Events surrounding the recruitment of Richard Semrau began getting a little cloudy a couple of weeks ago. Was Semrau really interested in Kentucky? Was Kentucky really interested in Semrau? Why was Kentucky no longer on Semrau's current list? I mean, who took who off the list, really?
Kentucky Sports Report took a long look at Richard at the Kingwood Classic in Houston and spoke with the big man about his recruitment.
To begin with, Semrau is a great young man, personally. He is intelligent, confident and easy to talk to. And he is a big kid. Listed at 6-foot-10 in the Kingwood roster, he may even be a shade taller.
Playing for the Blessed INJ Elite team, his game has lots of upside but also showed room for development in a number of areas. On the plus side, Semrau has a soft touch for a big man. He has good offensive instincts. Each trip down the court, he worked for position and called for the ball in the post. When he received the ball he almost always made a good decision with the basketball. He would evaluate, drive to the hole, kick the ball to an open jump shooter, or create a shot. And he had a very soft, sweet turnaround jump shot that connected with fair regularity.
He played very unselfishly, creating several team rebounding opportunities by gaining position, blocking out or tipping the ball out to a teammate. He also created more than a few fast breaks with his outlet passing.
With that being said, Richard was frequently slow to get to the defensive end of the floor. One a few occasions the play was well over by the time Richard made it to a defensive position. And, in one game, Matthew Simpkins took Richard to school, having his way with the Lutheran West center. Like so many younger players he tended to use his hands on defense rather than to move his feet.
But all in all, you can see why schools like Illinois and North Carolina are pursuing him.
But why not Kentucky?
"I am not really sure," Semrau said, "They acted like they were interested some time ago but then just quit calling. After you don't hear from a team in a while you just write them off and concentrate on those that are interested."
But did he have a genuine interest in Kentucky?
"Of course. When you hear from Kentucky, you think about their tradition and their coach. You have to be interested. But it has to go both ways."
So if the Wildcats came knocking now, would you be open?
"Not really. At this point Illinois, Florida and North Carolina are the schools that have continued to show interest among the schools I really liked. I have trimmed my list and feel good about the schools that are on it."
Sources close to the recruitment of Semrau believe Illinois has the inside track. Illinois coach Bruce Weber was in attendance of both games KSR saw Semrau play.