sunday afternoon at the Kansas women's season opening basketball game against Oral Roberts. Alexander's girlfriend plays for the women's team.

Kansas recruit Cliff Alexander, second from right, hangs out with members of the Kansas men's team Sunday afternoon at the Kansas women's season opening basketball game against Oral Roberts. Alexander's girlfriend plays for the women's team. by John Young

I'm sure our own Gary Bedore is all over this and will have more throughout the week, but since he's in his hometown of Chicago getting ready for tomorrow night's KU-Duke game, I figured I'd post this quickly so you guys were in the loop.

It looks like Friday will be a huge day for KU basketball recruiting, as three of the top prospects in the Class of 2014 reportedly will be announcing their decisions at 3 p.m.

They are Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Cliff Alexander. KU is in the running for all three of them and each made a visit to KU's campus at some point during the process, with Alexander being the most recent to hit Lawrence, as he was here this past weekend.

The announcements will take place at their respective high schools and, as always, we'll have all kinds of coverage and reaction right here at when the deals go down.

It's hard to say exactly what will happen here. Okafor and Jones have spoken often of wanting to play college ball together and Alexander's as talented as anyone, but it's hard to imagine all three of them will pick the same school. Then again, you never know. And the timing of their announcements — same time, same day — certainly adds to the intrigue around their decisions.

Okafor, a 6-10, 270-pound center from Whitney Young High in Chicago, is ranked by as the No. 1 player in the class. Jones, a 6-1, 171-pound point guard from Apple Valley (MN) High is ranked fifth and the potential packaged deal represent two of KU's top targets.

Alexander, a 6-8, 240-pound forward from Chicago's Curie High, is ranked 4th in the class and has a final five of Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State, DePaul and Memphis.

Okafor's final four is believed to be Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky, while Duke, Kansas and several others are in on Jones, as well.

All three are five-star prospects.


Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 6 months ago

I say Kansas gets everyone in the top 100.

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 6 months ago

Do you think any of them will redshirt? :)

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

Alexander to Illinois.

Okafor to Duke.

Jones to Duke.

Turner to Oklahoma State (in the spring).

Embiid returns to play at KU his sophomore year.

Ellis returns to play at KU his junior year.

Etc. etc. We will be OK.

Glen Miller 8 years, 6 months ago

I highly doubt that we will miss on all four of out "top" recruits. Self and staff have put a lot into these guys and basically not went after anyone else besides Vaughn. My guess is Okafor and Jones go to Duke and Alexander comes to Kansas. If none of those kids come here, then I expect Myles Turner to come here. Turner is waiting to see how the chips fall first.

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

I think that the Alexander ship has sailed. As for Turner, there is a lot of evidence that Turner is going to commit to Oklahoma State early next semester.

Not getting Alexander is unfortunate; losing out on Turner - meh.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 6 months ago

you are so far off. why was Alexander here last week? why did Tyus have a KU shirt on in high school . all things point to KU

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 6 months ago

What school is the only school that is the same on all 3 of their lists? And all 3 signing at the same time? Mark my words ... They all commit to KU. Embiid will be gone, Wiggins gone, Black gone, and Ellis gone. Selden will stay and Frankamp will redshirt or move to 2 guard. It'll be an interesting situation with Tharpe, Mason, and Jones at point but we could even likely see Mason redshirt as well depending on how good of a season he has. Either way, all of them choosing at the same time bodes well for KU.

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 6 months ago

And just for the record, I don't think getting all three of them would be the best scenario. This is the best scenario:

Wiggins leaves for NBA, Black graduates, we pick up Cliff, and everyone else stays. That leaves Cliff to take over for Black and Oubre to take over for Wiggins. But, at least 3 Jayhawks will leave after the season including Black and Wiggins so I'm sure that probably won't work out. Just wanted to put that out there though.

Steve Zimmerman 8 years, 6 months ago

We'll be fine with Hunter, Lucas, Traylor, Embiid, Ellis. HCBS is great at molding so-so or potential players. Oubre will be great. Naey will continue his leadership. We will be just fine.

