Two days after saying his team needed a perimeter player, Kansas coach Bill Self appears to have filled that vacancy.
LaGerald Vick, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Memphis, committed to KU on Sunday night.
“It just really came down to … he just really got to like coach Self and the system,” Vick’s AAU coach, Norton Hurd, told The Capital-Journal. “Coach Self really was making him a priority. He felt like his first year, whenever he comes on campus his first year, he would be a good part of the team.
“But by his second year, we think he can do some Ben McLemore-type of thing.”
Vick is ranked 137th in the class of 2016 by Rivals, but there’s a chance he will reclassify to join the Jayhawks next season. Hurd said that decision would be made shortly.
“There’s a good chance (of reclassifying). I’m meeting the coaching staff and going to sit down soon and look into everything,” Hurd said. “It’ll be public in about 10 days. We’re just getting the hard part out of the way now, and then that’s the next step we’re looking into.
“It was kind of frustrating doing both of them (recruiting and reclassifying). We’ve got the hard part out of the way. No matter whether it’s 2015 or 2030, we’re going to Rock Chalk Jayhawk.”
Vick visited Lawrence last week and chose KU over Kentucky and Kansas State.
…“His biggest strength is probably the ability to create his own shot off the dribble,” Bossi said. “Pretty good athlete, especially out in the open court. Good quickness. Probably more of a streaky shooter than a deadeye shooter from deep.”
…“Really, people are getting a steal,” Hurd said. “This is a borderline five-star kid.”
“You know, it’s really not a huge surprise. I think Kansas maybe had a little bit more of a need for a wing, than Kentucky, right now,” said Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “Kentucky is also chasing after (No. 19-ranked) Caleb Swanigan, too. So, they could have shifted their attention a little bit late in the process.”
About comparisons between the No. 137-rated Vick (in Class of 2016) and former KU guard Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings, Bossi said: “I haven’t personally seen him, recently enough, to make that comparison. I think the comparison is more in terms of how they (KU coaches) see his career arc. Ben, who didn’t play his first year, really exploded in that second year. Now, that doesn’t mean the (KU) staff is telling Hurd (Norton, AAU coach of Vick) they think Vick is going to be a lottery pick after two years of college. They just think he has a chance to be really good his second year.”
For now, it appears likely that Vick will join McDonald’s All-American forwards Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo in the Jayhawks’ 2015 recruiting class. But as of Sunday, Hurd said, it was not official that Vick would end up playing college basketball this fall.
Vick, who originally committed to SMU and head coach Larry Brown, had planned to spend the 2015-16 season at a prep school, developing his game and ironing out some academic questions. But after shoring up some of those academic issues, Hurd says there is a “good chance” that Vick will be at Kansas this fall.
“No official decision has been made,” Hurd said. “We made the hardest decision first — going on and making the college decision. His family and the Kansas coaching staff will be in contact and come up with a conclusion soon.”
…"I like the system that Kansas runs,” Vick told Jerry Meyer of 24/7 Sports on Sunday. “I watched a couple of their games this year. Also, coach (Bill) Self kept it real with me. I enjoyed my visit, and I trust coach Self."
Before Vick’s commitment, Kansas had two available scholarships in the 2015 class. The KU staff is also still looking at a couple of transfer big men, including former Mizzou forward Jonathan Williams III.
The streak continued, on both the hardwood and in the classroom, for Kansas men's basketball as Bill Self's Jayhawks earned their eighth-straight NCAA Academic Performance Program (APP) Public Recognition Award after also securing their 11th-straight Big 12 Conference regular season championship during the 2014-15 school year. Kansas was one of 39 teams to be recognized for achieving Academic Progress Rate (APR) success in the top-10 percent of all NCAA Division I men's basketball programs, the national governing body announced Wednesday.
Only six other NCAA Division I programs have as many NCAA APP Public Recognition Awards and the tally sits just short of the combined total number of recognitions by other Big 12 members (10) over the last 10 years. Kansas and Texas (7) – who both received recognition Wednesday – combine for 15 of current Big 12 members' 18 total APR honors in men's basketball, with West Virginia (2) and Baylor (1) also earning honors in years past.
KUAD Press Release
Nic Moore, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior point guard from SMU, has been added to Kansas University’s World University Games roster, KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World.
Moore, who is from Winona Lake, Indiana, was the 2014-15 player of the year in the American Athletic Conference after averaging 14.5 points, 5.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game last season for Larry Brown’s Mustangs.
