John Crider has successfully defended his title in Kansas' 12-minute back-to-school men's basketball conditioning run.
Crider, a sophomore from Horton who completed more than eight laps in 12 minutes last August, traversed 8 1/3 laps of the Memorial Stadium track in 12 minutes on Thursday night.
"Not many of our players in the past have completed more than eight laps," KU coach Roy Williams said. "C.B. McGrath had 8 1/2 one year. John is right up there with Rex Walters and a couple others."
Crider bested runner-up Kirk Hinrich, who completed just over eight laps.
"Everybody made over seven. I tell them if you can't run 6 1/2 laps, you've not done enough over the summer to be a successful player at this level," Williams said. "If you do not run 6 1/2 you come back at 7 in the morning every day until you do. I was really pleased they all made seven."
The biggest surprise was senior Ashante Johnson, who appears recovered from the right patella problems that plagued him all last year.
"Ashante was the star of the run," Williams said. "He finished about fourth. He did look good and he did not have any pain."
Ex-Jayhawk Raef LaFrentz bragged to media members about placing last his senior year. This year's last-place finisher?
"Marlon (London) and Kenny (Gregory) came across the finish line at seven laps," Williams said. "I was not upset at the guys who made seven. That's still a half-lap more than they had to. Running is just running. Some people hate running. My own son did very well in Carolina's running program. He always ran the mile well. He also hated it with a passion. There's not enough money out there to make him do it again."
Williams rewarded the Jayhawks with ice cream and brownies at his house after the run.
"It's a tradition now," Williams said. "More than anything else, it tells me they've done some work over the summer."
Lester Earl, who is coming off last year's third left knee surgery, was the only Jayhawk not to run. Still, Williams said it appears Earl is making progress following intense summer rehab.
"It's finally to the point he feels he is getting stronger," Williams said. "I've got people here saying they've never had somebody work as hard (on rehab) as he has. He's trying to get his explosiveness back.
"But if he has more days like this (Thursday's arrest for failure to appear in court on traffic charges) it is not going to make any difference."
Recruiting: Williams said KU may not sign anybody early and may not fill its allotment of three scholarships during the upcoming recruiting year.
"If somebody is really excited about recruiting information they get, they'll have a bad, bad year this year. There's not going to be much information," Williams said, noting last year's class of Hinrich, Drew Gooden and Nick Collison was a "nucleus class."
"It's not a necessity for it to be a great (recruiting) year," Williams noted. "We have a senior class of Ashante (Johnson), Lester and Nick (Bradford) who are very important to us. But all three of those guys are going to be in competition for playing time. With those people who will be coming back, it's not as crucial a year for us in recruiting."
Coming up from Sept. 9-26 is the period coaches can make in-home visits. "I will go in fewer homes this year than any year I've been at Kansas," Williams said.
Williams went in three homes last year, signing all three prospects.
He will visit the Long Beach, Calif., home of 6-foot-8 Travon Bryant on Sept. 10. Bryant also will entertain coaches from Missouri, Cincinnati, South Florida, Utah, Cal-Berkeley, Oregon State, UConn and probably UCLA.
Missouri is recruiting Bryant's close friend, Wesley Stokes, also of Long Beach.
DeShawn Stevenson, 6-5 of Fresno, Calif., hasn't announced his in-home visitors, but they are believed to include KU, UCLA, Fresno State, Cal, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Jonathan Sanders, 6-7 of Westminster, Colo., says his in-home visitors will include KU, Southern Cal, Kansas State, Colorado State, St. Louis, Texas Tech, Denver, Rice and Gonzaga.
Also, Ricky Paulding, 6-4 of Detroit, continues to list KU along with Missouri, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Miami, Stanford, Notre Dame and Michigan State. It's believed he will remain in the Big 10 area.
Williams says in a best-case scenario, KU would always have one scholarship available for possible transfers or to reward walk-ons.
"If I had my choice, I'd always have one," Williams said. "I wouldn't bypass somebody I really liked to just hold one for what may become available later on."
He said he has turned away some possible transfers the past couple offseasons because the Jayhawks had no available scholarships.
"We've had two or three over the last couple years I'd have taken or attempted (to sign)," Williams said. "Just because a guy (possible transfer) calls doesn't mean you will get him."
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