Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Huge Recruiting Weekend on Tap at Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis (UPDATED)
With several of the highest-profile recruits in the Class of 2014 set to take visits in the coming days, this is shaping up as a huge recruiting weekend.
If anybody can pry the dynamic duo of Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor away from Duke, it just might be Kansas.
The 6-foot-1 Jones and the 6-10 Okafor arrive at Kansas tonight and the visit officially begins Friday morning. They are the program’s only visitors this weekend.
The Jayhawks are a program steeped in tradition and will showcase stud freshmen Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiidduring a scrimmage Saturday morning preceding the football game against Oklahoma.
Jones and Okafor did not visit Kansas Oct. 4 for “Late Night in the Phog” and thus will get to see the team play this time around.
“We didn’t show much at all during Late Night (in the Phog) other than 20 minutes of bad ball,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, according to the Kansas City Star. “This way KU fans can come see us before heading to the football game.”
If Jones and Okafor fancy themselves as one-and-done, they will see a program — and a coach — that has warmed up to such players with the additions of Wiggins and company.
“I think [Self] just understands that that’s the direction college basketball is in and he had to go with it,” Nets guard and former Kansas standout Tyshawn Taylor told SNY.tv.
The Kansas visit will be the second joint visit for Jones and Okafor following Baylor. They will trip to Duke next weekend.
Jones told JayhawkSlant.com that the perception that Duke was the leader for the duo was untrue and that all the schools on his list remain “options.”
Along with several younger players, Kentucky will host 2014 uncommitted players Stanley Johnson, Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr., along with point guard pledge Tyler Ulis.
“I’m looking forward to that visit,” Johnson told SNY.tv. “It’s going to be fun. It’s the best event as early as possible, so I’m excited about it. I’ve never been to the state of Kentucky.”
The 6-6 Johnson is coming off a visit to Arizona and is also slated to visit Oregon (Oct. 24), Florida (Nov. 1) and USC (Nov. 15).
The 6-10 Lyles is an Indiana decommit who is down to Louisville and Kentucky and is expected to sign in the spring.
“I’m looking forward to him getting a chance to spend time with the guys, with the current players,” Tom Lylestold Ben Roberts of KentuckySports.com. “Get a chance to talk to them. We’ve talked to the coaches quite a bit, but as a player, you get a little more insight of what it looks like being part of that program from guys that are just coming in. … I’m looking forward to him getting that experience.”
Like Lyles, Blackmon Jr. attends high school in Indiana and is an IU decommit. He is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas and Indiana and still plans to visit IU once more. He has taken one official visit, to Michigan. Now comes Kentucky.
“He just wants to see the players, get a chance to watch them practice and get a chance to sit down and meet with the coaches again,” James Blackmon Sr. told Roberts “Questions he may have, or some of his concerns, I think this will be the appropriate time to address it.
“I’ve told him to just make sure he’s comfortable with this whole situation and this whole process.”
Memphis coach Josh Pastner hosts 6-9 Chicago Curie big man Cliff Alexander on an official visit beginning tonight.
Huntington Prep shooting guard JaQuan Lyle was supposed to take an unofficial, but sources said he likely wasn’t coming.
Alexander and Lyle have talked about packaging together in college, but there’s no guarantee that will happen.
Alexander is also considering Kansas, Illinois, DePaul and Michigan State and plans to announce Nov. 16.
After decommitting from Louisville, Lyle’s recruitment remains in flux. He visited UConn but they have since landed a pledge from guard Sam Cassell Jr.**ELSEWHERE**
**Myles Turner visits Ohio State Friday, as reported here earlier this week.
**Justise Winslow visits Arizona officially this weekend before heading to Duke with Jones and Okafor next weekend and to Stanford Nov. 7.
**Devin Booker visits Missouri this weekend, the alma mater of his father, former Mizzou star Melvin Booker. The 6-5 SG is also considering Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Florida.
**Kevon Looney visits UCLA Sunday. The 6-8 PF is also considering Duke, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan State, and Wisconsin and will announce Oct. 31.
**West Virginia hosts 2015 C Levi Cook, 2016 F Thomas Bryant, 2016 SF Miles Bridges and 2015 SF Montaque Gill-Caeser — all from Huntington (W.V.) Prep.
**Jessie Govan, a 6-10 center from Wings Academy in New York, visits UConn Friday night for Midnight Madness and then trips to Seton Hall Saturday.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.