Bill Self and Kansas may soon have official word on the status of LaGerald Vick, the shooting guard who committed to the Jayhawks earlier this month.
Vick, a 6-foot-5 native of Memphis, is waiting on paperwork that would help expedite his re-classification to the 2015 recruiting class, sources told The Star this week. Norton Hurd, Vick’s AAU coach with Team Thad, said this week that a decision on Vick’s future could be made by late this week.
Vick, who picked Kansas on May 17 after a visit to campus, is poised to join a recruiting class that already features McDonald’s All-American forwards Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo. If Vick is able to get his academics in order and sign with Kansas this recruiting cycle, he would be eligible to play in this summer’s World University Games, where Kansas will represent the United States in South Korea in July.
Self hinted at that prospect earlier this month, but due to NCAA rules, Self is not able to officially comment on Vick until he signs.
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Vick, who had committed to SMU and planned on spending the 2015-16 season at a prep school, is currently rated as the nation’s 137th best prospect in the 2016 class, but that ranking is subject to change as Vick continues to impress on the Under Armour spring circuit.
Because Vick has yet to officially sign, he is still eligible to play in AAU events with Team Thad, and he recorded big numbers last weekend at the Under Armour Association event in New York.
Vick averaged 26.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while Team Thad finished the weekend 3-1. For most of the weekend, he displayed the combination of athleticism and shooting touch that caused Hurd to compare Vick to former Kansas standout Ben McLemore.
Here is video from the event:
Chukwu set to visit Kansas
Former Providence center Paschal Chukwu, who announced his decision to transfer earlier this month, is set to visit Kansas the first week of June.
The visit was first reported by Rivals.com.
Self has stated his interest in adding a transfer big man to fill one of Kansas’ last scholarship slots for 2015-16, and Chukwu is an intriguing prospect.
Listed at 7 feet 2 — some sources claim he is closer to 7 feet — Chukwu was a top-75 recruit in the class of 2014 out of Fairfield College Prep School in Fairfield, Conn. He averaged 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman and likely would have been Providence’s starting center as a sophomore. Instead, he will sit out this after transferring and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Chukwu is also reportedly set to visit Nebraska in June, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Chukwu could be a solid fit for the Kansas roster. The Jayhawks will face a frontcourt shortage in 2016-17 after losing Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson to graduation. Diallo, meanwhile, projects as a possible one-and-done player.
From that perspective, Self said earlier this month, a transfer makes sense. Kansas will likely make the frontcourt a priority while recruiting for their 2016 class, but landing a transfer now would alleviate some of the pressure and give the Jayhawks another veteran option in the frontcourt in 2016-17.
Kansas’ staff would have two obvious selling points for Chukwu. For one, Self and his staff developed transfer Jeff Withey into an NBA center. Withey came to Kansas as a skinny 7-foot project during his freshman season and left as one of the best shot-blockers in school history. In addition, KU has recent success with African big men, sending Joel Embiid to the lottery after one season and signing Mali native Cheick Diallo in the 2015 class.
Here’s the file on Chukwu: Born in April 1995, Chukwu was already old for his class. After sitting out for a year, he’ll suit up for some school as a 21-year-old redshirt sophomore in 2016-17. As a native of Nigeria, Chukwu would likely not be eligible to play in the World University Games if he were to commit to Kansas.
From a statistical perspective, we don’t have much to judge Chukwu on. He played just 9.9 minutes per game as a freshman, shooting 66 percent from the floor and grabbing 17.8 percent of defensive rebounds.
Entering his senior year of high school, Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi gave Chukwu the following scouting report:
“He is still a bit raw on both ends of the floor,” Bossi said, “but plays aggressively and has loads of upside because of size and mobility. (He) is susceptible to shot fakes, but he does contest shots and hits the glass. His hands aren’t bad and he’s developing a pretty good jump hook.”
Here’s old video of Chukwu from his senior year of high school:
Some other stuff you may have missed
1. Who really knows who deserves to be preseason No. 1 in 2015-16, but for now, the Sporting News is going with Kansas.
2. Here’s a story looking back at the Kansas-Davidson game in 2008, and the Greatest Shot that Steph Curry Never Took.
3. If you missed this from Mellinger, here’s why the Border War is no closer to resuming after the hiring of a new Mizzou athletic director.
5. Former Kansas star Paul Pierce sounds like a man contemplating retirement these days, but there are also rumors swirling that Pierce could finish his career with the Clippers in his hometown of Los Angeles. Also: If you want to feel old, this season marks the 20th anniversary of Pierce’s freshman season.
6. Finally, here is some music: The Plan — Built to Spill