He hit 42 percent of his shots and 41.6 percent of his threes (77 of 185). Moore scored 20 or more points in nine games and had five or more assists in 21 games. He hit a school-record eight threes in 11 tries en route to 28 points against Houston. He had 24 points against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Moore was honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press.
“He is a good player. He’s one of the best guards in the country period,” Self said. “He can play on the ball. He can play off the ball. He’s little, so we’ll have three little guys running around out there sometimes,” Self added of Moore, Frank Mason (5-11) and Devonté Graham (6-2).”
Svi is 17. Repeat, 17. The Ukrainian sensation was in his first year living in the United States. Away from his family. Facing quicker, more explosive athletes than he played against for most of his life. Lifting weights extensively for the first time.
Don’t look at the numbers. Consider the tools. Quick feet. Soft touch. A natural feel for the game at both ends of the floor and in transition.
Another strong recruiting class (Carlton Bragg, Cheick Diallo, LaGerald Vick) landed by Bill Self and assistants understandably has generated a loud buzz. They fill needs, have talent and know how to hustle. Plus, the unknown always creates more excitement than the known because it has no visible ceiling.
Yet, improvement from returning players figures to play every bit as big a part in Kansas having a strong shot at a Final Four appearance.
Kansas coach Bill Self is in favor of Friday’s NCAA proposal to lower the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30, but he believes the potential impact on the game is overblown.
“I think any difference that it’ll be, I think coaches and players will adjust to the point where after a short period of time, it won’t be a big deal,” Self said Friday. “I don’t think that’s a big deal at all.”
Self, who spent an hour in meetings with the NCAA rules committee Thursday in Indianapolis, believes the biggest change in the game could center around a continued effort to promote freedom of movement.
An NCAA release Friday said that the rules committee agreed its “most critical need” was to reduce physicality in the game. Before the 2013-14 season, the NCAA attempted a similar measure while encouraging officials to call more perimeter fouls while allowing the dribbler more freedom of movement.
Officials responded by calling more fouls in the first few months, but over time, the game transitioned back to its more physical style.
This time, Self believes the officiating adjustment will be more permanent.
“I do think the biggest thing that needed to be done was to clean up the game to basically call the game that the rules were intended for it to be called,” Self said. “And it’s not officials’ fault. It’s a combination of officials, coaches, everything, because coaches get by with as much as they can get by with, and then officials can’t call every foul.
“I think you’re going to see some pretty choppy calls and a lot of fouls early next year — or maybe even for a year or two — until everyone adjusts. But when everyone adjusts, the game will be much better.”
Self still is of the opinion that teams will be able to play effective defense — it’ll just have to be in a different way.
“Good team defensive teams are probably going to be the ones that benefit the most,” Self said, “because there are going to be certain advantages that go to the offense, without question.”
Cheick Diallo (ESPN, No. 7) should give KU what it thought it was going to get from Alexander (a tough, hard-playing rebounder) and Carlton Bragg (ESPN, No. 21) is a talented and skilled freshman forward who has tons of potential. The Jayhawks also have guards Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk with a year under their belts, and Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson are veterans who will help up front.
ESPN Goodman $: Making the case for No. 1
Over the last 15 NBA Drafts, KU leads all colleges in lottery picks (top 14) with 13 — three more than any other school. North Carolina, Duke and UConn have had 10 lottery picks apiece in that span, followed by Kentucky (8), Arizona (7), Texas and Syracuse (6), Florida, UCLA and Indiana (5) and Georgetown (4).
KU has had eight lottery picks in the last five years, including last year’s No. 1 (Andrew Wiggins) and No. 3 (Joel Embiid).
Calipari's approach works because it's exactly what players want to hear. Come to Kentucky, get lots of playing time, impress scouts, get drafted. That's why he can recruit five or six of the top 10 prospects each year and just keep reloading. Self, on the other hand, doesn't tell kids what they want to hear; he tells them what they need to hear. He has the ability to get guys who wouldn’t automatically be considered NBA lottery types — Aldrich, McLemore, the Morris twins — into the top of the draft simply through the process of coaching. The same for getting guys like Withey and Darnell Jackson, who were unimpressive when they arrived on campus, into the NBA at all. And when former five-star recruits like Wiggins, Arthur and Chalmers can't get going offensively, it's their defensive prowess that keeps them on the floor at the next level.
