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Tag:Kansas
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:47 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:48 pm
 

Five-star junior Al Freeman down to two: KU, Nova

By Jeff Borzello

In October, five-star junior Allerik Freeman “trimmed” his list to a top 12. After a couple quiet months on the recruiting front, Freeman cut his list on Thursday afternoon.

Freeman, ranked No. 14 in the class of 2013, is down to two: Villanova and Kansas.

“Great coaches, great programs,” Freeman told CBSSports.com. “They’re recruiting me the hardest and I feel the most comfortable with these two.”

Freeman is a strong 6-foot-4 guard from Olympic (N.C.) who improved drastically last spring and summer. He uses his body to score around the rim, and he’s a good playmaker with the pass or when running the break. Freeman also expanded his game to include a more consistent jump shot and 3-point shot.

Right now, ‘Nova and Kansas are neck and neck -- and he doesn't have plans to make a decision.

"I don't have a timetable," Freeman said. "Just whenever the time is right. 

“They are both even."

Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Shabazz Muhammad keeps everyone guessing

No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad has not given any hints as to where he's headed next year. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Everyone wants to know where Shabazz Muhammad will play his college basketball next season. As the consensus top prospect in the class of 2012, his decision has the attention of fans, casual observers, recruitniks, coaches – everyone.

Muhammad’s classmates at Bishop Gorman (Nev.) are no different.

“Probably 10 times a day in school,” Muhammad said last week when asked how often he hears the question. “Everyone wants to know. I don’t mind it. I just say I don’t know yet.

“I’m still looking at all my schools.”

Muhammad, a 6-foot-5 small forward, has had a pretty static list for the past year. UCLA, Kentucky, UNLV, Duke, Arizona, Kansas and USC are the ones jockeying for his services right now.

He’s taken his time throughout the process, only taking official visits to Kentucky and Texas A&M so far. He won’t make a decision until he’s taken all five of his officials.

“Probably when I’m done with my visits,” Muhammad said. “I have three more officials, and I’m definitely going to take them. I’ll have them scheduled in a month or so.”

For now, he said he’s looking at Duke, Kansas and Arizona for the remaining visits. Because they’re so close to home, UCLA and UNLV likely won’t receive official visits.

“It’s worthwhile to go to a farther school for an official, since they’re paying,” Muhammad said.

UNLV seems to be gaining some traction in his recruitment, especially after picking up Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch. Moreover, the hometown school has been on Muhammad as long as anyone, and the Runnin’ Rebels performance this season is just proving that the program is on the rise.

They’re certainly in the mix for Muhammad.

“The program is really coming along,” he said. “They got Khem Birch, some other recruits. They’re a great program, they’re going to be a great team. I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with the recruitment.”

Muhammad also said he would be OK staying at home in Las Vegas.

John Calipari and a couple of assistants were in attendance for Muhammad’s game at the Hoophall Classic against DeMatha Catholic (Md.). The Wildcats are continuing to turn up the heat on Muhammad.

“The interest level is high,” Muhammad said. “Coach Cal was at my game. I talked to them a week ago. I just think I fit really well in their style of play.”

Another school that sent a head coach and two assistants was Duke, as Mike Krzyzewski was front-and-center for Muhammad’s nationally-televised game.

“Coach K is just a mastermind,” he said. “I’m really getting excited about going down there.”

The school that has been associated with Muhammad’s recruitment for most of the past two years was UCLA. The Bruins are squarely in the mix for him, and the addition of top-five prospect Kyle Anderson in the fall can only help.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with Kyle?” Muhammad said. “How he sees the floor is just remarkable.”

Another school in the running for an official visit from Muhammad is Arizona. The Wildcats have the top recruiting class in the country right now, and adding the No. 1 prospect would cement its spot atop the rankings.

Moreover, Sean Miller would have one of the most talented rosters around.

“I think I would fit really well,” Muhammad said. “They run a high-tempo style.”

