Archive for Sunday, June 24, 2001

Top recruits to be evaluated in July

June 24, 2001


So it comes as no surprise Jayhawk coach Roy Williams will be looking for some height and/or muscle to fill his three available scholarships this season.

As always, he also has his eyes fixed on finding a small forward-type player who possesses the athleticism to shut down opponents defensively -- somebody like ex-KU wing Paul Pierce.

"Since Paul left, we haven't had anybody in that size category who could take somebody and just stop them," Williams said.

Actually, he did have an athletic wing signed and sealed -- but not delivered -- two recruiting classes ago. But California wing DeShawn Stevenson spurned Kansas for the NBA.

Williams would certainly expand his search to centers, forwards and the best available athletes in the country if the NCAA abandoned its controversial "5 and 8 rule" which limits teams to five scholarships in one year and eight in a two-year period.

If the rule was scrapped this year -- more likely it will be abandoned year from now -- KU would have four scholarships to give. The number would grow to five or six if Drew Gooden and/or Nick Collison bolted after three college seasons to the NBA.

Here's a look at some of the country's top prospects, players coaches will evaluate during the summer recruiting period. This year's period in which coaches can evaluate talent has been trimmed to July 8-14 and 25-31.

Heights and weights are listed where available. Players are all high school athletes with the exception of junior college players Chris Booker and Antwain Barbour.

Many of these players have had KU on their lists at one time or another.

Shav Randolph, 6-foot-10, 215 pounds, F/C, Raleigh, N.C.: Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State are the favorites for Randolph, the most highly recruited player in North Carolina since Danny Manning.

N.C. State shouldn't be dismissed easily, considering Randolph's grandfather -- Ronnie Shavlik -- was one of the greatest rebounders in Wolfpack history.

Randolph's out of state possibilities include Stanford, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and USC. He's said he would like to visit KU.

The school that wins the recruiting battle for Randolph still could lose the war if he makes an immediate jump to the NBA.

Chris Booker, 6-9, 230, F, Tyler (Tex.) Community College: Booker, who has KU, Purdue, Illinois and DePaul at the top of his list, signed with former University of Houston coach Clyde Drexler out of high school, but didn't qualify. He's been doing well academically at Tyler.

Armien Kirkland, 6-7, 210, F, Tyler, Texas: Kirkland, a former AAU teammate of KU's Keith Langford, has a list of KU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Memphis, Tennessee, UNLV and Arizona.

Bryant Markson, 6-7, 195, F, Monrovia, Calif.: One of the top players in California, Markson has a list of KU, Arizona, UCLA, USC, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, Notre Dame, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Yale. Markson, who averaged 24 points a game as a junior, has an injury and won't be attending the Nike or adidas camps.

Kelly Orchard, 6-10, 195, C, Bountiful, Utah: Orchard made an unofficial visit to KU last season. He's looking at KU, Utah, Brigham Young, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Cal, Utah State, Weber State and Rutgers. Orchard reportedly would be receptive to a KU offer. He'll be trying to prove himself worthy of a major college pact on the summer circuit.

Shelden Williams, 6-9, 245, F, Midwest City, Okla: Duke is the heavy favorite for the Oklahoma rebounding machine over KU, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Illinois and Stanford. Others he's mentioned include Tennessee, Arkansas, Tulsa, USC. The NBA is also a possibility.

Ike Diogu, 6-9, 210, F/C, Garland, Texas: Diogu -- his rebounding prowess turned some heads at the Jayhawk Invitational in May -- has said he'd be receptive to recruiting interest from Kansas. Wide open on schools, he's mentioned Arizona State, Baylor, Miami, Texas and UMass.

Julius Lamptey, 6-10, 275, C, Oklahoma City: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa are on his A-list. Not much has yet been written about Lamptey, who could emerge as a top 100 national recruit. The Tulsa World says he may have the greatest "upside" of a talented crop of Oklahoma seniors-to-be.

Chris Bosh, 6-10, 195, C, Dallas: Talented left-handed shooter has no interest in Kansas. He's reportedly headed to Florida. Missouri, Georgia Tech and Memphis are also on his list, which could expand.

Matt Kiefer, 6-9, 200, F, Evansville, Ind.: Kiefer, who is regarded as more of a wing than a power forward, lists Purdue, Iowa, Notre Dame, Kansas, Indiana and Kentucky.

DeAngelo Collins, 6-9, 230, F, Inglewood, Calif.: For the past couple years, it was believed KU would hotly pursue Collins, who attends the same high school that produced Paul Pierce. But there's been talk of possible academic trouble and has mentioned the NBA as a likely possibility.

Evan Burns, 6-7, 200, F, Los Angeles: Quick, slender, athletic player who is known as a scorer. Should be interesting to see if KU pursues Burns, who is regarded as the top player on the West coast. He has Duke, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and the NBA on his early list.

Martin Iti, 7-0, 225, C, Villa Park, Calif.: At one time it was assumed Iti would follow fellow Villa Park High player Eric Chenowith to Kansas. But he has had some eligibility issues and at one time was believed to have committed to USC.

Amare Stoudemire, 6-10, 240, C, Orlando, Fla.: A dominant physical player, Stoudemire, who has committed to Memphis, just might break coach John Calipari's heart and head directly to the NBA. Another big man KU might have targeted, 6-10 Paul Davis of Rochester, Minn., has already committed to Michigan State.

Senecca Collins, 6-5, 220, G, Duncanville, Texas: He's high on KU, but believes the Jayhawks have no need for him in the backcourt. Arizona, Illinois and Iowa top his list.

