The idea of 5-star guard R.J. Hampton picking Kansas gains momentum

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas 2020 recruit R.J. Hampton watches from behind the bench during the second half, Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

A decision from reclassified combo guard R.J. Hampton may still be several weeks away, but one of the top recruiting analysts in the country is ready to call it for Kansas.

On Monday afternoon, at exactly 3:42 p.m., Evan Daniels, of 247 Sports, logged his “crystal ball” pick in Hampton’s recruitment for the Jayhawks.

When asked by 247 Sports national writer Kevin Flaherty why he punched the pick in this week, Daniels said simply, “It just seems like a good fit. Right now, my gut would be Kansas for R.J. Hampton.”

Though entertaining to track, these crystal ball picks certainly do not mean anything is a done deal, though they often have been a good predictor and indicator of which program any given recruit might pick.

In the case of Hampton, the Class of 2020 5-star prospect who last week reclassified into the 2019 class, Bill Self and the Jayhawks are currently in a four-horse race for the 6-foot-5 guard from Little Elm, Texas.

Memphis, Kentucky and Texas Tech are the other three programs on Hampton’s list of finalists, and Self and his coaching staff have made Hampton a serious priority during the past couple of weeks.

Typically done recruiting the current class by this time of year, Kansas is still searching for 2019 prospects because of the departures that came following their second-round loss to Auburn in the NCAA Tournament in late March.

K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore (DePaul) announced they were transferring and four other Jayhawks — Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and Silvio De Sousa — declared for the NBA Draft.

Any of those four could still pull their names out of the drat pool and return to KU if they do so by May 29, but the expectation is that KU will have to fill at least four, and possibly five or six, spots to fill out the 2019-20 roster.

With a returning core of Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji and possibly Dotson, Daniels believes Hampton would be a prime addition for Kansas.

“I think he fits perfectly,” Daniels told Flaherty. “R.J. Is a true combination guard, who can (play with the) ball in his hands or play off the ball. And he’s at his best playing next to a ball-handling guard.”

During a recent interview with the Journal-World, recruiting analyst Kristen Peek, who just spent time with Hampton at the Nike EYBL event in Atlanta, called Hampton “the complete package.”

“He’s long, quick in the lane, a great passer and can hit the 3,” Peek said. “Plus, he’s also a big time presence on the defensive end, as well. There’s a reason why both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade stopped by to watch his game during the first EYBL live period.”

On Monday, 247 Sports released its updated rankings for the 2019 class and Hampton landed in the No. 5 overall spot as the top remaining uncommitted player available.

KU signees Christian Braun and Issac McBride were ranked No. 133 and No. 150 overall, both way up from their previous spot in the rankings.

Braun moved up 99 spots and McBride jumped 51 spots into the Top 150.


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