Kansas University basketball fans — who will be suffering from hoops withdrawal from now until the Oct. 16 Late Night in the Phog — can satisfy some cravings this summer by following a season that never ends.
That, of course, is recruiting season.
The usual sanctioned events — Main Event, adidas Super 64 and Reebok Summer Championships in Las Vegas, Peach Jam in North Augusta, Ga., and AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla., and many others — are on the calendars’ of all the blue-chip prospects in the Class of 2010.
KU coach Bill Self will be tracking a batch of those prospects this summer to fill two or more roster vacancies.
KU, which enters the 2009-10 season with a full allotment of 13 scholarship players, will need replacements for seniors Sherron Collins and Mario Little. With junior Cole Aldrich all but certain to leave for the NBA Draft and freshman Xavier Henry planning an exit after one season, KU will likely have a minimum of four scholarship slots available, more if anybody elects to transfer. One of those slots goes to Phoenix shooting guard Royce Woolridge, who has orally committed to KU.
Here, with the help of Rivals.com, are some of the prospects listing KU. The first eight names should come as no big surprise to those who closely follow recruiting. They comprise Rivals.com’s KU “Hot List.”
Royce Woolridge, 6-3, 175, PG/SG, Phoenix (Ariz.) Sunnyslope High: Woolridge, Rivals.com’s No. 65-rated player in the Class of 2010, announced for KU after his sophomore season in high school.
The son of former NBA player Orlando Woolridge averaged 28.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season for Arizona’s Class 4A state championship team.
“He can get to the cup whenever he wants,” said Rivals.com analyst Shay Wildeboor. “Not many in the class are better at breaking their man down and getting to the hole. One thing he has said he wants to do is be more consistent with his outside shot.”
Harrison Barnes, 6-6, 206, SF, Ames (Iowa) High: Rivals.com’s No. 2 rated player lists KU, Duke, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Stanford, Minnesota, USC, UCLA, Iowa State, Florida, Kentucky and TCU. The former All-Iowa Attack Red AAU team player now plays for Minnesota Howard Pulley.
Barnes, who averaged 19.7 points and 8.8 boards a game last season, is a 3.9 student. He was impressed with the “love” KU fans showed him at the recent Jayhawk Invitational.
“He has all the tools — can score from outside, has a midrange game and can get to the basket,” Wildeboor said. “He has a great feel for the game.”
Ray McCallum, 6-1, 175, PG, Detroit Country Day High: Rivals.com’s No. 36-rated player lists KU, Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA, Duke, Louisville, Memphis, Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Florida, Kentucky, Texas and others.
McCallum, who averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game his junior season, hasn’t ruled out playing for his dad at the University of Detroit.
“He’s a prototypical point guard. He can distribute, score and is smart,” Wildeboor said.
Brandon Knight, 6-3, 185, PG, Pine Crest High, Coral Springs, Fla.: Rivals.com’s No. 1-ranked player is considering KU, Kentucky, UConn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Syracuse and others. He averaged 39 points a game his junior year of high school.
“He has built his body up to an indestructible level, and is using it to punish defenders,” Rivals.com analyst Jerry Meyer said. “His bull-rush drives with his right hand are nearly unguardable and he is shooting with accuracy from deep range off the dribble.”
Luke Cothron, 6-8, 220, PF, Flora Macdonald Academy, Red Springs, N.C.: Rivals.com’s No. 9-rated player, who is originally from Alabama, has a list of KU, North Carolina State, Memphis, UConn, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Stat and many others. He averaged 30 points and 20 rebounds a game his junior year.
“He loves to block shots, rebound and get after it. He’s a beast in the paint and can take his game out 15 to 17 feet,” Wildeboor said.
Cameron Clark, 6-6, 190, SF, Sherman (Texas) High: Rivals.com’s No. 22-ranked player has a list of KU, Texas, UCLA, USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Kentucky and others.
