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Archive for Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jayhawks a favorite to win in 2010

Kansas coach Bill Self cracks a joke as he recognizes members of his staff for their contributions in this 2009 file photo. Bill Self took time during his Elite camp for blue-chip high school prospects to meet with the Journal-World in support of Perkins.

Kansas coach Bill Self cracks a joke as he recognizes members of his staff for their contributions in this 2009 file photo. Bill Self took time during his Elite camp for blue-chip high school prospects to meet with the Journal-World in support of Perkins.

April 15, 2009

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Collins and Aldrich sign up for another year at KU

If you missed it last night, Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self landed two huge recruits for next season. Their names? Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. Enlarge video

The “I’m staying” declarations of Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins have made Kansas University’s basketball team a popular early pick to win the 2010 NCAA basketball championship.

“Kansas just became the clear-cut favorite,” FOXsports.com’s Jeff Goodman wrote Tuesday in response to the news at Monday’s KU basketball banquet that Collins would return for his senior season and Aldrich his junior campaign.

“Collins is arguably the top returning point guard in the country. Aldrich will come back as one of the elite big men in the nation,” Goodman wrote.

CBSsportsline.com’s Gary Parrish and ESPN.com’s Andy Katz also have KU preseason No. 1, while Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News has KU No. 2 behind Syracuse. The preseason polls figure to change following the month-long spring signing period (which starts today) and after the (June 15) NBA early-entry withdrawal deadline.

“We have a lot of pieces returning and a few new faces. We’ll be real good and in the hunt for the national championship,” Collins said.

KU returns all five starters from last season: Collins, Aldrich, Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus Morris and Brady Morningstar. Returnees who played significant minutes include Tyrel Reed, Markieff Morris, Mario Little and Travis Releford. Also in the mix next season will be newcomers Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey (after first semester).

Currently at 12 scholarship players (one under the limit), KU is still in the running for Xavier Henry, 6-foot-6 from Oklahoma City; Lance Stephenson, 6-6 from Brooklyn, N.Y.; John Wall, 6-3 from Raleigh, N.C.; and Daniel Orton, 6-10 from Oklahoma City, who may ask out of his letter-of-intent at Kentucky.

“We had great talent this year. I think Sherron and I can work on the new guys coming in this summer, helping these guys improve and I think we’ll be really good next year,” Aldrich stated. “We have great talent. Guys will work hard. I think it’ll be a fun year.”

Aldrich said the Jayhawks would be ranked “pretty high” to start the ’09-10 season.

“We’ve got everybody coming back and have some great players coming in this summer,” Aldrich said.

Coach Bill Self acknowledged that the team could be special.

“I do think we return the best guard in the country and return the best big guy in the country,” Self said. “If you are going to start a team, why not have an anchor and why not have a guard? That’s two pretty good spots to start.”

Henry update: Xavier Henry on Tuesday said in an ESPN.com chat that he and his brother, C.J., will visit Kentucky before choosing a school.

C.J. Henry is a 6-3 freshman guard at the University of Memphis; Xavier a 6-6 guard who has signed with Memphis. Both have been released from their letters-of-intent following John Calipari’s decision to leave Memphis for Kentucky.

“We’ve never been out there (Kentucky),” Xavier said of he and his brother. “After that (visit sometime next week), we’ll take a couple of days and probably make our decision.”

Henry, who will play in the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday in New York, said he and his brother will definitely attend the same school. C.J. will be a walk-on at KU or Kentucky. His education is paid for by the New York Yankees, who made him a first-round draft pick in the summer of 2005.

Xavier said the decisions of Collins and Aldrich would not impact his decision.

“It just helps to know that we’ll have a good team if we go to Kansas,” he said.

“There are a lot of things,” he added of key factors in the decision-making process. “Me and my brother making sure we’re happy where we're going. Keeping my family happy and keeping them together is what I'm basing my decision on.”

Three of the Henrys will discuss recruiting a bit this weekend. C.J. and mom Barbara will be in New York to support Xavier at the Brand Classic.

