Outler takes visit to A&M, Texas

One of the top hoops prospects in the state of Texas hit the two flagship schools this weekend. What were his thoughts after trips to Reed Arena and the Irwin Center? Does he have a favorite yet? Aggie Websider's David Sandhop visits with the guard about both trips and finds out where he stands in the recruiting process.

While March Madness is heating up with the start of postseason play this week, recruiting is also shifting into a higher gear with the conclusion of the high school season. Several highly-rated prospects took advantage of the brief downtime between the end of the high school campaign and the beginning of the AAU spring schedule and visited Texas A&M last Saturday for the conference finale against Kansas.

One of those prospects to visit College Station was Bellaire's (TX) Jamel Outler, considered one of the top five Texas prospects in the Class of 2010. This was his second visit to Reed Arena this season, attending a game early in the non-conference schedule during the semester break. What a difference two months makes.

"I was really surprised by the crowd. The last time I was there, it was non-conference and not a very competitive game so the crowd wasn't into it," Outler said. "Against Kansas, the crowd was loud and it was hard to hear in there. I was like ‘wow'."

This Texas A&M team has been inconsistent most of the season, winning the preseason NIT before losing three Big 12 conference games in a row, then winning five in a row, before losing five of its final seven to finish out the regular season at 8-8 and battling for an NCAA Tournament spot.

"Texas A&M is a very young team , especially at guard. They had some issues, but they have a lot of talent," Outler said. "When you're that young, a team will be up and down. I thought the team stayed with Kansas, but they had too much down the stretch."

But Outler wasn't done visiting last weekend, as he traveled on to Austin to watch the Longhorns battle the Oklahoma State Cowboys the following day. What did the 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore think of his experience at Texas?

"My sister goes there so I've seen the campus, but this was my first game," Outler said. "It was real nice. The players are cool. The arena wasn't as packed. The school was on spring break."

While Outler is taking unofficial visits, he still has a year and a half before he can sign a letter of intent. Thus, he still wants to take his time and visit some more schools before he gets serious about picking a school.

"I like Texas A&M a lot. I like the coaching staff and the system they run. I probably feel most comfortable with the situation there," Outler said. "I have family at Texas and they have a history of putting guards in the pros. But I'm not close to making a decision. I want to definitely check out Baylor, Marquette, and Kansas. I want to take my official visits."

The Houston area native had a solid sophomore season, averaging 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists a game for a very talented and deep Bellaire squad that distributes production among several players. Currently, he's a 6-foot-3 combo guard, but being only 16 years old he's still growing.

"My knees are aching so I know I'm still growing," Outler said. "The doctor says I'll probably end up being 6-foot-5. I have an uncle who's like 6-foot-6, so I'll be taller than I am now."

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