Basketball Recruiting Notebook

James Hale has the latest on the transfer rumors and gives us the recruiting scoop on Damion James (pictured above), Darrell Arthur, Jamaal Brown, C.J. Henry and several other news names entering the picture.

The Oklahoma men's basketball coaches will be meeting junior 6-foot-8 forward Damion James of Nacogodches, Texas Wednesday, and his coach at his school where the Sooners are expected to get his official verbal commitment. That will give the Sooners a great start on the 2006 class, as James is rated one of the top 10 players in the country and one of the top two in Texas.

Oklahoma is also very much in the hunt for Darrell Arthur a 6-foot-9 forward from South Oak Cliff High School in Dalla. Arthur, who is the other player ranked in the top two in Texas, will host the Sooners in his home in the next couple of days.

Also for 2006, the Sooners still lead for 6-foot-9 Keith Clark of Putnam City, and OU wants to get his super prospect committed.

The Sooners are jumping in on a couple of other guards for this late signing perio, because of the uncertainty of current point guard Drew Lavender and shooting guard Lawrence McKenzie. Both are still in school at OU and still going through workouts, but both are still considering leaving OU. At this time, this is a very touchy subject within the OU coaching office, and that is understandable.

At this point, the coaches are pressing for a decision with both players, because what they decide to do will dictate what OU does in recruiting. It is clear that the OU coaches hope that both players stay and continue to play for a team that looks primed for a big season next year, but if they want to leave then OU has to sign a Juco point guard and they might sign a shooting guard as well.

Jamaal Brown, a 6-foot point guard from the College of Southern Idaho, is still very much in the plans, but he cooled on the Sooners last week because of Drew Lavender and said he didn't want to visit. Now, he doesn't seem to care if Lavender is there or not and he still plans to come in and visit OU. His visit could come this week or next.

If Lavender leaves, then the Sooners have a great chance to sign Brown, but if he stays OU still has a fair chance. OSU and UNLV appear to be the Sooners' top competition from Brown.

When Brown cooled last week, the Sooners decided to get after Tarrance Crump. Crump is more of a true point guard than Brown in that he is more interested in running the team and scoring second. Brown is a scoring point guard, but he does not run the team as well as Crump.

OU is still talking to 6-foot-3 point guard C.J. Henry. More and more, it looks like there is a good chance Henry will go to college and play both basketball and baseball, but he won't make that decision for sure until the Major League Baseball draft in June. OU will wait for his decision and try to sign him at that point.

OU has also managed to get into the running with J.D. Lewis, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard out of Midland Junior College. Lewis is attractive to college recruiters because he has three years left to play. He averaged 18 points last year and is tripping to UT this weekend. He plans to visit OU the next weekend, or two weeks from now. Right now his decision appears to be coming down to OU and Texas. Whether OU goes after Lewis harder will depend on McKenzie's decision.

If he stays, OU really doesn't have room for another shooting guard because it looks like the Sooners have clearly emerged as the leader for 6-foot-6 wing Brandon Rush of Mt. Zion Academy in North Carolina. Rush will not visit OU this weekend because he is replacing OSU signee Gerald Green in an all-star game. He has re-scheduled his visit to OU to for April 23rd, and if he likes that visit he will sign with OU and not visit anywhere else.

At the moment, that is the game plan for Rush. Then the decision for Rush will be to either go to college or the NBA, but right now he is leaning heavily to go to college. However, even if they sign Rush, if McKenzie leaves then OU will try to sign Lewis.

Decisions, decisions, decision. But like I always say, welcome to the wacky world of recruiting.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories