University of Kansas

KU women’s basketball to host two top-10 recruits at Late Night

KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider
KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider KU Athletics

The Kansas men’s basketball team isn’t the only program that will be hosting top talent during Saturday’s Late Night in the Phog.

KU women’s coach Brandon Schneider will have five prospects taking official visits, including a pair of top-10 players in point guard Chennedy Carter (No. 6 in the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings) and wing Rennia Davis (No. 9 according to Prospects Nation).

Others visiting include wing Micaela Wilson (51st Prospects Nation), wing Kayla Wells (76th) and KU commit and post player Bailey Helgren (95th).

“To beat the kind of people that we one day want to be able to compete with and beat on the court, you first have to beat them in some recruiting battles,” said Schneider, who cannot comment about specific recruits in accordance with NCAA rules. “I think we’re mixing it up with some traditional powers all over the country in recruiting. You win one of those battles, and you end up getting a pretty damn good player.”

Carter, from Arlington, Texas, is considering KU, Texas, Texas A&M and Louisville. She’s ranked as ESPN’s second-best point guard and also made the USA Basketball U18 national team over the summer.

Davis, from Jacksonville, Fla., has narrowed her list to five: KU, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Wilson (KU, Georgia, Mississippi State) and Wells (KU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State) have the Jayhawks as one of three finalists.

Joanna Grymek, the No. 1 junior-college post player in the nation according to HoopGurlz, also will be visiting. She’s deciding between KU and Oregon State.

Schneider says his staff focused efforts on 2017 since he was hired two years ago because of numbers. The Jayhawks, who had no seniors last season, have five seniors on this year’s roster.

“It’s become an enormous priority for us,” Schneider said of 2017 recruiting. “We have the potential to sign at least six players in the class. We have that many scholarships. We feel like this is a class that we’re hoping can really start the change that we’re working towards.”

Schneider has previously landed two highly ranked recruits as transfers. Jessica Washington, who came from North Carolina, was ranked 14th in her class by HoopGurlz and is the first McDonald’s All-American on the KU women’s team since Lauren Ervin in 2003. Southern California transfer McKenzie Calvert also was HoopGurlz’s 15th-best player.

Both guards are eligible to play this season for KU after sitting out in 2015-16.

“The opportunity to have our team in front of 16,000-plus is a really big deal,” Schneider said of Late Night. “We sell the importance of basketball at the University of Kansas, not only everything the men have done but that there have been some really great times in the women’s program. We’re working really hard to replicate some of those days.”

That could get a boost if Late Night goes well for the coaching staff.

“It’s a huge weekend for us,” Schneider said. “It’s a huge weekend with not only the players who will be on official visits, but we have a lot of unofficials who are coming in for the ’18 and ’19 class, and even younger players. It’s always an attraction and a draw.”

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell