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Archive for Wednesday, October 1, 2003

KU basketball should secure top recruit today

October 1, 2003

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Nothing will be official until the words come out of Alexander "Sasha" Kaun's mouth today.

All indications Tuesday, however, were that Kaun, a 6-foot-11, 245-pound high school senior from Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, Fla., would play college basketball at Kansas University instead of Duke.

Kaun, who was expected to announce he had chosen Kansas Tuesday, instead told school officials he would reveal his college decision via a press release late this morning or early this afternoon.

The winner of Kaun's services is expected to be KU. Various Internet sources indicated Duke's coaches had been told rivals.com's No. 27-rated player was headed to Kansas.

Coaches from Duke and Kansas could not comment on the reports in accordance with NCAA rules.

Sports writer Barbara Caywood of Florida Today was not surprised the decision was put off.

"I talked to Aubin (Goporo, Air Academy coach) on Monday and he said Sasha had school work to catch up on, that he had two tests today and would have an announcement Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday," Caywood said late Tuesday.

"I heard from the athletic director this morning that no decision would be announced until Wednesday."

And what will that decision be?

"I hear maybe it's Kansas, but not from anybody at the school," Caywood said.

"When Sasha came back from his visit to Duke, Aubin said he was a very confused young man. Understand he grew up in Siberia and didn't follow KU or Duke all his life.

"Yesterday Aubin said he told him (Kaun) to 'go off by yourself, not take any calls, get a piece of paper, write down the pros and cons of both schools and make up your own mind.'"

Kaun, who visited Kansas the weekend of Sept. 5-6, Michigan State the following weekend and Duke last weekend, reportedly has had the Jayhawks as his overwhelming favorite since his visit to Lawrence.

He eliminated Michigan State the day after returning from East Lansing, Mich.

Kaun, who arrived as an exchange student from Russia two years ago, averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks a game last season.

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Top five class: If Kaun commits to KU, he would complete what analyst Mike Sullivan calls a certain top-five recruiting class.

The Jayhawks received an oral commitment Monday from Russell Robinson, a 6-1 guard from New York. KU also has received a commitment from Darnell Jackson, 6-9 from Midwest City, Okla.

The early signing period runs Nov. 12-19.

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Price loved KU, too: A.J. Price, a 6-1 guard from Amityville, N.Y., who visited KU the same weekend as Kaun, selected UConn over KU, St. John's and Syracuse Monday. Price told New York Newsday the Jayhawks were his leader after his visit to KU.

"They (KU fans) made me feel like a rock star," Price told Newsday. "I didn't even play yet and everyone knew my name."

Price, who also visited Syracuse, ultimately chose UConn, he said, because of location and the fact he felt he'd get more playing time with the Huskies his freshman season.

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Thomas headed to UNC: Quentin Thomas, 6-4 from Oakland, Calif., committed to North Carolina Monday after learning KU had landed Robinson.

Thomas visited KU last weekend.

"We couldn't have been treated any better (on KU trip)," Loretta Thomas, Quentin's mother, told the Oakland Tribune. "But we got home and he was confused. He was pressured."

Thomas chose Carolina over Arizona State. He chose the Tar Heels despite not having yet made an official campus visit.

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