Friday evening players from no less than 12 states will be in Lawrence for the fifth annual Jayhawk Invitational. Taking place on the Kansas campus and at gyms around the Lawrence area, the Jayhawk will feature several of the top local prospects as well as some top prospects from around the country.
Included among the potential division one prospects in town are several players who have been or will appear on the Kansas recruiting radar at one point or another. Following is a pool by pool look at the 17 and under division as well as some players to watch in the other age groups.
17 U PLAYERS TO WATCH BY POOL AND OTHERS TO WATCH
POOL A- H-Squad, Randolph Boys Club, Kansas City Keys, New Mexico Ravens- H-Squad returns to defend the championship that they won last spring and they bring a loaded group into town. Davon Jefferson -- who was recruited by Kansas last summer -- is headed to prep school and back on the open market after committing to UNLV last fall. The 6-8 WF is an entertaining finisher and will be one of the most highly recruited players in the country and will be making his third appearance at the Jayhawk. Another prep school bound H-Squad player to watch is 6-3 WG Danny Williams who is a big time athlete with a feathery touch to three point land. Two class of 2007 standouts to watch are smooth 6-4 lefty WG Quentin Watkins from Compton (CA) Dominguez and 6-6 WF Tyrone Shelley from San Diego.
The Kansas City Keys feature several of the top prospects in the greater metro area and a slew of mid major targets. Keep an eye out on versatile 6-5 combo forward JaJuan Maxwell from Raytown (MO) High, 5-10 PG Dominique Johnson from Kansas City (MO) Lincoln Prep and 6-5 WF Dominique Thuston from St. Joseph (MO) Lafayette. The Keys are also expecting to add the services of aggressive and strong 6-5 WF Kyle Kirk from Springfield (MO) Kickapoo.
POOL B- Texas Top Prospects 2005, Team Missouri Central, KC Roundballers, TBA- Originally planned for this pool were the Howard Pulley Panthers, however they will not be making the trip to Lawrence meaning Jayhawk fans will have to wait until July to see guys like Bryce Webster, Trevor Mbakwe and Isaiah Dahlman. Look out for 6-6 WF Andrew Kueker of Team Missouri Central, Kueker had an outstanding sophomore season at Sweet Springs (MO) High and is well regarded. The Top Prospects can always be counted on to bring in plenty of talent and the Roundballers are worth checking out just to get at look at 6-11 C Brandon Beck from St. Joseph (MO) Central.
POOL C- KC PUMP ‘N RUN, WICHITA WOLFPACK, ILLINOIS BLUE DEVILS, NEBRASKA HIGH FIVE- The KC Pump ‘N Run roster features at least eight players who are actively being recruited by division one programs. Headlining the group are 6-4 PG/WG Brady Morningstar, 6-9 BF Casey Crawford from Blue Valley North, 6-5 WF JD Christie from Shawnee Mission East and 6-2 PG Roderick Pearson from Raytown (MO) South. The Wolfpack are led by underrated 6-5 WF Tim Peintner from Scott City (KS) High. Be on the lookout for the game between the Wolfpack and KC Pump ‘N Run after the Wolfpack beat the Pumps late last summer. There was some smack talking then and there is sure to be more when those two teams lock up again.
POOL D- Houston Select, KC Rocktown, Nebraska Bison Red, Team Ft. Worth- Probably the toughest pool top to bottom at the Jayhawk. Houston Select features gigantic 6-10 C Dexter Pittman and plenty of athletic guards. KC Rocktown will be led by the Isacc Miles a 6-2 combo guard from Mission (KS) Bishop Miege who was a fixture at Kansas games this past winter. Also keep an eye out on a trio of talented 2007 players from Rocktown in 6-8 BF/WF George Goode, 6-6 BF Jarryd Cole and 5-9 PG Rahmon Fletcher. Goode had Kansas coaches attend a few of his practices at Raytown (MO) South last winter and Fletcher, a quick lefty from KC (MO) Paseo, attended a game as a guest of the Kansas staff. The Bison feature 6-10 BF Matt Hill from Lincoln (NE) Southeast, a player who was scouted by the Kansas staff last summer. Hill’s older sister Megan will be a junior outside hitter on the Kansas women’s volleyball team next fall. Team Ft. Worth should have the services of 6-9 BF Jeremy Mayfield who originally committed to Nevada but is bound for prep school due to grades.
POOL E- Minnesota Magic Elite, Houston Jr. Hardballers, Colorado Chaos-Blue, KS Diaper Dans- The man that Kansas fans will want to watch in this bracket is 6-10 BF/C Cole Aldrich. The class of 2007 stud has visited Kansas multiple times already and the Jayhawks currently lead for his services. 6-10 BF Elgin Fitzgerald from Colorado Springs (CO) Palmer of the Chaos has been attracting early looks from the Mid and High major level of division one.
POOL F- Jackson Panthers, Texas Top Prospects Red, Colorado Chaos- Red, Houston Superstars- The Panthers always have a entertaining and athletic bunch and this year should be no different. 6-8 BF Andre Stephens from Heidelberg (MS) High is one name some Kansas fans will recognize as asst. coach Joe Dooley was out to watch the athletic lefty last winter. Another familiar name expected to be in town is 6-10 BF/C Kenneth Cooper who signed with Oklahoma State last fall. Another Panther to keep an eye out for is 2008 prospect Mitch Hempton a 6-6 combo forward. The Top Prospects are coached by Kenneth Willingham the father of former K-State PG Dez Willingham and he’s got some talent to work with. Perhaps the top prospect is 6-4 WG Ryan Harp a sharp shooting lefty from the class of 2007. John Eurey’s Houston Superstars were one of the top teams in the state of Texas for a while and have produced players like TJ Ford, Daniel Ewing and Ivan McFarlin in the past. Eurey has a much younger group now but guard Kody Augustus (sister Seimone was an All-American at LSU this winter) is generating some buzz.
SOME OTHER GUYS TO WATCH- Kansas fans interested in getting an early look at Travis Releford and Tyrel Reed need to watch the KC Pump ‘N Run 16 and under team. Releford a 6-4 WG from Kansas City (MO) Central lit up the KC metro during his freshman season including a season high of 43. Reed a 6-3 WG/PG from Burlington (KS) High is arguably the best long term prospect in the state of Kansas. Both were regulars at Kansas games last winter and have loads of potential. Anybody interested in seeing one of the top 8th graders in the country should check out 6-7 BF Tyler Griffey of the Illinois Jets (if he’s in town) in the 15 U division. Sticking with the 15 U division the St. Louis Eagles, a team that has produced guys like Tyler Hansbrough, David Lee and Larry Hughes, think their 15 U group could be one of their most talented ever and there could be four or five eventual high major prospects among the bunch. The KC Rocktown 16 U team features two of the top freshman in the city in 6-4 WF Dominique Lane from KC (MO) Northeast and 6-8 BB Steve Moore from Independence (MO) Truman.