University of Kansas

KU ready to put on another ‘Late Night’ show for top recruits

Updated: 2013-10-10T14:48:56Z

By RUSTIN DODD

The Kansas City Star

— On the day last fall when Wayne Selden boarded a plane for his official visit to Kansas, he had a basic idea of what was to come. He was headed to a place where basketball was worshipped, and his first night in town would include a stop inside an overflowing Allen Fieldhouse for the Jayhawks’ annual “Late Night in the Phog.”

But before the 6-foot-4 Selden could breathe in his first dose of KU, he was stopped at the airport by a couple of fans, diehards who had noticed the coveted, five-star prospect.

“As soon as I landed on my visit, there was people (waiting) at the airport,” says Selden, a McDonald’s All-American shooting guard. “So right then and there, I knew it was something serious here.”

One day later, after a night inside the fieldhouse, Selden committed to KU coach Bill Self on the spot. And one year later, Selden, a freshman guard, will experience Late Night from the inside when the event begins at 6:30 Friday night.

For Selden, fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins and eight newcomers, it’s the first opportunity to roll out the balls and scrimmage in a packed Allen Fieldhouse. For KU coach Bill Self, it’s perhaps the program’s greatest recruiting weapon — 16,300 fans showing up for some dancing and a generally ragged scrimmage.

This year, three top-20 senior recruits are expected at Late Night for official visits, including Chicago forward Cliff Alexander, the No. 4 overall recruit in the senior class. Kelly Oubre, a top-15 shooting guard from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, and senior small forward Malik Pope of Elk Grove, Calif., are also expected to attend.

For all the glitz and hype of Late Night — and Wiggins’ debut should supply plenty — Self said he was most hopeful his young players could gain a little energy and momentum from the night’s festivities.

“I think the kids will be pleasantly surprised of how much they enjoy practicing after Late Night,” Self said. “Because now they know, without question, why they came here.”

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.

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