Listed below are the KU basketball recruits who will be on campus next season:
¢ Mario Little
¢ Quintrell Thomas
¢ Marcus Morris
¢ Markieff Morris
¢ Travis Releford
¢ Tyrone Appleton
Tyrone Appleton, whose Midland (Texas) College basketball team already has won one junior college national championship and is a contender to repeat this year, has decided to attend Kansas University with one goal in mind - an NCAA crown.
"It doesn't matter if I am scoring, getting teammates involved or playing defense. I just want to win a national championship," 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore point guard Appleton said Monday after orally committing to Bill Self's KU program.
He chose KU over finalists Iowa State and Kentucky, picking a Jayhawk hat off a table with three hats and placing it on his head at an afternoon news conference at his school.
"I am going to one of the winningest programs in history. How could I pass that up? I will do whatever it takes to win, whatever the coaching staff wants me to do," said Appleton, who also considered Texas, Indiana, Texas A&M; and Kansas State.
Appleton, 21, who averages 12.5 points, 5.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals for 26-3 Midland, spent his junior year at Roosevelt High in Gary, Ind., then spent his senior year (2004-05) on the postgraduate team at Bridgeton Academy in Maine.
He was a fifth-year senior at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati, where he averaged 19.5 points a game.
He signed with Virginia Tech, but failed to qualify academically and has spent two seasons at Midland, where he has emerged as Rivals.com's No. 3-ranked juco player. KU signee Mario Little of Chipola (Fla.) CC is No. 1.
"The recruiting process was a very tough thing for me," Appleton said. "I met a lot of good people during my visits (to KU, San Jose State and Iowa State and unofficially to Kentucky). I knew Kansas was the school for me during my last unofficial visit."
He was unable to make it to Lawrence in time for KU's game against Nebraska on his official visit (Jan. 26-27), then returned for the 110 Years of KU Basketball Celebration game against Colorado on Feb. 16.
"I like the players. I hung out with Mario (Chalmers), (Brandon) Rush and (Sherron) Collins," said Appleton, who played point guard, shooting guard and small forward in high school but is solely a point at Midland. "The players, coaches and tradition are some of the things that stood out to me."
He liked the fact that Self - not any assistants - initiated his recruitment last semester.
"Bill Self is actually the one who contacted me. He came to watch me play and I didn't even know he was in the stands until after the game," Appleton said.
Appleton liked Self and KU's players so much he shrugged off some travel problems on his unofficial visit.
"Because of bad weather he was stuck at the airport from 4 in the morning until 3 p.m.," said Appleton's dad, Dr. James Dye, a physician in the Gary, Ind., area. "He's been in Texas two years so there was some climate shock. I told him, 'You're a Midwest kid. You know about winter,''' Dye added with a laugh.
Dye - he adopted Appleton after the player's grandparents died when he was a youth - was founder of Appleton's Sports Youth Foundation AAU team.
"Ty is best at distributing the ball and getting everyone involved. If I had to describe his game, I would use the term, 'defense,'" Dye said of Appleton, who likes to drive to the goal with shooting range out to 15 feet. "Even as a young guy, he learned defense before he focused on offense."
"I am known as a lockdown defender," Appleton said. "I hope to play defense and bring a spark to the team. I do see playing time at KU," he added. "I would not have chosen Kansas if I didn't think there was playing time."
Self cannot comment on Appleton's commitment until the April signing period.
KU received signed letters-of-intent from five players in November. They are: Mario Little, a 6-5 guard from Chipola (Fla.) Community College originally from Chicago; Quintrell Thomas, 6-8 from St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, N.J.; Marcus and Markieff Morris, 6-8 and 6-10 from APEX Academies in Pennsauken, N.J., originally from Philadelphia and Travis Releford, 6-5 from Roeland Park Miege.
KU is losing five seniors to graduation. Since KU has an incoming recruiting class of six, it's safe to say at least one non-senior will leave for the NBA next season. Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur are considered likely to leave with Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins possible early entrants.