Appleton Nearing Decision

Midland, TX JUCO guard Tyrone Appleton made it back to Allen Fieldhouse over the weekend, catching KU in action at home vs. Colorado. Seeing a game was something he couldn't do on his earlier visit to Lawrence, thanks to some nasty flight delays. Phog.net's Eric Bossi with the latest on an ever-nearing decision by the Texas guard, inside.

Saturday afternoon, Tyrone Appleton spent a day in Allen Fieldhouse watching Kansas dismantle Colorado. Monday night, the sophomore guard was back with his junior college teammates at Midland (TX) College helping the Chaparrals erase a 22-2 deficit to beat Western Texas College and move to 25-3 as they chase their second straight junior college national title.

After the win, the six-foot-three inch guard spent some time discussing his second visit to Lawrence and the status of his recruitment.

“When I tried to go out there the first time my flight got delayed,” said Appleton. “I didn’t get to see the game on my first visit because of that. I still wanted to see a game to see what that was like so my dad got me a flight to go back out there.”

This time around there weren’t any flight delays and Appleton liked what he saw as the Jayhawks cruised by Colorado and celebrated 110 years of Kansas Basketball.

“I liked the atmosphere, it was really nice,” said Appleton of his game experience. “I’d been to Kentucky and Iowa State and I got to see their crowds so I wanted to see the Kansas crowds and give them a fair chance. All of the fans at those places really support their basketball teams.”

When asked if any school’s crowd stood out over another, the tough combo guard was diplomatic in his response.

“Every school I’ve been to the fans have been crazy and the fans love basketball,” Appleton told Phog.Net. “It makes it tough. You want to choose the right school and you don’t want to make a mistake when you only have two years left to play.”

Because he’s a junior college transfer and he’ll only have two years to play, the current and future makeup of the each squad he’s looking at is very important. He knows that he’ll have to earn his playing time, but at the same rate he’s being careful to make sure that there will be available time at whichever school he chooses.

“Basically I’m looking at who all is coming back next year and who all is going,” said Appleton of what he’s looking at. “I’m going to go out there and play and compete, that’s just what I do every day.”

Known as a tenacious defender and an excellent open court athlete who can break down defenders off the dribble, Appleton has been recruited as both a point and shoot guard. As far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t prefer one position or another.

“Not really, I just want to play ball,” said Appleton of whether or not he preferred to be recruited as a one or a two. “I’m a team guy who gets everybody involved and my other strength is playing defense and doing all of the other little stuff.”

With each day that passes by, his recruitment gets a little more hectic. Because of that, the easy going native of Indiana has turned to his father James Dye to help out with the process.

“The more I wait, the more schools try to get involved. It’s crazy,” said Appleton. “I let my dad handle most of my recruiting so that I can focus on my schoolwork and on my season because that’s what is most important. I don’t always have the time to talk to all of the coaches so they’ve got his number and they all call and talk to him too.”

Even though he wouldn’t put an exact timetable on it, Appleton admitted that things have gotten so hectic that he’s really looking forward to getting his decision out of the way sooner than later.

“I’m not that far away, I’m really close,” said Appleton of his decision. “I’m really getting tired of this recruiting process. Don’t get me wrong I like it and all, and the attention is nice. But, it’s just a lot of stuff that you’ve got to deal with.”

As much as he’d like to get the decision out of the way and focus on books and Midland hoops, he’s still going to take as much time as he needs to make sure that he’s making a decision based on what he wants and how he feels about a situation. There’s a lot of pressure involved, and he wants to be sure that he’s not letting that influence him.

“The way I look at it, It’s a business,” said Appleton. “I’ve seen other guys come up and not make the right decisions because of something a coach or somebody else says. Then somebody leaves or something and they can get stuck. I just have to go by what’s best for me.”

Even though he hasn’t made his final decision, Appleton at least has a good feel for the group of schools that his choice will be made from. Even if he doesn’t know what it is going to take for one school to separate itself from the pack.

“It’s Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa State, Texas and Indiana,” said Appleton of his favorites. “Those are my top five. I don’t have any leaders, it’s just my top five. I don’t even know how I’ll decide at this point. Like I said I’m just trying to look at who all is going to be back because I only have those two years and I want play.”

In the meantime, Appleton will continue to ball and take his decision as it comes. As it stands, the court is the one remaining place where he’s not feeling any pressure. Even if all eyes are on him and his teammates as they look to defend their 2007 national title.

“There’s no pressure because of that,” said a confident Appleton. “Everybody is going to come after us because we’re Midland. We’re a big name in junior college so people are always going to come after us hard.”


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