A big man is hard to find

Post prospects for Kansas.

Originally posted 09.17.02)

Few will argue Kansas desperately needs to land a solid big man in this recruiting class. With up to three scholarships left, the coaching staff may opt for a second post player as well. Phog.net recently talked with Prepstars.com and looked at potential prospects for Kansas.

David Padgett is a name fans are familiar with, particularly since his official visit with fellow recruit Omar Wilkes last April. The 6'9 C from Reno, NV is consistently ranked in the top 25 and spent most of his summer competing internationally with the USA Junior World Championship team.

"He is an effective low post presence who can score in a multitude of ways. Normally big men are raw and need time to develop but Padgett is ready for the college game now," said Eric Bossi.

"He is probably not a superstar, but a very good four-year player," added Harrington. Harrington compares David to current player Nick Collison.

David is coached by his father and former player, Pete Padgett. The family is friendly with current Kansas assistant Jerod Haase.

Padgett is also considering Stanford, North Carolina, and Arizona. He has completed officials to all four schools, with his parents making return trips to Kansas and North Carolina. Though the Padgett family has been meticulous in the recruiting process and very careful not to make leading statements, speculation still continues. The hard truth is few really know which way David may be leaning.

7'0 C Brian Butch of Appleton, WI will visit Kansas this upcoming weekend. Kansas was the last of the four schools to offer Butch. Home state Wisconsin is considered to have an edge, but Brian insists he has no leader at this point and will complete the process before trying to sort through the schools.

"Butch is a highly skilled offensive player. Around the basket, mid-range, even out to the perimeter, he can really fill up the stat sheet. Although he's thin, he doesn't shy away from contact in the paint," said Jeff Markman.

"He could stand to do a bit more on the defensive side of the ball, but he more than makes up for it with his production on the other end. He's already an excellent player, but put 25 lbs on him and he'll be deadly in college as well."

Butch is also an excellent student and has attended classes at each official visit, to get a feel of the classroom environment at each school.

6'9 Ekene Ibekwe may be the most intriguing, though slightly lesser known, Kansas target.

"Ebekwe is a long bean pole of a post player who suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. Somewhere along the line somebody told him he is a wing player but it just isn't the case and spending too much time circling the three point line sometimes takes away from his game," said Bossi.

"He's the most successful when he concentrates on playing the post," agreed Markman.

But Harrington does not discount Ibekwe's potential at the wing so quickly.

"Ibekwe is a 'tweener, but with better dribbling and passing he could eventually flourish at wing forward," said Harrington.

The versatility Ibekwe brings causes fans to salivate, particularly when considering a class that includes Butch or Padgett as well.

"He has the ability to create problems with his quickness and bounce around the bucket and can put the ball on the floor and hit outside jump shots from time to time," said Bossi.

The top 50 player from Carson, CA lists KS in his final schools and plans an official during Late Night. He's also looking at Maryland, USC, and Arizona.

BF Anthony "P.J." Tucker, known for his intensity on the court, continues to list Kansas in his top schools.

"He gets my vote as the most determined and physical player in the class," said Harrington.

Kansas had an in home with Stephen Verwers who played for Team Texas this summer. Longar Longar also reports an interest in Kansas, but the has yet to qualify. Kansas may also be interested in 6'9 PF Josh Boone.

Many felt that local BF Keith Wooden might be eventually offered a scholarship, filling the role of a second post player. However, Wooden recently committed to Arizona State eliminating that option for Kansas. As the recruiting season marches forward and commitments continue to materialize, the pressure increases for Kansas to capture that elusive big man.

Both Butch and Padgett have indicated they will likely make a decision in early October, while Ibekwe is scheduled for his official visit during Late Night on October 11th. For the next few weeks fans will simply have to wait it out.

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