University of Kansas

Point guard KK Robinson meets with KU’s Self; Sam Cunliffe gears for Evansville debut

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self traveled to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, on Monday to meet with Khalen “KK” Robinson, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard ranked No. 80 in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com.

Robinson confirmed the visit to The Star via a direct message on Twitter.

A native of Bryant, Arkansas, Robinson will attend the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog as part of an official recruiting trip to KU. He’s considering KU, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa State, Texas A&M, TCU, and Vanderbilt.

On Thursday, Phenomhoopreport.com’s Rick Lewis released a scouting report on Robinson. Lewis’ observations were made after watching Robinson work out at an Oak Hill open gym:

“Robinson will be relied on heavily by the (Oak Hill) coaching staff. The southpaw has tight handles, excellent court vision, and the ability to knock down perimeter jump shots. That being said, Robinson’s best value may just be on the defensive side of the court,” writes Lewis.

“Robinson has advanced defensive principles. He sits low and plays with his arms/hands wide. That enables him to play much bigger than his 6-1 listed height. During open gym, we were impressed with his poise, maturity, and ability to make the correct pass time and time again. While Robinson has the ability to score from the perimeter and keep defenses off balance with his dribble penetration, he has the ability to control the tempo and the flow of the game, not to mention getting his team set in the offensive half court.”

Gradey Dick to visit Nebraska

Wichita Collegiate sophomore combo guard Gradey Dick will make an unofficial visit to Nebraska on Sept. 27-28, the Omaha World-Herald reports. Dick will attend the Nebraska-Ohio State football game during that trip to the Big Ten school.

Dick attended KU’s football opener against Indiana State as part of an unofficial recruiting visit to KU. He’s also made recent trips to Wichita State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. The 6-5, 180-pound standout has been offered scholarships by KU, WSU, OU, Iowa State, Kansas State, Creighton, Purdue and Oklahoma State. He’s planning on attending Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 4 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Dick has a brother and sister who graduated from KU, and a brother who is currently a sophomore at KU.

After receiving a scholarship offer from KU on June 23, Dick told The Star: “It’s exciting. KU is the team I grew up watching, my favorite school growing up. This is all new to me. I will stay humble of course and be open to all during the process.”

Cunliffe gears for junior season at Evansville

Former KU and Arizona State combo guard Sam Cunliffe is eligible to play as a junior this season at Evansville after sitting out the 2018-19 campaign in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

Cunliffe, a 6-6, 200-pound native of Seattle, played sparingly on Evansville’s recent summertime trip to England, Belgium and France. He scored seven points in an opening win over a team from London. He suffered a back injury in Game Two against a team from Belgium then sat out the final game against a team from France for precautionary reasons.

“I hurt my back just prior to the Europe trip and wasn’t myself at all. Then I injured it worse in the second game. Back to full health now, thank God,” Cunliffe said in a direct message on Twitter to the Star.

Of Cunliffe, Pat Hickey of the Evansville Courier and Press wrote in a July 12 article: “Last summer, Cunliffe transferred from Big 12 Conference powerhouse Kansas to become UE’s highest-profile recruit (No. 36 in Class of 2016 by Rivals.com) since Internet rankings have existed (2003).

“The Aces had the inside track because the Seattle native, who originally signed and played briefly at Arizona State, didn’t care anymore about nationally televised games or program prestige. He wanted to go somewhere he felt wanted and needed as a floor general and thought his playing style aligned best with (coach Walter) McCarty. Neither ASU nor Kansas were good fits and he knows why: Those decisions were self-motivated,” Hickey wrote.

Of his stints at ASU (9.5 ppg in 10 games in 2016-17) and KU (1.9 ppg in 15 games in 2017-18) , Cunliffe told the Courier and Press: “I was more of the problem at that time. I was young. I was wrapped up in myself. I wasn’t walking as close to where I am now with Jesus, and just by natural effect that causes clouded confusion because you’re trying to trust yourself and what you think is good and true.”

Cunliffe, who during his past redshirt season served as a sideline announcer for Evansville’s women’s basketball and men’s soccer games shown on ESPN3, still hopes to play pro basketball someday.

“Everything I’ve done, am doing and will do, I’m forgiven,” Cunliffe told the Courier and Press. “That’s the beauty of the message of Jesus is we’re all going to mess up. A lot of people would say, ‘You’ve been to three different schools, so you’ve messed up your future forever because no one is going to want you.’ I just say I’m going to do my best and lift it up to Jesus because his will be done,” Cunliffe stated.

Of Cunliffe’s future as a broadcaster, Tom Benson, instructor of Cunliffe’s COMM-240 “Live Events” course told the Courier and Press: “When he’s done playing basketball, he could be a professional announcer for the rest of his life if he wanted to. We told him, ‘Look, if you work with us, we’ll get you trained up and then you go off and play basketball. When you’re done, you’ll be able to have that experience to fall back on.’

“That’s what we’re trying to do is provide him with that opportunity and experience so that when he’s done playing basketball – whenever that is – he can try to utilize that background to get a job in the broadcasting profession,” Benson added to the paper.

Bragg a senior at New Mexico

Former KU forward Carlton Bragg, a 6-10, 225-pound senior at the University of New Mexico, recently was ranked the fifth-best “shot blocker” in the Mountain West Conference by Mountain West Wire.

The Cleveland native averaged a combined 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds a game (24 blocks in 69 games) during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons at KU. He averaged 10.5 points and 8.8 boards a game in 24 games in 2018-19 at New Mexico. He had 29 blocks in 24 games.

“Kansas and Arizona State transfer Carlton Bragg was one of just five Mountain West players to average at least one block a game last season,” writes Eli Boettger. “Coincidentally, each of the five are on this list. Bragg’s per-game stat line indicates how much of a defensive improvement he has made as a Lobo.

“The ex-five star recruit tallied 29 blocks in 24 appearances with New Mexico this past season after recording just 24 rejections in his 69 games with the Kansas Jayhawks. That’s roughly going from one block every three games to at least a block every game. New Mexico has severely lacked a strong presence in the key and although Bragg still has progression to do on that end, his addition to the UNM lineup is clearly beneficial.”

The four players in the league rated better shot blockers than Bragg entering the 2019-20 season: Neemias Queta, Utah State; Nate Grimes, Fresno State; Mbacke Diong, UNLV and Nathan Mensah, San Diego State.

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