Kevin Bookout, 6-8, 255, F, Stroud, Okla.: A strong rebounder and one of the country's top track shot putters, Bookout is expected to stay in-state. If he looks elsewhere, track power Arkansas may lead Stanford and UCLA. He's yet to mention KU as a possibility. He's a baseball pitcher with an overpowering fastball and could go straight to baseball's minor leagues.

DeAngelo Alexander, 6-5, 205, G, Midwest City, Okla.: Alexander, who plays both guard positions, wants to play college ball with his brother, Steven, a 6-4 sophomore at Seward County Community College in Liberal. Oklahoma, Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Maryland and UConn dot his most recent list.

Kelenna Azubuike, 6-6, 195, G, Tulsa: A tremendous athlete and slasher who averaged 30 ppg last year, Azubuike may head directly to the NBA. Oklahoma, Okie State and Tulsa are on his list, plus Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas and Notre Dame.

Marques Hayden, 6-7, 220, F, Putnam City, Okla.: A defensive stopper, Hayden told the Tulsa World he "likes the state of Oklahoma." Kentucky, Arkansas, Seton Hall, Virginia, Iowa State and Clemson have been mentioned as out-of-state possibilities. Analyst Greg Swaim, who follows the Oklahoma recruits closely, has not listed KU as a possibility.

Denham Brown, 6-5, 205, G/F, Toronto: The Bathurst High standout told he has an early list of KU, UMass, Auburn, Wake Forest and Villanova. Brown's dad is a coaching legend in Canada. Kentucky, Wisconsin, Auburn, Villanova and Wisconsin have also been mentioned.

Bernard Cote, 6-9 from Montreal, is another Canadian who could attract major college interest.

Antonio Lawrence, 6-5, 185, G/F, Jacksonville, Fla: Florida, Florida State, Louisville, South Florida, UCLA, KU and others dot his list. It should be interesting to see how many top recruits add Louisville this summer, with coach Rick Pitino just now getting settled at his new school.

Taj Gray, 6-8, 215, F, Wichita East: Wichita State fans and coach Mark Turgeon obviously want to keep Gray home in an attempt to rebuild the Shocker program. Analyst Mike Sullivan says Gray's schools are KU, llinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Cincinnati, St. Louis and WSU.

Antwain Barbour, 6-5, G/F, Elizabethtown, Ky.: The high-flying Wabash Valley Community College guard-forward is expected to ink with Kentucky or Louisville. He told analyst Russ Blake his current list is Louisville, Kentucky, Florida, Florida State, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, UConn, Alabama, UNLV, KU, Illinois, Memphis and Arizona State.

Rashad Anderson, 6-5, 205, G/F, Lakeland, Fla.: Anderson, a gifted perimeter shooter who averaged 23.8 points and seven boards a game last year, told recruiting analyst Eric Bossi his list consists of KU, Florida State, UConn and Kentucky. St. John's, Georgetown and Syracuse also may dot his list.

Bracey Wright, 6-4, 180, G, The Colony, Texas: Wright and 6-3 teammate Deron Williams reportedly had interest in KU. Sullivan has said Indiana may ink Wright. Texas, UCLA, Illinois, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona have been mentioned.

Nik Caner-Medley, 6-6, F, Deering, Maine: Family has USC ties, but he may be learning to playing somewhere on the East coast. Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse, Stanford, North Carolina, Missouri, Virginia and Arizona join KU on his list.

Jeremy Monceaux, 6-1, Birmingham, Ala.: Has mentioned Kentucky, Duke, Auburn, Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia Tech.

Bobby Jones, 6-7, Los Angeles: Dominguez High forward says his early list is KU, USC, UCLA, UConn, Temple and Georgetown. Needs big summer to receive offers from major colleges.

Hassan Adams, 6-3, Los Angeles: Pac West Hoops has said he likes Cal, KU, USC, Arizona State, Syracuse and UConn.

Dedrick Harrington, 6-4, Mexico, Mo.: Harrington told analyst Jon Kirby that he's considering playing football and/or basketball at Kansas, Missouri, Notre Dame, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, and Illinois.

Moulaya Niang, 6-9, El Cajon, Calif.: Prepstars says USC, KU, Oregon, Oregon State and others are on his list.

There are plenty of other forwards and pivots out there who could emerge as the summer progresses.

Some standout players: Gavin Ludgood, 6-8, Clarksville, Ark.; Alex Craft, 6-9, Corpus Christi, Texas; Mark Pratt, 6-4, Modesto, Calif.; Thomas Shewmake, 6-10, Cathedral, Calif.; Kimmo Murrinen, 6-9, Helsinki, Finland; Yusuf Baker, 6-8, Orlando, Fla.; Chris Botez, 6-10, Portland, Ore.; Derek Burditt, 6-7, Los Angeles; Alexander Johnson, 6-10, Albany, Ga.; Jamaal Walls, 6-7, Los Angeles; Bobby Jones, 6-6, Compton, Calif.; Ricky Cornett, 6-8, Homewood, Ill.; Brandon Bowman, 6-7, Los Angeles; Cody Boyd, 6-8, Ferndale, Wash.; Reggie Butler, 6-6, Long Beach, Calif.; Mike Hendricks, 6-7, Seattle; Paul Meynen, 6-10, Redondo Beach, Calif.; Moulaya Niang, 6-9, El Cajon, Calif.; Lance Soderberg, 6-8, Corona, Calif.

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