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Archive for Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jayhawks have plenty of leads on recruiting trail

April 27, 2005

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Just a few years ago, college basketball recruiting waited until the summer months before heating up.

That's no longer the case. Now, coaches like Kansas University's Bill Self hit the recruiting trail hard and sometimes even land commitments from high school juniors -- do the names Mario Chalmers and Micah Downs ring a bell? -- in the spring.

To that end, Self and his assistants have been out pursuing a batch of prep players who have been playing in various AAU tournaments this spring and will continue through the middle of the summer.

There are dozens of players to look at, but just three spots to fill.

"I'd say for sure a perimeter player, a big guy and the best available player," Self said of his needs in the Class of 2006.

Here are some of the juniors the Jayhawk coaches reportedly are recruiting. Coaches can't comment on specific recruits in accordance with NCAA rules:

  • Dwight Lewis, 6-5, 190, Archbishop Rummel High, Metairie, La. -- Lewis, who averaged 27.5 points a game last season, committed to KU last week, but withdrew the commitment a day later. He's still a heavy KU lean and will visit KU's campus Thursday through Saturday. He also plans on visiting LSU and still has USC, Oklahoma and Florida on his list.

  • Darrell Arthur, 6-9, 220, South Oak Cliff High, Dallas -- Arthur, who plays for Team Texas AAU, is rivals.com's No. 4-rated player in the Class of 2006.

A power forward who is known by the nickname "Slim Shady," Arthur has a list of KU, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. Arthur scored 22 points and had 17 rebounds in helping South Oak Cliff to a 64-63 victory over Sam Houston in the Texas Class 4A state title game.

Spencer Hawes, 6-11, 225, Seattle Prep -- Hawes, who plays for Seattle Friends of Hoop AAU, is No. 8 rated nationally. He's the latest sensation from the country's hottest hoops hotbed, Seattle.

Hawes has a lengthy list of KU, Arizona, Washington, UConn, Gonzaga, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, UCLA, Texas, and Stanford. His uncle, Steve, played for four teams in the NBA, while his dad played overseas.

Bryan Davis, 6-8, 225, Grand Prairie High, Grand Prairie, Texas -- The No. 29-rated player nationally, who is known as an excellent rebounder and shot blocker with touch up to 15 feet, lists KU, Texas A&M, North Carolina, UConn, Arizona and Baylor. KU and Texas had coaches show up at his high school the first day college coaches could hit the road in recruiting this spring.

"That meant a lot," Davis, a standout on Team Texas AAU, told rivals.com.

  • Bryce Webster, 6-9, 245, St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, Minn. -- Webster, who plays for Howard Pulley AAU, is No. 72-rated nationally. He's mentioned KU, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Boston College and Michigan State as prime candidates, plus Marquette, Arizona, Florida and Iowa.

  • Chase Budinger, 6-7, 180, Carlsbad, Calif. -- Also a top-rated volleyball player, the country's No. 33 rated hoopster likes KU, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Duke, USC, Kentucky and others. He's playing for the Southern California All-Stars AAU team.

  • Jeremiah Rivers, 6-4, 180, Winter Park High, Winter Park, Fla. -- Rivers, who plays for Nike Team Florida, is rated No. 32 nationally. His top five: KU, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Georgetown. RIvers' dad is Boston Celtics' coach Doc Rivers. The point guard averaged 14.8 points, 5.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game as a junior.

  • Donald Sloan, 6-2, 170, Seagoville High, Seagoville, Texas -- The country's No. 68 player competes for Team Texas AAU. Impressive of late, he's considering KU, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama.

  • Xavier Keeling, 6-6, 210, Johnson High, Huntsville, Ala. -- Unranked nationally, Keeling plays AAU ball for the Alabama Lazers. He likes North Carolina State, Tennessee, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Kentucky.

  • Lance Thomas, 6-8, 195, St. Benedict's High, Newark, N.J. -- Thomas, the country's No. 21-ranked player, has a list of KU, Arizona, Indiana, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Duke, St. John's, Villanova, Connecticut and Louisville.

  • Thaddeus Young, 6-8, 205, Mitchell High, Memphis -- Young, the country's No. 7 player, has a length list of 20 schools including KU, Duke, Memphis, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, UConn, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

  • Mike Jones, 6-6, 210, Lower Richlands High, Hopkins, S.C. -- The country's No. 54-rated player, who competes for South Carolina Ravens, likes Arkansas, South Carolina, Maryland, Georgetown, KU and others.

  • Alex Stepheson, 6-9, 210, Harvard-Westlake High, Studio City, Calif. -- Stephenson, the country's No. 22-ranked player, has a list of Arizona, KU, UCLA, Cal, Kentucky and others.

  • Derrick Roland, 6-4, 185, Seagoville High, Dallas -- Roland, who plays for Dallas Mustangs AAU, is rated 66th nationally. He likes KU, UConn, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UNLV, Georgia Tech, Miami, Baylor and Colorado. His team won 33 of 36 games this past season thanks in part to his 19 ppg.

  • Jawan Carter, 6-0, 165, Tatnall High, Wilmington, Del. -- Carter, ranked No. 52 overall, averaged 28 points and eight assists as a junior. He's looking at KU, Villanova, Georgetown, St. Joe's, Wake Forest, Kentucky, DePaul and Florida.

  • Jerry Smith, 6-2, 185, Wauwatosa, Wis. -- Smith, who attended a KU game last season, plays AAU ball for the Wisconsin Warriors. He is the nation's No. 27 player and has said Wisconsin and Wake Forest lead Iowa, Kentucky, KU, Illinois and Texas A&M.

  • Wayne Ellington, 6-4, 190, Episcopal Academy, Merion Station, Pa. -- Ellington, who plays for Tim Thomas Playaz, is the country's No. 23 player. He likes KU, Arizona, UConn, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Villanova and Wake Forest.

  • Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 200, Thunder Ridge High, Denver -- The country's No. 53-ranked player, who is a combo guard, has received a lot of interest from schools out West including Colorado, Colorado State, Washington State, Utah, New Mexico, Gonzaga and Cal. He plays for Colorado Select AAU.

  • Brandan Wright, 6-9, 201, Brentwood Academy, Nashville -- The country's No. 2 player has already visited North Carolina and Duke and has strong interest in Kentucky. He has a second tier of KU, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. He's also a possible early entry to the NBA.

  • Damion James, 6-8, 225, Nacodoches High, Nacodoches, Texas -- The country's No. 5 player likes Texas, Texas A&M and Arizona.

  • Christian Polk, 6-3, 170, Deer Valley High, Glendale, Ariz. -- The country's No. 37-rated player likes Arizona, Arizona State, Indiana, KU, Texas, UConn and UCLA.

  • Derrick Jasper, 6-5, 200 Paso Robles High, California -- The country's No. 25 rated player likes most of the Pac 10 schools, plus, KU, Kentucky, USC and Miami.

  • Ray Hall, 6-22, 250, Mullen High, Denver -- Unranked, he has Arizona, KU, North Carolina, UCLA, Oregon and Texas Tech on his list.

  • Tory Jackson, 5-10, 160, Buena Vista High, Saginaw, Mich. -- The country's No. 48 player is considering Michigan, Michigan State, Cal and others.

  • KU also is high on the list of a junior college player and two high school sophomores.

The juco player is Sonny Weems, 6-6 from Fort Smith (Ark.) Community College. The sophs are 6-10 Cole Adrich of Bloomington, Minn., and Kyle Singler, 6-8 from South Medford, Ore.

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