If any senior class in America would be qualified to speak on the merits of patience and process, it would almost certainly be Kansas’ — a group of transfers, redshirts and former benchwarmers who bided their time, waited their turn and blossomed into starters and stars.
“I think our struggles to get to where we are, it definitely helps the way we play,” said senior guard Travis Releford, the original member of this piecemeal class.
The oft-told story of this senior class goes something like this. They all came in separately, starting with Releford in the 2008-09 recruiting class. Senior Jeff Withey showed up a semester later, a transfer from Arizona who had to gorge on peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches just to be a competent practice player in his first years. The following year brought Elijah Johnson, an athletic guard who was buried beneath a guard rotation that included Tyshawn Taylor, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry.
But Releford redshirted, Johnson waited and Withey kept getting stronger. And when Young, a transfer from Loyola Marymount, showed up last season, all four players played important roles in the Jayhawks’ run to the NCAA title game.
By official count, the Jayhawks are 125-17 in the last four seasons, with Johnson being the only player eligible during the entire span. That leaves this senior class just seven victories shy of the school record for a four-year period. (The 2010-11 senior class finished with a 132-17 mark in four years.)
…“We all understand what it means to sit out,” Young said, “and just sit there waiting for your turn, and waiting for your turn, and now it’s our turn.”
Self said on Sunday that he was putting a soft three-minute limit on his seniors’ post-game speeches. Of course, he wasn’t quite sure if that would be necessary.
“I’ve heard them all talk for four years,” Self said. “And I don’t know if any of them can talk long enough.”
In other, more important ways, the Jayhawks are keeping a close eye on the time they have left.
“Their whole focus is leaving a legacy,” Self said. “You can ask them that. I think they want to be the team that has done something special because there are so many special teams that have been there before them, and that’s how they’ll be judged over time.”
Time can be a funny thing. When Releford showed up on campus in 2008, the Jayhawks were just a few months removed from a national title. Someday, he thought, he’d be going through a senior day with some combination of the Morris twins, Tyshawn Taylor and the now departed Quintrell Thomas. It didn’t work out. But after nearly five years on campus — and five years of games in Allen Fieldhouse — Releford found some kindred souls in this unlikely group.
“You can’t describe that,” Releford said. “I know I get the chills every time, running out of the tunnel and seeing the intro video to the games. That was before I played here, and on to my last game.”
For Elijah Johnson, four years of college basketball have passed in the blink of an eye.
“Sometimes I think, in order, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior ... it’s a big blur,” Johnson, Kansas University’s 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior point guard out of Las Vegas Cheyenne High, said of his days as a Jayhawk.
“Once it starts, it never stops. It makes me appreciate it. This is a good place to be. I wouldn’t go back and go anywhere else.”
Johnson — who scored eight points in 17 minutes against Hofstra in the first home game of his KU career in 2009-10 — today plays his final game in Allen Fieldhouse with fellow senior starters Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young.
Tipoff for a Senior Night battle between KU (25-4, 13-3) and Texas Tech (10-17, 3-13) is 6 p.m., with a live telecast on ESPNU (Knology Cable channels 35, 235).
“This is a great place to play, a great place to be and live,” 6-6, 210-pound Kansas City native Releford said of KU and Lawrence. “It’s gone by so fast. I’ll miss this place, but I think it’s about that time. The end has to come.”
…“I had some growing pains for sure, taking a little bit of time to get used to the speed of the game in college,” Withey said. “When I was younger, I thought I would have just been in San Diego (all his life). After I started growing and playing basketball, I obviously saw this sport can give me a lot of opportunities. I’ve been blessed with the opportunities at hand. I transferred here, and everybody accepted me. I love it (KU) so much.”
…Young, who most expected would be a super sub, emerged as a starter who definitely proved he could compete at the Big 12 level.
“My goal has been to provide energy in games and practice, try to make everybody around me better,” the 6-8, 190-pound forward out of Perris (Calif.) High said. He loves Lawrence so much he helped convince his mom, Alicia, and brother, Donovan, to move to Lawrence for his final semester of college, knowing they’d like it here, too. “With our senior class, it’s all been about leadership, trying to help the young guys. It’s been our focus.”
