Archive for Monday, October 18, 2004

Late Night solidified decision by recruit

Illinois prep Wright: ‘I knew I was going to like it’

October 18, 2004


More than ever, Julian Wright is convinced he made the right decision to attend Kansas University.

Wright, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound senior basketball forward from Homewood-Flossmoor High in Flossmoor, Ill., who orally committed to KU on Sept. 11 without making a campus visit, was in Lawrence for Friday's Late Night in the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse.

He left town Sunday the same way he arrived -- as a future Jayhawk.

"I knew I was going to like it, and I did," Wright said Sunday night. "Kansas has everything you would want in a school. I was able to see the campus and talk to a lot of people. It was nice to talk to the players. A lot of times in programs, players seem to be together on the court, but off the court they don't get along. At Kansas they get along so well.

"These guys hang out all the time and support all the sports. I went to a volleyball game while I was there. It was a lot of fun."

Wright, who chose KU over Illinois, Arizona and DePaul, liked Late Night.

"It was incredible," said Wright, regarded as the top player in the state of Illinois. "Not all the students were there, and they still packed the house. The skits were funny."

Next year, Wright will take part.

"From what I saw, I can dance better than most of the guys," Wright said with a laugh. "Maybe I can give some of them pointers."

Wright was able to hang out with future KU teammates Mario Chalmers (6-1, Anchorage) and Micah Downs (6-8, Bothell, Wash.), who were in town on unofficial visits.

Wright also spent some time with Martynas Pocius, 6-5 from the Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H.

"He's kind of quiet, but a really nice person," Wright said. "He has to visit Duke next weekend, then make a decision."

It's believed either Pocius, who has a final list of KU and Duke, or C.J. Miles, 6-5 from Dallas Skyline High, will land KU's fourth scholarship of the class of 2005.

Miles, who visited Texas last weekend, said Sunday he would announce his decision at an afternoon press conference Tuesday. Various recruiting analysts believe Texas leads KU and Georgia Tech.


Henry's visit exceptional: C.J. Henry, a 6-3 senior guard from Putnam City High School in suburban Oklahoma City, attended Late Night on an unofficial visit.

"Late Night was a great experience. I'd never been to it before," Henry said Sunday night. "I really get along with the players. I feel it (Kansas) is a good place to be."

Henry said he likely would take official visits in coming weeks to KU, Texas and perhaps Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Henry, who is one of the country's top young baseball pitchers, said he would not sign with a school in the early period, but may commit orally either right before his season starts (Nov. 22) or midway through the season.

Henry said he might walk on to play college basketball at one of his finalists if he's a first-round baseball pick.

NCAA rules allow a player to be a professional in one sport and play college ball in another.

"Everything is still up in the air depending on the situation," he said. "I want to play (college basketball), but it all depends on what happens in baseball."


Smith amazed: Jerry Smith, a 6-2 junior guard from Wauwatosa, Wis., said Sunday he had a memorable Late Night in Lawrence.

"I know that the students were on fall break, so I just can't believe that Allen Fieldhouse was full," Smith told Shay Wildeboor of "It was just an awesome sight. Spending time with coach (Bill) Self was also nice. He had the chance to talk to my father and myself, so we both enjoyed that. I will definitely be back to make an official visit next fall."

Smith, who has made unofficial visits to Iowa, Wisconsin and Marquette, will travel to Purdue, Wake Forest, Michigan State and Texas A&M; the next four weeks.


Sophomore a fan of KU: Cole Aldrich, a 6-10 sophomore from Bloomington, Minn., also attended Late Night, as did Matt Bouldin, 6-5 junior from Denver.

"Late Night was awesome," Aldrich told "I really like what coach Self is doing and the players coming in and the coaching staff."

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