AUDIO: Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg talk to Coach Self
For the Freshman Impact series, Insider's college basketball and recruiting experts will be teaming up to examine how 15 of the nation's best recruiting classes will fit in with their teams in the 2013-14 season.
Seth Greenberg and Dave Telep look at the Kansas Jayhawks.
Seth: This is a freshman class that is self-assured but not self-absorbed. The respect that Selden and Wiggins will have for each other will be tremendous, and that maturity will pay off on the court. It's not often that you find a class this gifted without a sense of entitlement, but I think that's what the Jayhawks have.
The keys to their season will probably be Tharpe at point guard and whether he can embrace his leadership role and Ellis being able to step up.
But I think by season's end this could be an Elite Eight team, and maybe even a national championship team. Self has the patience to coach this group. He coaches teams as hard as any coach in the country, but he has a way of getting guys to want to play for him.
Dave: My only worry with this team is its point guard situation. I don't know what Mason is going to look like when he arrives, so the role of running the offense will likely fall to Tharpe. He had some highs and lows last season, and this season, consistency is needed -- not in points necessarily, but in decisions. This team can't afford a roller coaster at that position. He needs to understand the nature of the weapons around him and deploy them the right away.
If they can get steady point guard play, this is a team that could be a real threat to make the Final Four. College basketball is going to be really young next season, so KU's one weakness, youth, is the same one a lot of top programs are dealing with. The Jayhawks not only have talent but also pieces that fit together. This will be a late-blooming team that come February nobody is going to want to face.
It's an exciting time to be a Kansas fan.
That sounds a little silly, doesn't it? Really, when isn't it a good time to be a Kansas fan? In 10 seasons under Bill Self, the Jayhawks have won or shared the last nine Big 12 regular-season titles, a ridiculous streak no program in the country, not even the most dominant mid-majors, can match. They've won six conference tournament titles, and averaged 30.6 wins per season in that span. In 2008, Kansas won the program's third national title thanks to one of the most thrilling shots in college hoops history. They've been seeded No. 1 in the NCAA tournament bracket in five of the last seven seasons.
This success didn't come after some extended period of suffering; it came after an already very successful coach (Roy Williams) made the difficult decision to take his dream job (North Carolina), which ended up working out for everyone. The Jayhawks play in arguably the best --and probably the loudest -- building in the country. "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" is one of the best sporting songs this side of English football.
Should we go on? The point is, it's always good to be a Kansas fan. Even in the darkest, Ali Farokhmanesh-induced days, the Jayhawks faithful have it better than just about any other program in the country.
And despite all that, I am still willing to argue that this is an especially exciting time for Kansas, mostly thanks to two words:
…Because of those freshmen, it has been easy to gloss over how important Kansas' returning players always are to the Jayhawks' success, and how little that will change next season. There are three returning contributors likely to play big minutes: sophomore forwards Perry Ellis andJamari Traylor, and junior guard Naadir Tharpe.
Tharpe is easily the most important of the three.
That's not to say he's the best. Ellis, a four-time class 6A Kansas state champion at Wichita Heights High School, had by far the most efficient season of the three in his rookie campaign, posting a 114.1 usage rate and comparable offensive and defensive rebounding percentages to Withey. He played just 33.4 percent of the Jayhawks' available minutes, and he struggled at times, but more often than not he was good. He will be good. Traylor, for his part, is extremely raw and athletic, which also makes him extremely exciting.
But Ellis and Traylor are forwards and with Wiggins, Black, Selden and Embiid, Kansas has at least four guys who can play some combination of the traditional 3, 4, and 5 spots. Ellis will play plenty; he's something close to a lock to start at the power forward spot, thanks to systemic experience alone. It's not that Ellis isn't good. It's that Self doesn't need Ellis to be good -- at least as much as he needs Tharpe.
That's because Tharpe is a veteran point guard on a team noticeably short on both veterans and point guards. Unless mostly untouted freshman Frank Mason surprises, four-star freshman Connor Frankamp, the No. 10 ranked point in the class, is the only other option at the spot.
…The 2013-14 season is new territory for both Self and the Jayhawks. It is extremely exciting, yes, but like anything worth getting excited about, it's a little scary, too. Tharpe is a three-year veteran at a veteran-led program that is suddenly devoid of veterans, in the most important position on the floor. It's his job to minimize the scary parts and maximize the excitement, to represent the solidity that has defined Kansas in one of the more successful decades in the sport's history.
It was, in Bill Self’s words, a pretty good spring.
In the aftermath of an NCAA Tournament meltdown, and the loss of five starters from a Sweet 16 team, Self added the final pieces to what could be considered his finest recruiting class at Kansas.
Kansas lost freshman Ben McLemore, a prospective top-five pick, to the NBA Draft on April 9. Thirty-five days later, they picked up Andrew Wiggins, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Senior center Jeff Withey is gone. And Self filled the hole by beating out Duke for the services of Tarik Black, a coveted graduate transfer from Memphis.
This, of course, came after Self had signed a five-man freshman class that featured four players in the top 40 of Rivals’ national rankings. Add in Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson, who will sit out next season, and the Jayhawks have cobbled together an infusion of talent that goes eight players deep — the biggest roster turnover since Self has been at Kansas.
In 2009, the year after Kansas won its third NCAA title, the Jayhawks lost all five starters and added seven newcomers to the program. This class is one bigger. And for now, with no remaining scholarships available, it’s complete.
…Yes, the list of impact returners is pretty short. Junior guard Naadir Tharpe and sophomore forward Perry Ellis will add a tinge of experience to the fold next season, while sophomores Jamari Traylor and Andrew White III also played minutes.
And with seven of the eight newcomers expected on campus in the first week of June (Self says Wiggins is still planning his duties around his Canadian national team duties), here’s first glance at Kansas’ new class.
He's the top-ranked recruit in the country, a likely preseason All-American who has been pegged as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft despite never playing a college game.
Still, Andrew Wiggins wants to get better.
That's why he chose Kansas, where coach Bill Self isn't the only one eager to offer advice.
"I can't wait until he gets here," forward Perry Ellis said of Wiggins. "Not just him, but all the freshmen. We're going to tell them how hard they have to work and how much they have to sacrifice to get things done. Nothing going to be given to you. You have to earn it."
…Although he wasn't tabbed as a one-and-done like Wiggins, Ellis is similar in that he arrived in Lawrence a year ago as the most high-profile member of KU's 2012 recruiting class. Midway through the season, though, Ellis -- the nation's 35th-ranked prospect -- could hardly get off the bench.
"There was some pressure on him -- probably more self-imposed than anything," Self said. "He wanted to be perfect and do everything right. But nobody does. Sometimes you play not to make mistakes as opposed to playing to make plays. He played safe."
Ellis averaged just 2.9 points in his first 13 conference games and was all but an afterthought entering Kansas' most crucial stretch. But then things started to click.
He had 12 points in the regular-season finale at Baylor, 23 against Iowa State in the semifinals of the league tournament and 12 the next night in a title-game win over Kansas State.
"He was a much more confident player late," Self said. "He started playing with reckless abandon."
Ellis' freshman campaign ended with an eight-point, five-rebound effort in a loss to Michigan in the Sweet 16.
"I definitely kept my spirits high," Ellis said. "I knew I had to get better. Everything coach was saying was right. I just kept working.
"Toward the end of the Big 12 season, I started feeling a lot different. It started at practice, just not thinking about what I had to do, just playing. Good things started happening. I tried to carry that over into the games."
6. Perry Ellis (Kansas) – Well, a lot has changed in recent weeks for Kansas. The Jayhawks ended last season with question marks. They’d lost all five starters once Ben McLemore declared for the NBA draft. So perhaps the Big 12 title streak – nine in a row – would be in jeopardy entering the 2013-14 season? That was then. Andrew Wiggins signed with Bill Self’s program and squashed all doubts. The addition of Tarik Black certainly helps, too. But Kansas has historically benefited most from depth. And they have that inside now. Ellis is in a great position as the projected starter at power forward. He’s surrounded by playmakers, so he just has to continue to be the efficient threat he was in 2012-13 (5.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 48 percent from the floor, 13.6 MPG). Kansas has suddenly become a national-title contender again. Self’s freshman class is uncanny now, and Black is an instant boost for the program. If Ellis is as potent as his prep accolades suggested he’d be at this level, KU will be in a position to reach Arlington next April.
ESPN Top 10 Impactful Sophomores
I’m not sure there is a coach in the country that is better at developing players in his program than Bill Self at Kansas.
Over the years, the best players that have come through Lawrence during his tenure have been moderately recruited — i.e. somewhere around the top 40 or top 50 of most lists — and have spent two or three years on campus, slowly-but-surely getting better before heading off to the NBA Draft’s first round.
