Future Kansas University basketball player Royce Woolridge is scheduled to play in the 2009 Jayhawk Invitational basketball tournament, set for May 1-3 at various gyms around Lawrence.
Meet director Roger Morningstar and Kansas City Pump N Run coach L.J. Goolsby on Wednesday indicated Woolridge, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior shooting guard from Phoenix Sunnyslope High, would be playing for the Arizona Magic in the 17-and-under portion of the tourney.
Woolridge, Rivals.com’s No. 88-rated player, committed to KU last May 1. He chose the Jayhawks over UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, California and Georgetown.
Harrison Barnes, the No. 4-ranked player in the Class of 2010, is expected to compete for the All-Iowa Attack. The 6-foot-6, 206-pound junior shooting guard from Ames (Iowa) High, has a long list of schools, including KU, North Carolina, Duke, Iowa State, Kentucky and Texas.
Bradley Beal, a 6-3 sophomore shooting guard from St. Louis Chaminade High, will play for the St. Louis Eagles. He’s considering KU, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Purdue, North Carolina, Texas and others.
Wichita Heights freshman sensation Perry Ellis likely will attend as a member of the Kansas Players. Ellis, a 6-8 forward who was recently named Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, attended several games at Allen Fieldhouse this past season.
“It’s going to be a big-time event. The Atlanta Celtics will be back, the Compton (Calif.) Magic, several teams from Chicago, one from North Carolina will all be here,” said Morningstar, who will provide further details in coming weeks.
The tourney will not be held in Allen Fieldhouse or Horejsi Center this year because of construction. The bulk of the featured 17-and-under games will be at Haskell’s Coffin Complex.
Cousins to Kentucky: DeMarcus Cousins, who is Rivals.com’s No. 2-rated player, on Wednesday orally committed to Kentucky. The 6-foot-9 Cousins earlier had committed to Memphis, but has decided to follow coach John Calipari to UK.
There were rumors Wednesday that Kentucky signee Daniel Orton, a 6-10, 260-pound senior center from Oklahoma City’s McGuinness High, has asked out of his letter of intent.
Daniel’s dad, Larry, told WKYT TV 27 in Kentucky that reports Orton would not be willing to play on the same team as Cousins were untrue.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s all made up. Daniel has not asked for his release,” Larry Orton told the station. “As far as we know right now, Daniel is coming to UK.”
Henry update: Now that Xavier Henry has received his release from the University of Memphis, he and other family members are free to speak to college coaches about a possible transfer.
KU coach Bill Self and Kentucky’s Calipari spoke with Henry’s dad, former KU player Carl Henry, on Tuesday.
“Coach Self and coach Calipari both want to coach Xavier and C.J (Xavier’s brother who is freshman at Memphis). We just talked for a little bit, and that was it. Really, they were able to express how much they want my sons at their program,” Carl Henry told Rivals.com.
Carl said Xavier and C.J. might visit KU and Kentucky. The family will meet, likely on April 19, after Xavier returns from the Nike Hoops Summit (Saturday in Portland) and the Jordan Brand Classic (April 18).
Carl told Tulsa TV station KOTV that “it would be the dream to have them play at Kansas, but if they choose something different, they choose it, not me.”
Carl repeatedly has said this week Xavier wants to play at KU. Carl Henry played for KU’s men’s team while Xavier’s mom, Barbara, and aunt, Vicky, played for KU’s women’s team.
“It’d be my mom, dad, aunt. If my brother can get out of his thing, it’d be my whole family going to KU,” Xavier told the TV station. “It’d be a big tradition, but I don’t know. It’s a big decision.”
C.J. Henry will have to sit out a season if he transfers to KU due to NCAA transfer rules, unless he wins an NCAA appeal.
Xavier and C.J. will not be updating the media on their decision-making process.
“When it comes to all the reporters and USA Today, all those people, we’ll leave them alone. We need to handle our business,” Xavier said.
Carl advised his sons to turn off their cell phones the next couple of weeks.
North Carolina staff members have KU ties: A pair of former KU players worked on Roy Williams’ North Carolina national championship staff this past season and earned their second NCAA title ring.
This year, it was C.B. McGrath’s turn to work as a full-time assistant coach and Jerod Haase’s to work as director of basketball operations. Next year Haase will be back on the bench as assistant coach, and McGrath will move to director of basketball.
Williams’ other full-time assistants this season were former KU aides Steve Robinson and Joe Holladay. Strength and conditioning coordinator Jonas Sahratian also worked at KU.