Kansas’ incoming high school recruiting class of Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett has been ranked No. 10 in the country according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.
The RSCI, which announced the findings for the Class of 2017 on Thursday, has been reporting consensus national recruiting rankings since 1998. For this year’s class, the service averaged rankings from Rivals.com, ESPN.com, 247Sports.com, Scout.com as well as recruiting analyst Van Coleman.
Kentucky had the best recruiting class in the country, followed by Duke, UCLA, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Louisville, Western Kentucky and KU. Transfers are not considered in the rankings.
Incoming Missouri player Michael Porter is the consensus No.1-ranked prospect in the country. KU’s Preston, a 6-9 forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is consensus No. 18, and Garrett, a 6-5 combo guard from Dallas Skyline High, is No. 51. Former Eudora High guard Mitchell Ballock, who is headed to Creighton, is consensus recruit No. 74.
“You know you’re good when an ‘off year’ in recruiting still nets you a top-10 class nationally but the Jayhawks have plenty of talent on hand already so there shouldn’t be much, if any, drop-off,” wrote RSCI hoops.
KU has had the No. 1-ranked class according to RSCI once in the Bill Self era: That 2005 high-school class consisted of Julian Wright (No. 6), Mario Chalmers (8), Micah Downs (21) and Brandon Rush (23).
KU a projected No. 1 seed
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi on Thursday listed KU as the projected No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
According to the projections, KU would play the winner of a play-in game between Idaho and Lamar in the first round, then if victorious, would meet either Wisconsin or Vanderbilt in the second round in Wichita.
Arizona (West), Duke (East) and Kentucky (South) were listed as the other No. 1s.
Jayhawks’ stock rising
The decisions of Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonté Graham to spurn the NBA for a fourth year of college caught the attention of CBSsports.com’s Matt Norlander, who lists KU’s “stock up” entering the 2017-18 season.
“Yes, Kansas lost Josh Jackson, who will be a Top-5 pick, but keeping Graham and Mykhailiuk means we’ve got the Jayhawks firmly at No. 2 in our rankings (behind Arizona),” writes Norlander. “Graham is going to be a preseason All-American and Mykhailiuk might well, finally, have a breakout season. He should. Kansas is again the best team in the Big 12 and gets Udoka Azuibuike back after season-ending injury. Malik Newman will be eligible to play after sitting out last season and freshman Billy Preston is going to be an almost immediate factor. Kansas is going heavy on transfers for next season, but Graham and Svi are the big keys,” Norlander added.
Other teams with “stock” on the rise following NBA draft decisions of players according to Norlander: Arizona, USC, Texas, Purdue, Xavier, Villanova, Miami, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, Creighton, UConn, Rhode Island, Arkansas and Central Florida.
Teams with stock listed as “down” following NBA decisions are Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon, Louisville, UCLA, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Wake Forest, SMU, Oklahoma State, Indiana, Baylor, BYU and Michigan.
Roundball rosters set
Rosters have been announced for the ninth-annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic basketball game set for 7 p.m., Thursday, at Lawrence Free State High School.
Former KU players compete in an alumni game, then sign autographs after the contest. Proceeds benefit local pediatric cancer patients.
The Crimson team roster consists of current NBA players Cole Aldrich and Wayne Selden, plus Nick Bradford, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Drew Gooden, Elijah Johnson, Mario Little, Hunter Mickelson, Christian Moody, Brady Morningstar, Natalie Knight, Mark Randall, Wayne Simien, Billy Thomas and Stephen Vinson. Crimson coaches: Brennan Bechard, Ray Bechard, Jeff Gueldner, Alonzo Jamison, David Lawrence, Lafayette Norwood, Patrick Richey and Calvin Thompson.
The Blue roster consists of current NBA players Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey, plus Jeremy Case, Carolyn Davis, Perry Ellis, Christian Garrett, Jeff Graves, Kenny Gregory, Jeff Hawkins, Darnell Jackson, Brandon McAnderson, Tyrel Reed, Russell Robinson, Tyler Self, Tyshawn Taylor and Chris Zerbe. Blue coaches: David Johanning, Sasha Kaun, Matt Kleinmann, Roger Morningstar, Brandon Schneider, Bud Stallworth and Brad Witherspoon.
Tickets are on sale at KC Soda Co., at the Legends as well as 23rd Street Brewery in Lawrence and AAA in Topeka. For information go to facebook.com/rockchalkroundballclassic.
Coleby to visit Arkansas-Little Rock
Former KU power forward Dwight Coleby, who has announced plans to transfer, will visit Arkansas-Little Rock this weekend after visiting fellow Sun Belt school Louisiana Monroe earlier in the week. He’s already visited Conference USA school Western Kentucky.
“He’d be an important frontcourt addition to either ULM or Little Rock. The (ULM) Warhawks finished with the second-worst team block percentage in the Sun Belt, while the (Little Rock) Trojans’ two-point field goal defense was in the league’s bottom third and (they) lose the conference’s best shot blocker,” writes Greg Mitchell of midmajormadness.com.
Coleby, a graduate transfer who will be immediately eligible at his yet-to-be-determined transfer destination, averaged 1.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in limited duty last season for Kansas.