In order to take a look at Kansas recruiting from some different angles, we were able to get together three respected recruiting analysts for a roundtable. It is always interesting to get other’s opinions in the world of recruiting .
Recently, a series of questions was divided up among Scout.com’s Dave Telep, Scout.com’s Jeff Goodman and PrepStars.com’s Rob Harrington. The trio were able to provide some unique perspectives and offered up some interesting possibilities.
ASK THE EXPERTS
Question- Where does Kansas stand with 6-8 WF Thaddeus Young from Memphis (TN) Mitchell?
Jeff Goodman-: “Kansas stands in about the same place as all of the other 25 or so schools that are in pursuit of Thaddeus Young. Well, maybe not in the same place - but the kid isn't really saying much in terms of who he really likes. If the age limit rule doesn't go into effect, there's a decent chance Young will never see a day on a college campus, anyway. But this is a good character kid and an extremely talented player who is being pulled in numerous different directions by people around him and nothing would surprise me in terms of where he ends up.”
Dave Telep: “Let me say this: there is an argument to be made for either guy at that spot. If you look long term Chalmers arguably could be the better prospect. Now, to reach that status he'll need to really get to KU and pick up the finer points of running a team, which he's more than capable of doing because he's so talented. With Paulus, I was drawn to his ability to lead, communicate and get everyone better on the court around him. You'll notice that we put those guys right next to each other and that was done for a reason. You can't go wrong with either as the two are different enough in a lot of ways that you can really spark a debate in regards to who is better.”
Rob Harrington: “Neither. Deane is a face-up big forward who actually has the shooting and passing skills of a wing. He can play inside as well, but his jump shot and floor game on the perimeter separate him from both of those players. His lack of great lateral quickness means that defensively he'll have to play the four, however.”
Question- What are your opinions on the NBA Collective bargaining agreement, a potential lockout and a potential age limit. How does it change the way kids are thinking or how schools need to recruit?
RH: “Right now, the smart money is that the league and players' union will arrive at some sort of agreement to ensure that the season does resume as planned. It's also unclear whether there truly will be an enforceable age minimum. That said, I think it makes a little more sense -- and we're seeing this shift in thinking already -- to roll the dice with an elite prospect. That assumes, of course, that the school in question doesn't have a glaring need at that position and can withstand the loss of a given recruit to the NBA.”
DT: “Most I’ve talked to seem to think some sort of a lockout is in the works. David Stern is too intelligent to let that drag into the season. The big story with the CBA, from our perspective, deals with the age limit. I’ve asked a host of well informed, well connected NBA personnel folks about this issue and frankly, it confuses me. I would say its 60/40 that an age limit comes into effect. However, half the people who think there will be an age limit will straight up tell you that they’ll try to build exceptions into the agreement. Think about this: when is the last time the NBA, a billion dollar business, did college (another billion dollar business) a favor? IMO, the NBA wants the Greg Oden’s of the world in their league. They’d take every guy that was an impact kid who could handle himself and give him a contract. What they don’t want is another Leon Smith or Kwame Brown situation on their hands. IMO, they build in some sort of exception (you’re a Top 10 pick, you get approval from an advisory board, etc) and institute an age limit. Why wouldn’t the NBA want the high school kids with star power in the league? You think they’d rather have Lebron James making college basketball money or selling out arenas on the road in their league?”
JG: “No one really knows what's going on right now with the age-limit rule. If they tell you they do, they're lying. David Stern is a smart guy - the most savvy commissioner in pro sports - and he's sent out a lot of mixed signals. The hardest thing right now for schools like Kansas and other elite programs is whether to waste their time on guys like Thaddeus Young when there's a chance they won't ever spend a day in a college classroom, anyway. Obviously, if some sort of age-limit rule goes into place, it'll be better for college basketball in general. However, the best thing for college basketball would be if a 20-year-old age limit were instituted because if it's put in at 19 years of age, you'll be seeing a lot of kids going to prep school for a year with the intent to jump.”
Question- What players in the class of 2006 could potentially be looking to go straight to the NBA?
JG “Certainly, Greg Oden is a lock if the age limit doesn't go through. You can probably mark down about 10 other guys or so: Brandan Wright, Vernon Macklin, Derrick Caracter, Kevin Durant, Thaddeus Young, Daequan Cook and Wayne Ellington. I'd say all of those guys are leaning towards going directly to the NBA - if they are allowed to make the jump. Then you'll see some other names pop up late - keep an eye on guys like Jerry Davon-Jefferson, Keith Clark, Pierre Niles, Damion James and maybe even Paul Harris. Guys that aren't necessarily ready to make the jump, but could do it, anyway.”
Question- Who are some of the biggest sleepers in the country in the class of 2006, where are they going?
RH “At the elite level, people are still sleeping on Daniel Deane. He's improved dramatically since last summer. Gonzaga and Kansas have done well with him so far. In a strange twist, I think Jonathan Mitchell also has fallen dangerously close to the sleeper level. He may never be the player he was hyped to be three years ago, but he's still a hard-working kid with size, some athleticism and developing shooting ability. He gets disregarded all the time now, but he'll end up being a very good Big East-type recruit.”
Question- Who is Self after, he seems to be recruiting all sorts of guys for the remaining spots. Does he want two bigs, or one big and a point or maybe a combo guard?
DT: “I can’t see them really chasing a point unless a guy like Sherron Collins told them he’d like to be recruited by KU; and they’ve taken a look up there. There probably aren’t enough high level guys they like at that spot plus they probably feel like they need to distance that position by a year given the fact they just landed Chalmers. Big man wise, I get the feeling that they’d love to get Spencer Hawes and would feel great about that one if they could get it done. Darrell Arthur, Bryan Davis and Daniel Deane are legit targets with Chase Budinger and Thaddeus Young as some potential guys for the wing slot. Also, don’t discount the spring/summer riser. Last year they moved on Lewis Clinch late in the process and wouldn’t be afraid to do that again if the right guy emerges. Plus, they’ve been working that 2007 class hard already.”
Question- Does the first round loss to Bucknell hurt Kansas on the recruiting trail?
JG: “The first-round loss should have little, if any, effect on Jayhawks recruiting efforts. Bill Self proved he's one of the best in the business, especially when he was able to somehow get Julian Wright out from underneath Illinois and Arizona. Think about it: Arizona lost three first-round games in four years and Lute Olson still managed to get plenty of talented players (ex. Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, etc.). Kansas will be fine - kids these days have a short memory and the loss to Bucknell won't hurt them at all.”
Question- Will KU try to sign a top point guard in the class of 2006, and who would they look at. Is Sherron Collins a lock for Illinois or Iowa?RH: “It's never a bad idea to sign a top point guard, but it depends on team needs. Kansas doesn't have to get one but would have to get involved on Sherron Collins or someone of that ilk, if he became available. Another one to consider, for depth purposes, would be Isacc Miles. It would be a lot easier if they could foresee what kind of freshman season Mario Chalmers will have.”