Calipari is without a doubt the better agent, but Self is the better coach. He does a better job preparing guys whose last names aren’t Rose, Davis or Wall to fill a role on an NBA team. He does what's best for the team, rather than what's best for the player, and teaches players how to do the things that will keep them on an NBA roster for a long time to come.
The media contingent at Alexander's media session Friday was a quarter of Kaminsky's. The 19-year-old looked at peace with his path, "excited" to clean up an image tainted when he was sidelined late in the season as the NCAA investigated his mother's ties to a financial firm specializing in pre-draft loans for athletes.
In the 28 games he played, Alexander averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game. Yet under a microscope, his lone college season wasn't disappointing.
Alexander's peak came in consecutive mid-January victories against ranked conference rivals Oklahoma and Texas, when he put up a combined 28 points and 22 rebounds in 50 minutes.
But in his average of 17.6 minutes per contest — seventh on the team — Alexander was third in points per 40 minutes (16.2), first in rebounds (12.0) and first in field-goal percentage (56.6). Towns, by comparison, averaged 19.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and shot an identical 56.6 percent per 40.
When Alexander was on the floor, he played as expected.
"I'm not (a bad) guy," Alexander said. "I'm a great guy to be around. When I was at Kansas, it was just a struggle. I got dealt a bad deck of cards, that's all it was."
…"I've matured a lot," he said. "When I had to sit those last games, it helped me grow as a young man and a person. Coach (Bill) Self helped me with that too. I just had the collapse. I need to redeem myself."
ESPN’s Chad Ford watched Alexander participate in drills with Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker, Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter, Arkansas’ Bobby Portis, Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr., Texas’ Jonathan Holmes and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos on Tuesday at University of Illinois-Chicago.
“We haven’t seen Alexander play since Feb. 23. Kansas sat him down after the NCAA began investigating his family for receiving improper benefits. The damage was twofold. Not only did we not get to see Alexander play down the home stretch just as he was beginning to improve, but the investigation forced him into the draft before it was ideal. Now teams are scrambling to figure out where he should go,” Ford wrote.
“Everyone knows he has a NBA body, crazy long arms and tries to dunk everything. His length and motor are probably his two best characteristics. But after that, what sort of basketball player is he? What else does he bring to the table?
“One thing I saw in workouts here that I didn’t see much of at Kansas was a nice 10- to 15-foot jump shot Alexander was consistently knocking down in drills. He rarely shot it from there at Kansas and the assumption was he didn’t have that sort of range. But it was clear from the workouts he’s comfortable with that jump shot. He’s in no way a stretch four, but there’s more there than meets the eye.”
If the Heat are indeed out to land a wing player in this year’s NBA Draft, former Kansas forward Kelly Oubre is worth a look.
Miami staff met with Oubre at last week’s NBA Combine in Chicago, and the team is eying him as a possibility with the No. 10* pick. He is 6-foot-7, 200 pounds and could work as a small forward or shooting guard in the pros.
Palm Beach Post
Oubre on Wednesday told NBA.com he learned a lot in his one season at KU, one in which he played single-digit minutes in five of the first seven games, becoming a permanent starter in the 10th game.
“When I was sitting on the bench at Kansas it was pretty much opening up my eyes (to see) the world doesn’t revolve around myself,” he told NBA.com. “I have to abide by a team’s process, and pretty much I did so. I just believe I can compete at the highest level. My determination and my drive and my work ethic is second to none. I believe I can make a heavy impact at the next level.”
“It’s not much different (from training at KU),” Oubre told Draftexpress.com. “Andrea Hudy (KU) is one of the best strength coaches in the country. She pretty much had us doing a lot of the mobility things we are doing at P3. It kind of translated a little bit. I can see some of the similarities that we did at Kansas here.
“I’m not taking days off and not taking short cuts, just focusing on my body, eating right, things like that. Those are things that will give me the edge, give me the step up on other athletes.”
Oubre, who averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in his one season at KU, has high hopes for the June Draft.
“I want to go top-seven,” he said. “It’s definitely one of my goals. They have great players in this draft. No knock to anybody, but I feel I’m the hardest working guy in this draft because I have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. I know the importance of this draft, the importance of people saying where I’m going to go. I want to prove people wrong. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I’m going to show everybody what they said I couldn’t do. That’s definitely my main motivation.”
A standard bit of NCAA hypocrisy limited what we were able see from forward Cliff Alexander at Kansas this season, but Jayhawks teammate Kelly Oubre said he expects Alexander to impress teams between now and the draft.
