By: Nick Ratliff
Hello and welcome to the Recruiting Trail. My hope for this blog is that it becomes somewhat of an “into the looking glass” kind of experience for all Kansas sports fans, meaning it will be a peak into the near future of KU football and basketball, looking at high school recruits who could wear the Crimson and Blue. In this blog, I’ll lay out when recruits visit KU, some major recruiting rumors, and when a prospect announces a commitment to the University of Kansas. I’ll also give you my insight on how a prospect’s game breaks down and how he may fit into the system at Kansas. This first blog is perfect because there is currently a lot going on in Kansas basketball recruiting in the 2013 class, so let’s get right into it:
First of all, the major news for Kansas basketball recruiting is that Hampton, Virginia’s Anthony “Cat” Barber (#9 ranked player in the nation according to Rivals.com and #11 according to ESPN) is taking his first official visit this weekend, arriving Friday, August 31st and staying for the KU football team’s season opening game on Saturday. Along with Kansas, Barber is considering Alabama, North Carolina State and Louisville. However, many believe that it is a two team race between the Jayhawks and Alabama for Barber’s services. Barber, a 6’2” 165 pound point guard, is the perfect type of player to run Bill Self’s offense for seasons to come because of his quickness, speed, athleticism and ability to drive the lane and get to the basket. Barber’s passing ability is also at a very high caliber already, seemingly making him a perfect complement to already committed guard Conner Frankamp, a three point sharpshooter from Wichita, Kansas, who is a top 30 player in the nation. If I had to make a player comparison for Barber, it would actually be former Illinois guard Dee Brown, who interestingly enough, played for Self in Champaign for two seasons. Expect Bill Self and Kansas to pull out all of the stops this weekend and try to get “Cat” in the bag.
Speaking of Conner Frankamp, he and fellow top-30 Kansas recruit Brannen Greene (Forsyth, Ga.) participated in the prestigious Under Armour Elite 24 all-star game in California last weekend. Frankamp won the three-point contest easily and Greene participated in the slam dunk contest.
In the junior college ranks, guard Chris Jones from Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida has said he will certainly visit Kansas sometime this year. Jones is one of the top Juco guards in the entire country and with his slashing and intense style of play and 5’10” 195 pound build reminds many of former Kansas great and fan favorite Sherron Collins.
And finally, four star big man Damien Jones from Baton Rouge, La. recently scheduled an in-home visit with Self and staff for September 19. Jones was one of the breakout stars of the summer, climbing in almost all recruiting rankings, especially in Rivals’ jumping from #102 to #73 and earning a four star ranking. Many high major schools have jumped on board, including Kansas.
Well, that’s it for this week. Hope you enjoyed looking into the future of Jayhawk athletics and hopefully you’ll continue to travel down the Recruiting Trail with me.