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.
Defending NCAA champion Kansas may have lost five players in Thursday’s NBA Draft, but the Jayhawks are busy reloading for the future. And they’re coming hard at the New York metropolitan area.
Kansas is recruiting four super-talented wing players from the Class of 2009, including Lance Stephenson of Brooklyn Lincoln (who is now also considering Europe and the Army); Dominic Cheek of St. Anthony in Jersey City; Xavier Henry of Oklahoma City Putnam City; and Jordan Hamilton of Dominguez. Rivals ranks Henry the No. 1 shooting guard and Hamilton the No. 1 small forward in the Class. The Jayhawks can’t take all of these guys, but if they land one it’ll mean a big score.
Stephenson, Cheek and Kansas freshman-to-be Travis Releford will all be in Washington, D.C. next week for the USA Basketball U18 team trials at the Verizon Center. Twenty-five players will compete for 12 roster spots.
Meantime, Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, a Garden STate native, has already landed a freshman class that includes Cheek’s former teammate, Tyshawn Taylor (pictured above), a first-team All-State guard who could turn out to be a Russell Robinson-type in Lawrence. Taylor has already put on seven pounds since coming to campus this summer. Quintrell Thomas, an emerging forward from St. Patrick of Elizabeth, and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris from Apex Academy are also in the frosh class. We hear the twins have still not heard if they will qualify.
Those frosh will play a brutal schedule next year that includes games at Arizona and Michigan State; home games with Tennessee and Temple; and tilts in Kansas City with UMass, Washington and Syracuse or Florida. In 2009-10, Bill Self’s squad starts a home-and-home with UCLA, also in the running for Stephenson.
Lastly on the Kansas front: How about Sasha Kaun? The former KU big man signed in his native Russia for $5 million guaranteed; an apartment; and a Mercedes or BMW. Kaun was picked in the second round of the draft, but was then traded from Seattle to Cleveland.
“It’s great,” Kaun told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World. “It’s awesome, a great opportunity. I’ll play with CSKA Moscow with a couple years and consider coming back here.”
Man, talk about leverage.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.