…KU’s four seniors possess the talent to play basketball for a living, Self said. Withey, who along with Johnson has a 125-17 record at KU (.880), is expected to be tapped in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Johnson has been mentioned as a possible second-round pick. One could envision both Releford (152-25 record, .859) and Young (57-11 record, .838) getting looks in NBA summer league ball if they are not selected in the second round. Europe also is a strong possibility.
“They are going to play ball next year,” Self said. “Their whole focus is leaving a legacy. I think they want to be the team that has done something special because there are so many special teams that have been there before them, and that’s how they’ll be judged over time (how they perform in Big 12 and NCAAs). I think it’s a little bit different for them, but I know that they all respect each other, immensely, as they are going through the process.”
Ben McLemore plays his 17th and final game in Allen Fieldhouse tonight, a freshman on Senior Night and the best player in the building, with the possible exception of his potential replacement, visiting recruit Andrew Wiggins.
Too in demand to play more than one season of college basketball, McLemore certainly has made the most of it and plays as if he relishes every Allen Fieldhouse moment.
You get out of something what you put into it, and to get an idea of how deeply invested McLemore has been in his one season as a college basketball player, consider what he will take from it.
For starters, he has made friends for life in his teammates. He has become more comfortable speaking in public, his game has improved to the extent he ranks No. 1 on many NBA Draft projections, and he has a legitimate shot to help his team win a national championship.
Senior guard Travis Releford thinks it was at the postseason banquet after his second year, which he redshirted, that coach Bill Self told him something that surprised him.
He only had 86 points to his name as a Jayhawk, but Self told Releford that he could reach 1,000 points in his Kansas career.
“I was just like, wow, that’s crazy to think that I can accomplish that,” Releford said. “From that point on, I knew he had faith in me.”
As he prepares to play his final home game Monday at 6 p.m. against Texas Tech, Releford owns the most career points in a Kansas uniform by any of the four members of Kansas’ senior class.
Releford has 880 career points, five more than senior point guard Elijah Johnson. Senior forward Kevin Young has 1,004 points, but 658 of them came at Loyola Marymount before he transferred to Kansas.
About three years after Self made his prediction to Releford, the senior finds himself within reach of 1,000 points. He’s averaging 12.2 points per game this season. If Kansas makes it to the Big 12 Tournament final and the NCAA Tournament final, Releford can reach 1,000 points by averaging exactly 12 points per game over that span, starting tonight.
…“He’s probably the personality of our team more than anybody else,” Self said. “He’s probably the glue to our team as much as anybody else. I think he gives us an element of toughness probably as good as — or better than — anybody else. He’s as valuable to our team as any of the guys we’ve had on our team without question.”
It’s probably no surprise, then, that Releford is part of what Johnson called the toughest group he’s been a part of at Kansas.
“I think this is a special group,” Johnson said. “Not the most talented, but definitely probably one of the toughest. I think that we can go far. I think we can do something that a lot of teams weren’t able to do. Although we’ve had three or four lottery picks on certain teams I think that this team can do something that we haven’t been able to do before.”
Elijah Johnson, who fell ill Saturday morning on his basketball recruiting visit to Kansas University, was feeling much better about 10 Saturday night.
That's when the 6-foot-2, 183-pound point guard from Cheyenne High in Las Vegas revealed his decision to become a Jayhawk.
It was quite a load off the mind of Rivals.com's No. 27-rated player, who chose the Jayhawks over Texas and Oklahoma.
"I'm pretty excited," said Johnson, fighting off flu-like symptoms during a phone interview while still in Lawrence, where he and family members have been since Friday.
"This was the best choice for me out there. In my opinion, it's the best place to be."
Johnson has wanted to be a Jayhawk for a while now, his dad, Marcus, said.
"He's liked Kansas since the third grade," Marcus Johnson said. "He's always wanted to come to Kansas. We (family members) came out here with him, and we can see why he likes it so much."
Johnson - he sat behind the team bench at Friday's Late Night in the Phog - acknowledged he has been a Jayhawk fan for years.
