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Archive for Monday, May 17, 2004

Jayhawks on brink of recruiting bonanza

May 17, 2004

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Kansas University's men's basketball team is on the verge of hitting the jackpot in recruiting.

High school junior Micah Downs, a 6-foot-8 shooting guard from Bothell (Wash.) High, and senior Alex Galindo, a 6-foot-7 small forward from St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., both will announce their college decisions today.

The choice of both is believed to be KU.

Meanwhile, 6-10 Seattle Rainier Beach High senior C.J. Giles apparently will announce his decision Wednesday. Sources say he committed to Kansas during his weekend recruiting trip to Lawrence, but his dad, Chester, indicated Sunday night a decision would not be revealed until Wednesday.

"We're announcing it Wednesday, but I think he's leaning more toward KU (over Washington)," Chester Giles said.

Earlier Sunday, the elder Giles told rivals.com, "Yes, it looks like my son is going to attend Kansas. ... Everything should be official on Wednesday."

Downs' dad, Steve, said Sunday night that the shooting guard, who also visited KU over the weekend, would declare for a school tonight.

He strongly hinted the choice would be KU over Duke and Gonzaga.

"Good things are happening on the horizon," Steve Downs said. "I think the Jayhawks are going to win some more national championships. Kansas is where I want him to go. His mom wants him there. The final decision is his. I think he's made the decision. I can't expound on that until tomorrow."

It seems Micah Downs -- a likely future McDonald's All-America pick -- was sold on KU during his campus visit.

"He liked everything," Steve Downs said of his son, who averaged 20 points and 12 boards a game last season. "My wife loves it there also. She is very excited about the possibility of Micah playing there. We are just ecstatic this opportunity has arisen for our son."

Of the likelihood of Downs playing at KU, Steve laughed: "I would want to die if he doesn't go there. I am a true blue, diehard Jayhawk. I rooted for them growing up (in Seattle). Wilt Chamberlain was a hero of mine as a kid. Meeting coach (Bill) Self was an honor to me. He is a great man, a good Christian man. He brings a lot of integrity. I want my son to play for him."

Galindo, who averaged 18 points a game last season and is known as an outstanding shooter, would not confirm reports he had chosen KU.

He said he would make his choice official this afternoon. The Jayhawks, however, are believed to have won out over Pitt, Rutgers and Georgetown.

"I am going to pick one tomorrow. It's best I talk about it tomorrow," Galindo said, noting he had worked on the decision over the weekend.

"I was off the phone all weekend. I had no coaches call me, nothing," he said.

Giles, Downs and another junior, 6-1 guard Mario Chalmers of Anchorage, Alaska, all visited KU last weekend. Chalmers did not commit to KU and ultimately is expected to pick between KU, Arizona, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.

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Giles played for Owens: Chester Giles played at KU for Ted Owens during the 1978-79 and '79-80 seasons. He accompanied his son during his campus visit to KU.

"The dad went on the trip and got to see some old friends," Chester Sr. said in his take on the visit to the Seattle Times. "I think he should wait and decide and mull it over. He's also interested in the University of Washington. Cincinnati is still on the table but if he wants to shut it down, it's his decision."

High school coach Mike Bethea said: "I think it (Kansas) is really a good fit for C.J."

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Kansas ties: Steve Downs, who played high school football in the Seattle area, has ties to Kansas, where his son is headed.

"My grandfather was born in Kansas in 1885. There's a lot of things you can call strange coincidences," Steve said. "My granddad played in 1902-04 for a small college in Seattle -- Vashon College. he coachedwwomen's basketball there. It's in the boy's blood.

"Kansas has been my school since I was a child. The history of the Jayhawks ... I don't believed there's a school that can match Kansas' history. I've raised Micah to be a Kansas Jayhawk."

Downs took just one visit, to Kansas. He had an unofficial visit to the University of Washington.

"Kansas one, Duke two, Gonzaga three," he said, ranking the final choices.

"I would call him a point forward," Steve said. "He shoots behind the NBA range. He is a natural. The first thing I did the day he was born I bought him a basketball."

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Letters: Downs will not be able to sign a letter-of-intent until next November. Both Giles and Galindo will have to appeal to the Collegiate Commissioners Assn. to gain instant eligibility next season. Giles signed with Miami and Galindo with UTEP in November. They have been released from their letters of intent, meaning they lose just one, not two years of eligibility. The CCA has pretty much granted all recruits their appeals in recent years, thus it's expected both would be able to play for KU next year.

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