“He’s a monster,” Oubre said. “People forget what he can do, how athletic he is. You know, the level he was at in high school, where he was getting 20 (points) and 20 (rebounds), that is superb. But Cliff still has that dog in him, that fight in him, where he can be great at the next level. I feel like Cliff is going to do great at the next level.”
Alexander measured 6-8 1/2, which isn’t great for a power forward, but his wingspan (7-3.5) was among the biggest at the combine.
When you think of a James arch nemesis, Pierce's name is likely to come up and vice versa. Retiring after an efficacious 17-year career is undoubtedly understandable, but for James, it would be surreal.
In an interview James granted Northeast Ohio Media Group, he discussed how much Pierce has meant to the league and his career.
"Obviously if he says he's not quite sure about next year, but he's Double-P man," James said to NEOMG. "I've been competing against him my whole career and our battles that we've had, our differences that we've had. But you know one thing about it, when you face him; you're going to always compete. I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do."
The story of James' career path cannot be properly told without acknowledging the role Pierce played in enhancing and elevating his game. He was an extremely difficult stumbling block that James had to overcome.
"Obviously he gets a Cliff note or a couple notes in my book as far as guys that helped me get over the hump or kept me where I was at the time," James recognizes. "I knew I had to become much better individually. He's one of those guys."
Shaquille O'Neal is responsible for nicknaming Pierce "The Truth," for his smooth, methodical, yet dominating game. And also for always being up to the task to take and knock down clutch jump-shots. He has made quite the living off of final-second heroics.
…"It's great to have him in this league as far as the competition and what he's done not only for the three teams that he's played for, but for himself," said James. "He's probably going to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. His numbers speak for itself. He's a big-time player."
"Yes he is," Brown told Anthony Gargano in an appearance Wednesday on 97.5 FM The Fanatic. "We'll do Salt Lake and Las Vegas. We're going through the design of that. Last year we had two teams and what we learned last year is it afforded them the opportunity to see more people. We take a lot of pride in doing summer league right.
"We have guys that are coming back ready to go. We have draft picks that we're looking at. We've got studies that the coaching staff is looking at and then we conclude it with two summer leagues. One in Las Vegas and one in Utah."
…"I took him to Chicago last week to go sit and watch the Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland game and to take in the NBA Playoff game action that I wanted him to see, to feel and to see Cleveland close out that series," Brown said of a trip in which the Sixers brought Embiid along and even had him sit in on the interview process with draft prospects at the combine. "To let him sit with us in the interview room and interview peers. To grill them top to bottom on their careers, their character, their paths and questions that we ask. Interview people, trying to assess who they are, sometimes more as a person because you see them play so much.
"To go in and watch the young guys workout on the court. To see him continue to workout and lately to see him bottom line play, you see enough where you step back and see that he's going to be really good. The bottom line is, he could be really, really, really good. It's going to come down to his health."
Former KU center Cole Aldrich, 26, is a free agent this offseason. It’s good timing for the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Bloomington, Minnesota native as he’s coming off his best of five campaigns in the NBA.
Aldrich averaged 5.5 points (off 47.8 percent shooting; 78.1 percent free throwing) and 5.5 rebounds a game in 61 games for the New York Knicks.
Aldrich, who played a career-best 16.0 minutes per game and started 16 games, had 24 points off 11 of 16 shooting and 15 rebounds in the season-finale against Detroit.
Former Kansas University basketball guard Tyrel Reed, who was awarded a doctorate in physical therapy during KU Med School graduation ceremonies on Sunday at Memorial Stadium, is joining Lawrence’s OrthoKansas, LLC as a physical therapist, the company announced Monday on Facebook.
Reed, 26, who played for KU’s 2008 NCAA title team, “has experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings and has a special interest in sports performance and injury prevention in young athletes,” OrthoKansas wrote in a release.
…KU senior guard Christian Garrett graduated Sunday with a degree in sport management. The 6-foot-4 Los Angeles native told the Journal-World last week he is exploring options of playing pro ball overseas next season.
The College Stars Basketball Clinic will be at Jim Baker Fieldhouse in Buhler from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 26.
The camp is for those who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade. Cost is $30.
Five in-state college basketball players are expected to be there, including Wayne Selden and Frank Mason from Kansas, Ron Baker and Evan Wessel from Wichita State and Dean Wade from Kansas State.
There will be a post-camp autograph session.
Registration the day of the event is acceptable.
This time, the questions are natural. They are needed. They are coming in the wake of Missouri hiring a new athletic director.
His name is Mack Rhoades, and he is friendly with Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, which is a big change from the last Missouri athletic director. That was Mike Alden, and even he knows his name is something like a curse word around Lawrence.
…“They are the only school I can say I truly have a distasteful feeling about,” said Dana Anderson, one of KU’s top boosters. “Some of that goes back to Missouri being a slave state and Kansas being a free state. I see no virtue at all. I don’t see how it helps our athletic program in any way.”
…Sentiment inside the KU athletic department to schedule Mizzou in any sport has all the momentum of a broken-down cement truck, which might be more than can be said of the sentiment among KU’s biggest boosters.
…“I just don’t see it,” said Mark Allen, a Kansas booster and the grandson of Phog Allen. “Some of these things may have run their life expectancy, you know what I’m saying? Maybe it’s that we had a great rivalry but it doesn’t have the intensity anymore. If we did play it, would it have the same intensity as when you’re both vying for the conference championship? I don’t think so.”
…“We didn’t like them anyway,” Hadl said. “And they don’t like us anyway.”
Three years ago, a lot of us thought these emotions would dissipate over the years. Time heals all wounds, you know, and maybe there just hadn’t been enough time yet.
But next year’s senior class will graduate having never been in school for a regular-season Border War game in any sport, and by all indications those wounds are not healing — they are building scar tissue.
…“That’s a decision (MU) made, and there are ramifications of those decisions,” Anderson said. “It was a great rivalry. I see no reason to continue it, because they left the conference. You pay a penalty for that, from my point of view.”
So, the old MU athletic director is out and the new one is spreading a message of goodwill, but it takes two to make a rivalry ... and in Lawrence, this issue is as dead as ever.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
He fielded roughly 25 questions on topics ranging from his bow tie ownership to MU’s marketing strategy to why pro athletes don’t donate more to the universities they once played for during an hourlong Q&A with fans on his first official stop in Kansas City.
“They’re passionate, and absolutely passionate about Kansas City and our presence and what they feel about the University of Missouri and how well we do or do not engage them in our presence here,” Rhoades said.
Early in his tenure, Rhoades has made it clear that he would like to see the Border War resume, though rival Kansas remains intractable, but his proclamation drew a mixed reaction from the crowd of hundreds.
Kentucky coach John Calipari's covert overtures to the New Orleans Pelicans about their coaching vacancy stirred a lot of internet chatter on Tuesday, based on the reporting of John Reid, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune's Pelicans beat writer.
Some were quick to point to Calipari's Tweet exclaiming his happiness in Lexington, but the fact remains it was Calipari who reached out to the Pelicans to gauge their interest in a mutual marriage.
It would take an exorbitant amount of money for the Pelicans to sign Calipari to an NBA coaching contract, more than they'd probably want to spend.
And a high-profile coach such as Calipari, or Tom Thibodeau or Jeff Van Gundy likely would want significant control over player personnel, something that might not mesh with general manager Dell Demps, who possibly might want a better fit.
If you’re not a fan of Coach Cal’s Players First mentality, you might want to sit this one out. Take a quick break from the computer, grab a Wendy’s Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich, steal an ambulance for a Fireball run, go enjoy the weather, whatever. This one’s not for you.
For everyone else, Calipari went on one of his better Players First rants today while speaking at Alltech’s Rebelation closing session in Rupp Arena this morning. It was a different kind of crowd — business minds, not UK basketball fans — so his message focused on leadership and coming together as a team for a common goal.
But while relaying that message, Calipari said the goal last season was to get eight players draft, not win the national title.
“Last year we started the season with a goal,” he told the Alltech Rebelation crowd. “You may think that goal was to win the national title and win all the games and be… It was to get eight players drafted.”
Will the proposed 30-second shot clock improve the game?
Seth Greenberg: I don’t think it will have the impact that everyone thinks. Yes, it will add possessions. The bigger question is how coaches are going to adapt. Are they going to flow into offense? Are they going to transition and flow right into their offense, and then stay within their offensive concepts to score in a shot clock situation?
Fran Fraschilla: I like the rule and now I hope that coaches adapt in this particular way … I hope they get way more creative on the offensive end than I see during the season. I already know that we’re going to see more zones, more pressure and, to me, that means I’m going to work on my zone offense as a coach from day one.