Think Thomas Robinson and the Morris twins, Cole Aldrich and Jeff Withey. Sherron Collins was a five-star recruit, but it took him a few years to be more than a bench player. Even Ben McLemore belongs in that conversation, as Kansas and McLemore used his redshirt season turned him from another top 50 kid into a top three pick in the NBA Draft.
In fact, Self does more with redshirts than just about anyone.
5/24/13, 2:03 PM
Took advantage of the boring plane ride to watch some tape on past KU bigs. Learning process
On the afternoon of May 14, Wayne Selden found himself watching ESPN like many other college basketball fans, anxious to learn the fate of top prospect Andrew Wiggins.
Selden, the rugged, 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound, five-star recruit from the Tilton School (N.H.), who signed with Kansas last October, was sitting with friends in one of the prep school’s dormitory common rooms, simultaneously monitoring his Twitter account.
“Somebody tweeted at me as soon as it happened,” said the Roxbury native in a phone conversation earlier this week. “When (Wiggins) decided on Kansas, I was happy.
“But I was definitely surprised. We all were when it happened.”
Phone conversations ensued.
“We’ve talked a couple times,” Selden said of his communication with Wiggins since May 14. “We’re both excited to get down there on campus and start working out together, and have classes. We’re just excited to come together for the opportunity.”
Selden also reached out to the coaching staff, which was equally thrilled by the development.
Almost immediately, however, conversation surrounding next season’s Kansas team shifted from being a borderline preseason top 20 team to a top five power expected to reach the Final Four.
“I feel like we just have to come together as a team,” Selden said. “We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves because everyone else (will be). I feel like if we come together as a team and work hard enough, we can live up to expectations.”
…As for Wiggins and Selden, the two became friendly competing at various camps and showcases on the recruiting circuit the past few years. They also had the opportunity to team up twice in the past two months. In early April, they hung out – on and off the court – at the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago. A week later, they reconnected in Brooklyn at the Jordan Brand Classic.
At both venues, Selden saw firsthand the media attention Wiggins attracted over his looming decision.
“He had a lot of people pulling him in different ways,” Selden said. “I made a couple of hints every now and again, but I never put any pressure on him to make a decision.”
In Chicago, Wiggins described Selden as "a joy to play with. He's unselfish and likes to pass, but score at the same time. He's a good player. He likes to win; he's a competitor.” But Wiggins’ comments never hinted that he viewed Selden as a potential college teammate.
For at least a year, however, with Wiggins, the 6-foot-7-inch, 205-pound small forward from Ontario, Canada, expected to leap to the NBA before his sophomore campaign, the two will team as Jayhawks.
“I’m used to playing alongside great players (like Nerlens Noel, Georges Niang and Dominique Bull) being at Tilton these past three years,” said Selden when asked what it will mean to play with Wiggins. “It always helps to have a lot of great players around you. His athleticism, ability to score the ball and ability to dribble will all help me out.
“It (also) means we’re going to have a better team and we’re going to have more weapons.”
5/25/13, 12:17 PM
Momma I made it !!!!!!!
5/26/13, 7:31 PM
Me and my bro brannen roommates @b_greene14 #KUCMB
Andrew Wiggins thanks Huntington
Here's my list of the top 25 draft-eligible players. Unlike a mock draft that takes into account team needs and draft position, players here are ranked regardless of position.
1. Ben McLemore, Shooting Guard, Kansas
McLemore made the most of his only season at Kansas. He was third in the Big 12 in scoring (15.9 points per game) and showed that he has a ready-made NBA game. McLemore has good size and is very athletic. His smooth and polished shooting stroke is what sets him apart. He's one of the best shooters in the class. If I had to bet on one player being an All-Star from this year's class, it would be McLemore. He has that kind of potential. And the 20-year-old will only continue to get better as his game matures.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Former Kansas University basketball center Jeff Withey worked out for the Boston Celtics, who have the No. 16 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, on Friday in Boston. He was joined by Marquette’s Vander Blue, Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, Providence’s Ricky Ledo, Louisville’s Peyton Siva and Colorado State’s Colton Iverson.
Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, recently met with executives from 12 teams at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
“Dallas (No. 13 pick) was a good interview,” Withey told FOX Sports West. “Atlanta (Nos. 17, 18) was a good one, and Utah (No. 14, 21). They all went really smoothly for the most part. Those ones stood out to me. I got a good feel from every team. Every team said I presented myself well, and the whole thing, I felt like I got what I wanted out of it.”