Carl Henry, father of C.J. and Xavier, told Rivals.com on Tuesday he thought Memphis was not an option for the duo.

Wall update: John Wall, a 6-3 point guard from Raleigh, N.C., said in his ESPN.com chat he has a final list of KU, Memphis, Baylor, North Carolina State, Kentucky Miami, Duke, North Carolina and Florida.

“I don’t know yet. It’s pretty tough,” Wall said, when asked when he’d pick a school.

ESPN believes Wall may explore entering the NBA Draft. He’s considered to be in his fifth year of high school, meaning he may also be a year beyond the graduation of his high school class, thus eligible according to draft rules. If he enters the draft, the NBA would rule on his special case.

KU 22nd in recruiting: ESPN.com ranks KU’s incoming recruiting class No. 22 in the country as the spring signing period begins. North Carolina is No. 1. Obviously KU’s ranking will jump if the team lands Henry or Stephenson.

“If Kansas coach Bill Self is able to land one or more of the remaining unsigned All-Americans, look for this class to leapfrog into the top 10 and for Kansas to maintain its place as one of the premier programs in the country,” ESPN.com assessed.

Comments

logicsound04 5 years ago

Phogfan,

Next year, if we don't get Stephenson or Henry, Mario Little should be on track to take the starting wing position. While he was inconsistent this year, he showed flashes of why he was the #1 juco player in the country.

I personally believe he never really got on track for a couple reasons:

1) He had to work himself into game rhythm later in the season, and against higher-quality competition

2) He was playing out of position for a good portion of the season, due to the twins early struggles

I think with a full preseason and a move to his acutal position (since we will have a stable full of frontline players--Aldrich, WIthey, Morris 1 & 2, Robinson) Little will be the player he was expected to be this year. Then Morningstar will move to the role he is suited to--solid defender off the bench who can shoot the three and doesn't turn it over, and Reed can move to his rightful role--three-point specialist as a backup at the 2.

If Henry or Stephenson come to KU, I think Reed is the odd man out, with the following projected depth chart:

1 - Collins, Johnson 2 - Taylor, Morningstar, Reed 3 - Henry/Stephenson, Little 4 - Morris, Morris, Robinson 5 - Aldrich, Withey

If not, I think this could be a serviceable lineup all the same:

1 - Collins, Johnson 2 - Taylor, Reed 3 - Little, Morningstar, Releford 4 - Morris, Morris, Robinson 5 - Aldrich, Withey

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Jim Williamson 5 years ago

"...KU would be better off finding a 'gem in the rough' that can be an impact player in his second year i.e another Cole A."

Since when is a Mickey D's AA a "gem in the rough"?

And I'm glad you're "comfortable with the returners," but if you think this team is going to win a national championship with Brady Morningstar or Tyrel Reed playing the wing, you are sorely mistaken.

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slappedyomomma 5 years ago

"Exactly. KU would be better off finding a “gem in the rough” that can be an impact player in his second year i.e another Cole A." ..........................

ummmmmmmm, Aldrich was the #6 ranked Center and #30 overall recruit for 2007, according to rivals.com. not exactly a "diamond in the rough". he was ranked ahead of players like Dejuan Blair from PITT and Teague at Wake.

you would be an idiot to dismiss either Henry or Stephenson. a commitment from either puts KU in elite status for next year's team. unfortunately, pandering to top recruits like this is common place, and a part of the recruitment process.

honestly, i would rather have Stephenson, even with the talk of his problems off the court. after watching him defend Henry in the McD all-star game, he has me convinced. the guy was intense on defense. we need more players like that. our defense was what helped us win it all last year. that is what i am hoping for next year as well.

bring Stephenson to Lawrence.

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slowplay 5 years ago

"I'm almost ready to say Stephenson AND the Henry brothers can take a walk. ".....Exactly. KU would be better off finding a "gem in the rough" that can be an impact player in his second year i.e another Cole A. I'm very comfortable with the returners.

2010 also looks promising. Taylor and the Morris twins will have 3 years of solid experience. Rumor has it Withey has bulked up and he has Manning as his skills coach.

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logicsound04 5 years ago

I too am nervous about how this whole situation will play out, kilgore and burgundy. However, how much wooing has KU done towards the Henry brothers?

It's entirely possible that the the whole thing is media speculation run amok, as is oft to occur in athletics. Plus, it should be noted that Stephenson held off his decision before any of the rumors about the Henrys to KU started flying. So his reluctance isn't just about KU going after Henry (if we did that...).

Lastly, I can't help but wonder what the fascination is with recruits and Calipari. The way half of the top 10 are practically falling over themselves to play for the guy (for 1 year, no less) is a bit weird. I mean, I know recruits love their coaches, but doesn't it seem odd to anyone that Xavier's list all of a sudden has a school he had no interest in during the recruiting process, all because Calipari is going there? I can't help but wonder if he's made these kids some sort of promise, be it monetary or draft guarantee or playing time or whatever.

I'm almost ready to say Stephenson AND the Henry brothers can take a walk. We'll take our chances with two All-Americans, a bunch of more-experienced roleplayers, and three pretty darn good recruits.

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Reaper2K 5 years ago

jhawks1510: I was thinking, photo caption should read "Kansas Coach Bill Self asks, 'Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean, really looked at it? It's groovy.' to a crowd of stunned onlookers while munching on a burrito."

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hesshawk 5 years ago

I believe the Henrys are going to end up in Kentucky with the weasel Calipari, Stephenson's going to give St John's one year, and Orton.....who knows. I've read more than 1 place that Wall is considering UNC harder because of an ill mother. Maybe it's time to cut off recruiting any of these guys and see if there's a sleeper left that hasn't signed. Maybe someone that would need to stay 2 or 3 years to fully develop his game before going on to the Show.
I just really detest the current "one and done" system. It was almost better when they jumped directly to the NBA and quit messing with coaches' and fans' minds !!

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Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

RonB, you and I both have bad feelings about this. Isn't Self a heck of a guy? I mean, at some point during this four or five-year recruiting process, don't you think that he'd want to say, "Listen, I know it's a tough decision. But it shouldn't be a tough decision to want to play at KU or UK. So if you're still unsure by (date--certainly by April 15,), then we wish you well." You know, it might cost KU a prized recruit, but it would show every recruit that KU is bigger than any one player.

In this case, I wish that we would've signed Stephenson. I've had this strange feeling that we're going to win the Holding the Bag Sweepstakes. Listen, I don't mind Stephenson for being upset. It's pretty simple: if you recruit a kid and he wants to sign with you, then you sign him. I look at it this way: say Henry is rates 99% and Stephenson rates 98%. What do you gain by losing any chance at the 98 when the 99% player is only 50-50, and turned you down the last time? If a girl had to decide between you and another guy and she chose the other guy the first time, why would you have confidence with the second request?

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Armen Kurdian 5 years ago

Photo Caption should read, "Kansas Coach Bill Self warned that if anyone stood in Kansas' way towards a national championship, he would swat them all with his giant hand."

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Bud Stagg 5 years ago

Calipari is such a weasel

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RonBurgandy 5 years ago

It's not looking good for KU in the Henry sweepstakes. I was hoping they wouldn't visit Kentucky, but now that they are, I am not holding my breath. Being from a KU family, it is not a good sign when they are so reluctant to be enthusiastic about coming to Lawrence.

My only hope is that people didn't totally turn off Lance Stephenson because Henry suddenly became available. There was a lot of pushing aside of Lance and negative talk about him after Calipari left Memphis.

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grammaddy 5 years ago

Of course we are, as we should be.Rock Chalk Jayhawks!!! Go KU!!!

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PHILLYJIM 5 years ago

great to hear collins and aldrich are coming back, and i think thats the right all-around decision for them.. we just need that athletic swingman to put us over the top..

come on Xavier, if you're only going to play 1 year of college, may as well play for the national title...

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