Representing the University of Kansas in Fayetteville on Saturday was Jayhawks boss Bill Self. Here’s a look at a few of the players that Self -- who will be replaced in Fayetteville by assistant Joe Dooley on Sunday -- might have been keeping an eye on and how they played.
POTENTIAL KANSAS TARGETS AT THE REAL DEAL
Romero Osby- There’s no potential about it, Osby is a major Kansas target and Self spent much of his day following his every move. After a solid, if not unspectacular, first outing, the slightly taller than 6-7 forward was off to a slow start against a very talented Pump ‘N Run front line. Then the second half started and the Mississippi native took over for Southeast Elite.
After being held to just three first half points, Osby exploded for 20 second half points on a front line filled with high level prospects like Victor Davila and the Wear twins. He spotted up for open jumpers out to the three point line, dunked in transition and put on a clinic in low post scoring while leading Southeast Elite to what could be considered an upset win.
Osby would like to be recruited as a wing and he deserves that because he can play on the wing. However, it’s hard to imagine any college coach not running him through the post on occasion to take advantage of his repertoire of up and unders, spins and off (left) handed finishes. He’s a strong kid who is a good athlete, but he doesn’t rely on athleticism and that is something that is nice to see.
DeAndre Liggins- Up until now, Kansas probably hasn’t been very involved with this talented 6-6 wing from Chicago (IL) Washington. A long and skinny kid, Liggins is a live bodied athlete who can really handle the basketball. With his long and lanky frame, flashy style and ability to hit the glass he’ll remind Jayhawk fans of Julian Wright in a lot of regards. However, he already plays exclusively on the wing and even spends big minutes running the point. Although he’s not likely to run the point any after high school, his passing skills and dribbling ability are notable. If he can learn to cut some of the risk out of the way he plays and continues to improve a once shaky jumper that is now respectable to 17 feet, he could really emerge as a player. The main players at this point are DePaul, Arkansas, Memphis, Illinois and a few others but look for Kansas to at least express some more interest.
Clarence Trent- Somehow or another the Gig Harbor (WA) High product ended up in Fayetteville playing for the Arkansas Hawks of all teams. A high flying 6-6 forward, Trent’s game sums up a problem that faces a lot of members of the class of 2008. The thing about Trent -- and many of his classmates -- is that he does several things well, but you can’t really peg him for a specific position in college because he doesn’t really prove that he’s more of one thing than the other. For instance, he’s an explosive leaper, attacks rebounds at the rim and he can score over bigger guys. But, he doesn’t have the footwork or developed post moves that you’d like to see in a four man. Put him on the perimeter and he can hit jumpers regularly, and with good range at that. He’ll also outrun the competition on the break where he likes to finish with violent dunks. But, his overall perimeter ball skills and handle need improvement to truly be considered a wing prospect.
Whatever position he ends up at -- and he really seems to be more of a four man than a three -- is still entirely up for debate, but the kid is obviously talented. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit or him deciding that he has to get it done at one position or the other.
Verdell Jones- There was a rumor that “Lil ‘V” was going to show up playing for the DC Assault. Well,, the skinny 6-3 guard was in Fayetteville, but he ran with the Spiece Indy Heat and not the DC Assault. Playing with Spiece for this weekend only, Jones minutes were sporadic and he played a bit out of character. He probably forced a few jumpers out of frustration and wasn’t quite as crisp with his decisions as he usually is. Absolutely Jones is a gifted ball handler who also understands how using changes of speed and dribbling angle can gain him advantages. In the end it boils down to whether or not he can sell coaches on the idea that he will get stronger and maybe grow a little more in the near future. But, from a skill standpoint he could play at a high level.
Tyler Zeller- This 6-10 big man from Indiana was a guest at the 2006 Late Night in the Phog. A skinny guy, Zeller has improved significantly in the last year and is starting to look like a legitimate potential high major prospect. He’s still far too skinny to compete in a major conference right now, but his shooting ability, speed from end to end and overall feel are there. It’s surely up to debate as to exactly how much Kansas is or isn’t involved with his recruitment at this point.
Shawn Williams- Looking ahead to the class of 2009, Kansas and the rest of the nation are likely going to take a long look at this sweet shooting 6-6 wing out of Duncanville (TX) High. Playing alongside future UConn Husky -- and shot jacker with virtually no peer -- Nate Miles, he probably didn’t get the looks he deserves. He’s starting to fill out up top, is an above average athlete and he’s showing signs of a nice little mid range game. Already a part of the prestigious Adidas Nation program, some evaluators are of the opinion that he may be leveling out as a prospect. Even if that were the case -- and that’s a debate of it’s own -- the fact is that Williams has deep, deep range and terrific size meaning he’s always going to be a high level recruit. Even if he is close to being “maxed out”.