Withey is working out with the Wasserman Group and trainer Rob McClanaghan in Los Angeles as the June 27 Draft approaches.
Of his skill set, Withey said: “I don’t have the best offensive game, but defensively, I feel like a guard-driven game helps me out with blocking shots. That’s what I do best. Going into the NBA, hopefully I’ll feel very comfortable doing what I did in college at the NBA level.
“Also, I have a jump shot that I’ve been working on and trying to perfect. It’s my 15-foot jump shot. So pick-and-pop, I think that’s something that can be very strong for me and that I’m working on.”
The Tulsa Shock waived veteran center Courtney Paris, meaning rookie point guard Angel Goodrich has made the team.
Shock management liked both players, but had to make one final cut to reach the roster limit of 11 when Liz Cambage joined the team Thursday morning.
Paris, the former four-time University of Oklahoma All-American, was drafted No. 7 overall by the Sacramento Monarchs in 2009. Tulsa was her fourth WNBA team. Signed as a free agent last June, she averaged 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 23 games with the Shock.
Goodrich, a former Tahlequah Sequoyah standout, was the Shock's third-round pick in 2013. She finished as the University of Kansas' leader in career assists with 771, and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection as a senior.
Big 12/College News
Cancun Challenge field officially announced. Four main teams: Wisconsin, Saint Louis, ODU, West Virginia. Tourney scoring records are safe.
Big 12 teams Baylor, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma will be part of a season-opening men’s basketball tournament that will be held Nov. 8 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, according to ESPN.com.
The matchups include Baylor-Colorado, Texas-LSU, TCU-SMU and Oklahoma-Alabama.
Former Lawrence High basketball player Brad Frederick, who has been an assistant coach the past 14 years at Vanderbilt, will be joining Roy Williams’ North Carolina staff, the website Inside Carolina reported Thursday night.
Vandy announced Frederick’s resignation Thursday morning, and, at the same time, reported the hiring of Harvard’s Yanni Hufnagel as new assistant on Kevin Stallings’ Vandy staff.
A UNC official could not confirm Frederick’s hiring when reached by Inside Carolina on Thursday night.
UNC has been advertising for a director of operations/director of player personnel for men’s basketball. It is unclear whether Joe Holladay, the current director of basketball operations, is remaining on Williams’ staff.
Frederick, the son of former KU athletic director Bob and Margey Frederick of Lawrence, played on the Lions’ 1995 state championship team before walking on at North Carolina, where he played for both Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.
Frederick, 36, was a member of former KU assistant Stallings’ original Vandy staff.
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
I know you have a visit to Baylor schedule – is that it for you right now?
Yep, that’s the only official I have planned.
What’s the next step for you? Do you want to take all five officials?
I think so, I’m going to try to just take the process slow, so we’ll see where it goes. I’m looking to take all five, more than likely.
Do you plan on taking them all by fall?
I’m taking Baylor at the end of August and that will be my first one so, I’m planning on doing them all in the fall.
As far as your final list of schools – do you think you are going to narrow it again?
At this point I’m not going to be narrowing again. If I feel like I need to then I will but at this point, I probably won’t narrow it.
When it comes to point guard play, it’s easy to get excited about Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) and Emmanuel Mudiay (Arlington, Texas/Prime Prep), who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 among Class of 2014 point guards, respectively.
Each impacts the outcome of a game by controlling the flow of his team’s offensive attack, putting points on the board and handing out assists. Each also possesses uncommon talent, leadership and competitive spirit, along with excellent knowledge of the position and the game at a young age.
Since they are so close in the rankings -- they are also No. 2 and No. 3 overall in the ESPN 60 -- let’s take an in-depth look at five important point guard qualities and compare how Jones and Mudiay are similar, different and who has the edge. Here’s the tale of the tape on Tyus Jones versus Emmanuel Mudiay.
ESPN Insider: Tyus Jones vs Emmanuel Mudiay ($)
Tyus Jones | @Tyusjones06 | Junior
Apple Valley (Minn.) High School | PG | 6-1/171 | ESPN 60 Rank: No. 2
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: No. 2
Who wants him? Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State and Minnesota
Dark horse: Minnesota
@DaveTelep with the buzz: We've made a lot about the package deal with Jahlil Okafor, and I still think it goes down that way. Through the EYBL season, I've watched these guys continually gravitate toward each other. Their friendship is genuine. There's chatter that Duke leads for Jones. Other programs acknowledge that, but they absolutely are not ready to cave regarding Okafor, believing Okafor to Duke is the tougher sell for the Blue Devils.