Sean Doherty 8 years, 6 months ago

I disagree with everyone so far. KU is becoming THE powerhouse of college BB NOW. KU will loose Wiggens, Selden, Embiid, and Black next year. Along with Justin Wesley. The four finest recruits of 2014 will join KU this season. Let me show you how....:

KU will start with the ultimate lineup next year. Something no other team can match. We will have two point guards. Yes, count them, two point guards with Naadir Tharpe and Tyus Jones. Which one does an opponent double team? Good question. They both start. Frank Mason is the first off the bench for these guys. Conner Frankamp may be the next guy off the bench. If needed.

The Wing. Once again we have what may be the prize NBA joule wing starting for KU in Kelly Oubre. That is if he can compete for the starting position in a timely fashion against recently upgraded Andrew White III.2. Next off the bench at wing is ESPN top 50 recruit sophomore Brannen Greene.

Forwards and Centers... Where do we begin with this super large class of Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander? Well we bench one of them and expect the other to out work a talented 6-10 red-shirt sophomore who was ranked 55th in ESPN's 2011 recruiting class, Hunter Mickelson. In case you haven't noticed by now, we bench Cliff Alexander. But not for long. Alexander will compete for the starting spot at forward with Perry Ellis, who moves elegantly with a passive persona but can rule the block in a fierce way. Alexander will be the first off the bench for either Ellis or Okafor if he can embrace the college game. Finally the monster himself, Jamari Traylor, who will be a red-shirt Junior by the 2014 season, will be the second/third off the bench behind Alexander, followed or proceed by Mickelson.

Kentucky has never fielded this type of talent in such a large group. There should be much talk about the greatest team ever assembled circling this team. And yes, that is a rotation of 11 players. What a luxury for a coach of Bill Self's ability. He has 2 he can red-shirt if needed. But, like this year, he won't need to use them. He can throw excellent players on the court when the All-Stars get into foul/fatigue/slump problems.

This will be the greatest college basketball Team ever assembled. This will become Bill Self's and KU's second or possibly third National Championship team during Bill Self's tenure a KU.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 6 months ago

"Waiter..I'll have what Sean's having."

Sean Doherty 8 years, 6 months ago

The cool-aid is good. Just bringing a positive spin to things.

Greg Lux 8 years, 6 months ago

Whomever we get we will be fine. Kansas is a premier program and will continue to get the best players. On friday we may not get all three ( or we may) but we will get at least one. Embiid can enter the draft but his smart move will be to stay at Kansas and continue to learn and Develop his game and be the #1 player in the draft next year or in 2 yrs. Anyway the Jayhawks will be just fine next year.

Rock Chalk

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 6 months ago

There is no way the NBA passes on Embiid this year. The NBA places a premium on ceiling and Embiid's is up there with Hakeem. Ellis is in the process of having a big year....he's NBA bound. Since Lucas is the only scholarship player not getting minutes against ULM, does that mean anything?

Kansas needs to sign 4 or 5 this year. Okafor, Jones, Alexander and Turner would be good compliments to Oubre.

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

I think Embiid will return for his sophomore year. Maybe by then he will be a starter.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 6 months ago

Of the three I want a big man and since we are loaded at the 5 I want Alexander. Anything extra would be icing on the cake.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 6 months ago

We've got the transfer from Arkansas ans Lucas. Both will be ready to dominate next year. Lucas will surprise people. I also believe Alexander can rotate in as a 4/5 to provide more versatility. If Seld believes we need a center more next year then he knows more than we do and I trust him.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 6 months ago

From Robert's scenario above, if either Embiid or Ellis does not return, we have a huge hole in the post. Ellis seems to be a lock to return. Both leaving is a nightmare scenario. Let's skip that and focus on Embiid.

I'd rather have Embiid return than land any of the three big men. A year in our system is the best scenario. But is that likely? He's projected top 10. Not likely in my mind.

If we don't get one of the 3, and Embiid leaves, we are left with an incredible talent vacancy in the post.

When you analyze this, take off the crimson and blue colored glasses. Don't assume we just win games without talent.

Traylor is not a high talent guy. He's going to make incremental gains. Good in his role this season -- 4th post man. Lucas is the odd man out this season in the post. He didn't get one minute against ULM. That says a lot, as noted above. Self, when talking about Frankamp's possible redshirt, oddly referred to Lucas -- saying we can't redshirt him because we did last season. That's where he is in the pecking order. And Mickelson, line drive shot and all, is an unknown. Did not show much in the Saturday scrimmage a few weeks back. What we do know from his Arkansas time is that he's not a difference maker. No reason to think he's better than Traylor right now. But let's assume that he is. Still not what I would say an adequate starter for Kansas -- not Kansas State, or Iowa St. -- but Kansas.

Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson are all bodies. Could they develop into something better? Sure. But as of now, based on what we've seen and know, they are bodies. To be frank, guys that should never start at KU. Could the best of the three be an adequate rotation player, 15-18 minutes? Sure. And a 4th a 5-8 minute non-rotation guy. Sure. But 30 minute per game starter. No way. Not from what we've seen.

Self has them for an emergency. He has them if we need them. And he'll continue to recruit over them.

I do hold out hope that as they develop, they'll get better. But we're talking next season.

Since we are on the OAD merry go round, assuming Ellis stays, we need only one next season -- Embiid or Okafer or Alexander or Turner. Just one.


Jack Wilson 8 years, 6 months ago

(continued) If we don't get any of them, it's a big issue. We are Kansas, and Self is a great coach, but think about why he's focused on OADs in the post? Because they are the top talent -- and talent wins. And our prior recruiting misses have put us in this pinch. We would be in a double pinch next season. We have Ellis in one spot. That's secure. But the pinch comes in spot #2 if lose Embiid and miss on the big 3 -- no immediate impact guy (OAD), and no high talent guy (a #15 - 60ish) that has been developed into the role, as we have seen before (Marcus, Kieff, TRob, Withey, Aldrich).

This also creates a scenario where all three (Lucas, Traylor, and Mickelson) would have to play as part of a four man post rotation. Ugh.

Is all lost if we lose Embiid, and miss on the big 3? No. Of course not. There are senior transfers like Black to fill in (but high talent guys just aren't there -- Black is about the best you could hope for). Could we get a semester transfer?

But most likely, we would be banking on major improvement from all three of our low/unranked post depth guys. I wouldn't want to roll my dice on that.

Welcome to life on the OAD merry go round*.

*Thanks, ParisHawk, for this appropriate term.

Eliott Reeder 8 years, 6 months ago

I think we would be just fine with a 3rd year Lucas and 4th (?) year of college ball Mickelson at the 5 next year. I think Lucas made a big jump last year and will make an even bigger jump this year. He still looks like he can gain a lot of muscle and athleticism through Hudy. And Mickelson should be much improved as well with a year devoted to developing motor and learning the system. And Jamari would only need to be in there to spell Perry for ten minutes a game at most. Foul trouble could be dangerous, but otherwise... all good. Two solid 6-10 250 lb dudes to man the post should be adequate. All they have to do is defend, catch passes from Perry while he's being double-teamed, and dunk the ball!

Jack Wilson 8 years, 6 months ago

I take that as a compliment .. but no, my mind operates much more simplistically.

Try running your cursor over the avatar.


John Fitzgerald 8 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate doesn't exist anymore ... He didn't want the world to know his true idenity. He's kind of a sore loser and he thinks he's Batman. Yikes

Ron Franklin 8 years, 6 months ago

Ellis is going to have a great year as the 4 for KU. Where do you project him to play in the League? He's not playing the 4 there, and too slow for the 3. Ellis best bet is to stay around at least 1 more year.

Ron Franklin 8 years, 6 months ago

That was a reply to Suzi. Not sure why it posted waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down here :)

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 6 months ago

Ellis will be a very good stretch 4 in the NBA.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 6 months ago

Look at the picture above and tell me Cliff is going anywhere but Kansas. He already looks like a teammate.

Suzi is exactly way someone in the NBA doesn't pick up Jo Jo even if he only shows marginal improvement this season.

Jahlil and Tyus most likely are Duke bound, but Cliff and Kelly give us a heck of a start on the 2014 recruiting class!!!

Brian Conrad 8 years, 6 months ago

Tyus had a KU shirt on in school this week

Brian Conrad 8 years, 6 months ago

I believe they are going to announce at same time for reason.. best ever freshman class with top center Okafor, top point Tyus , top power forward Cliff , and great small forward Oubre add Ellis staying and loaded with great wings wow.. best part no matter what this year is going to be outstanding!

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