Kansas Targets Play at Next Level

With three major events taking place on the final weekend of the spring evaluation period, it wasn't a surprise to see a throng of coaches hanging out in Dallas at the Next Level Invitational. As impressive as the basketball complex at Duncanville (TX) High is, the talent on the floor was even better.

With several of the nation’s top players on hand just south of Dallas, there were plenty of potential Kansas targets taking the floor.

KU RECRUITS AT THE NEXT LEVEL

Tyrel Reed - The list of schools who showed up to take in his eight in the morning opener read Miami, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina and more. Included among the crowd were several head coaches and Reed failed to disappoint. Despite some abnormal shooting woes in his opener, Reed still went for 16 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals. He followed it in the first round of the playoffs with a 25 spot before electrifying the late night crowd with a loud 32 point, six assist effort in a big KC Pump ‘N Run win over the NYC based Metro Hawks. If the reaction of the coaches assembled was a true indicator, Reed’s play is going to produce a slew of new high major offers.

Xavier Henry and Athlete’s First 15 U - Before heading over to TCU to watch Henry play, one coach mentioned that it wasn’t fair for the superb 6-5 lefty wing and the rest of his talented teammates to be playing on that level. Having already established himself as one of the potentially elite prospects in the class of 2009, Henry failed to disappoint as he drained multiple long range threes, skied over hopelessly overmatched defenders and pretty much did anything he wanted to -- when he wanted to do it -- against guys his age. The word has been out for a while that the kid can ball, it’s just going to be matter of whether or not he can live up to the expectations from here on out.

While Henry’s name already carries some national recognition, fans with a good memory will lock in the names Kyle Hardrick and Daniel Orton. Both are 6-8 BF’s, Hardrick from Lawton (OK) Ike and Orton from Oklahoma City (OK) Bishop McGuinness, as potential high majors. Hardrick has a terrific low post game and should develop into a bruiser while Orton is a long, lean and super skilled young big. He passes, elevates over defenders for tip ins and has great hands.

Blake Griffin - Even though he looked a bit tired in his early evening playoff battle against the Tennessee Travelers, the 6-8 Beast still brought the pain. He’s ultra competitive in the paint, has brawn to match and can step out to drill home 15 footers. If there was any secret about his ability to play for Elite level programs on the next level, it’s out. The question on the tip of everybody’s tongues is whether or not he wants to play alongside his brother Taylor at OU, or whether he’d rather relive old driveway battles by going head to head with him at another program.

Scott Suggs and Bill Brandenburg - Representing KU’s coaching contingent in Duncanville, assistant coach Tim Jankovich stopped in to watch two of the St. Louis area’s finest 2008 prospects for a bit. Suggs is a long and skilled wing who has a pretty jumper and well developed handle. Already a legit 6-5, he’s growing again and it was pretty clear that his knees were giving him issues.

While Suggs cooled off a little after a hot early spring, the 6-10 Brandenburg turned plenty of heads. He runs, has a frame that could carry plenty of weight, has terrific skills and nice bounce around the rim. He’s just growing comfortable with his capabilities and has to learn to play with the toughness that his body will allow, but he’s got a ticket to the big time waiting for him if he wants to work.

Samardo Samuels - If this thick sophomore has his back to the basket, smart money says he’s going to go to his left shoulder, power through a defender, and then try to tear the rim down. He’s not a high flyer, but he does get off the floor with a quickness and he has a nasty streak in him when he’s got the ball. His touch from the free throw line says that he’ll be a good face up shooter from between eight and 12 feet when it’s all said and done but is game is all about power for now. Should he develop the ability to spin to either shoulder or a legitimate series of face up moves, things will really get ugly for defenders.

Anthony Randolph - Channeling a Friday night performance, it was really a ho-hum effort for the talented 6-10 southpaw. Against a way overmatched opponent and playing on a gimpy ankle, Randolph didn’t need to expend much energy and he took that approach. He took a few jumpers to get warmed up, but once he settled in his trademark stroke was in full effect on a few elbow area jumpers. Just when somebody in the crowd asked how he rebounded, the lithe big man came from nowhere for a monstrous two handed tip jam. He’s got top 10 in his class talent when he wants to play.


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