Jahlil Okafor | @Jahprobound | Junior
Chicago Whitney Young | C | 6-10/270 | ESPN 60 Rank: No. 1
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: No. 3
Who wants him? Michigan State, Ohio State, Duke, Baylor, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky and plenty more
Front-runners: Duke, Michigan State and Ohio State
Dark horse: Baylor
@ReggieRankin with the buzz: Okafor is preparing to try out for the Team USA Basketball U-19 USA squad in a few weeks, so he may look to trim his list either before leaving or immediately after he returns. He has no official visits set beyond a trip to Baylor along with Tyus Jones. "I have been in constant contact by phone and text with all the schools on my list on a consistent basis," Okafor said.
Ivan Rabb | @YoungIvee | Sophomore
Oakland Bishop O'Dowd | PF | 6-9/205 | ESPN 25 Rank: No. 1
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: Unranked
Who wants him? Arizona, Arizona State, California, Connecticut, Kansas, UNC, North Carolina State, Oregon, Ohio State, UCLA, UNLV and Washington
Front-runners: Arizona, UCLA, Cal, North Carolina State, and Ohio State are recruiting him the hardest.
Dark horse: UNC and Kansas
@DaveTelep with the buzz: Rabb is one of those players who keeps the details of his recruitment close to the vest. He strikes me as an individual who is not caught up with all of the glamor that comes along with the process. He's taken a couple of visits to Cal and Stanford, but it looks as if a college decision will not be unveiled until at least a year from now. Nonetheless, he is a talented 4-man who gobbles up rebounds and is an ambidextrous finisher within five feet of the basket. Now what coach wouldn't want that type of guy on his roster?
Emmanuel Mudiay | @EMudiay7 | Junior
Dallas Prime Prep | PG | 6-4/190 | ESPN 60 Rank: No. 3
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: Unranked
Who wants him? Baylor, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Louisville, NC State, Oklahoma State, SMU, St. John's
Front-runner: Kentucky and Baylor
Dark horse: Oklahoma State
@DaveTelep with the buzz: At the last EYBL session, a funny thing happened. Marcus Smart and teammate Phil Forte showed up to watch some guys hoop. In the building was Mudiay, a prime Oklahoma State target. Travis Ford will have an opening at the point. It may be a long shot but you can see the pitch coming from the Cowboys.
Kevon Looney | @Loon_Rebel5 | Junior
Milwaukee Hamilton | PF | 6-8/190 | ESPN 60 Rank: No. 7
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: No. 8
Who wants him? Duke, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Marquette, Maryland, Georgetown, Louisville and several others
Front-runner: Duke, Florida and Michigan
Dark horse: Wisconsin
@DaveTelep with the buzz: His mom wants him to visit Duke at some point, that much he's admitted already. Florida and Michigan State are in there as well. This kid is impossible not to fall for. He's a blue-collar, lengthy forward who consistently plays hard.
Cliff Alexander | @humblekid11 | Junior
Chicago Curie | C | 6-8/240 | ESPN 60 Rank: No. 8
Previous BlueChipBattles rank: No. 4
Who wants him? Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois and pretty much every team in America
Front-runners: Michigan State and Kentucky
Dark horse: Illinois
@FinkelsteinNERR with the buzz: Kentucky has long been considered the favorite, but Michigan State is building steady momentum. The Spartans are in desperate need of a quality frontcourt talent to replace rising senior Adreian Payne, who spurned a jump to the NBA draft, and Alexander would be an ideal fit. The point guard position is their other top priority in the 2014 class, and while they'd obviously prefer the tandem of Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, they've also offered another point guard, Tyler Ulis, while making an increased push for Alexander, showing that they now have more than one scenario for their future inside-out tandem.
Most Outstanding Performers
2014 | C | 6-11
Turner is a game-changer on the defensive end because of his shot-blocking talents, as he possesses the perfect frame to reject shots. He is long, lean and athletic with quick bounce. Had a few games of double-digit blocks. He is unique because his skill set -- shooting 3s and post passing -- is ahead of his low-post game. Turner improves after every contest, and this post player is oozing with potential. Big 12 schools have made him a priority throughout the season. Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, SMU, USC, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, UNLV and Vanderbilt all have offered. He expects to take unofficial visits to Arizona and UCLA soon.
Best Effort Player
2014 | PF | 6-7
Most of the time his motor is on high and he impacts the game in the painted area. His game consists of being active on the glass, running the floor looking for scoring opportunities and knocking down short jumpers. He does a great job of staying in his lane in the low and high post. Black enjoys finishing plays and gives his team a shot of energy and intensity.