Kansas reached out to the father of Chukwu early this week, according to Rivals.com. The news came just one day after it was reported that Chukwu would leave Providence after one season. A 7-foot-2 center, Chukwu was a top-75 recruit in the class of 2014 out of Fairfield College Prep School in Fairfield, Conn.
Chukwu averaged 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman and likely would have been Providence’s starting center as a sophomore. Instead, he will sit out the year after transferring and have three years of eligibility remaining.
…Earlier this week, Providence coach Ed Cooley told the Providence Journal newspaper that he was blind-sided by Chukwu’s decision to transfer.
“The Chukwu thing,” Cooley said, “I was blown away.”
He added: “I didn’t know he was unhappy. It was a total shocker. It blew me completely out of the water.”
According to Cooley, Chukwu said he wanted a “different college experience.”
“Any kid, when they’re unhappy with anything, they think there’s a quick fix somewhere else. I call them the ‘microwave generation.’ It’s the age of instant gratification. Not many kids want to persevere if they don’t get want they want right away. The ones who do become like LaDontae Henton.”
Unlike Henton -- who recently finished an outstanding career at Providence College, in which, as one of the school’s all-time leading scorers, he played a key role in taking the Friars to the Big East tournament title as a junior and then capped his career with a second straight NCAA tourney appearance -- Paschal Chukwu has decided PC is not for him.
A promising, highly-recruited, 7-foot-2 center, Chukwu would have been a starter for the Friars in the coming year, after having averaged 10 minutes a game as a freshman this season while backing up senior Carson Desrosiers.
He becomes the second player in as many years who, despite the promise of considerable playing time, decided to leave the PC program, following Josh Fortune out the door.
Tevin Mack, a 6-6 senior small forward from Dreher High in Columbia, South Carolina, who is ranked No. 61 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.com, committed to Texas on Tuesday over Georgia and Clemson. Mack had KU on his list of schools until Sunday, when 6-5 LaGerald Vick committed to the Jayhawks.
Mack actually committed to coach Shaka Smart for the second time this school year. He signed to play for Smart’s VCU team but opted out of his letter-of-intent when Smart accepted the Longhorns job.
…Caleb Swanigan, a 6-8, 255-pound center from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who is ranked No. 19 in the Class of 2015, committed to Purdue on Tuesday after recently decommitting from Michigan State.
It is not known whether No. 9-ranked (by Rivals.com) Thon Maker, a 7-foot senior center from Orangeville Prep in Mono, Ontario, will be playing college basketball starting second semester of the 2015-16 season.
“I won’t finish (coursework) until December so it (his recruitment) is kind of standing still right now. I finish in December and I can reclassify (from Class of 2016 to 2015) if I want to,” Maker told Peegs.com on Tuesday.
He said coaches from KU, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and others have expressed interest.
What nobody has been discussing regarding Maker is the fact his academic credentials would have to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse after high school graduation in December and that many times is a drawn-out process.
If he chose KU, for example, he quite possibly would not be available until after the start of Big 12 play and would be leaving school immediately after the season to prepare for the 2016 NBA Draft. That’s a possible three-month stay on campus.
“It’s a little stressful because your mind is running. You have people telling you to hurry up and stuff like that,” Maker told Peegs.com. “But I have to be ready, so I have to finish my credits. I can’t play if I don’t finish my credits. I really have to focus on that part. In terms of the basketball side, I let my guardian handle the coaches so I can focus on getting better, so it’s not always stressful.”
Also on the market is Greek 7-foot center Georgios Papagiannis, who played for a pro team in Greece this past season but was not paid, thus is still an amateur. Kentucky is believed the leader if he decides to play one season in the U.S. before entering the draft.
Highly-regarded Chicago point guard Marcus LoVett has signed a National Letter of Intent to accept a scholarship offer from St. John’s. He announced his college decision via a post on Twitter early Thursday morning.
It reads: “It’s official NLI is done mom and dad trust this was best decision I made for MYSELF BrightLights here we come.”
LoVett signs with the Red Storm and new coach Chris Mullin, even though his recruiting began under Mullin’s predecessor Steve Lavin. He also was considering Memphis, Illinois, DePaul, Pitt, UC-Irvine, UNLV, and San Diego State.
My Late Night in the Phog videos, 60 Years of AFH Celebration videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Final Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more, now on YouTube