Harvey Hale hopped off a big, yellow Santa Fe Shuttle bus and strolled into Allen Fieldhouse with several of his New Mexico AAU basketball teammates Friday night.
You'd better believe Hale, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound junior blue-chip recruit from Albuquerque's Rio Grande High, came a long way to compete in this weekend's Sport2Sport/Jayhawk Invitational in KU's tradition-rich hoops haven.
"It took 12, 13 hours to get here," said Hale, New Mexico's Gatorade Player of the Year. "Sleep and watch movies ... that's all we do. You think about basketball and it goes quicker."
Hale, who also plays for the Texas BlueChips, was here last year, when his AAU team fell to California Pump N Run in the Jayhawk Invitational quarterfinals.
"It's a great college town," Hale said of Lawrence. "I like the building. It seems like things would be rocking up in here. It means Jayhawk basketball to me," added Hale, whose early list of prospective colleges includes KU, Marquette, Texas, Arkansas, Baylor and Arizona State.
Hale -- his New Mexico squad plays Brandon Rush's Rocktown team at 12:15 p.m. today at Allen Fieldhouse and meets Waco at 6:30 p.m. at Horejsi Center -- is hoping his squad fares well at the 2004 Invitational.
"This is my high school team. I'm trying to play hard, get my players involved, get their confidence up," said Hale, a first-team all-state pick who has a goal of making the McDonald's All-America game and winning a state title next season. "I don't feel I have to do too much. We'd like to go farther than we did last year. I knew last time we should have beat that team (L.A. in quarterfinals). I want to do better this time if possible."
Minnesota team defeated: Ray Brown (6-5, Richfield, Minn.) hit several jumpers and had an acrobatic rejection on defense in Minnesota N.C. Heat's 59-48 loss to a spirited Kansas City Keys team Friday. Brown, an athletic 190-pound junior, has been offered a scholarship by Iowa State and is also being recruited by Minnesota, Nebraska and others.
Hairston update: Malik Hairston, a 6-6 senior guard from Detroit's Renaissance High, continues to deliberate on his six college finalists.
Thursday, after several hours of deliberation, Hairston and his parents concocted a points system ranking his six finalists.
Ohio State came out on top in the points contest, followed by KU, Oregon, Oklahoma, UCLA and Michigan.
Deliberations and discussions of the point system were to continue today in the Hairston household.
"I would not be surprised if Malik selected a school that was not at the top of his (points) list," Richard Hairston told Shay Wildeboor of rivals.com.
Giles visiting UW: C.J. Giles, 6-10 from Seattle, is on Washington's campus this week for an official visit. No longer bound for Miami, Giles is believed to be interested in Kansas, Washington, Gonzaga and Cincinnati.
Padgett tied to Louisville?: Louisville coach Rick Pitino admitted Friday the Cardinals were pursuing some transfers this offseason.
Former Jayhawk center David Padgett is said to be interested in Louisville.
"We are right now pursuing transfers, and there are some transfers interested in us, so we are pursuing that," Pitino told louisville.rivals.com. "I love transfers, if the transfer is available," he added. "The reason I love it is Derek Anderson and Travis Ford and Mark Pope, just to name a few. They all do very well, because they sit out that year and they practice. They are on strength and conditioning, they are learning the system, and then they play. I think a couple of transfers right now would be awesome."
Padgett, who has been unavailable for comment, is said to be considering UCLA, Stanford and Louisville.
Visitors here: Tyler Hansbrough, a 6-9 junior from Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Alex Galindo, 6-7 senior from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, arrived on campus Friday for their official campus visits to KU.