KU basketball coaches ramp up recruiting in 2020 and beyond
photo by: Journal-World Illustration
It’s been a busy stretch of recruiting for the Kansas basketball coaching staff, who traveled around the country last week to check in on some of KU’s top targets in the 2020 class and beyond.
Last Monday marked the first day of an open recruiting period that leads up to Nov. 13, the first day of the early signing period, and coaches nationwide made sure to get out on the road to catch up with some of the top talents in the current class.
By far the biggest attraction of the past week was Bryce Thompson, a five-star guard from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla., who had a number of big name coaches make the trip to the Sooner State for a recent practice.
OU’s Lon Kruger, Texas’ Shaka Smart and Arkansas’ Eric Musselman were all there. And KU coach Bill Self was joined by assistants Jerrance Howard, Norm Roberts and Kurtis Townsend for what Tulsa World sports writer Bill Haisten dubbed “a rock-star entrance.”
Thompson has long been considered a top target for the KU coaching staff, and sending the entire cavalry down to watch him on the first day of the new open period sent a message about the Jayhawks’ interest.
Thompson, who narrowed his list of finalists to in-state schools Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, perennial powers KU, North Carolina and Michigan State and far-but-not-too-far programs Arkansas and Texas, took official visits to Texas in late August and UNC earlier this month.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound shooting guard is still scheduled to visit KU for Late Night on Oct. 4, and Self and his staff were the first program to make an in-home visit to Thompson and his family last week.
In-home visit with Thor
Four-star power forward JT Thor, who has a final five of Kansas, Georgia, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Kentucky, also hosted coaches from KU for an in-home visit last week.
KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott reported Friday that Self and company visited the 6-9, 185-pound forward late last week and during the visit, Thor revealed that he, too, would be in Lawrence for Late Night in the Phog.
Five-star guard Caleb Love recently canceled a visit to Indiana and cut the Hoosiers from his list of finalists, ESPN.com’s Jeff Borzello recently reported.
Love, a 6-3, 175-pound point guard out of Christian Brothers College High in St. Louis, is ranked by Rivals as the 21st best prospect in the 2020 class.
Borzello also noted that Love’s commitment to USA Basketball will cause him to have to reschedule his previously planned visit to Kansas.
Love will still visit North Carolina and Louisville later this month, and his final five includes those two programs, KU, Arizona and Missouri.
Self sees 2020 centers
Rivals.com’s Corey Evans reported recently that Self made a trip to check in on class of 2020 center Gethro Muscadin in Louisville.
The 6-10, 215-pound center who originally hails from Haiti currently plays at Aspire Academy and is expected to visit Kansas this coming weekend.
Muscadin recently visited Kansas State and Minnesota and also plans to visit Texas Tech on Oct. 4.
“Kansas State and Texas Tech sit in the best spot,” Evans wrote. “A signing should be in the cards in November, with Muscadin providing a high-major program with a hard playing, rapidly improving and high-upside center that should leave an impact right away.”
In addition to Muscadin, Self also was expected to watch fellow center Javonte Brown-Ferguson, a 7-foot, 240-pound, 16-year-old Canadian.
According to college basketball analyst Adam Zagoria, Brown-Ferguson is “70-30 in favor of reclassifying to 2020.”
A final decision is expected to come sometime in early January.
According to Zagoria, Self is expected to make a visit this week to class of 2021 center Frank Aslem of Prolific Prep.
Aslem, who stands 6-9, 220 pounds, is a four-star prospect ranked No. 82 in the 2021 class by Rivals.com.
Wrote Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi of Aslem: “The young post man is still developing his offense, but he can run, rebounds his area and is looking like a potential back-line rim protector at the next level.”
According to JayhawkSlant.com’s Shay Wildeboor, the Kansas coaching staff recently extended a scholarship offer to 6-10, 205-pound forward Marial Mading.
Mading is a three-star prospect in the 2020 class per Rivals.com out of Chipola College in Florida.