Will Downs' Departure Affect Recruiting?

Kansas was dealt a mid-season blow on Tuesday when freshman Micah Downs decided to leave the team. The McDonald's All-American from Seattle will head back West for what was cited as "personal reasons". Downs is officially off the KU roster and suddenly another scholarship is available. Phog.net asked Kansas head coach Bill Self how Micah's departure would impact the next two years of recruiting at Kansas.

Really the future of Kansas recruiting (well, at least the next two years), has little to do with Micah Downs’ early exit.

“Micah’s departure could affect us long-term if we’re not able to sign anybody in the next year but I don’t think it affects us short-term at all,” said Self via telephone on Friday. 

It’s actually Brandon Rush who might have a bigger say on how KU handles its recruiting for the remainder of 2006 and beyond. Rush tested the NBA waters before and has impressed several NBA scouts this season.

“(Micah leaving) will affect next year to a degree. Depending on Brandon’s situation, we’re going to have to sign a taller guard. But how it affects this year, it may not affect it at all. It really depends on Brandon’s situation. We feel good about the players we have with Brady (Morningstar) and Sherron (Collins) coming in,” Self continued.

The future is certainly bright but in the back of his mind Self knows Rush’s exit is a possibility.

“We have to be prepared because I guess there’s always that chance. If that was the case, we need to be prepared for it. (But) We believe Brandon has a great chance of being here next year,” said Self.

Now that the Jayhawks already have two signed letter-of-intents from the class of 2006 (Collins and Morningstar), Dallas standout Darrell Arthur is the priority. Though the talented 6-9 forward is the focus it is believed that Downs’ leaving Lawrence will have very little impact on Arthur’s college choice or the recruitment of any other big man.

It wouldn’t be a stretch for the class of 2006 scenario to play out as follows – Rush stays, Arthur signs with KU, and Self makes another scholarship available for 2007.

“We’re still recruiting some guys but we’ve got four big guys coming back who can play,” stated Self.

But Arthur, ranked as Scout.com’s third best power forward from the class of ’06, still might be the most talented player of the bunch. Arthur was originally scheduled to visit Lawrence for the Kentucky game but had to reschedule. As of now, it looks as if the target game for the South Cliff H.S. star will be the Oklahoma game on Superbowl Sunday, February 5th though the plans have not been finalized yet.

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