The best of the Kansas targets in Hampton was Greg Monroe, the No. 1-ranked 6-10 junior from Harvey (La.) Cox. Monroe at times was exceptional for Louisiana Select, displaying the sort of athleticism and face-up skill that could make him an NBA lottery pick a year or two from now.
Monroe also continued to frustrate some fans who were watching him for the first time. "This is the No. 1 player in the class?" It was a familiar refrain during a couple of Monroe's games, but then, in others, he was terrific. For now, that's just the way he is. The southpaw tantalizes with his crisp passing, shot blocking, rebounding and ability to score out to 15 feet while frustrating at the same time because he seems to lack a little bit of nastiness in the low post.
Kansas undoubtedly would love to snare Monroe, even if only for one year. At this point, however, the popular thought is that Duke and LSU may have the inside track. Bill Self does have a track record of winning big-time recruiting battles in which he's the underdog, and for that reason alone, it's way too early to give up on Monroe.
MORE KU TARGETS FROM BOO
Andrew Steele (6-3 SG/PG, Birmingham (Ala.) Carroll) -- A talented two-sport athlete who may focus exclusively on basketball for college, Steele continues to show that he's one of the most physically adept guards in the junior class. The Alabama Challenge guard gets to the basket seemingly at will, thanks to impressive quickness and strength. From that perspective, he could thrive in the Big 12, although his jump shot is less proven.
Murphy Holloway (6-7 PF/WF, Irmo (S.C.) Dutch Fork) -- Holloway has the junkyard dog vibe to his game that coaches love, provided they aren't looking for a highly skilled scorer. Holloway is at his best crashing the glass and playing tough defense, and he's effective at both because of high-level athleticism and strength. To rise in the national rankings, he'll have to become either a better shooter or a better dribbler for the South Carolina Ravens.
Danarius Robinson (6-8 PF, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley) -- Possibly on the move to a prep school in the fall, it's tough to fully evaluate Robinson. Actually, it's difficult to even partially evaluate him, because during our viewing, he hardly played. Robinson showed in warm-ups that he possesses big-time hops, so the questions revolve around the rest of his game. One would assume he'll have to take on a more prominent role for the South Carolina Ravens in order to draw offers from the likes of KU. Fortunately, he has plenty of time remaining in the travel season to establish himself.
L.A. Pomlee (6-8 PF/WF, Davenport (Iowa) Central) -- Previously a KU target, Pomlee suffered from a blood clot in his leg this past season, obviously curtailing his recruitment. Well, based on this past weekend playing with Martin Brother Select, he should again emerge as a high-major target. Will he rise to KU's level? It remains to be seen whether he has the wing skills they'd prefer for a 6-8 athlete, but make no mistake: Pomlee is an athlete.
Jordan Theodore (6-0 PG, Paterson (N.J.) Catholic) -- One of the most talented playmakers in the junior class, Theodore has become a Big East top priority. The lure of a big-time program like Kansas has made the Jayhawks as factor as well, although they naturally have not tracked Theodore for as long as the East Coast programs. Theodore has quickness and passing skills to succeed in the Big East, Big 12 or any other conference, but his jumper doesn't have a very confident look to it right now. He plays for the storied New York Gauchos.
Xavier Henry (6-6 SG, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City) -- Some Nike insiders at the event hinted that Henry might be their most cherished guard prospect in the class of 2009. That's heady praise for a player so young, and it's easy to understand why. Henry, of Athletes First, is an excellent three-point shooter who launches jumpers effortlessly, and the fact that he's a southpaw also helps. He's gotten a little stronger in the past year, and as a result he's driving more aggressively to the basket. Henry's ties to Kansas are well-established, and it's believed by most that KU leads for this likely McDonald's All-American.
Daniel Orton (6-10 C, Oklahoma City (Okla.) McGuinness) -- Another product of the strong Athletes First program, Orton has sprouted a couple of inches and added muscle since last summer. Also a sophomore (class of 2009), Orton now looks like a true center, rather than a power forward. He has long arms, lots of muscle, good athleticism and a developing power game. He'll definitely end up with a ton of high-major offers.
Rodney Williams (6-6 PF/WF, Minneapolis (Minn.) Cooper) -- Playing for Howard Pulley, Williams is another sophomore worth watching for down the road. He isn't yet at the level of a Henry or Orton, but he has a slender body that suggests he may still be growing, and that at least he's yet to fill out as he will naturally. Williams is a good athlete with promising ball skills, and at the minimum he'll be a Gophers priority. He'll draw a lot of other looks the rest of the this month as well.