The class of 2006 is going to be an interesting one for elite college basketball programs to navigate. After scouring the country for players who could contribute from the class of 2005 which lacked depth, coaches are looking forward to recruiting players from a much deeper class of 2006.
However, the class of 2006 also features a number of kids who are already toying with the NBA forcing coaches like Bill Self and his Kansas staff to make some tough decisions. Does Kansas aim high -- focusing on top 15 type players -- and risk losing an elite prospect to the lure of a direct jump to the NBA? Or, do they focus or do they focus on adding guys from that next tier of top 15-50 ranked players that are more likely to stick around for a few years?
For now, let’s throw all of that to the side and focus on some kids around the country that Kansas may pursue. Right now, on paper, the Jayhawks only have two scholarships with which to recruit but anybody who has followed recruiting and college basketball knows that number is likely to change over the next year.
Rather than focusing on who is leaning where at this point, we present this list merely as a tool for Kansas fans to begin to familiarize themselves with some potential recruits. Names will surely be added and subtracted from the list, but this is a good place to start as we spend the next week or so breaking down possible targets from the class of 2006.
In our first installment, we’ll take a glance at the first four of a dozen big men -- in alphabetical order -- who have received early looks from Kansas.
CLASS OF 2006 BIGS
Darrell Arthur, 6-9 BF, Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff- Kansas fans have long been familiar with Arthur, known to many as Slimm Shady, one of the most impressive physical specimens in the country regardless of position. He runs the floor with the ease and quickness of a guard, is light on his feet, and gets off the floor in a hurry.
He’s got some skill to go along with his impressive physical gifts as well. He’s a gifted rebounder, patient shot blocker and is developing a nice mid-range jumper to go along with his dunks around the basket. He’s got to work on his back to the basket footwork and avoid dropping the ball below his chin -- where guards can poke it away -- and turn up his intensity. Like many other big men in the class of 2006, a direct jump to the NBA may be a possibility.
Keith Clark, 6-7 BF/WF, Putnam City (OK) High- Highly regarded during his first two years of high school, things have been kind of quiet on the Clark front as of late. That doesn’t mean he isn’t somebody worthy of keeping tabs on though and he’s got plenty to offer on the high major level and will be one of many in the early conversation for top 25 in his class honors.
A true combo forward, Clark doesn’t quite have the height that you look for in a face up post player but makes up for it with advanced skills. On the offensive end he can face up and shoot the ball with efficiency out to three point range and scores with either hand around the basket. A solid rebounder and underrated passer, Clark must improve his lateral quickness and overall foot speed if he’d like to play on the wing full-time. A key to Clark’s success will be whether he can continue to mature and not let his emotions get the best of him.
Dwayne Collins, 6-8 BF, Miami (FL) Senior- Each year a couple of guys like Collins emerge out of nowhere and you have to respect them for accepting what their strengths are. A rugged insider in the mold of somebody like Ben Wallace or Donnell Harvey, Collins is a top 50 prospect nationally who patrols the paint looking for rebounds, dunks and blocked shots.
Unlike others with a similar skill set who spend too much time insisting that they can play the wing as well, Collins appears happy to do the dirty work. There’s always room for a power guy willing to do the dirty work but don’t be fooled into thinking Collins lacks skill. He’s added a reliable jump hook near the hoop and will become a unique matchup if he can become consistent on jumpers from eight to 12 feet.
Bryan Davis, 6-9 BF, Grand Prairie (TX) High- While Darrell Arthur has received a lot of the hype, Davis has quietly developed into one of the most sought after big men in the country himself. A strong kid who runs the court well, Davis is a big man capable of thriving in a up-tempo or halfcourt style offense.
While he probably hasn’t spent that much time in a weight room yet, Davis is naturally strong and uses that strength to establish low post position. Once there he sits down on his defender and catches the ball deep in the post before making surprisingly quick spins to the basket for easy baskets. He’s an above average passing big man and has good feet while lacking a true go to move. Defensively he is susceptible to ball fakes and has to guard against foul trouble when playing against other talented big men who he can’t just dominate physically.