Top basketball prospect Matthew Hurt talks about UK and recruiting
Homeowners in Matthew Hurt’s Rochester, Minn., neighborhood might consider working on the front lawn, lounging on the porch, holding a garage sale or opening a lemonade stand all day Sunday.
Alert Minnesotans conceivably could catch a glimpse of three Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers — Kansas’ Bill Self, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski — who will be conducting in-home recruiting visits in the Hurt residence on the first day (of the 2018-19 school year) such meetings are allowed, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Coaches from KU, UK and Duke are slated to make their official recruiting pitches to the five-star senior forward from Rochester’s John Marshall High School on Sunday, followed by Minnesota coach Richard Pitino on Monday, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway on Sept. 12 and Hall of Famer Roy Williams of North Carolina also sometime next week, the Star-Tribune indicated.
Hurt, 6-9, 200 pounds, who is ranked No. 5 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, played for Self’s USA Basketball team that won gold at the FIBA Americas Under-18 tournament in June in Canada.
Hurt’s brother, Michael, is a junior forward at Minnesota. He committed to the Gophers as a high school junior. Yes, Hurt family members are fans of the in-state school.
“That was my favorite part of high school was getting to play with my brother,” Michael Hurt told the Star-Tribune. “If I could get to do that again, that would be amazing. But obviously I want what’s best for him.”
Noted Matthew: “Seeing him there helps out a lot. I could see myself trying to fit in that system playing with my brother. I love playing with him. How he takes care of me off the court and on the court, too. I think it would just make a big difference.”
Hurt averaged 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game for the gold-medal winning, Self-coached USA team. He hit 63 percent of his shots and was was 12 of 20 from three.
“Playing under Coach Self, I think that was pretty cool,” Hurt told the Rochester Post Bulletin. “I think that helps it out because learning from him, knowing what he likes, knowing what he doesn’t like, what he runs, what kind of defense he runs, if I do commit to him, I’ll be more comfortable right when I come in.
“I think every coach has the same chance right now because I’m just trying to fit my playing style in that system. And it could be any system. I’m just going to try and make that right decision for myself,” Hurt added.
Veteran St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters mentioned the Hurt recruitment in his notes column on Monday. “It still looks like Kansas for Rochester John Marshall’s 6-9 basketball star Matthew Hurt,” Walters wrote, not expanding on the thought.
Another Minnesota visit set for Sunday
KU’s Self and UK’s Calipari on Sunday will also visit Hurt’s D1 Minnesota AAU teammate — Zeke Nnaji — the Star-Tribune indicated. Nnaji, a 6-11, 230-pound senior forward out of Hopkins High in Lakeville, Minn., will entertain coaches from Georgetown on Monday, Baylor on Sept. 12, Minnesota on Sept. 13, Arizona on Sept. 17, Purdue on Sept 24 and UCLA on Sept. 26. Nnaji is the No. 34-ranked player in the Class of 2019 according to Rivals.com.
Nnaji, according to the Pioneer Press, made unofficial visits to UCLA, Kansas State, Creighton, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois and will visit KU, Kentucky and Baylor in coming weeks in September. He will make official visits starting in October.
Zonazealots.com has reported that Arizona has offered a scholarship to Zeke’s sister, Maya, who also plays at Hopkins High.
Nick Collison honored
Former KU forward Nick Collison received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the March of Dimes at the organization’s recent Sports Headliner Banquet in Oklahoma City.
Collison, 37, who played 15 years in the NBA — all with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization — announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
The March of Dimes annually has its banquet to honor athletes, coaches and teams who brought national attention to the state of Oklahoma. Collison was honored for his performance with the Thunder and involvement in the community.
Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson recently stated a case for Collison’s No. 4 jersey to be retired by the Thunder.
“Retiring his number would be lauded by all,” Carlson wrote. “Collison, of course, isn’t the best player to ever wear Thunder blue. He definitely wouldn’t rank in the top 10. Probably not even the top 20. For as young as this franchise is, it has already had some extremely talented players.
“But none of those players had any more influence than Collison. He became ‘Mr. Thunder,’ the model for ‘The Thunder Way.’ Work hard. Head down. All in. It endeared him to coaches and teammates, of course, but it struck a chord with fans and opponents, too.”
Columnist Carlson went on to cite a number of Collison’s contributions during several games in team history. The franchise started out in Seattle before moving to OKC. Collison has yet to announce plans for the immediate future. It’s been speculated he could join the Thunder front office or enter coaching if he so desires.