This weekend, the first leg of the spring grassroots will come to an unofficial end with mega events like the Tournament of Champions in the triangle are of North Carolina and the Nike Memorial Day Classic in Suwanee, GA taking place. Over the past few years, college fans have been able to follow who their favorite coaching staff has been watching pretty closely because they could read about who each staff watched at April events.
This year, things got a little trickier as the NCAA stopped allowing coaches at April events meaning that schools could only go watch players work out at their respective high schools. While it has frustrated fans looking to know their school's every recruiting move, there is no doubt that college coaches have enjoyed being able to do some under cover recruiting.
While there will be a few events in June, the month is typically one where prospects spend less time with their summer teams and more time with their high school programs or attending individual camps. With that in mind, we figured it's a good time to take a look at some of the kids that the Kansas staff is already known to be tracking at one level or another heading into the summer.
Already In The Fold
Royce Woolridge- Having committed to Kansas a little over a year ago, Woolridge was the first player to commit after the Jayhawks 2008 national championship. With his strong shoulders, quick release and shooter's mentality, Woolridge is a proven scorer who won a state title and earned Arizona state player of the year honors as a junior. This spring, Woolridge has proven to be much better off the dribble and as a passer than most were expecting.
Already Visited Or Scheduled To Do So
Harrison Barnes- Quite possibly the number one player left on KU's recruiting board, the 6-foot-6 wing from Ames is also scout.com's top player in the class of 2010. Long, athletic and skilled, Barnes is rapidly improving and plays the game with a bit of an edge. He's still a little prone to dribbling into trouble, but his ball handling is rapidly catching up to his high level athleticism, mid-range game, post play, rebounding and shooting from deep. Outside of the Peach Jam (where he'll play with Minneapolis based Howard Pulley), the NBA top 100 camp and Nike's skills academies, it's unknown exactly which events he'll play in and there's a possibility that he could take a large portion of July off to focus on skill development.
Luke Cothron- Quietly, Cothron has emerged as a fairly high level target for Bill Self's Jayhawks. Scheduled to attend June's Elite Camp in Lawrence, Cothron is a long and lean 6-foot-8 insider with terrific hands and quick reactions around the basket. A high level court who sprints past opposing big men in the open floor, he first establishes himself on the interior before looking to face up. He exercises good shot selection on jumpers and is a legitimate threat to between 15 and 17 feet. A native of Alabama who transferred to North Carolina prior to his junior year, he's become one of the more highly recruited big men in the country and is seemingly wide open at this point. He'll run the summer circuit with the AL/FL Southeast Elite squad run by Mark Komara and Johnny Fleming and is scheduled for stops at NBA Camp, Reebok All-American and then Las Vegas.
Ray McCallum- One of the premier floor generals in the class of 2010. The 6-foot-1 PG has clearly established himself as one of the most fundamentally sound and cerebral players in his class, regardless of position. A slender kid who has excellent lateral quickness and good reach for his position, he's always under control whether he's leading a fast break or executing a half court set. Underrated as an athlete, he was in Lawrence last October for Late Night in the Phog and has Kansas up high on a list that also includes programs like Michigan, UCLA, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others.
Other Prospects On The Radar
Cameron Clark- One of the fastest risers of the Spring, this 6-foot-6 wing from Texas has come from off of most scouts radars to position himself for a run at McDonald's All-American honors. A livewire athlete who excites crowds with his ability to play above the rim, Clark is also a fine jump shooter who elevates quickly and creates separation from defenders off of the dribble. He's being chased by the entire Big 12 while others like Arizona and Arizona State have come calling. He'll hit the summer circuit with Wes Grandstaff's Team Texas while also making pit stops at the NBA Camp and the Nike Skills Academies.
Brandon Knight- The top point guard in the country, it's pretty tough to find reliable info on who Knight favors and the shy Floridian isn't exactly giving up much info. At 6-foot-3, he's got excellent size and is a powerful athlete at the one. More of a natural scorer than a setup man, he can get to the rim or bury defenders with jumpers. Others in the mix include Florida, Miami, Duke, Kentucky and Connecticut. He'll team up with Cothron on Southeast Elite and will be a fixture at the summer's major events.
Roscoe Smith - A long and lanky 6-foot-7 wing from Baltimore, it's questionable whether or not he'll be willing to leave the East Coast. However, Kansas has been following him since this time last year and was in to see him during April. Rarely seen on the summer circuit, he's a high energy guy with an expanding perimeter game. He's expected at the LeBron James Skills Academy in July but outside of that there's no real idea bout which events he'll show up at.
Will Barton- Like Cameron Clark, Barton has exploded during April and May. A big time athlete at the shooting guard slot, the 6-foot-5 wing is like a high school version of Jamal Crawford. Very watery off the dribble, he's explosive off the dribble and can get hot from deep in a hurry. Early word has been that Kentucky is the leader but there are folks in his camp who have indicated that he's interested in making a visit to Lawrence at some point. He's expected to transfer to a prep school for his final year of high school but exactly which one still has to be determined.
Joe Jackson - At only 5-foot-11, and skinny, Jackson does things from an athletic standpoint that leave people shaking their heads. Totally fearless with the ball in his hands, he's got perhaps the most devastating first step in high school basketball and is incredibly quick off the bounce. He loves to attack the rim but elevates well on jumpers and has deep range. Much more of a scorer than a facilitator, he does have the ability to run a team and share the ball when coaches ask him to do so. The big question will be just how willing he is to leave his hometown of Memphis.
Alex Kirk- Exactly how involved the Jayhawks are with Kirk remains to be seen, but the 6-foot-10 big man from New Mexico has listed Kansas all spring. A big kid with a big frame, he's quite skilled with the ball and can shoot with range out to the high school three point line. He'll hit the summer circuit with the Houston Hoops and will make a June appearance at NBPA Camp
Doron Lamb- Long considered a lean to Syracuse and Louisville, Lamb is a crafty 6-foot-4 shooting guard who is as good as anybody in the country at creating mid range scoring opportunities. He runs the summer circuit with the legendary New York Gauchos and is another guy that Kansas snuck in a trip to see in April. Look for him at the NBPA Camp and all of the major Nike events.
Adreian Payne- Easily one of the most athletically gifted players in the country, regardless of position, the 6-foot-9 insider from Dayton drew a school visit from Bill Self during April. He runs the floor, plays way above the rim and has the natural skills to face up and attack off the dribble or knock down some jumpers. Covers large amounts of floor with his smooth stride and has an unbelievable upside if he ever decides to be great. Ohio State, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Florida, Dayton and West Virginia are among the other programs involved. He too is expected at the NBPA Camp in June and the top Nike events where he'll run with All-Ohio Red.
Trey Ziegler- Despite his involvement in the prestigious Adidas Nations program, the 6-foot-5 wing from Michigan is still a bit of an unknown by many nationally. With good size, excellent fundamentals (no surprise considering his father Ernie is the head coach at Central Michigan) and good range on his jumper, he's very well regarded by those who have seen him. He always includes Kansas on a long list of suitors and has been teaming up with Ray McCallum on Team Detroit so far this spring.