Now in it's 10th year, the Jayhawk Invitational has become a ritual for many local hoops fans. The brainchild of former Jayhawk Roger Morningstar, the J.I. has long provided Jayhawk and just plain old hoops fans an opportunity to get a look at future college and pro stars.
This weekend, there's another loaded field of competitors headed to Lawrence that fans can check out for five dollars on Friday, seven dollars on Saturday, seven dollars on Sunday or just 12 dollars for the entire weekend (schedules and gym locations can be found at http://www.jayhawkinvitational.com ). As usual, Phog.Net is here to break down the field and give a heads up on over 30 players -- the vast majority of them being recruited at the high major level -- that fans will want to check out.
*Please note that exactly who will or won't show up at events like this is sometimes never known until tipoff time. Keep in mind that there could be some no-shows or surprise appearances. Also, there will surely be some prospects missed in this preview, so consider it a rough guide.
KU INTERESTS AT THE JAYHAWK
Royce Woolridge, SG, Arizona Magic- No offense to any of the other guys listed in this category, but one way or another the 6-foot-3 shooter figures to be the story of the weekend. At least where Jayhawk fans are concerned. A state champion and Arizona state player of the year as a junior, the high scoring shooting guard remains a mystery (outside of youtube clips) to most of the Jayhawk nation as well as most national scouts. That figures to change real quick on Friday night when he faces off with the next guy on this list at 7:10 pm at Haskell college.
Harrison Barnes, SG/SF, All-Iowa Attack Red- When the scouts get around to re-working their rankings of the class of 2010 it won't be a surprise if the 6-foot-6 Ames native sits atop many of them. A top target of Kansas and others like Duke, North Carolina, Iowa State, Florida, USC, Oklahoma and many others, he's a college coach's dream. Skilled with the ball, he's got range that extends easily to the three point line and he's a high level athlete capable of playing well above the rim.
Brad Beal, SG, St. Louis Eagles 16's- Dipping down to the 16 and under bracket, the guy to watch is the 6-foot-3 scoring machine from St. Louis. Only 15 years old, Beal led his Chaminade Prep team to an improbable state title while earning All-State honors. He can bomb away from deep, puts the ball on the floor and already sports a very polished mid-range scoring game. Tracking as a top 20, or better, prospect in the class of 2011 at this point.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Trevor Releford, PG, KC Pump ‘N Run- The younger brother of current Jayhawk Travis Releford, Trevor has developed into a high major prospect as both a point guard and defensive back. A creative ball handler and passer, he's sure to be a fan favorite. With championships on the 15U and 16U level each of the previous years, it's been since he played in the event as an 8th grader that Releford has tasted defeat at the Jayhawk.
Ricky Kreklow, SF, KC Pump ‘N Run- A 6-foot-6 shooter with deep range, Kreklow is among the more highly recruited wings in the Midwest. He's already drawn scholarship offers from hometown Missouri and several Missouri Valley Conference programs.
Ryan Harrow, PG, Atlanta Celtics- Even though he'll be one of the smallest guys in attendance, few at the Jayhawk will be able to match the future North Carolina State floor general's eye popping athleticism. Quick and built to score, don't be fooled by his slender frame.
Jordan McRae, SF, Atlanta Celtics- An early pledge to Tennessee, McRae is a long, wiry and bouncy wing who can get hot from deep. A little out of control at times, he's got a high ceiling for growth and it shouldn't be hard to see why Bruce Pearl fancied him for his system after watching him play.
David Williams, SF/PF, Atlanta Celtics- A recent pledge to Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers, Williams is a smooth shooting combo forward with plenty of size and athleticism. Still a bit of an unknown, he'll be looking to prove why Indiana pulled the trigger so early.
Trae Golden, SG/PG- If you haven't figured it out yet, the Celtics are loaded. Not a surprise given that they are likely one of the top five summer programs of all time. Back to Golden, he's long been the face of this current group of Celtics and is a strong and compact guard who scores in bunches.
