2005: Post Play

Is there a power forward that Kansas is not looking at? Here are thirteen of the most wanted. (Part four of our series on potential Kansas targets.)

Leo Criswell, 6-9 BF/WF, Kansas City (KS) Piper

Criswell has already been spotted attending several games in Allen Fieldhouse -- he is the tall kid with braids and braces in the "JaRon Rush" seats -- and is emerging as a top 50 player nationally. He's an exceptional ball handler and passer for his size and has big time athletic ability in the lane with a reliable stroke all the way out to three point line.

To truly become and elite level prospect, Criswell must learn to bring it with consistent effort every night and develop more of a low post game. There is little question that he has the goods and Marquette has made him a priority. Kansas is very involved and is taking a serious look along with TCU, Arizona State, Nebraska, K-State, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.

Theo Davis, 6-9 BF/C, Brooklyn (NY) Cardozo

It isn't a question of who is involved with this top 15 big man, but who isn't. Originally hailing from Canada, he's athletic, rebounds like crazy and blocks a load of shots in the paint.

He'll need to diversify his offense on the next level but has legitimate NBA potential down the road if he puts it all together. He's tough to get a read on in terms of favorites but Kansas will take a good long look along with every other top 10 program in the country.

Tyrell Biggs, 6-8 BF/C, Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco

Perhaps one of the most appropriately named prospects in the country, there are no bones about it Tyrell is a Biggs kid. He might be closer to 6-7 and weighed in at svelte 282 pounds at Nike camp over the summer. Still, he had a strong summer performing for the famed Riverside Church AAU program and knows how to clear space down low. He's more nimble than you might think and has soft enough touch that some analysts have included him among their top 25 players in the country.

In order to retain that lofty status, he will eventually have to get into shape and diversify his offensive game. He'll also need to improve his lateral quickness or quick and athletic big men will continue to give him fits. Kansas has some interest but doesn't look to have made it out to evaluate him in person this season. Others showing significant interest include Seton Hall, Villanova, Rutgers, UConn, and Maryland.

Brayden Bell, 6-10 BF/C, Salt Lake City (UT) Brighton

A sharp shooting big man who loves to step out and make 17 footers and three pointers, Bell is intriguing. College coaches love that he can run the court and rebounds well when motivated. On the other side of things, Bell does need to become more aggressive around the basket and look for contact. He has a nice frame that he should be able to add muscle to without losing his agility.

Bell has a chance to be a top 75 or better player nationally and Kansas has been out to evaluate him. Other big timers like Louisville and Illinois have expressed interest but he appears to be more of a priority for Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Utah State, BYU and Utah at this point.

Andre Blatche, 6-9 BF, Syracuse (NY) Henninger

Although Blatche isn't officially a member of the class of 2005, his current academic resume suggests that he will more than likely end up at a prep school next year. Should he re-classify as expected, Blatche will become one of the most highly sought after post performers in the country and a top 15 type prospect.

He runs the court well, has above average handles and a nice shot to 17 feet. His impossibly long arms help him snatch just about every rebound in sight and he blocks shots by the truckload. He does need to get stronger and fight an incessant urge to spend a little too much time roaming the perimeter but he is an elite high major type recruit. Kansas is already recruiting him heavily with next year in mind as is hometown Syracuse, a school most consider him to be a near mortal lock to ultimately choose. Florida, West Virginia, UConn, Michigan State, Alabama and several other big name programs.

Jordan Wilkes, 6-10 BF, Los Angeles (CA) Loyola Academy

The younger brother of KU's freshman WG Omar Wilkes, Jordan is a talent in his own right. The best way to describe him is to imagine a spitting image of his older brother, but six inches taller.

Those who have seen him recently have indicated that Jordan has taken his game to a new level. He's reported to be skilled, active and surprisingly feisty for a slender big man. In reality, it is probably a long shot for him to follow his brother but the fan and staff interest is there if he doesn't like what he sees from UCLA, USC, Washington, Illinois, Stanford and others.

