With a ton of scholarships to give for next season, it all starts with recruiting at Kansas. I just can’t escape the feeling that something is about to happen. Thus far KU head coach Bill Self has just one commit from the class of 2008 (Travis Releford), but this is the time of year Self usually shines.
Once the savvy coach can get into the homes of high school prospects and woo them with recruiting trips to Lawrence the commitments just seem to come.
Junior college recruit Mario Little experienced both. The 6-5 wing out of Chipola (FL) Junior College completed a trip to KU a couple of weeks ago and is likely just a couple of weeks from making a decision. KU is part of Little’s final trio of schools (Illinois, Kansas State are the others), and Mario would certainly bring some experience to what will be, a young KU squad. Chipola Junior College was the national runner up last season so he comes from a winning program.
Proving KU’s east coast ties are still strong, St. Patrick High School standout Quintrell Thomas will make the trip to Kansas next weekend. Thomas is another player likely to make a decision before the early signing period. The 6-8 forward from Elizabeth, NJ has been busy hosting coaches and making visits. Rutgers, Maryland, Kansas, and UNLV remain in the mix for this talented prospect. For those of you who may not be familiar with Quintrell’s game, he’s super tough, a blue collar worker, and he’s not afraid to mix it up inside. Thomas’ visit to Lawrence will go a long way in determining whether KU has a legitimate shot to garner his services.
KU has another east coast prospect on its radar –6-6 Mookie Jones. I got to see Mookie play a bit this summer down here in Florida and I love his game. The versatile wing lists KU, Rutgers, Syracuse, St. John’s, DePaul, Michigan, and Marquette. It would be quite a recruiting coo if KU were to get this Peekskill, NY star out of the east. Jones, who is a Shawn Marion clone, can do it all and showed his array of skills down here in Orlando back in July. This is pure speculation on my part but, it would be surprise if he ends up out of the New York/New Jersey area to me so I still believe Syracuse, St. John’s, and Rutgers have a leg up.
Staying on the right coast, Self already completed an in-home visit with Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor is a 6-3 combo guard out of Jersey City power St. Anthony’s and emerged over the summer as a legit prospect for the Jayhawks. KU is rumored to be a leader for Taylor’s services but a visit date had yet to be determined.
The Jayhawks will definitely lose some size when Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson graduate after this season so it’s a good thing that KU is in the mix for the services of 6-11, J’Mison Morgan out of South Cliff High School in Dallas, TX. Yes, that’s right the same school that produced Darrell Arthur. Information on Morgan’s recruitment is tough to come by but we hear he’ll announce his college choice during the first couple of days of November. Morgan is one of the best prospects the class of 2008 has to offer and he certainly has the size, rebounding ability, and shot-blocking skills coaches covet. He’s taken official visits to Kansas and LSU, and headed to UCLA last weekend. Alabama and Kentucky are also in the mix. Morgan is scout.com’s 29th ranked player but remains one of the hottest commodities left from the class of 2008.
Staying in the state of Texas, 6-3 guard Willie Warren has yet to announce when he’ll make his official visit to KU. Warren, who attends Oak Hill Academy (VA), got a visit from Coach Self earlier in September remains high on KU’s wish list. Warren is down to a final five which consists of KU, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisville.
Terrance Henry is getting plenty of attention from coaches. The power forward stands at just a shade over 6-9, and can mix it up inside or step back and take it out on the perimeter. KU remains in the mix along with a host of southern schools – Miami, LSU, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Henry hosted all five schools at home and will now begin taking his campus visits. The plus for KU is that Henry will be at Late Night on October 12, definitely a plus for KU.
Here’s where things get really interesting. The Jayhawks are also in the mix for the services of the Morris twins. For those of you who don’t know the brothers, Marcus and Markieff, committed to Memphis but just recently re-opened their recruitment. Both will attend prep school at Pennsauken (NJ) Apex Academy, and both are ranked among the top five post-graduate players. Marcus is a 6-8 small forward, who could probably play some power forward, is the second ranked player while brother Markieff stands at 6-9 and can play power forward or center. Markieff is ranked fourth on the post-grad list. They are going to make three visits according to reports in the Philadelphia Enquirer, will Kansas be one of them?
We may have saved the best for last here with 6-10 forward Greg Monroe. The Harvey, LA standout is still ranked as the best player the class of 2008 has to offer. It doesn’t take long to understand why when you watch him play. He’s got all the high majors knocking on his door and KU will be allowed in on September 22. Hopefully Self can work his magic because Monroe has already entertained Duke, Georgetown, and LSU. UConn, Texas, Baylor, and USC are lined up not far behind. Will Self be able to get Monroe on campus for Late Night festivities?
Get all that?
As if keeping an eye on 2008 isn’t enough, there are other developments to watch with the class of 2009.
If you remember back in 2005, C.J. Henry orally committed to Kansas to play basketball as a walk-on. The Putnam High grad never suited up in crimson and blue because he was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the New York Yankees. Now his brother, Xavier is the top ranked player from the class of 2009, and a top priority target. Little brother Xavier left a trail of mouths open at gymnasiums across the country this summer with his play for Athletes First on the AAU circuit. Now it appears as if big brother C.J. is pondering giving college hoops a try. Both brothers have KU on their list of possible destinations but Memphis may have gotten a leg up on both. News surfaced earlier this week that the Henry brothers will visit John Calipari’s Tigers for Midnight Madness.
So as you can see, watching recruiting unfold in the next couple months will give KU fans more than enough to do.