Mike Bethea is the head coach at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle. The school has produced some great basketball talent in recent years like Jamal Crawford (Chicago Bulls) and Doug Christie (Sacramento Kings) of the NBA. Rainier Beach's latest big-time talent is C.J. Giles, a 6-10 big man who is visiting Lawrence this weekend. The Washington Huskies have made a strong move to land Giles, but his coach feels right now CJ is Kansas' player to lose.
"He expressed to me and his dad expressed to me that you know, he's theirs to lose. I think it's going to work out."
It wasn't long ago that Giles was telling a Seattle radio station that he was nearly 100% sure that he wanted to be a Huskie. Bethea says a lot has changed since then, but further changes of opinion are also possible.
"I think the fact that he had a chance to sit back and talk about it with his dad and talk about it with myself, and just weigh out his options and stuff, I think that's what's really changed it. You know he was really speaking a lot on emotion and you know that's probably how he really felt at the time. But you know how kids are, they just change like the wind. You know one day it's Washington, the next day it's Kansas and tomorrow it may be Washington again, who knows?"
So, while anything is possible in the final days of Giles recruitment, Kansas is the definite leader in this race. Cincinnati might also be in the running, but according to Bethea, KU is way out in front.
"Those two (UW and KU) are the front runners right now and to be honest with you, Kansas is a couple lengths ahead of Washington at this point. Washington is coming in as a strong second and everybody else is bringing up the field."
Bethea thinks Giles could reach a decision this weekend and then announce it live on a Seattle television station next week, assuming he doesn't opt for one more visit next weekend. As for the Kansas visit, Bethea thinks Giles simply needs to make sure the university offers a good academic fit.
"I just think he needs to go down there and see if it’s a good academic fit for him. There's no question about the basketball part of it, that's basically a slam dunk. I think he just wants to go down there and get a feel for the campus and stuff and just find out what type of support and things they have for him from an academic standpoint. I think if all that pans out I think he'll become a Jayhawk."
Dan Jurdy, the Athletic Director at Rainier Beach High also had high praise for Kansas. Jurdy said he's hoping Giles winds up in Lawrence.
"If he doesn't pick Kansas, I'll personally put a whoopin' on him and you can quote me on that," Jurdy said with a laugh. "The coach is awesome, it's an awesome program and university. Coach Self and his staff are unbelievable. We hope to have lots of kids go there."
Bethea chuckled when hearing Jurdy's comments and when asked if he shared a similar opinion he answered with the following:
"No, I just want the kid to go somewhere where he's happy and if it's not Kansas, then I may put a whoopin' on him (laughs). But no, I think that's the best fit for him. It's one of those situations where I think it's tailor-made for the kid."
ESPN Radio 1320 KLWN will air the entire Bethea interview Friday in the 4 o'clock hour of "Rock Chalk Sports Talk". RCST is streamed worldwide online at Phog.net.