A break in the football schedule will give Chicago Crane High three-sport standout Sherron Collins the opportunity to attend Friday's Late Night in the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse.
Collins, a 5-foot-11, 195-pounder who plays wide receiver and defensive back for the 5-2 Cougars, will put on the pads this week against Westinghouse on Thursday night, not under the customary Friday night lights.
Crane High's homecoming is Thursday, which is good news for KU. The team-oriented Collins would never bail on his football teammates to take a basketball recruiting trip.
"He's a happy-go-lucky kid who loves all sports," Crane High basketball coach Anthony Longstreet said of Collins, whose future is in basketball, not football or baseball, where he is a shortstop/pitcher/outfielder.
"If he decided to play soccer this year, he'd excel, and he's never played that before," Longstreet added.
Collins - who owns the Chicago Public League record for single-game receiving yards with 250 against Carver last year - also averaged 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Crane's hoops team, which advanced to the Elite Eight state playoffs.
"He's a tough guy, a beast, a take-no-prisoners-type player," Longstreet said of rivals.com's No. 31-rated player nationally and No. 4 point guard. "He's very explosive, particularly off the dribble.
Faces in the crowd
Here's a list of high school men's and women's basketball prospects expected to attend Friday's Late Night in the Phog. The seniors will be on official recruiting trips; all others on unofficial visits:
Men's prospects: Seniors: Darrell Arthur, 6-9, Dallas South Oak Cliff High; Sherron Collins, 5-11, Chicago Crane. Juniors: Cole Aldrich, 6-10, Bloomington, Minn., Jefferson; Tyrel Reed, 6-2, Burlington; George Goode, 6-8, Raytown, Mo., South; Lance Storrs, 6-4, Decatur, Ga., Columbia. Sophomores: Travis Releford, 6-4, Kansas City Central. Freshmen: Xavier Henry, 6-5, Putnam City, Okla.
Women's prospects: Seniors who have orally committed: Danielle McCray, 6-0, Olathe East; Sade Morris, 6-0, Norman, Okla., High; Lindsay Ballweg, 5-10, Overland Park Aquinas. Seniors: Aija Putnina, 6-3, Aurora, Colo., Regis Jesuit, originally from Latvia; Kelly Kohn, 5-9, Adrian, Mich. Junior: Tyra White, 5-11, Kansas City (Mo.) Hickman Mills.
"When he's hit," Longstreet added, "he finishes the play. When he's challenged, he takes the game to a higher level."
Collins, whose first name is pronounced Sha-RON, will visit Illinois next week, then Iowa in coming weeks. He has a date to take the ACT on Oct. 22 and if eligible will sign with a school in November, making one of three college head coaches mighty happy.
"Sherron is a tenacious defender. He gets in your grill," rivals.com analyst Shay Wildeboor said. "He is a dual threat with the ability to score and run the team from the point guard position. He's the real deal."
As is another top senior - 6-foot-9, 220-pound Darrell Arthur of Dallas' South Oak Cliff High - who also will attend Late Night on an official visit.
Arthur, who has visited Indiana and North Carolina and also has planned trips to SMU and Baylor, will likely play both small forward and power forward in college.
"He's an athletic big man," South Oak Cliff coach James Mays said. "He can run the floor like a guard, play inside, shoot the three. He is so versatile."
Arthur - who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a year ago in leading his team to a state title - is rivals.com's No. 19 ranked player nationally and No. 4 power forward.
"He's a competitor. He has a mean streak, competitive streak on the court," Mays gushed. "Off the court, he's a soft-spoken kid. He loves to win and plays like it."
"He has the ability to dominate the glass, is extremely effective on the boards," noted rivals.com's Wildeboor. "If he puts everything together, he has the ability to be a top-four, five player in America by the end of this season."
Arthur, whose first name is pronounced Duh-RELL, goes by the nickname "Slim Shady" for a simple reason.
"When he was young he was slim and there's a rapper named 'Shady' - Slim Shady. It's natural. It stuck," Mays said of Eminem's nickname.
Arthur does not plan on signing a letter of intent in November. He may orally commit to a school in coming weeks, but will not ink until April.
"He just wants to be careful finding the perfect spot. With time we feel he'll be put in the best situation," Mays said.
¢ AAU info: Arthur plays for coach Jazzy Hartwell's Urban DFW Elite team; Collins for Larry Butler's Illinois Warriors. Both are third-team preseason Street and Smith All-Americans.
¢ UNC commitment: North Carolina on Tuesday received a commitment from Alex Stepheson, a 6-9 forward from North Hollywood, Calif. It remains to be seen if the Tar Heels continue recruiting Arthur.
¢ Late Night: ESPNU announcers Bob Carpenter and Fran Fraschilla will set up shop in the southwest corner of the bleachers for Late Night in the Phog. They will use 30 seats while broadcasting in the stands. ... KU's women will scrimmage 10 minutes, the men 20 at Late Night. There will be performances by the men's and women's teams and lots of videos shown on the new videoboard. Late Night will run from 6:30 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m.