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Archive for Sunday, August 15, 2004

Self still aggressive on recruiting trail

Oral commitments from Chalmers, Downs ensure solid class, but KU has two scholarships remaining

August 15, 2004

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As the 2004-05 school year begins, Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self is half-finished recruiting.

"We feel really good. We've got two commitments so far, and we're actively pursuing some other guys we think will be difference-makers," Self said.

KU has received oral commitments from Mario Chalmers, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound high school senior guard from Anchorage, Alaska, and Micah Downs, a 6-8, 185-pound small forward from Bothell, Wash.

"Micah Downs went from an unknown three-star player to No. 14-ranked nationally and five-star player over the summer," said Shay Wildeboor, national recruiting analyst for rivals.com. "Chalmers started out in the mid-20s (ranking), went to No. 8, and dropped four spots to 12. He has maintained his status as the No. 1 point guard in the country."

To fill the remaining two spots in a four-man recruiting class, Self is in the hunt for additional blue-chippers.

The biggest available prize is 6-9, 230-pound Poplar Bluff, Mo., power forward Tyler Hansbrough, who has a final list of KU, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri. Various analysts believe North Carolina is the leader for Hansbrough, who has said he would enter the NBA draft if he was assured lottery status.

No. 8-rated Hansbrough has completed all his campus visits and is expected to announce his choice in coming weeks.

Rivals.com's Wildeboor believes KU is likely to lose Hansbrough and complete its recruiting class with "a combination of C.J. Miles/Kevin Rogers or Jeff Adrien/Brandon Costner."

Miles, 6-5, 195 from Dallas Skyline High, is rivals.com's No. 26-ranked player and will visit Arizona the weekend of Sept. 10. He plans to visit KU -- likely during the last week of September -- plus North Carolina and Georgia Tech. KU and Arizona are his co-leaders.

"C.J. can do it all. I've seen him play point, play the two. I think he's best at the three position," Wildeboor said. "He's got a great stroke from the outside, puts it on the floor and creates for others."

Rogers, 6-8, 220 from Dallas South Oak Cliff High, will visit Georgia Tech on Sept. 4, Arizona on Sept. 17 and KU on Sept. 25. He said if he had a good time on his KU visit, he would commit to the Jayhawks. Then his buddy Miles also could commit to KU, because both want to attend the same college.

"He's a power forward who gets his points down low," Wildeboor said of Rogers, rivals.com's No. 35-ranked player. "He's not as polished as he will be, but has made a lot of strides. He has a lot of upside."

Adrien, 6-6, 225, from Brookline, Mass., is visiting UConn this weekend and Pitt starting Monday. Rivals.com's No. 47-ranked player may visit KU on Aug. 28. He also is pondering visits to Miami and Virginia.

"He's a power forward that coaches have grown to love," Wildeboor said of Adrien, who averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds last season. "He's a little undersized but a fierce competitor and rebounder. He gets after it."

Costner, 6-9, 220 from Seton Hall Prep in East Orange, N.J., has a list of UConn, Georgia Tech, KU, N.C. State, Seton Hall and UCLA. He is rivals.com's No. 29-ranked player.

"He's a power forward who can play the three, with a great stroke from the outside," Wildeboor said. "He can score with his back to the basket and is a solid defender. He needs to be a more complete player, but that will come. He's a top prospect."

There are other players on KU's list, including C.J. Henry, 6-3 from Oklahoma City. The son of ex-Jayhawk Carl Henry, C.J. likely will be a first-round pick in the June baseball draft.

Tyler Smith, 6-7 from Pulaski, Tenn., has said he planned to visit KU on Oct. 15 for Late Night in the Phog.

"Right now I'd say KU is on pace to have no worse than the No. 2 class in America," Wildeboor said. "They've got the No. 1 point guard, the No. 4 ranked small forward and addressed all their needs. If they end up with the Texas guys (Rogers and Miles), that's the No. 1 class."

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