Style of play is Muhammad’s most important factor in his recruitment. He prefers a mostly half-court style where he could use his tremendous scoring ability to his advantage, but he also wants some fast-break opportunities where he can get out in transition.

Muhammad won’t let the pressure get to him; he’s set on taking his time and making an informed decision after his season ends.

“It’s kind of weighing on me, but I’m still weighing my options out.”

Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:21 am
 

Julius Randle begins taking unofficial visits

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Julius Randle is still about a year from making his college decision, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking steps in the recruiting process.

Earlier this month, the No. 3-ranked prospect in 2013 spent some time on Tobacco Road, visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke.

“They’re three programs that have great tradition,” Randle said. “It was just an honor to visit. It was a lot of fun.”

Randle, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (Texas), is not tipping his hand as to which visit was the best – or to which specific schools are recruiting him.

“I don’t have a list,” he said. “If you name a team, they’re probably recruiting me.”

However, Randle did say he wants to take unofficial visits to Texas and Kentucky in the near future.

“I like the versatility of the players they have,” he said.

In addition to the aforementioned five schools, Ohio State, Kansas, Baylor are also among the colleges heavily pursuing Randle. He won’t make a decision until after he takes his five official visits, which will happen next fall.

While academics rank high on the priority list for Randle, coaching style is also going to be a major factor when he eventually makes a decision.

“A coach that will push me,” he said. “He’s not going to always tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Someone that will make me the best player I can be.”

Photo: Bleacher Report 

Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:40 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Connecticut joins race for Tony Parker



By
Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It seems every time Tony Parker discusses his recruitment, another school enters the picture.

This time, it’s Connecticut.

“[Jim] Calhoun called me recently,” Parker said after his team’s loss to St. Anthony (N.J.) at the Hoop Hall Classic. “I’ll sit down with my dad. They’re one of his favorite schools.”

Parker, a 6-foot-8 big man from Miller Grove (Ga.), is one of the top uncommitted players left in the class of 2012. He still has Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Ohio State and Memphis on his list, with Kansas showing recent interest.

Parker said he plans to make a decision during the spring.

“It’s getting closer, it’s starting to get hectic,” he said. “But I don’t really feel any pressure.”

Parker struggled against the swarming defense of St. Anthony on Monday, finishing with just six points and three rebounds. Duke and Kentucky had three representatives each to watch Parker, with Mike Kryzewski and Jim Calhoun both in attendance. Kevin Ollie from Connecticut also took in the game.

Parker enjoys the eyeballs watching him.

“The light is on me,” he said. “I don’t feel any added pressure because if I choose them, I’m going to play in front of them everyday. It’s kind of fun.”

Kentucky recently began showing more interest in Parker, and the Wildcats are in the mix for his final official visit. The Wildcats have already secured a commitment from Alex Poythress, Parker’s friend and AAU teammate on the Georgia Stars.

Poythress has been helping Kentucky recruit Parker.

“Their interest is good,” Parker said. “I get the Kentucky calls everyday from [Poythress], making sure I’m watching the game. It’s a great place.”

Although several teams are trying to jump into the process late in the game, Ohio State is one of the programs that have been involved since the start. Assistant coach Drew Dickerson represented the Buckeyes on Monday.

If Jared Sullinger leaves early, Parker would be the ideal replacement.

“They’re a great program,” he said. “They do a lot with their bigs, which really works in my favor. They really recruit good around their bigs. I have a deep relationship with the coaching staff.”

Parker plans to take his final official visit before making a decision. He said Kentucky, Kansas and Connecticut are all in the mix for it, but it will likely come down to Kentucky or Connecticut for his last trip.

Unless another team enters the picture, of course.

Photo: Five Star Basketball 

Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:37 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:13 pm
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Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:36 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 9:56 am
 

Isaiah Lewis ready to commit, leaning toward KU



By
Jeff Borzello

While it’s not even halfway through junior year for 2013 prospects, the dominoes are beginning to fall for several top-50 guards.

Brannen Greene popped for Kansas on Tuesday, Anton Gill went with Louisville on Wednesday – could Isaiah Lewis be next?