Best Underclassman Post
2015 | C | 6-10
He is special at a young age because out his terrific set of hands, great touch around the rim along with range to make jumpers from the arc. His demeanor will enhance his development because he cares about his performance and his teammates. Playing and dominating Under 16 competition with some triple-doubles, it's now time for Stone to compete at the Under 17 level.
ESPN Under Armour Invitational Recap ($)
Many call him the best player on the West Coast.
Over the weekend, the argument could have been made that Stanley Johnson was the best player in the gym, period.
The 6-foot-6, 200 pound man-child of a wing was the picture of consistency for the Oakland Soldiers at the Minneapolis EYBL session.
The Soldiers were without highly rated 2015 big man Ivan Rabb, but hardly missed a beat. Johnson led his squad to a 4-1 record on the weekend and sealed a berth in the Peach Jam in July, where they’ll defend their 2012 championship.Always a tough competitor, the rising senior gave a particularly gritty performance against The Family on Saturday morning, totaling 19 points and seven rebounds as he dominated the game’s final minutes. The Soldiers opted to spread the floor and let Johnson go to work at the top of the key.
…In April, Johnson narrowed his list of schools down to seven: Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UCLA and USC. Johnson was certain he would take unofficial visits to the SoCal schools due to their proximity, and said he would definitely take officials to the other five schools on his list come fall.
Another school that has come on strong of late is Kansas, who Johnson called the “wild card” in his recruitment. The Jayhawks have certainly captured his interest of late, as he told SNY.tv earlier this month. Though he isn’t planning on visiting yet, his developing relationship with them could shake things up down the road.
“I really like what Coach [Bill] Self said to me on the phone, I’ve talked to him a couple of times,” said Johnson. “The assistant coaches are really cool, they showed me how Ben McLemore was so effective in their system.
“They picked up another good wing in Andrew Wiggins, and I’m sure they’ll use him well,” he continued. “With Wayne Selden there and Brannen Greene, they’ll have a great team and I’m excited to hear about them.”
The third annual Super 16 Showcase served as a forum for some of the northeast’s top under-the-radar talent, both rising seniors and underclassmen alike. In particular, the event showcased several up and coming young point guards, with the potential to be high level lead guards down the road.
Best Rising Senior
Pascal Chukwu (Westport, Conn./Fairfield Prep)
2014 | C | 7-1, 200 pounds
Recruitment from Connecticut, Boston College, Providence, Notre Dame, Texas, and Kansas
The mark of any impactful player is their ability to win games, and winning games is all that Chukwu has done so far this spring. He and his Connecticut Basketball Club won their fourth title of the grassroots season. While Chukwu is still lean and in just the infancy stages of his offensive development, he’s extremely agile for a 7-footer and consequently able to make pinpoint rotations on the defensive end. He’s an outstanding shot-blocker, both on and off the ball, and also has the quick second jump to contest shots and then bounce right back up for defensive rebounds.
Jayson Tatum, a 6-6, 180-pound freshman point guard from Chaminade High in St. Louis, Mo., who is expected to be ranked in the Top 5 in the Class of 2016, tells Zagsblog.com he has scholarship offers from KU, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Memphis and St. Louis.
“Obviously, he’s talented and has size,” ESPN recruiting analyst Reggie Rankin told Slam Magazine. “But his skill level is so far developed at this stage. He can make plays usually kids his age are not that advanced to do. He’s got great size and a feel for the game, and ahead of his time for his grade. Being a 6-7 wing player, and versatile, will give him the opportunity to be a special player. I think he’s a lock high-major player. If I’m an assistant coach at an elite program, I’m offering that kid based on what I know right away.”
Skal Labissiere is the definition of a “versatile big man.”
The 6-foot-11 2015 Center from Port-au-Prince, Haiti turned some heads at the Nike Memorial Classic over the weekend in wins over the Boca Raton (FL) Vipers, E1T1 Flash and Team Impacts.
With the ability to shoot with range, Labissiere has gotten the attention of many colleges all across the country, which has earned him offers from the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Memphis, Georgetown, Auburn and Tennessee, and he knows that his perimeter game will help him at the next level.
“It will help me a lot,” Labissiere told SNY.tv. “Most of the time I play bigger and stronger guys, so if I can’t go inside, I can step outside and knock down some shots to help my team.”
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
My KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube