Familiar Name Has Big-Time Game

Shawn Kemp, Jr., has more than just a familiar name - he has the same sort of athleticism that his father boasted during his All-Star NBA career. Canton (Ga.) Coach Roger Kvam talks about his standout, who's been recruiting him, and what has changed in regards to IU's efforts...

Shawn Kemp might not be the biggest name right now in the 2009 class, but to Indiana basketball fans it's a familiar one nonetheless.

The 6-9, 200-pound forward/center from Canton, Ga., is the son of former NBA All-Star and Indiana high school basketball legend Shawn Kemp, Sr. The elder Kemp led Concord (Ind.) H.S. to the 1988 state championship, went to the NBA without playing in college, and was a six-time NBA All-Star.

With his father's professional career now over, Shawn Kemp, Jr., is the up-and-coming basketball star in the family. The rising senior averaged 12 points and eight rebounds as a junior while playing alongside McDonald's All-American Chris Singleton, and now has a chance to enjoy the spotlight now that Singleton is headed to Florida State.

"He's 6-9, he's an athlete and he can jump and has good hands," said Canton H.S. Coach Roger Kvam. "Those are the type of things you can't coach and teach, and there are only a few special kids like that in the country."

Those are similar skills to the ones possessed by his father, which makes the comparisons between father and son obvious. But in spite of the familiar name, Kvam said his standout big man doesn't get the sort of questions from fellow players that one might expect.

"We might know a lot about his dad, but for kids today, unless they're subscribing to ESPN Classic, it's almost like a different era for them," Kvam said. "Even though it's only 8-10 years ago, I don't think a lot of kids remember how his dad was. They could probably you tube it and be blown away by how athletic he was. But he doesn't get the abuse that you might think."

Instead, most of the abuse is being handed out by Kemp, who shot 70 percent from the floor and totaled better than 60 dunks in 28 games last season. While those special skills have impressed plenty of college recruiters, Kemp is still a three-star recruit according to Scout.com and he hasn't cracked the top 100 yet. That could change after a big spring and summer AAU season, which has resulted in a lot more sets of eyes watching him.

"I think he's just scratching the surface of how good he can be," Kvam said. "He's so athletic he's going to fit in anywhere rebounding, blocking shots, finishing around the goal. He's going to be right there with the top guys in the country with his ability to do those things."

Plenty of schools have taken notice of both his skills and his potential. Kvam said most of Kemp's interest has come from the SEC, including Georgia (offer), Alabama (offer), South Carolina and Florida. Other schools have been in to see him as well, including Washington.

Indiana, meanwhile, was showing a great deal of interest when Kelvin Sampson was at the helm. The Hoosiers' interest started when they were targeting Singleton, and it continued with Kemp after Singleton opted to sign with Florida State. But Kvam said he hasn't heard from new IU Coach Tom Crean since he took over a couple of months ago.

Kvam isn't surprised that he hasn't been in contact with Crean yet, considering the situation in Bloomington.

"I'm not surprised at all because they kind of inherited a mess and they have their hands full with all the kids leaving and all that," Kvam said. "That would be what I'd be concerned about first and foremost, and I think that's what they are doing."

If Crean opts to get involved with Kemp, indications are the door would still be open. Kvam said Kemp doesn't have a list of favorites and is still wide open to any program that wants to get involved. He also thinks his standout will wait until the spring of 2009 before signing a letter of intent.

"At this point, I think that's the right thing to do," said Kvam. "Every spring it's crazy (with coaching changes) right after the tournament."


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