“@carltonbragg31: #RockChalk ” welcome ! #KUCMB
1/8/15, 2:51 PM
1/8/15, 3:04 PM
Kansas is now #36 in the ESPN Class Rankings. They'll be top 5 before it's all said and done.
1/8/15, 4:19 PM
Congratulations @carltonbragg31 on ur commitment today! Great choice, awesome program!
VIDEO ANALYSIS: What is #KUBB getting from 5-star PF Carlton Bragg? @ebosshoops breakdown rvls.co/1DqrLXV pic.twitter.com/Jxg3InzcLh
"When I went to Late Night in the Phog, that's when everything changed," Bragg said. "It was a great experience."
"On my visit, towards the last day, we went to coach [Bill] Self's house, we got together, hanging out," Bragg said at his announcement. "The brotherly love they have, I felt comfortable around the guys. That's when I knew I could be there."
The 6-foot-10 Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio) product is ranked No. 18 in the ESPN 100. He is also the No. 6-ranked power forward in the class.
"Coach [Bill] Self has a great track record," VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak said after Bragg's announcement. "The University of Kansas might be the most electric place to play basketball, not only in college, but maybe in America."
Despite having just one player in the fold for 2015, Kansas now has the No. 36 class in the country. The Jayhawks are far from done, too. Bill Self and his staff are still in the mix for a host of talented prospects, including Jaylen Brown (No. 2), Malik Newman (No. 3), Ivan Rabb (No. 5), Cheick Diallo (No. 7), Stephen Zimmerman (No. 10), Brandon Ingram (No. 12) and Tyler Dorsey (No. 33).
Kansas has no scholarship seniors on the roster, but sophomore Wayne Selden and freshmen Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander could be early-entry candidates for the NBA.
"I don't really care for minutes, I just want to be part of the team," Bragg told ESPN.com after his Kansas visit. "Freshmen aren't supposed to be playing all the time. It doesn't matter to me. I'll be a hustler, rebounder, shooter, passer. I can fit in real good."
Playing for Ohio Basketball Club on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this past spring and summer, Bragg averaged 17.0 points and 9.3 rebounds over the course of 22 games. He also put up 13.3 points and 4.3 rebounds at the Adidas Nations event during the summer.
Bragg said the whole process had him twisting and turning daily. That’s why the five-star prospect, averaging 20 points and eight rebounds per game for the Vikings — off to a 7-0 start with wins over national powers Archbishop Carroll and Arlington Country Day — wanted to go ahead and make his college plans official now.
“A lot of stress kept coming on me,” Bragg said while fielding questions from media in attendance, “and I just wanted to go forward with my season, so I just got it out of the way.”
The soon-to-be Jayhawk said he spoke with those close to him about his choice, prayed about it and even asked current KU freshman Cliff Alexander for advice.
“He just said, ‘Go with your gut,’” Bragg said of his conversation with Alexander. “That’s what he did. That’s why I trusted and went with my gut.”
…It has been reported that Bragg would like to be part of a package deal with No. 2-rated Jaylen Brown, a 6-7 senior from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia; and No. 18 Brandon Ingram, 6-8 from Kinston (North Carolina) High. Both are also considering Kansas and Kentucky.
A reporter asked Bragg if he expected other big-name recruits to follow his lead and join him in Lawrence.
“I hope so,” he responded, with a laugh.
Later, Bragg told the Journal-World, “I believe so, yes,” when asked about convincing Brown and Ingram to follow him to KU.
…And asked what he’d say to his new college fans, Bragg beamed and grinned and answered with a familiar three-word phrase: “Rock Chalk Jayhawk.”
…Bragg’s mentor, Michael Graves, has worked with Carlton on hoops and life skills since eighth grade.
“Hopefully the 3 or the 4,” Graves said of Bragg’s position in college. “He has a good enough jump shot to pull the bigs out, knock down threes. He can run the floor.”
Asked to compare him to somebody playing in the NBA, Graves said: “Sort of like a Kevin Love-type person. He can rebound and bang, but also hit the three. He’s kind of light so he can get up the floor.”
Asked how long he envisions Bragg playing college basketball, Graves responded, “probably two years. I think he’ll need one year to get acclimated. With the training they give him, hopefully he’ll be able to go in two years.”
Bragg told the Journal-World, “Anything would do. I’d love to be able to go in one year.”
Why he committed: "I really like the way coach Bill Self develops his players," Bragg said. "The atmosphere was crazy when I went on my visit, and I felt the most comfortable around the players. It was brotherly love there and I have the full support of my family and coaches and they think I made a great decision."
What he brings: At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Bragg brings great length and skill to either forward position, which creates matchup problems on the offensive end of the floor. He can post and score over smaller defenders and pull less mobile opponents away from the basket, where he can shoot a 3 or make a play in space with a straight-line drive to the rim. Bragg can rebound on both ends of floor and has the size and athleticism to defend both forward positions. Bragg has tremendous upside and should reach his potential under the direction of Self and his staff.
"I will bring energy, the ability to attack the basket and score inside and out," Bragg said.
…Who he reminds us of: Bragg has the size, athleticism, skill and versatility to create matchup problems that reminds us of a combination of Denver Nuggets small forward Wilson Chandler and Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Perry Jones.
So, how does Bragg fit the KU system? Here are some reasons the two are a perfect match.
Bragg’s ability to play in the high post
Villa Angela-St. Joseph coach Babe Kwasniak eluded to it in the news conference, and the Jayhawks utilize the high post as much as any team in college basketball. From guys like Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur to current power forward Perry Ellis, Kansas has been at its best when having a power forward who can make plays around the free throw line.
In Bragg, the Jayhawks are getting a guy who can do just that. For a 6-foot-11 player, Bragg has above average ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, but he is also a terrific passer for his position. He can even step back and hit the 3-point shot, another thing the Jayhawks like to use with their trailing power forward.
Very few power forwards in high school have the ability to get out and run like Bragg, who is also one of the best athletes in the class. When teams play at Allen Fieldhouse, one fastbreak dunk can feel like a 12-point play because of the electric crowd.
His ability to make the highlight reel dunk in the open floor is something Kansas fans are going to fall in love with early in his career.
In today’s day and age, many high school basketball players are heading to college not prepared mentally and physically for the upcoming challenge. Bragg is not in that group.
Kwasniak and his staff have done a great job of preparing him for the rigors of college, both on and off the court.
The Vikings play one of the most difficult schedules in high school basketball, and last season, Bragg went up against current KU power forward Cliff Alexander.
While there is always an adjustment going to college, especially for someone who is traveling as far as Bragg, he is way beyond the curve when it comes to being ready.
Bragg will have many talented teammates and coaches with him at Kansas, but for him, the most important person early in his career will be Andrea Hudy.
Hudy is the strength and conditioning coach for the Jayhawks, and if you have not heard of her, you should. She is one of the very best at her job in any sport at any level. Look at any basketball player who goes to KU after working out with her, and the results are impressive.
For Bragg, he has the frame where he could put on some weight without losing any of his explosiveness, and when he does that, he will become even more dangerous.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
By making his decision on Thursday, Bragg becomes the third player in the Villa Angela-St. Joseph senior class to be on his way to a Division I school. Dererk Pardon (Northwestern) and Brian Parker (Marist) both committed to their schools in 2014.
"He's used to playing with really good players, and the caliber at Kansas he'll play with will be great," said Villa Angela-St. Joseph coach Babe Kwasniak. "And it's not just playing with great players, he's used to playing against great players."
He'll get to continue to play against one of those players. Bragg will now head to same conference (Big 12) as Shaker Heights senior and West Virginia commit Esa Ahmad, who is ranked by ESPN.com as the second-best player in the Class of 2015.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
If there's an area he can improve on, it may be his consistency on a mid-range shot.
He can work in the post and hit the 3-pointer. But if he is able to knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency, he will be extremely difficult to defend.
Bragg's combination of size and athleticism will fit in well at Kansas, which has produced many talented forwards in the past few years including Darrell Arthur, Thomas Robinson and the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph is 7-0 overall and ranked No. 1 in the cleveland.com Top 25.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
At 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, Bragg is an explosive leaper and finisher with a strong face-up game and a jumper that can stretch defenses and pull big men out of the lane. Scout.com ranks the Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School star as the No. 12 prospect in the country; the third-best power forward prospect, nationally; the second-best prospect in the Midwest; and the top prospect in Ohio.
Fox Sports Keeler