With Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar already locked up and signed as members of the class of 2006, there are few targets left on Bill Self and Kansas’ radar for this year’s senior class of high schoolers. The Jayhawks remain heavily involved with Darrell Arthur, but the 6-9 BF from Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff is one of a select few that are still on the 2006 radar.
In 2007, Self and company already have a pledge from Minnesota big man Cole Aldrich. While questions about exactly how many scholarships are going to be available for the class of 2007 remain -- if nobody leaves and Kansas doesn’t sign anybody else in 2006, they currently have one ship left for 2007 -- several prospects have emerged as possible targets. The goal of this article is to give Jayhawk fans a bit or a more in depth look at the players on the Kansas radar.
Undoubtedly there will be a few names missing from this list that have been perceived to be Kansas targets, and there will probably be a few that don’t end up legitimate targets. The idea is to try and separate those who are just on mailing or call lists from those who have been legitimately scouted by the Jayhawk staff.
Although the scholarship situation remains unclear, it is a safe bet that at least one and probably two more players will join Aldrich.
POTENTIAL KANSAS TARGETS
Cole Aldrich - After several unofficial trips to Lawrence, Bloomington (MN) Jefferson big man Cole Aldrich had seen enough. As a result, the 6-11 junior felt safe in choosing the Jayhawks and ended his recruitment back in November so he can’t really be considered a “target” at this point. However, his commitment is important as a quality big man was at the top of KU’s wish list for the 2007 class.
Aldrich provides a big body and he’ll be ready to go physically from the moment he steps on campus. He’s also ahead of the curve as a shot blocker and rebounding the ball. A bonus has been his improved offense and any extra scoring that he provides early on is going to be looked at as a bonus. It’s also important to note that Aldrich is an outgoing type who will certainly aid the staff as much as he can while traveling with and playing against other potential targets. Bottom line, he’s a terrific building block for KU’s 2007 efforts.
Derrick Rose - Arguably the premier point guard prospect in the class of 2007, Rose could be considered more of a luxury recruit than anything else. Kansas figures to have Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers, and Russell Robinson still roaming the backcourt when he arrives but that won’t stop them from pursuing him. His talent level, and room to improve are simply too great to ignore. Blessed with the athleticism and ball handling prowess to get to the rack at will like a Stephon Marbury, Rose also displays the team first attitude and passing game of a Jason Kidd.
He’s got terrific size at the point, attacks from the baseline like a wing and has the quick hands and feet that could one day make him an incredible defender. Another thing about Rose is that it is virtually impossible to get a feel for which way he may be leaning. He’s notoriously shy and his family is going to factor heavily in his decision. Among the other schools on his early list are Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, DePaul, Memphis, and Louisville so competing for him will be anything but easy.
Kyle Singler - Both assistant coach Joe Dooley and Self have put a lot of time and effort into recruiting this stud from Oregon. At 6-8, Singler has the ability to score inside but it is his developed wing game and overall skill that really set him apart. He handles well enough to run the point for his high school team, he rebounds, he shoots off the bounce and he’s a terrific rebounder who has drawn comparisons that run the range of Larry Bird to Dirk Nowitzki.
Regardless of who he’s compared to, Singler is a stud and one could make a convincing argument that he’s a better prospect than fellow Beaver State prodigy -- and former Kansas target -- Kevin Love. The early signs from Singler were that he would take some time in his recruitment but that seems to have changed recently. After a recent visit to UCLA, Kansas had hoped to draw him to Lawrence for Saturday’s Missouri game. Singler will instead make a trip to Duke and indications are that the Blue Devils and Bruins have moved ahead of the pack. In fact, a decision will be coming sooner than later and unless he visits Lawrence the Jayhawks have their work cut out for them.
Tyrel Reed - Because of his small town upbringing, there are still those among the Jayhawk nation who wonder if the 6-3 PG is a legitimate prospect. The thing is, schools like Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Iowa, Virginia, Oklahoma State and others don’t make multiple visits to evaluate a junior during the high school season unless he can play.
He’s a fundamentally sound player who makes those around him better and all he does is win basketball games. Reed is currently second in the state as a scorer and has only lost one game on the middle school or high school level since first donning a Burlington jersey as a seventh grader. On top of that, he’s committed to getting better. It’s well known that he’s grown up a Kansas fan so that gives the Jayhawks some leverage. However, much like Rose, Reed plays a position that may not necessarily be a priority. But, because of his shooting ability and size, he’s also versatile enough to slide over and play some at the WG slot. He’s a guy that Kansas is certainly going to have to continue taking a hard look at and they’ve been out to see him several times since last summer.
Corey Stokes - The player that Stokes could one day become is pretty impressive. Standing 6-5 and blessed with a muscular frame, deep range and nice back to the basket power game, the wing from New Jersey has been compared to guys like Mitch Richmond and Martell Webster. One thing KU has going for it is that Stokes attends the alma mater of Dooley and both Dooley and Self have made trips to watch him play this winter. According to those on the inside the visits have made an impression and Kansas has made up ground on schools like Connecticut and Villanova who currently sit atop his list. In fact, Stokes didn’t mention Kansas at all when last interviewed by Scout.com so you have to wonder exactly how legitimate a chance the Jayhawks have.
