Silenced by NCAA rules, Kansas coach Bill Self cannot comment on the oral commitment of Marcus Garrett until the 6-foot-5 Dallas Skyline High School senior combo guard signs his national basketball letter-of-intent on Nov. 9.
Self can, however, discuss the significance of the Aug. 1 pledge by Garrett, rated No. 44 at guard in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com.
“You’ve got one commitment, which is a nice start, but certainly there’s a lot more to be done. Our thought is to sign six — five or six,” Self said in an interview with The Kansas City Star.
“It would be nice to get most of our work done in November, though, as opposed to being a team that has had great success signing kids late. It (needing to sign recruits in spring) makes it a little bit more stressful,” added Self, whose team enters the 2016-17 season with 12 scholarship players, one under the 13-man limit.
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Self has at least three scholarships to award to fill the current vacancy plus slots vacated by seniors Frank Mason and Landen Lucas. More scholarships will be available for 2017 if Josh Jackson, Svi Mykhailiuk, Carlton Bragg and/or Devonté Graham turn pro after this season.
Garrett’s commitment is the earliest in the calendar year by a KU scholarship player since Conner Frankamp of the Class of 2013’s commitment the summer before his junior year of high school. Brannen Greene of that same class committed in December of his junior year.
As far as members of the recruiting Class of 2016, Mitch Lightfoot committed on Oct. 24, 2015, while Udoka Azubuike and Jackson pledged last Jan. 28 and April 11, respectively. KU added a pair of transfers late as well. Evan Maxwell of Liberty and Malik Newman of Mississippi State committed on May 14 and July 1.
Three signees in the Class of 2015 all committed during the second semester: Bragg on Jan. 8, 2015, Cheick Diallo on April 28 and Lagerald Vick on May 13. In the Class of 2014, Kelly Oubre (Oct. 8, 2013) and Cliff Alexander (Nov. 15) committed first semester, while Graham (May 2, 2014) and Mykhailiuk (May 21) pledged in the spring.
“When you have as many bodies to fill in a recruiting class, you’ve got to start early and they definitely got off to a good start early in landing Marcus Garrett, who can play all three guard spots,” said recruiting analyst Shay Wildeboor of Rivals.com. “Now you can sit back and know you've got this one and expand your attention elsewhere. If you can get momentum early and close the way they have the last few years, it could be one of their best classes. They are in on a lot of guys.”
Here’s a list of players in the Class of 2017 being recruited by KU: DeAndre Ayton, 7 feet from Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, who is ranked No. 1 in the country by Rivals; No. 5-ranked Trevon Duval, 6-2 from Dallas Advanced Prep; No. 7 Hamidou Diallo, 6-4 from Putnam (Conn.) Science Academy; No. 8 Billy Preston, 6-9 from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.; No. 10 Troy Brown, 6-6 from Las Vegas Centennial. He’s the brother of KU women’s basketball guard Jada Brown.
Also, No. 12-ranked Collin Sexton, 6-1 from Pebblebrook High in Mableton, Ga.; No. 13 Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-8 from Victory Prep in Houston; No. 14 Trae Young, 6-1 from Norman (Okla.) North; No. 23 M.J. Walker, 6-4 from Jonesboro (Ga.) High; No. 25 Quade Green, 6-0 from Neumann-Goretti High in Philadelphia; No. 29 Cody Riley, 6-7 from Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, Calif.; No. 39 Tremont Waters, 5-11 from South Kent (Conn.) High; No. 49 Jermaine Samuels, 6-6 from Rivers School in Weston, Mass.; No. 54 Brandon Randolph, 6-6 from Westtown (Pa.) School; No. 64 Chaundee Brown, 6-5 from First Academy in Orlando, Fla; No. 78 Deng Gak, 6-9 from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. and No. 146-ranked Jericho Sims, 6-8 from Cristo Rey Jesuit in Minneapolis.
“The thing now is lining up visits to campus,” Wildeboor said of coaches scheduling campus visits, usually in September or for the Oct. 1 Late Night in the Phog. Brown is the first to report that he’ll indeed be in Lawrence for Late Night.
Gary Bedore: @garybedore