Embiid joins solid class; all to sign this week

Big man Joel Embiid officially made his pick.By Nick Ratliff

Hello and welcome to the Recruiting Trail Signing Day 2012 Extravaganza. In this week’s blog, I will go in-depth on each of the 5 signees in Bill Self’s class of 2013. But first, some good news and some bad news.

First, the bad news. Late Thursday night (about a half hour before I started writing this), 5-star forward Aaron Gordon from San Jose, California narrowed his list of schools down from six to three. The Kansas Jayhawks, who have heavily recruited the talented, high-flying forward, did not make the cut. Gordon’s three remaining schools are Arizona, Kentucky and Washington, with Arizona being the pick sometime in the spring in my opinion.

Now on to some happier developments. As was the main focus in last week’s blog, 4-star center Joel Embiid said he would announce his college decision sometime this week between Kansas, Florida and Texas with the early signing period starting on Wednesday. That day came on Tuesday, and Bill Self and Kansas were the choice. Embiid made the commitment official by signing a National Letter of Intent on Thursday. Of all of the high caliber prospects in this year’s class for Kansas, Embiid by far possesses the most potential. Only having played basketball for a little more than a year, Embiid is still learning the game. However, the 7’0”, 220 pound center seems to be learning at a highly accelerated rate, and that is what gives him so much upside. Embiid at this stage of his development is a very good rebounder and good but not great shot blocker with a very skilled but still developing offensive game.

The class that Embiid joins is one of the best, if not THE best that Bill Self has ever put together, anywhere he has been. Signing on Wednesday were guards Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp. Mason, a three star guard currently attending Massanutten Military Academy in Petersburg, Virginia, is the most under the radar player in the class, but possibly the most underrated. Many recruiting analysts have pointed out that he may be underrated and moving up their respective rankings soon. Mason is already averaging a double-double this season. The quality that Bill Self values most about Mason is his toughness. Don’t be surprised if Frank Mason is doing big things in a Jayhawk uniform three or four years down the road.

Conner Frankamp said on Wednesday when he signed that playing for Kansas is a life-long dream. Frankamp put pen to paper to make that a reality. The 6’0” 160 pound guard from Wichita, Kansas took almost no time at all committing to the Jayhawks when a scholarship offer was extended to him way back in his sophomore year. The thing that Frankamp will immediately bring to the table for Bill Self is three-point shooting. Frankamp may be the most lethal high school shooter in America this year. As Frankamp continues to develop as a player, Frankamp most certainly has the potential to become a guard in the mold of Kansas great Kirk Hinrich, a player that Frankamp most certainly idolized as a child, growing up a life-long Jayhawk fan. Next year, Frankamp will be on the court in Allen Fieldhouse instead of watching in the stands.

On Thursday, 5-star small forward Brannen Greene from Tifton, Georgia signed on the dotted line, joining Joel Embiid as a Thursday signee. Greene is one of the least talked about recruits in the class on message boards and in the media, despite being the highest ranked recruit and probably most developed at this stage. Greene is a 6’7” 200 pound forward that can do it all. He is terrific in transition and is also a dead-eye shooter from beyond the arc like Frankamp. Defensively, Bill Self will try to mold Greene into a lockdown perimeter defender, utilizing his length and athleticism. It is not far-fetched at all to say that Green has the talent and skills to play in the NBA after he leaves Kansas.

And finally, rounding out the class and signing on Friday is guard Wayne Selden. Selden has been one of the most talked about recruits in the short history of this blog, and for good reason. After reclassifying from the class of 2014 to 2013 this summer, Selden began the recruiting process and committed to Bill Self shortly after his visit to Late Night in the Phog in October. Selden is one of the most physically imposing shooting guards you will find, standing at 6’5” and weighing in at 230 pounds. Aside from looking like the Greek god Adonis, Selden possesses a ton of versatility and great basketball skills. Selden can play the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions, and is one of the best perimeter defenders in high school basketball. Selden’s court vision and distributing ability are excellent too, so don’t be surprised to see him playing point guard for Kansas in the coming seasons. I said it when he committed and I will say it again: if you could create a prospect in a lab for what Bill Self wants in a guard, Wayne Selden would be the closest thing to that prospect you can find.

That’s it for the Recruiting Trail this week. Check back next week for more KU recruiting news and notes.