Late Night in the Phog preview

The men’s basketball team has important recruits attending Late Night

By Nick Ratliff

Welcome to the Recruiting Trail, where this week the blog will purely be devoted to the biggest recruiting night of the year in Lawrence, Kansas, Late Night in the Phog.  I’ll get you ready for all off the festivities tomorrow night, and let you know all of the recruits who are visiting and where they stand with the Jayhawks. But first some news on the newest addition to the Jayhawk family.

Earlier this past week, Bill Self received a commitment from three star guard Frank Mason from Petersburg, Virginia. Many Kansas fans have questioned the move with Mason’s three star status and short stature, as well as four star guard Roddy Peters yet to visit Kansas, but those in the recruiting and coaching communities have said that Mason could definitely be a diamond in the rough. Of all of the quotes I have seen about Mason, the common theme about him is that he is a very tough player, which fits right in to what Bill Self wants in a guard. At the time of publication of this blog, Roddy Peters’ visit to Lawrence is still set for next weekend, October 19th.

Now on to Late Night in the Phog. As it stands the night before the event, a total of 7 players will be on hand to watch the Jayhawks dance, do skits and scrimmage. 2013 prospects Aaron Gordon, Brannen Greene, Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp and Joel Embiid and 2014 prospects Clayton Custer and Elbert Robinson will be the players in attendance as one of the premier “Midnight Madness” events in the nation gets under way. Bill Self and his staff undoubtedly want to convey the tradition and atmosphere of Kansas to these prospects in one of the greatest basketball arenas in the nation. Here is where I think Kansas stands with the uncommitted 2013 prospects heading into Friday night.

The recruitment of Aaron Gordon is still very much an uphill battle for Bill Self and his staff in my mind. The #5 player in the nation from San Jose (not San Diego, as I’ve said in past blogs), California seems most likely headed to a Pac 12 school, as the majority of his remaining school list is from that conference. The University of Washington and Arizona seem to be the leaders of Gordon, but college basketball titans Kentucky and Kansas are right there in the running as well. Gordon has said that he is looking most forward to seeing the tradition and atmosphere of Kansas, and if he has an incredible visit, it could certainly put the Jayhawks in the driver’s seat for his services.

Guard Wayne Selden is a different story, however. The versatile guard that goes to school in New Hampshire appears to have the Jayhawks as the leaders for him heading into Late Night in the Phog. Selden is essentially down to Kansas, Florida and Missouri, with Florida being the only threat for him. Selden would be an incredible get for Bill Self and would fit in perfectly with the system at Kansas. At 6’5”, 225 pounds, Selden can play the 1-3 spots on the floor and really gets after it defensively with his physicality. If you could create a prospect in a lab for what Coach Bill Self likes to do, Selden might be that prospect.

Finally the last uncommitted 2013 prospect headed to Late Night is 3 star center Joel Embiid from Gainesville, Florida. Embiid appears to be a longshot for the Jayhawks, as the Florida Gators appear to be the leader, being right in Embiid’s hometown. Embiid has burst onto the scene and has unlimited potential, only playing basketball for a little more than a year. The Jayhawks could certainly blow Embiid away at Late Night and get right in the thick of it in his recruitment, however.

That’s it for the Recruiting Trail this week. If you’re attending Late Night, enjoy it because it’s one of the most fun nights of the year in my opinion.