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Archive for Wednesday, April 29, 1998

DIRK NOWITZKI, A 6-FOOT-11 CENTER FROM GERMANY, TOLD RECRUITING ANALYST MIKE SULLIVAN THAT KANSAS IS INCLUDED ON HIS TOUR OF U.S. SCHOOLS.

April 29, 1998

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This just in from the weird, wild world of college basketball recruiting:

Kansas University, which has one men's basketball scholarship remaining this school year, may yet receive a visit from a big man -- 6-foot-11, 235-pound Dirk Nowitzki, a 19-year-old center from Germany.

Nowitzki, who in the past has appeared disinterested in attending a U.S. college -- he's received lucrative offers to play professionally in Europe -- tells Mike Sullivan of Insider's Report he will soon make campus visits to Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Cal-Berkeley.

Nowitzki will start his tour of the four schools either this weekend or next week. He's in the process of ordering his plane tickets and setting his order of visits.

After the tour of schools, Nowitzki will return to Germany, consult with his parents and pick a college, likely after the conclusion of the spring signing period (May 15). This means he would not be bound to a school until he showed for fall semester.

Cal coach Ben Braun recently made a trip to Germany to meet with Nowitzki. Hence the Bears have been considered the favorites if Nowitzki chooses the college route.

Nowitzki did visit San Antonio recently for the Nike Hoops Summit game. He scored 33 points in the World Team's 104-99 victory. That strong effort led to speculation he'd be turning pro.

Recruiting analyst Sullivan actually could emerge as a player in Nowitzki's recruitment. Nowitzki's German club coach has asked Sullivan to list the pros and cons of Nowitki's four finalists. The player and coach have indicated they don't know much about U.S. schools and want the inside scoop.

Kansas could fill its allotment of scholarships as early as next week, about the time Nowitzki starts his U.S. tour.

Ashante Johnson, a 6-9 forward from Canada (Calif.) College, who visited KU last weekend, says he'll pick either KU, Xavier, Pepperdine or Florida State as early as next Monday.

Thus far, KU coach Roy Williams has stockpiled guards in recruiting.

The Jayhawks have signed a point guard in McDonald's All-American Jeff Boschee, 6-1 from Valley City, N.D.

KU also has corralled shooting guards in Marlon London, 6-3, Chicago; John Crider, 6-4, Horton, and Luke Axtell, a 6-9 transfer from the University of Texas.

Axtell also could play the small forward position, but averaged 13.3 points and made the Big 12's All-Freshman team at shooting guard this past season.

``Our primary need (this year) was point guard,'' Williams said. ``Ryan (Robertson) is entering his senior year. C.B. (McGrath) is gone. It was our primary need. It's what I spent the most time on last spring and summer. Also, Billy (Thomas) is graduating ... we felt we needed to add some people there.''

KU did recruit some big men, like Minnesota 7-footer Joel Przybilla and 6-11 Dan Gadzuric. But Przybilla picked Minnesota and Gadzuric is headed to UCLA or the NBA.

``In the post, we have Lester (Earl), T.J. (Pugh), Eric (Chenowith) and Jeff (Carey),'' Williams said. ``We still have four there. It's not the biggest concern.''

Especially with several big man prospects available in recruiting next year. Four premier big men took unofficial visits to KU this school year.

They are: Aleksander Radojevic, a 7-3 freshman from Barton County CC; plus high school juniors Nick Collison, 6-9 from Iowa Falls, Iowa; Matt Bonner, 6-9, from Concord, N.H., and Donnie Wallace, 6-10, from Goddard.

Fans have been wondering if UT transfer Axtell has signed anything that officially links him to KU.

The answer is no.

``A youngster who is a transfer does not sign a national letter-of-intent,'' Williams said. ``He has signed a financial aid agreement form which a university can give a transfer. It binds a university to a transfer. If the transfer does show up, you give him a scholarship. It's a one-way deal. There is no national letter-of-intent which binds the transfer to you.''

Williams can't comment specifically on Axtell in accordance with NCAA rules.

``You can never talk about transfers until they start school. Then they are no longer transfers, they are students, you can then talk about them,'' WIlliams said.

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