Julian Vaughn - A skilled shooter from deep who also passes well out of the high post, Vaughn’s skill set is a natural fit for the high/low. The 6-9 BF from DC was scouted heavily by Kansas last summer and they’ve been back out to see him this winter. But, after drawing rave reviews last summer, opinions on Vaughn have been mixed. While some love his skill set, others question his athleticism and foot speed on the next level.
Vaughn continues to list Kansas and the Jayhawks continue to be involved. Vaughn also continues to take a lot of trips to schools like North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and N.C. State so you can’t help but wonder if he has his heart set on playing in the ACC.
DeAndre Jordan - Jordan’s case is an interesting one. The 6-10 big man from Houston was a complete unknown this time last year before exploding on the summer circuit. He’s an above average run/jump athlete with a penchant for blocking shots and he shows some promise offensively thanks to a sweet jump hook and a quick drop step to the hoop.
Jordan continues to insist that he’s wide open and Kansas continues to monitor him closely. If he can prove to be a little more consistent over the next six months or so and the Jayhawks decide they need more interior help, he’s the type of kid who could receive a lot more interest.
Anthony Randolph - It’s really unknown at this point how much interest Kansas does or doesn’t have in him, but it’s worth throwing his name into the mix because elite programs from across the country are all intrigued. He’s a slender 6-9 lefty who runs pretty well and has a nice skill set around the hoop. However, he’s in need of strength and tends to float to the perimeter when things get tough. It won’t be until April before people start to get an idea for who is really serious about him, but it’s worth mentioning his name at this point.
George Goode - One of the most talented players in the area, the 6-8 Goode is a classic tweener. He’s got the height, length and quickness of the floor to cause damage on the interior but he’s also a skilled shooter from deep who gets out and finishes in transition. He’ s probably best suited to be utilized as a skilled face up four man at this point and Kansas has kept close tabs along with programs like Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Miami, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Missouri and many others who have inquired or have been out to evaluate him.
He’s been to Lawrence before for unofficial visits and has the talent to be considered a top 50 prospect nationally so he’s obviously going to receive heavy consideration from the Kansas staff. To take his game to the next level, Goode needs to continue to become more consistent and to find the perfect blend for his inside/outside game.
Alex Tyus - A native of St. Louis, Tyus is a high flying and active insider who runs the break for alley-oop finishes, works the glass and comes out of nowhere for blocked shots. Because of his jumping ability and long arms, he’s able to play much bigger than his size and that makes him an interesting prospect.
He visited Lawrence in December and Kansas has kept in close contact since then. Coming up as a youngster Tyus was touted as a big PG but he’s outgrown the position and is a unique player at the BF slot. He’s quick and athletic enough to one day guard the three, but his shot and decision making need work before he can play the wing full time. As it is, he is a matchup problem at the four. Big Time programs from across the country are going to take a long look at him this spring and summer and he won’t lack for exposure considering he’ll be playing alongside O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker on the D1 Greyhounds.
Lance Storrs - The Georgia wing has already made two unofficial trips to Lawrence and Kansas remains in touch. At 6-5, he’s a nice all around player who handles the ball effectively, scores off the dribble, has a respectable jump shot and does the little things that help you win. He’s also a year young for his class so it is tough to get a complete read on his game.
Other schools who remain heavily involved include Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Clemson, Georgetown and others. He’ll play this summer with a powerhouse Georgia Stars team that is coached by his step-father Harold Thompson.
Blake Griffin - This 6-8 BF from Oklahoma is the second high major recruit in his family as his older brother Taylor is a freshman BF at Oklahoma. He first burst onto the national scene last summer with a command performance at the always talent laden Peach Jam. Since his July outbreak, he’s become a big time Big 12 and Big 10 target.
Among his short list of favorites at this point are Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Illinois. He’s skilled with the ball around the hoop, rebounds relentlessly and has a jumper that is true to three point range. He was also in Lawrence just a few short weeks ago when he took in the KU/OU game as a guest of the Kansas staff.
Alexis Wangmene - Although he’s probably more of a darkhorse candidate, the 6-9 BF from San Antonio is worth mentioning. His legal guardian, R.C. Buford, is one of Self’s closest friends so he’s certainly somebody that Kansas is well aware of. He’s got long arms, runs well and shows some promise offensively but has only been in the States for a short period of time and is still a bit raw overall. Still, he’s a name to file away in the memory banks in case he develops into a legit big time prospect.
Ravern Johnson - Kansas first got a look at this long and lanky perimeter ace when he played in the KC Prep Invitational late last July. Since then word has slowly leaked out around the country regarding the 6-7 Johnson’s ability to shoot it from deep. Kansas has seen him more than once this winter and Self even saw him during December so he’s certainly a legitimate target.
While his size and ability to shoot the ball from deep are attractive, it is the untapped potential that really gets coaches interested. He’s excellent off the ball as he slithers off of screens to open himself up for looks and he’s got a nice back to the basket game inside of eight feet. He’s a good, but not great, athlete who needs to improve his ball handling but he could really elevate his stock and go from a top 50 to a top 30 type prospect nationally if he becomes a threat off of the dribble. The biggest question will be whether he can be pried out of the Deep South.