"I have been liking them a long time. I used to live in Indiana," said Johnson, who moved to Vegas during his middle-school years. "I really like watching Mario (Chalmers), Sherron (Collins)."
In fact, in describing what he brings to KU's team next year, he said: "Hopefully (be) another Sherron Collins, making plays and being a true point guard."
Johnson, known as an incredible athlete with a nice shooting touch, said he had a good idea he'd become a Jayhawk after attending last spring's Jayhawk Invitational AAU tournament. Yet he was sure after Friday's Late Night, getting the OK from his family to commit a day later.
"It was tight. It was fun," Johnson said of Late Night. "I like the fans and the system, the Late Night, the whole thing. I liked it all, being able to be with the team, talk with the team."
Johnson showed deep shooting range during a pre-Late Night shooting session Friday at the fieldhouse.
"I make both shots," he said, referring to inside and outside hoops.
Dad Marcus said Elijah took the college recruiting process seriously. At one point, UCLA and Purdue were options.
"He's been doing his research on a lot of schools about what they have," Marcus said. "He's taken an interest in Kansas a long time. I think it's a two-way road. I think they (KU coaches) like us as much as we like them. There's great rapport."
Marcus admitted Late Night was key, though.
"I think he had decided before Late Night. Of course, that was extra icing on the cake," Marcus said. "His heart was set on Kansas. From what I see in this whole community, he'll really like it here. We can see why he likes it so much."
Travis Releford couldn't reach Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self by cell phone on Tuesday night.
Self was busy working at his basketball camp; Releford practicing with his Kansas City Pump N Run AAU team.
So Releford did the next best thing.
He left a voice message for Self informing KU's coach he'd decided to become a Jayhawk.
"I said, 'I'm coming to KU,'"Â Releford said Tuesday night.
Releford, a 6-foot-4 blue chip senior-to-be from Roeland Park Miege, on Tuesday orally committed to KU and became the first member of what will be a large Jayhawk recruiting class of 2008.
"It's where I need to be,"Â Releford said of KU, a school that won the recruiting battle over Missouri, Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. "They've always been there in the back of my mind. They were at my first practice my freshman year. It's been like that every year. They've always shown the most interest in me."
“My family and I sat down together, looked at all the schools and Kansas just popped out over everyone else,” said Withey, who attended Late Night in the Phog as a recruit his junior year of high school.
He ultimately orally committed to Louisville, but switched to Arizona after deciding to remain on the West coast.
“I felt it (KU) was the best place for me. All the coaches, coach Self, coach (Danny) Manning, coach (Kurtis) Townsend, they know how to develop young players. That’s one of the main things I was looking at. I’m just really excited about it,” added Withey,
…When asked to describe his game, Withey said: “I like to run the floor and play defense. I definitely like (Boston Celtics forward) Kevin Garnett. I like to play with my back to the basket, and be able to get my hook shot in, and I also like facing up and taking the guy off the dribble or shooting the jumper.”
He said his average of seven blocks per game in high school actually originated from his talents in another sport.
“When I was younger, I played volleyball and that definitely helped with my timing and everything,” Withey said. “It’s (blocking shots) something that just comes naturally to me.”
His high school coach, Waheed Mitchell, said: “Jeff has great timing, touch around the basket. He can run the floor. He is very patient, understands the game. He is very accurate from eight to 10 feet. He also can shoot the three-ball.
“Jeff is very humble, very coachable. He’s always been the best player on his team but you would never know it. Everyone who knows Jeff is head over heels about him.”
Mitchell was asked if Withey reminds him of any other player.
“Probably defensively and everything he is a skilled Alonzo Mourning,” Mitchell said. “because he blocks shots and gets up and down the floor.”
San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher was not a happy camper Friday upon learning prize Aztec recruit Kevin Young had decided to switch his commitment to Kansas University.
“I’m disappointed that a young man who I am very fond of would not feel an obligation to honor an eight-month commitment,” Fisher told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Young, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward who played two years at Loyola Marymount before taking classes at Barstow Community College last school year, signed a financial aid agreement with SDSU in November. He ultimately changed his mind and elected to play his final two seasons at KU.
“And I’m equally disappointed in a program and coach I’m very fond of to pursue a player who made an eight-month commitment,” Fisher added.
He, of course, was referring to ninth-year KU coach Bill Self, who issued his take on the situation Saturday in an interview with the Journal-World.
“I don’t blame coach Fisher for being disappointed at all because Kevin did commit to them,” Self said, “but Kevin also told them he wasn’t going to San Diego State before we recruited him, so we didn’t steal him from San Diego State by any stretch.
“We would not have recruited Kevin if he was committed to San Diego State. He did de-commit from them before we pursued him at all. We did not recruit him until after he de-committed,” KU’s coach stressed.
The 6-foot-8 forward, who originally signed a grant-in aid with San Diego State eight months ago, reconsidered and committed to Kansas University on Friday.
Evidently, people close to SDSU are still fuming.
On Tuesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune posted another story about Young, this time disputing KU coach Bill Self's assertion that Young decommitted from SDSU before taking a campus visit to KU.
The story is definitely interesting. Here's part of what the Union-Tribune's Mark Zeigler wrote:
Two sources close to the situation, speaking on the condition on anonymity, say it went like this:
The SDSU coaches got wind about Young’s trip to Kansas the week before and phoned him to confront him about it. And even then, the sources said, Young never formally decommitted from SDSU before taking the trip — wanting to keep his options open.
Zeigler also makes mention of Young’s AAU coach, Elvert “Kool-Aid” Perry, saying he "is believed to have been influential in the decision behind the switch."
LJW and here
A possible participant in the 2012 Olympic Games on Friday joined Kansas University’s basketball team.
Kevin Young — a 6-foot-8, 215-pound shooting guard/small forward who played two years at Loyola Marymount University before working as a volunteer assistant coach at Barstow Community College during the 2010-11 school year — in July will try out for Puerto Rico’s Olympic squad.
“I am pretty confident I can make the team,” Young told the Journal-World on Friday afternoon after signing a financial-aid agreement with KU.
In July of 2009, Young, whose mom is Puerto Rican, led Puerto Rico to a 5-4 record at the Under 19 world championships in New Zealand.
In averaging 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds, he exhibited some of the tools necessary to play Big 12 Conference as well as international ball.
“I think it’s fun to just run up and down the court. I like to please the crowd with dunks and all that good stuff — blocks and steals,” said Young, who averaged 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds as a sophomore at Loyola Marymount after breaking LMU’s school freshman marks for rebounds, steals and blocks.
“I try to play with high energy all the time,” added Young, who had 19 rebounds in a game his freshman year against New Mexico State.
Until this week, it was assumed former Perris (Calif.) High standout Young would be resuming his playing career at San Diego State. He signed a financial-aid agreement with Steve Fisher’s Aztec program last November. Now attending summer school classes at KU, Young is on a financial-aid agreement here.
“It’s a great school as well,” Young said of SDSU. “There’s nothing they did wrong or anything that made me change my mind. I just figure this is a bigger stage and a lot more opportunity.”
3/3/13, 6:06 PM
Just watched Kansas-WVU and saw McLemore's 36 points. There's a reason Kansas assistant, Doc Sadler, calls him "The Natural."
Every day, Ben McLemore tries to get better.
Even before he dropped a Kansas freshman record 36 points on Saturday, he bettered himself by showing up early before the game against West Virginia.
Around 10:45 a.m., McLemore walked onto Naismith Court to join sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe and Tharpe’s brother Tishaun Jenkins, a former player at Division III Salem State University, in some ball handling drills.
Jenkins had seen on television that Tharpe had struggled with ball handling, so the two brothers were working things out well before the coaching staff or the student section filed into Allen Fieldhouse.
McLemore wanted to pick up some more information, especially since ball handling is something he continues to develop.
He spent 15 minutes learning from Jenkins and Tharpe. He listened. He processed the information. By the end of the quick tutorial, he was circling around the Jayhawk at the center court, dribbling the basketball with a smile on his face and a new-found confidence.
Every day McLemore wants to improve.
“Rock Chalk Jayhawk,” McLemore exclaimed in choosing Kansas University over rival Missouri.
McLemore, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from St. Louis, announced his choice after scoring 14 points — two off a vicious dunk in overtime — in the Black Team’s 109-100 victory over the White squad in the NeXt All-America Classic.
…AAU coach Cobb believes McLemore will be able to fit in at KU right away.
“Look up in the dictionary ‘team player’ and it’s Ben,” Cobb said. “He could score 30, 40 (he averaged 16 points and seven boards at his Houston high school), but I’ve seen him defer to get other people shots.
“The kid is so humble. If you tell him to be the man, he’ll be the man. If you tell him you want him to red-shirt, he’ll red-shirt. The way I describe him is, Ben is a role player. If you need him to get 30, he’ll get 30. If you need shut-down defense, he defends. He is one of the most athletic kids in the country.”
McLemore was asked about his upcoming role at KU.
“You do not go in college thinking you are going to get a spot,” said Rivals.com’s No. 17-rated player nationally. “You go in and work every day. I will be in the gym 24-7 until I get there. When I get there, I will go hard or go home.”
Coach Cobb said he’ll definitely play hard and do what’s asked of him.
“If you show me a person who doesn’t like Ben, I will show you a person who has a problem,” Cobb said,
Kansas and Indiana are the only schools with two listed among the 14 finalists for the 2013 Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy presented by Aflac.
Members of the association’s board of directors chose the finalists and the entire 900-member USBWA will vote on the awards as well as the annual All-America and All-District teams. The recipients are to be announced on Friday, April 5 in Atlanta at a 9:15 a.m. ET press conference and then formally presented at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on Mon., April 15 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award will also be presented at the gala to be held annually the Monday following the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
For a complete list of finalists go to usbwa.com.
After two big wins kept Kansas in a tie for first place entering the final week of the season, senior Elijah Johnson and freshman Ben McLemore have been chosen as the latest winners of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player and Rookie of the Week, the conference office announced. Johnson is named for the first time in 2012-13, while McLemore earned top rookie for the third time.
PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Elijah Johnson, Kansas, G, Sr., 6-4, 195, Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne
Johnson averaged 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the Kansas wins over Iowa State (108-96 in overtime) and West Virginia (91-65). The senior guard began the week with a stellar performance in Ames, finishing with a career-high 39 points - the most for a KU player since January 5, 1991. He scored eight points in the final 35.7 seconds to help tie the game and then contributed 12 points in the extra session. Johnson followed that with his second career double-double by posting 12 points and a career-high tying 10 assists versus WVU. He shot 56.7 percent in the two games, including 64.3 percent from 3-point range, while making 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Ben McLemore, Kansas, G, Fr., 6-5, 195, St. Louis, Mo./Christian Life Center [Texas]
McLemore averaged 21.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the two victories. His top performance came versus the Mountaineers, as he finished with 36 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. The point total set a Kansas freshman record and he became just the fifth Big 12 freshman in league history to score 36 points or better in a game. McLemore has three outings with 30 points or more this year - all against Big 12 opponents. He has scored 20 points or more eight times in 2012-13.
Big 12 Sports
KUAD: Kansas hosts Texas Tech pregame notes
“We have nothing to lose,” said Tech forward Jordan Tolbert, who is coming off a season-high 22-point output against TCU. “Nobody thinks we can win. Why not shock the world?”
Tech (10-17, 3-13 Big 12) has reasons to believe it can be competitive with cream of the Big 12 crop. The Red Raiders lost to Kansas, 60-46, in Lubbock in January and trailed the Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3) by just two points at halftime.
Tech has also demonstrated marked improvement on offense in recent weeks. The Red Raiders averaged 54.5 points per game during their first 10 league contests. In the last six games, that average has risen to 65.8. One factor: Tech is taking better care of the ball. It has committed fewer than 15 turnovers in each of the last six games.
That marks progress for a team that was heavily hampered by giveaways earlier in the season, including a two-game stretch in which Tech turned the ball over 41 times.
Those steady improvements obviously don’t change the fact that the Red Raiders will face an uphill climb from the start, and they will need a perfect storm of factors to come together in order to stay with the perennial league champs inside their historic barn.
Regardless of the result, Tech coach Chris Walker wants to make sure his team appreciates the moment.
“This is why I love coaching in the Big 12,” he said, “because I get to coach against guys that have been in the Final Four. The guys get to play in these arenas on national TV against these players, and there’s no better way to be in a competitive situation and enjoy that.
“You have to embrace that. You don’t run from that, and there is no fear. You just go in there and, as I told the guys, there is only one thing we are responsible for, and it’s playing harder and more together than the other team.”
1948 Kentucky - 1941 Wisconsin
2005 North Carolina -2008 Kansas
1972 UCLA - 1968 UCLA
1984 Georgetown - 1976 Indiana
1963 Loyola Chicago - 1960 Ohio State
1994 Arkanas - 1993 North Carolina
1956 San Francisco - 1955 San Francisco
1995 UCLA - 1996 Kentucky
1941 Wisconsin - 2008 Kansas
1972 UCLA – 1984 Georgetown
1960 Ohio State - 1993 North Carolina
1955 San Francisco - 1996 Kentucky
2008 Kansas - 1972 UCLA
1993 North Carolina - 1955 San Francisco
CBS ULtimate Bracket results
3/3/13, 1:13 PM
Josh Selby's story proves you can go from No. 1 recruit to waived by a bad NBA team in just 3 years. The lesson: Success is not promised
VOTE for Wooden Award nominees McLemore & Withey
VOTE FOR COACH SELF (West Region, for god's sake people vote! Weber is ahead of Self!)
VOTE for Kansas players, team, and moment in NCAA 75th Anniversary of March Madness (Vote for Wilt, Clyde, Danny, 51-52 Kansas, Mario's Miracle)
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
3/3/13, 1:34 PM
If Gonzaga earns a No. 1 seed, it will have the worst strength of schedule ranking of any top seed since 2004
Because of that West Coast Conference schedule, Gonzaga (29-2) has played the nation's 60th-strongest schedule, facing just one team — Butler on Jan. 19 — in the top 40 of the RPI since New Year's. If it earns a top seed with that strength of schedule ranking, it would be the worst for a top seed in nine years.
Of the 52 teams that have earned No. 1 seeds since 2000, only two have done it with strength of schedule rankings worse than what Gonzaga's was this weekend. Stanford's schedule in 2004 was ranked 96th; Stanford also earned a top seed in 2000 with a schedule that ranked 82nd.
…On the other hand, during a season in which little separation exists among the top teams, Gonzaga has a blemish on its otherwise exceptional profile that none of the other elite teams possess: playing in the nation's 10th-best league. Only one other WCC team, Saint Mary's at 44, is among the top 50 of the RPI, and three teams are 200 or worse. The SEC, the nation's least-regarded power conference, is nearly as bad but has more depth in the middle.
And regardless of where Gonzaga projects to be seed-wise at the moment, the picture will change, and not necessarily in the Bulldogs' favor, by the time the 68-team field is unveiled March 17.
Big XII Tournament Info for visitors to Kansas City
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
RPI and SOS Team Comparison Calculator
3/3/13, 12:39 PM
Played my last game in a Tilton jersey a couple nights ago, but the next jersey i put on will be Crimson & Blue #RockChalk
Students start "Andrew Wiggins" chant, Roy storms over to stop them. "He's not even here!" he yells. Keep in mind that another prospect (Justin Jackson), who is actually in the building, is sitting directly in front of the risers.
The high school basketball season is drawing to a close, and three of the best seniors in the country still haven't made a college decision.
Not surprisingly, Kentucky is in the mix for all three: Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
The Herald-Leader polled several national recruiting writers over the weekend on where they thought each prospect would end up.
Here are the results, followed by the Herald-Leader's own analysis:
Jerry Meyer, 24/7 Sports
Andrew Wiggins (Florida State): "Wiggins just visited Kentucky, and Kansas and North Carolina visits are upcoming, but I think Florida State holds on in the end. I don't think he craves the Kentucky spotlight, family ties are strong at Florida State and one of his best friends, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is headed there."
Julius Randle (Kentucky): "Randle's recruitment isn't an easy one to get a handle on. Texas is down, Kansas runs a tight system, N.C. State probably doesn't quite have the allure and Billy Donovan isn't quite enough to get him to Florida. The style of play and successful pipeline to the NBA probably wins out for Kentucky."
Brian Snow, Scout.com
Wiggins (Florida State): "Honestly this is as much a guess as anything, but until I hear otherwise I am guessing the Seminoles. Obviously he took a visit to UK with his parents and that is big with trips to Kansas and North Carolina coming up, though those two don't have any real shot in my opinion. At this point, it seems to be basically Florida State and Kentucky at the top, and I give the slightest edge to the Seminoles."
Randle (Texas): "I just tend to think Randle stays close to home. Also, regardless of what they may say publicly, I just can't imagine a situation where the Harrison twins and Randle go to the same school. Basically I think Randle really likes Texas, and being close to his mom is something that works in their favor. The talk has been the Longhorns have led for a while, so I am sticking with them."
Jason Hickman, MaxPreps.com
Wiggins (Florida State): "He went off the board a bit with his high school pick in Huntington Prep when he could have gone to more established programs, and I think he will do the same in a sense with his college choice. Family ties to Tallahassee are definitely a factor here, and he has a brother playing four hours away in Lakeland."
Randle (Kansas): "Again, Kentucky just doesn't make a lot of sense to me with the talent it already has on board. Kansas is gaining ground in this one and Bill Self has his own history of closing on top recruits. But never count out John Calipari. And, of course, Randle isn't going to take a backseat at the four spot to anybody in terms of playing time or impact."
Jeff Borzello, CBS Sports
Wiggins (Florida State): "Along with Kentucky, Florida State has been one of the leaders throughout Wiggins' recruitment. Both of his parents went there, and the Seminoles have been on him longer than nearly everyone. In the end, I'm not sure he enjoys the spotlight he would get in Lexington, and he has a chance to carry Florida State on his back. Moreover, his parents could play a factor in his decision."
Randle (Kansas): "Randle has played things very close to the vest, with multiple schools feeling confident. He is very close to his mother, and Texas has the home-state pull, while Kansas impressed him with its consistent success. Kentucky is squarely in the mix, and he loved his trip to N.C. State. When it comes down to a decision, I think the opportunity to win a title with the Jayhawks wins out."
Adam Zagoria, Zagsblog.com and SNY.tv
Wiggins (Florida State): "Although Kentucky will get serious consideration (and possibly North Carolina, too), look for Wiggins' family and other connections to win out in the end. Both of his parents played there, and his close friend and teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, will be a Seminole. Wherever Wiggins goes, it will only be a one-year pit stop before he's taken No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft."
Randle (Kansas): "This seems to be coming down to Kansas, Kentucky and possibly N.C. State, but in the end I expect Kansas to win out. Multiple sources close to the recruitment believe Randle will land at Kansas, where he had a terrific official visit and could follow in the footsteps of Thomas Robinson and other great KU frontcourt players. Again, expect him to spend one year on campus before turning pro."
Ben Roberts, Lexington Herald-Leader
Randle (Kentucky): Randle will probably be the first of this trio to make a decision, and UK has a lot going for it. He has a special relationship with John Calipari and should thrive in his system alongside a point guard like Andrew Harrison. Kansas looks to be the main competition, but the folks in Kentucky like their chances. If he doesn't end up in Lexington, look for him in Lawrence.
Wiggins (Kentucky): It's impossible to know what Wiggins is thinking, but here's a guess that he'll do the unthinkable and join UK's already-loaded class (and Randle) in Lexington. The narrative that his parents are insisting on FSU is somewhat overblown, as is the one about his supposed aversion to the spotlight. No outcome — UK, FSU, UNC or KU — would be a surprise here, but the Cats were the favorite at the beginning and not much has changed since then.
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