“Clark does all the things a big time wing needs to do. He scores it off the dribble, makes three-pointers, is an adequate ball handler, rebounds strong and can guard a variety of positions,” Meyer said.
Adreian Payne, 6-10, 215, PF, Jefferson High, Dayton, Ohio: Rivals.com’s No. 8-rated player has a list of KU, Michigan State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Dayton, Xavier, West Virginia, Pitt, Tennessee and others. Payne, who averaged 15.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks his junior year, said his goal is to vault to No. 1 in the class.
“He’s comfortable getting up and down the floor and he’s comfortable running half-court sets,” Jefferson coach Art Winston told the Dayton Daily News.
Will Barton, 6-5, 165, SG, Lake Clifton High, Baltimore: Rivals.com’s No. 7-rated player has a list of KU, Arizona, Georgetown, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Memphis, Pittsburgh and others.
“Despite his thin frame, Barton's length and strength with the ball allow him to make plays against contact,” said Rivals.com’s Meyer. “His funky dribble game is sure to create space for his accurate jumper, and his instinct for coming up with loose balls gets him bonus buckets.”
Here are players not on Rivals.com’s “KU Hot List,” but also listing the Jayhawks.
Josh Smith, 6-10, 270, PF, Kentwood High, Covington, Wash.: Rivals.com’s No. 5-rated player lists KU, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Washington, Washington State and many others.
Roscoe Smith, 6-8, 180, SF, Walbrook High, Baltimore: Rivals.com’s No. 16-rated player lists KU, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Duke, UConn, Florida, Florida State, Memphis, Texas and others.
Doron Lamb, 6-4, 175, SG, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va.: Rivals.com’s No. 24-rated player lists KU, Louisville, Kentucky, UConn, Syracuse, Marquette, Seton Hall, West Virginia, St. John’s and others.
Trevor Releford, 5-10, 170, PG, Roeland Park Bishop Miege: Releford’s AAU coach, L.J. Goolsby of KC Pump N Run recently said the main schools recruiting Releford are Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, Arizona, Missouri State, Wichita State and Creighton. KU has shown some interest of late in the brother of Jayhawk soph Travis Releford.
Cory Joseph, 6-3, 170, SG, Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.: Rivals.com’s No. 6-rated player lists KU, UNLV, Marquette, Florida, Louisville, Ohio State, Texas and others.
Trey Zeigler, 6-5, 195, SG, Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 47-rated player lists KU, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, UCLA and others.
Julian Washburn, 6-7, SF, Duncanville (Texas) High: Rivals.com’s No. 66-rated player lists KU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis and others.
Shaquille Thomas, 6-6, 165, SF, Mountain State Academy, Beckley, W.Va.: Rivals.com’s No. 94-rated player lists KU, Florida, Syracuse, West Virginia, Clemson, St. John’s and others.
Dominique Ferguson, 6-9, 210, PF, Lawrence North High, Indianapolis: Rivals.com’s No. 10-rated player lists Indiana, UCLA, Arizona, Texas, Florida, KU and others.
Terrence Jones, 6-8, 220, PF, Jefferson High, Portland: Rivals.com’s No. 27-rated player lists KU, Washington, Marquette, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, Georgetown and others.
Jordin Mayes, 6-1, 170, SG, Westchester High, Los Angeles: Rivals.com’s No. 97-rated player lists KU, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Florida, UConn, Santa Clara and others.
Lavonte Dority, 6-0, 180, PG, Foreman High, Chicago: Rivals.com’s No. 104-rated player lists KU, Marquette, Baylor, DePaul, Illinois, Indiana Kentucky and others.
KU, of course, will be checking out high school sophomores and juniors-to-be at upcoming events. At the top of the list in the Class of 2011 is Bradley Beal, 6-3 junior from Chaminade High in St. Louis. Perry Ellis, 6-7 sophomore from Wichita Heights, is the prize of the Class of 2012. Beal likes KU, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Indiana, Purdue and others. Ellis, who has attended several KU games on unofficial visits, will be recruited by all the country’s powers.