Coach Bill Self of Kansas Eyes Four of the Nation's Top High School Recruits
Each year, college coaches across America are saddled with the vigorous decision of possibly replacing student-athletes who have ample eligibility left to continue playing.
Losing players to graduation eases the recruiting process because at least coaches know exactly what gaps are in need of filling.
Kansas Jayhawks head basketball coach Bill Self differs not from other head coaches in the country. After winning the 2008 national championship, the Jayhawks lost six seasoned veterans, confronting Coach Self with the rocky reality of replacing first-rate dynamic talent.
Unsure of whether the Morris twins will forgo their senior seasons to test the NBA waters, one constant Self is sure of is his awareness that guards Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are graduating. Ahead for the 2011 recruiting trail, Self has zoned in on four specific targets he feels can make an immediate impact in the 2011-2012 season.
Ben McLemore, Josiah Turner, Angelo Chol, and LeBryan Nash all are set to attend a Kansas Jayhawks tradition, Late Night in the Phog, taking place in Allen Fieldhouse October 15.
Ben McLemore: Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, VA
Ben McLemore: 6'5", 185-lb. SF (Oak Hill Academy); Hometown: St. Louis, MO
- 17th-ranked overall prospect; sixth-ranked F nationally: 5-Star
Considering: Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State
6'5", 185-pound 5-star recruit Ben McLemore out of Oak Hill Academy operates a fluid, sharp-shooting perimeter threat with an additional quick trigger to boot. Thriving in the open court setting instigated because of a long, skilled athletic build, McLemore is a habitual genius finishing at the rim with style.
Playing above and beyond his 6'5", 185-pound frame, it’s easy to overlook the other intangible next to Slim Ben’s knack for going coast to coast in a flash. Distributing the rock on the wings of exceptional court vision includes teammates, meanwhile distorting the opposition’s defensive prowess.
There are two primary concerns scouts and recruiters have about the No. 17 overall prospect at the top of Kansas coach Bill Self's list, both of which are fixable muddles. Beefing up McLemore’s wiry stature another 15 to 20 pounds enhances the opportunity of becoming an elite, physically mature combo guard.
Mentally, Ben’s tendency to camp out exclusively on the perimeter entices premature balding among the majority of coaches able to watch the Oak Hill's young rising star.
Josiah Turner: Sacramento High School, Sacramento, CA
Josiah Turner: 6'3", 185-lb. PG (Sacramento HS, Sacramento, CA)
- 29th-ranked overall; third-ranked PG nationally: 4-Star
Considering: Kansas, Arizona, Louisville, Oregon, and UCLA
Sacramento High School standout Josiah Turner hails as the No. 3 point guard in the nation among the class of 2011.
The 6'3", 185-pound recruit resembles former Kansas Jayhawks great Brandon Rush in terms of how the silky smooth and under control fashion Turner conducts his entire game. All-out hustle defensively comes complete with a pair of lightning-quick hands ransacking the opponent’s breadbasket on a constant basis.
An enviable pull-up jumper complements Turner’s finesse finish at the basket, rounding out the California native’s upside.
If Josiah Turner’s skills falter to a form of kryptonite, moving beyond the mid-range game offensively is it. The benefit of Turner’s 15-foot-plus range wrench lies in the time allotted between now and the latest deferred point new college recruits can sign.
Angelo Chol: Herbert Hoover High School, San Diego, CA
Angelo Chol: 6'8", 210-lb. F (Herbert Hoover HS, San Diego, CA)
- 75th-ranked overall; 14th-ranked F: 4-Star
Considering: Kansas, Alabama, Georgetown, Washington, and Connecticut
A southpaw sensation out of Herbert Hoover High School, 6'8", 210-pound forward Angelo Chol earns the No.14 rating out of all high school senior forwards.
Chol’s presence in the defensive paint causes the offense to retract any plans for operating efficiently, therefore backing the offense into unwanted territory. Effectively dishing the ball coupled with a soft shooting touch eliminates the idea Angelo is nothing more than a one-sided wonder.
For a zealous 6'8" forward, widening an underachieving back to the basket scoring package is immensely essential when considering a top-notch college basketball program.
Similar to the case of Josiah Turner, Chol’s mid-range game has also struggled. As long as he hangs about a coachable young man, correcting and expanding Chol’s shooting is not only possible, but expected.
LeBryan Nash: Lincoln High School, Dallas, TX
LeBryan Nash: 6'7", 230-lb. F (Lincoln HS, Dallas, TX)
- 10th-ranked overall; third-ranked F: 4-Star
Considering: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kentucky, and St. John’s
Perhaps the most talented and well-rounded prospect of the four Kansas coach Bill Self is eying intently, LeBryan Nash is a relation to Oklahoma State guard Byron Eaton by way of the same father.
Staring at Nash’s mature physical stature, how could any coach not take a chance of even scoping a player of his caliber out? At least entertain the thought.
Cutting to the hoop in an identical way guards do, Nash explodes to the rim hard. Dunking the basketball is one thing, but Nash naturally walks on air. One detail is evidently sure: When he drives to the goal, he drives with a purpose, and that is to score.
An extended outside shooting touch sucks defenders to follow Nash outside, opening the space for scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Because LeBryan Nash matured physically early on, his emotional mindset hasn’t quite kept pace. Numerous outbursts and negative body language are a combination all too critical for Nash to correct if he wants to remain on the radar of coaches from all around.
Then again, maybe not.