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Archive for Monday, July 4, 2005

Jayhawks’ Self can’t wait to hit recruiting trail

July 4, 2005

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Bill Self won't spend much time in the office during July.

That's OK with Self, Kansas University's third-year men's basketball coach, who insists he does not dread -- and, in fact, enjoys -- life on the recruiting trail.

"I get excited going out and watching guys play," said Self, who along with his assistants will attend various camps for high school players July 6-15, then, after an NCAA-mandated six-day dead period, will continue evaluating preps July 22-31.

"I think it's great to focus on what makes our program better. Recruiting is obviously as important as anything we do to maintain and elevate our program."

For KU's coaches, who already have filled one of four available scholarships -- 6-foot-5 Dwight Lewis of Metairie, La., committed in April -- the recruiting period begins Wednesday at the Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis and Reebok ABCD camp in Teaneck, N.J.

"We'll start off there, break off and do our different things after three or four days," Self said.

Self said he'd be looking for a "ball-handling guard and size," likely electing to save the fourth scholarship this school year so KU will have one for the Class of 2007, which includes standout center Cole Aldrich of Bloomington, Minn.

It looks like KU's No. 1 big-man target is Darrell Arthur, 6-9, 220 from South Oak Cliff High in Dallas.

"KU will make a serious run for Arthur. He's a difference-maker, has a great body. He'll probably be a one-year-and-done guy (off to NBA)," said Shay Wildeboor, recruiting analyst of rivals.com.

Arthur, rivals.com's No. 10 player nationally, is considering KU, Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina.

Thaddeus Young, 6-8, 205 from Memphis and rivals.com's No. 3 player, lists KU, Duke, North Carolina, Memphis, Tennessee, Texas and many others.

Spencer Hawes, 6-11, 225 from Seattle and the No. 4 player nationally, is considering Washington, UCLA, Stanford, KU, Duke, UConn, Arizona and North Carolina. His uncle, Steve, played for four teams in the NBA; his dad played overseas.

Daniel Deane, 6-8, 225 from Salt Lake City, who already has made official visits to KU, Stanford and Gonzaga, also has UCLA and Utah on his list. He's rated No. 118 nationally.

Brandan Wright, 6-9, 201 from Nashville and the No. 6-rated player, likes Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, KU and Wake Forest.

Bryan Davis, 6-8, 225 from Grand Prairie, Texas, and the No. 47-rated player, has a list of KU, UConn, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M.

Sonny Weems, 6-6, 200 sophomore from Fort Smith, Ark., Junior College, says he will visit KU, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Memphis this fall.

Guard possibilities include Patrick Christopher, 6-3, 190 from Lakewood, Calif., who committed to California, but has reopened recruiting. The No. 33-rated player also is considering KU, Texas, Kentucky and Arizona.

Derrick Jasper, 6-5 from Paso Robles, Calif., and the No. 72-rated player, is considering USC, UCLA, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Washington, KU and others.

Davon Jefferson, 6-7, 190 from Lynwood, Calif., and the No. 9-rated player, orally committed to UNLV, but decided to attend prep school for a year. He dominated the Jayhawk Invitational AAU tournament in the spring and now likes KU, plus Louisville and UNLV. He might make an immediate jump to the NBA because he will meet the new age minimum of 19.

"Coach Self has plenty of options," Wildeboor said. "It just depends, what big man do they want most? You'd say Arthur. What guy do they want the most with handles on the ball, Jasper, Christopher? What if both want to commit, what do you do then?

"They started out great with Dwight, now it's just what combination make up the next two."

Of Lewis, Wildeboor stated: "Kansas got a good one early in Dwight Lewis. He had some schools on him, but not like you think. It was good they got on him early because he's going to blow up this summer.

The No. 61-rated Lewis chose KU over LSU, Oklahoma, Florida and USC.

KU is saving a scholarship for the Class of 2007 because of Aldrich, 6-10, 235 from Bloomington, Minn., who already has been on KU's campus several times. He also is being sought by North Carolina, Minnesota, Kentucky, Arizona and Michigan State.

Three others in the Class of 2007 have mentioned KU. They are: Jeremy Price, 6-9, Decatur, Ga.; Lance Storrs, 6-5, Decatur, Ga.; and Alex Legion, 6-3, Detroit.

"So far again, coach Self is doing an outstanding job of evaluating talent -- good kids on the court and off -- and it looks like it should be another top recruiting class," Wildeboor said.

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