Kelly Oubre to Kansas: Jayhawks Land Big Blow in Recruiting Battle with Kentucky
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Wiggins emerged from the tunnel onto the court on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse, and there were only two other times the old barn roared as loud as it did for Wiggins: when they showed Mario Chalmers' miracle shot on the video board, and when Bill Self came out of that same tunnel.
Wiggins has yet to make a basket for Kansas, and he's already treated like a legend.
Kelly Oubre, a 2014 wing, was there, sitting courtside right where Wiggins emerged from the smoke. He witnessed the royal treatment, and now he's following Wiggins to Kansas.
Oubre tweeted on Tuesday that he's committed to Kansas.
"I love their chemistry and all the things that they displayed on their visit," Oubre, who is ranked 10th in his class by ESPN.com, told SNY.tv. "The personalities and the love from the fans and everything. It was a pretty good experience.
This is nothing new—a recruit being awed by Allen Fieldhouse and KU's Late Night in the Phog—but if you don't think that Wiggins has taken the Kansas program to a whole new level of cool, then you're mistaken.
Wiggins has made Kansas the it program. And that other school that Kansas beat out for Oubre, Kentucky, where Oubre decided to cancel his planned Oct. 18 visit, is the one that's feeling the aftershock.
The "Wiggins' effect" is not just what the star will do for Kansas on the floor this year.
For the first time since John Calipari arrived at Kentucky in 2009, Self and the Jayhawks, not Calipari and the Wildcats, are the front-runners to land the best recruiting class in the nation.
Take a moment to appreciate Calipari's run. That's five straight years at the top. And things could change, but Self is sitting pretty.
The gems of this class are the big men—Cliff Alexander, Myles Turner and Jahlil Okafor—and Kansas has been considered the favorite for Alexander and Turner and is the one school that could pull off a major upset over Duke for the package deal of Okafor and Tyus Jones.
Alexander was also at Late Night in the Phog, and he tweeted on Tuesday that he'll announce his decision on his birthday, Nov. 16. Okafor has not ruled out Kentucky publicly, but Jones canceled his visit to Lexington.
Turner is still considering both schools, and it could once again come down to Calipari against Self.
This is nothing new. They've chased a lot of the same players, and while Calipari has had the best classes, they've come out close to even when they've gone head-to-head.
|Class||Self Wins||Calipari Wins|
|2008/2009||Marcus Morris||John Wall|
|2008/2009||Markieff Morris||Daniel Orton|
|2009/2010||Xavier Henry||Terrence Jones|
|2009/2010||Thomas Robinson||Brandon Knight|
|2010||Josh Selby||Doron Lamb|
|2012/2011||Perry Ellis||Kyle Wiltjer|
|2013||Andrew Wiggins||James Young|
|2014/2013||Kelly Oubre||Julius Randle|
ESPN.com and Rivals.com
Looking at just that sample, you can see a trend. Calipari has been more of a one-and-done coach, and Self has been more of the developer of less-heralded talent—although he has nabbed some one-and-done guys as well. Both approaches have worked for each.
But with Wiggins coming to Kansas along with other possible one-and-done prospects Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, Self has made it clear he can blend his program guys with the one-and-done talents, similar to how Calipari pulled off the 2012 national championship.
Self was the loser in that game. And he was the runner-up last year to Calipari's dream class.
Then Self won Wiggins, the piece that might just help him land a historical class in 2014.
If Wiggins, Selden and Embiid leave, Kansas will have at least four scholarships open, leaving room for two bigs and a guard to go along with Oubre. JaQuan Lyle, the former Louisville commit, teased KU fans with what would appear to be a sign he'd like to join Alexander in Lawrence.
Calipari already has commitments from big man Karl Towns Jr. and point guard Tyler Ulis. UK is also still in the mix for Stanley Johnson, who is considered one of the top wings in this class.
It's still premature to guess who goes where, but Kansas can dream a little bigger than Kentucky.
And the fact that Self already has in place the contingency plan for life after Wiggins is quite the luxury. One that Wiggins certainly helped deliver.
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