Archive for Friday, October 27, 1995

ONLY COACH CAN IDENTIFY RECRUITS

October 27, 1995

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Roy Williams has proven once again he is the only person who knows what really is happening in Kansas basketball recruiting.

Since last summer's Nike camp, recruiting expert Bob Gibbons and others have mentioned 20 or so high school basketball seniors as KU targets in recruiting.

Since Nike, not one of the recruiting experts targeted Fayetteville, Ark., prep swingman Nick Bradford as a possible Jayhawk recruit. Bradford, you're probably aware by now, committed to the Jayhawks last Sunday.

The gurus certainly knew Bradford existed. A member of the talented Arkansas Wings AAU team, Bradford started the summer as Gibbons' No. 36-rated national player. His name has also appeared in other publications.

Yet nobody in the media listed him as a Jayhawk recruit until last week when both Gibbons and the J-W reported he'd be making a campus visit to KU over the weekend.

It's been said, because of the advent of experts like Gibbons and Van Coleman, that there are no secrets in recruiting.

Beg to differ. The Nick Bradford story proves otherwise...

How good is he?: Bradford, a 6-6 left-handed shooter, averaged 15 points and six boards last season for 19-8 Fayetteville (Ark.) High.

Of Bradford, Gibbons says, "He is an outstanding athlete who will support Paul Pierce at the wing forward position next season. He gives Roy Williams the athletic wing forward he was looking for."

Bradford is the only player from Arkansas listed in Gibbons' top 100. There are other good players in the state, however, such as 6-7 Anthony Burks of Little Rock and 6-9 Festus Hawkins of Pine Bluff.

There is the chance Bradford will emerge as the top prep player in the state. A year ago, KU landed the best players in Nebraska (T.J. Pugh), Missouri (Ryan Robertson) and California (Paul Pierce). The year before KU landed the best in Iowa (Raef LaFrentz). This year, perhaps the best in Arkansas. KU's recruiting success continues...

One that got away: C.J. Black's commitment to Tennessee gives the Volunteers two of the beefiest recruits in the country.

Black, 6-8, 255, joins fellow Tennessee native Charles Hathaway, 6-10, 250, who committed to Vols' coach Kevin O'Neill several weeks ago.

UT also is expected to land 6-6 Will Smith of Memphis.

One scholarship left: Barring another surprise, the Jayhawks, who have one scholarship to give, likely won't fill that slot until the late signing period. Williams has said he's looking for a big guy to fill one of his two scholarships.

Lester Earl, 6-foot-9 from Baton Rouge, La., has yet to qualify academically, hence he will likely wait until second semester to sign with a school. Tulane may be leading for Earl, who has also mentioned KU, Kentucky and others.

Reportedly, many high school players like Earl are going to monitor the progress of Minnesota Timberwolves center Kevin Garnett, who jumped from high school to the pros.

If he does OK, some other high schoolers may follow and enter the NBA draft.

One big man in Big Eight/Missouri Valley country, 6-10 Derek Thomas of Tulsa, appears headed for Syracuse. Quintin Smith, 6-10 from Mississippi, will likely pick Ole Miss or Alabama. Jason Collier, 6-11, from Springfield, Ohio, will likely tab Indiana or North Carolina.

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