Chanse Creekmur, SF, Net Gain Sports- A former Iowa commitment, Creekmur is a long and slender wing with deep range. A certain high major target, he'll be one of the most heavily recruited players in the Midwest.
D.J. Peterson, SG, Net Gain Sports- Maybe the top prospect in Minnesota's class of 2010, Peterson is a dangerous perimeter scorer. He can stroke deep jumpers, put the ball on the floor and has plenty of scoring tools at his disposal.
Allen Crabbe, SG/SF, Compton Magic Black- Committed to play his college ball at California under Mike Montgomery, Crabbe is one of the premier shooters in the always loaded state of California. A fine athlete as well, he's sure to earn some admirers.
Bryce Jones and Dionta Burton, SF & SG, Compton Magic Black- Both guys missed lots of time as juniors due to transfer rules so they'll be looking to break out. Jones is a lengthy wing who can fire away from distance or slash to the cup while Burton is a bit shorter but more electric off the dribble.
Perry Jones, PF, Houston Jr. Hardballers- Likely one of the top 20 prospects in the class of 2010, this Baylor commitment is expected to make a cameo appearance in Lawrence. He can run, he can jump and he's got a nice skill level to his game as well.
Jacob Thomas, SG, Howard Pulley Black- This kid can flat out shoot it from distance. With his 6-foot-4 size and deep range, he's turned himself into a legit high major prospect this spring.
Chad Calcaterra, C, Howard Pulley Black- Skinny but skilled, he's one of the top big men in the Midwest. Currently being recruited by programs from the Missouri Valley to the Big East and Big Ten.
Michael Cobbins, PF, New Mexico Force- One of the hotter big man prospects in the country, this lean insider can really run. He already sporting scholarship offers from the likes of New Mexico, USC and Virginia and is looking for more.
Allen Tate, SF, New Mexico Force- A long and athletic wing player, Tate was outstanding at last year's Jayhawk. Looking for a school to sign with, the senior will be among the top scoring wings in the event.
Damion Terry, PF/C, Colorado Chaos White- A potential Midwest sleeper, Terry has earned terrific reviews from some college coaches that have seen him play. He can run, has size and will get every opportunity to play at a high level.
Isaiah Jones, SG/PG, Illinois Bobcats- Monster athlete from the southern part of Illinois, Jones can put the ball in the hole. He loves to drive, is looking to attack the rim whenever possible and figures to be a major Missouri Valley (at least) target.
Gelaun Wheelwright, PG/SG, Compton Magic Elite- One of the top 2011 guards in California, Wheelwright figures to emerge as a national level recruit. An outstanding athlete with versatile game, he's done enough to draw an early offer from UCLA.
Gabe York, SG, Compton Magic Elite- Only a freshman, York carries a huge reputation as a scorer into the event. He'll get his chance to show just how good he is playing on the 17 and under level for a stacked squad featuring players from the classes of 2011 and 2012.
Christian Kirk, PF, KC Pump ‘N Run 16's- Very athletic 6-foot-7 insider is among the top Midwestern big man recruits in the class of 2011. With his shaved head and thunderous dunks, he can be an intimidator on the 16 and under level.
Even More Guys To Watch
Benny Parker, PG, KC Cowboys- Tough freshman, one of the top youngsters in KC.
Seantral Henderson, C, Howard Pulley Black- Nation's top offensive lineman.
Richard Solomon, C, Compton Magic Black- Skinny with high major potential.
Justin McCay, PF, KC Pump ‘N Run- Big Time wide receiver prospect, KU target.
Daylen Robinson, PG, KC Keys- Athletic, quick, wild but fun to watch PG.
Damiene Cain, PF, Compton Magic Elite- Great hands on tough young big.
Cory Blackwell, SF, Compton Magic Elite- Atlanta native, compared to P.J. Tucker.
Ja'Ln Williams, SG, Wichita T'Wolves 16's- Competitive scorer with some range.
Ishmael Wainwright, SF, KC Cowboys 16's- KC 8th grader is causing a major stir.