Jamal Boykin, 6-7 BF/WF, Los Angeles (CA) Fairfax

Boykin is an interesting prospect who really doesn't have a position. He isn't a traditional WF and doesn't have the overall size you really like to see out of an elite level BF, but he gets an awful lot of done, mostly through admirable persistence.

Boykin is one of those guys who will find ways to score and he has significantly upgraded his perimeter skills. He isn't a big time athlete but makes up for it with smarts and effort. Kansas' interest appears passing at best, for the moment, but there is something there that has obviously caught the attention of programs like Georgia Tech, Louisville, Arizona, UConn, UNLV, Colorado, Washington, Arizona State, Pepperdine and a host of others.

Brandon Costner, 6-9 BF, East Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Prep

A bit of a late bloomer, Costner has recently emerged as a top 25 player nationally. He can shoot all the way out to three point range and is a good athlete with great timing around the basket and very nice touch from the free throw line.

His recent focus on dancing around the basket and delivering like a postman has caused programs to turn up the heat and Kansas fits in that category. Other schools that are involved include UNC, Seton Hall, UCLA, Georgetown, Indiana, Michigan State and Florida.

Gary Flowers, 6-8 BF, Dallas (TX) Lincoln

Before it is all said done, Flowers should emerge as one of the premier Lone Star State prospects for the class of 2005. He's an elite level athlete who blocks shots, runs the court, rebounds and is a true energy guy.

However, he is a bit raw on the offensive end and has bounced around a few high schools -- well, three to be exact -- over the last year so there are some academic questions. If he continues to improve at the rate he did last summer there is no doubt that he is a high major and he might even be able to play spot minutes on the wing on the defensive end. His development over the next six months will determine whether he can justify early interest from top Big 12 schools or if he is more of a lower high major type recruit.

Richard Hendrix, 6-7 BF, Athens (AL) High

Already established as one of the top 10 prospects in the nation, Hendrix has proved again and again that he is a polished low post scorer. He doesn't wow with athleticism but has the ability to score with either hand around the cup and can step out to 12 feet and is much more skilled than most players who share his bull-like body type. An enthusiastic kid with lots of personality, he will become unstoppable if he tones up his body.

Kansas showed some early interest but quickly learned that they were a very long shot at best. Among the schools pursuing him most heavily are Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and Alabama.

Amir Johnson, 6-9 BF/C, Los Angeles (CA) Westchester

Even though he is sitting out his junior year due to transfer rules, the laid back Johnson is likely the premier big man recruit on the west coast. His hands are soft, he runs the court well and has a diverse scoring package around the basket.

He needs to get a little stronger, but there really isn't much about his game right now that can be picked apart. Odds are he will want to stay on the west coast, but getting a true read on him is tough due his sitting out. This summer he can expect long looks from every major program in the country.

Artem Wallace, 6-8 BF, Toledo (WA) High

Another kid who is a bit of an unknown nationally, Wallace burst onto the scene late last summer and is considered by some to be one of the top big men on the West Coast. Those familiar with his game say he throws his 235 pounds of muscle around in the paint and has a soft touch to 15 feet.

Programs from coast to coast have shown early interest, but he is going to have to prove things on a national stage before anybody gets a true sense about the type of prospect he is.

Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9 BF, Poplar Bluff (MO) High

Unless you have been hiding under a rock or don't follow recruiting very closely you know that Hansbrough is one of the top five players in the country and arguably the most aggressive. He has range to 17 feet, good footwork, soft hands and tries to dunk anything he gets his hands on around the basket.

Of course, it is pretty clear that unless your name is North Carolina, Missouri or Florida that your chances of landing him are slim and none. Still, he is such a terrific prospect from the general area and he is the type of kid that real hoops fans will love tracking.

John Brockman, 6-7 BF, Snohomish (WA) High

Brockman is a true lunch pail kind of player and specializes in getting the dirty work done around the basket. He's a sneaky athlete who explodes for dunks and has range to 15 feet. Despite his lack of height, his skills and effort make him a top 100 type player and a high major recruit.

Kansas is hanging around some, but more intense interest is coming from Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Gonzaga, Stanford and Cal. If you happen to be looking for a comparison, his name is Greg Brunner and he plays at Iowa.


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