KU, Self take look at Class of 2014

The July college basketball recruiting evaluation period was not only about tracking players in the high school Class of 2013, but juniors in the Class of ’14 as well.

Rivals.com last week spotted KU coaches at games of Trayvon Reed and Paschal Chukwu at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.

Reed, a 7-foot-1 junior center from Shiloh High in Snellville, Ga., who is ranked No. 21 in the Class of 2014, is being pursued by KU, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee and others. Chukwu, a 7-0 unranked junior center from Trinity Catholic in Stamford, Ct., is being recruited by KU, Pittsburgh, UConn, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and others.

On Saturday, KU coach Bill Self was in the stands at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee to watch Tyus Jones, a 6-1 junior point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.) High, who is ranked No. 5 nationally in the Class of ’14. The Howard Pulley AAU playmaker, who has not yet narrowed his list of schools, is being recruited by KU, Michigan State, Kentucky, North Carolina, SMU and others.

Jones took the court against Dom Collier, a 6-1 junior point guard out of Denver East High, who has KU, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and many others on his list. The KC Run GMC standout is the No. 62-rated player in the Class of ’14.

Chicago Curie High junior Cliff Alexander, who is out of action with a foot injury, tells Rivals.com that Michigan State and Kentucky are his leaders. The 6-9, 240-pounder, who is ranked fourth overall, also is considering KU, Illinois, DePaul, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA, UConn and others.

Visitors: Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) senior teammates Karviar Shepherd and Jordan Mickey will make official campus visits to KU this fall, Urban DFW Elite coach Jazzy Hartwell tells JayhawkSlant.com.

Shepherd, a 6-10, 225-pound center, who is ranked No. 34 nationally in the Class of 2013, has a list of KU, UCLA, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Louisville, Florida State, Gonzaga, Georgetown, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, Tulsa, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Marquette, Tennessee, North Texas and USC.

Mickey, a 6-7, 210-pound forward who is ranked No. 51, lists KU, Baylor, Duke, Houston, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Providence, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Tulsa talk: Former KU hoops All-American and assistant coach Danny Manning saw his first head coaching job at Tulsa become a lot more challenging when the Hurricane’s top two returning players — Jordan Clarkson and Eric McClellan — elected to transfer.

“It’s kind of one of those deals where you deal with it and roll with the punches,” Manning told CBSsports.com last week from an AAU Tournamment in Las Vegas. “With this team now, every player has ownership in it and everyone has leadership responsibilities.”

As far as his coaching philosophy, Manning said: “For me, as a coach, a lot of it is life lessons. I want all of our men to step out on the court and be tough, but off the court, we want them to be wonderful young men. But they have to understand basketball is something that they do. It’s not who they are. We have to put them in a situation when they leave for college they’re accountable young men.”

Rankings: Kansas University’s athletic department placed 52nd of 273 teams in the Learfield Directors Cup, which awards points to schools based on the finishes of each school’s men’s and women’s athletic teams.

KU placed eight out of 10 schools that made up the Big 12 last school year. Texas placed fifth nationally, followed by Texas A&M (11), Oklahoma (16), Baylor (26), Oklahoma State (40), Iowa State (44), Missouri (50), KU (52), Kansas State (62) and Texas Tech (68).

Of the two schools entering the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year … West Virginia ranked No. 43 and TCU No. 56 nationally.

KU placed 72nd overall during 2010-11.