“I may commit this month,” Lewis said. “I’m weighing all my options.”

Right now, there are five schools on Lewis’ list, in order: Kansas, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Florida. All have offered.

While he’s not ready to make a commitment just yet, he’s leaning toward one school in particular: Kansas.

“I like how coach [Bill] Self lets his guards play,” Lewis said. “It starts with the guards. The tradition is great and coach Self knows how to win.”

With Greene announcing for the Jayhawks on Tuesday, one might expect Lewis would be afraid to go to a place with a star guard already in place. Not so – his friendship with Greene only helps Self’s chances with the New York native.

“Everyone is expecting me to go to Kansas because of Brannen,” Lewis said. “Everyone knows we are best friends, so it doesn’t matter to me.”

Moreover, Lewis said he has been playing on the ball more this season at Christ the King (N.Y.), as opposed to primarily a shooting guard role last year. So far, he is averaging 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Christ the King – where he plays alongside Connecticut-signee Omar Calhoun – is off to a 2-1 start.

Lewis had to transform his body and his game over the summer in order to prepare for his new role.

“I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” he said. “I’m playing the point now, so getting strong was a big part of my summer. I think I’ve had to give up some shots for guys, but if that’s what I need to do to win, I’m in for it.”

Lewis, a 6-foot-3 prospect, is ranked No. 40 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. Lewis is a high-level scorer who is very good in the mid-range. He has a good floater and pull-up jumper, and also knows how to get into the lane. Lewis has good athleticism, and has been developing into more of a facilitator than a scorer since moving over to the point. He said he is working on his 3-point shot.

While he’s not rushing into a decision, he is looking forward to finishing up the recruiting process.

“Just to have all the weight off me,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to help me focus more on basketball and school.”

Photo: Nation of Blue

Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:24 am
 

Brannen Greene ends it early, goes with Kansas

By Jeff Borzello

Brannen Greene had always said he wanted to make his college decision fairly early, and he stuck to that.

On Tuesday, the 2013 prospect made his decision: he’s headed to Kansas.

He confirmed the news in a text message to CBSSports.com

Greene, a 6-foot-6 scoring wing from Mary Parsons (Ga.), is ranked No. 16 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He is a tremendous shooter from the behind the arc and creates matchup problems for defenders due to his length and size. Greene has a smoothness about his game, and is destined to be a big-time scorer at the next level once he works out the kinks in his game.

Harvard, Florida, Connecticut, Memphis, Ohio State, Louisville and many others were also in the mix for Greene.

He’s the second commitment in Kansas’ 2013 class, joining Connor Frankamp.

Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:44 am
 

Jordan Mickey shoots up the rankings



By
Jeff Borzello

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – With Isaiah Austin, Emmanual Mudiay, Jelon Hornbeak and others on the Grace Prep (Texas) roster, it might be hard for a player to break out.

For Jordan Mickey, the increased attention to the team enabled him to demonstrate his skills on a bigger stage.

“I was able to show what I can do,” Mickey said.

Mickey, a 6-foot-8 forward, is one of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2013. The hype surrounding him has been increasing throughout the fall and he backed it up with his performance at the National High School Hoops Festival against Oak Hill Academy (Va.). Mickey is very athletic and can run the floor extremely well. He knows how to finish at the rim, and his length enables him to be a factor on the glass. Mickey can also block shots well.

Against Oak Hill, he was the one Grace Prep player who took his game to a new level.

“My team needed me to step up in the second half,” Mickey said. “I needed to be more aggressive, grab more rebounds, step up on defense.”

Although Grace Prep lost, Mickey solidified himself as a lock to be in the next Top 100 when it’s released later in the season. Once he adds weight and refines his offensive game – all things he is working on – he is going to be a major talent.

Mickey currently has offers from Texas A&M, Kansas, Providence and Houston, with interest coming from Texas.

For someone who loves to run the floor and make plays in transition, it’s no surprise as to what he’s looking for in a school.

“One that lets you get up and down,” Mickey said.

Photo: Adidas 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com