Kira Lewis, a prize basketball recruit in the class of 2019 who had Kansas and many others on his list of prospective colleges, on Friday committed to Alabama while switching to the class of 2018.
He made the announcement on Twitter.
The 6-foot-3 combo guard from Hazel Green (Ala.) High School who was ranked No. 29 in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com will play immediately for the Crimson Tide, long considered the favorites to land Lewis.
Lewis chose Alabama over KU, Baylor, Iowa State, Houston, Georgia, Auburn, Indiana, TCU, LSU, Providence and Mississippi.
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“They’re a program on the rise and have a great coach who played my position in the NBA,” Lewis said of Alabama coach Avery Johnson in a Friday interview with ESPN.com. “They have great momentum right now, and I just want to be a part of it.”
Lewis is expected to replace the minutes of Collin Sexton, a first-round pick of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers who averaged 19.2 points a game at Bama last season.
“Lewis is a dynamic, playmaking guard with elite speed and quickness. He plays the game in constant attack mode, and he is capable of scoring in various ways while also making plays for his teammates,” ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein wrote Friday.
“He’s a blur in the open floor and a constant threat to manufacture tempo, and he can also get into the paint on demand in a halfcourt game,” Finkelstein added of Lewis. “He’s a good shooter off the dribble, not just in the mid-range area but also at the arc, and can use both hands to score around the rim. He is more of an attacker than a pure point guard. He typically needs the ball in his hands in order to impact the game, and he isn’t as fluid shooting the three off the catch as he is off the dribble. Lewis also has a world of defensive potential with the positional size and solid length to complement his quick feet.”
Lewis averaged averaged 20.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit this summer.
Dante stands 6-foot-11 at Nike
KU recruiting target N’Faly Dante, a junior power forward from Wichita’s Sunrise Christian Academy, measured 6 feet, 11 inches, 241 pounds with a 7-3 1/2 wingspan on Friday at the Nike Skills Academy in California. Dante, who is ranked No. 5 in the recruiting class of 2020 by Rivals.com, is considering KU and many others in the early stages of his recruitment.
Also, KU target James Wiseman, a senior power forward from Memphis East, stretched to 7-1, 237 pounds with a 7-4 1/2 wingspan. He is ranked No. 3 in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com. And Kofi Cockburn, a 6-11 senior power forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va, measured 6-11, 302 pounds with a 7-3 wingspan. He’s the country’s No. 25-rated player in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com.
Cunliffe visiting Xavier
Former KU guard Sam Cunliffe, who made a campus visit to Pepperdine on Tuesday, was on Xavier’s campus on Friday for an official visit, he told The Star. Cunliffe, a 6-6 native of Seattle, is slated to visit Evansville on Saturday, the Seattle Times reported. Cunliffe — who announced plans on July 23 to leave KU — recently eliminated Washington from his list of possible transfer destinations.
“There’s a comfort level with me and Coach Ro,” Cunliffe said of Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar in an interview with the Seattle Times. “He recruited me out of high school and I know their whole staff, especially C.A. (Curtis Allen) who also recruited me when he was at Washington State.”
Cunliffe’s former high-school teammate, 6-7 Keith Smith, has transferred from Oregon to Pepperdine.
“Keith Smith is my best friend and we talk every day, but this time I’m not going to make an emotional decision. I’m committed to taking these (three) trips and then seeing what’s next,” Cunliffe told the Seattle Times. Cunliffe told The Star recently that he also had heard from Fresno State, Minnesota and Grand Canyon.
Tarik Black to play in Israel?
NBA free agent/former KU power forward Tarik Black could be headed to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv this season, Sportando reporter Orazio Cauchi wrote on Twitter on Friday. The 6-foot-9 Black, 26, is still hoping to land a deal with an NBA team. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.2 boards in 51 games for the Houston Rockets last season. Black, who was not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers since leaving KU.