AFter looking through Rivals 150, it is becoming more and more apparent that the success of Self's 2008 recruiting class rests on the commitment of Willie Warren. Greg Monroe isn't going to become a Jayhawk. LSU is the clear front-runner according to most experts and I think that Coach K has the Blue Devils ahead of the Jayhawks on his pecking order. Moving past Monroe, our potential commits become very thin this side of Willie Warren. It would be nice to pick up a commitment from Rotnei Clarke, but he screams specialist to me and isn't a player that can "carry" a class. Terrance Henry, much like Clarke, would be a nice addition to the class put isn't as promising of a prospect to be the key piece in a class. With that in mind, and at least 4 scholarships available, let's look at other possible targets of Self and Co. in the coming weeks and months.
C Tyler Zeller
Zeller is actually ranked directly behind my favorite recruit of all, Willie Warren. I haven't heard anything that would suggest his interest in the Jayhawks, but we are listed on Zeller's list of interest as a medium along with basketball powerhouses Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina along with his likely #1 choice, Notre Dame. While it might seem unusual to pick the Fighting Irish in basketball over those schools, but his brother is currently a Notre Dame forward and he would like to play beside his brother. Especially considering we have already recruited another C, Cole Aldrich, to play for us this year it isn't likely we will pull Zeller in. Still, I will follow his situation to see if we move up, down or off of Zell's list.
C Michael Dunigan
With the amount of big guys Self is recruiting, this class reminds me of his first haul at Kansas. That class has been his worst so far, granted the word "worst" should be used lightly considering it included Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun. C.J. Giles was also a part of that class before getting kicked off the team prior to last season and Rodrick Stewart is in the same class depsite not spending his entire career in Lawrence. Anyways, on to discuss Dunigan. He is probably the least heralded of the big men we are pursuing, quite possibly because of his relatively small size (6'9" 235). He resides in Self's favorite stomping ground, Chicago, and while he failed in getting Liggy to come to Lawrence he is still confident dealing with Chicago players. Again, a player like Dunigan isn't a class-breaker either way but he would be a nice complimentary piece, especially if Terrance Henry commits as well. He is ranked as the 4th best center by Scout and the 10th best by Rivals. I think we have as good of a chance as anyone else at landing Dunny, despite we are listed as a 'medium' by Rivals along with every other interested school.
C J'Mison Morgan
J'Mison is the biggest of all of our recruits, standing at an imposing 6'10" and weighing a hefty 275. And that is before Big 12 strength and conditioning coaches can get their hands on him. Whereas Dunny would likely need a year or two to develop before he can become a true impact player, I get the feeling J (don't you like it how I already have nicknames for everyone?) could step right in and back up Cole Aldrich. Keep in mind, Sasha and DJack will have graduated and with DA's likely NBA-driven departure, the backup center position will be more than wide-open. J could play significant minutes from day one, although he will likely be in plenty of foul trouble early on in his career similar to DA. I am more excited about J than anyone else in this recruiting class (besides Warren, of course) and while I'm not as confident in landing him, I suppose we could. I mean, we can't get beat out on everyone can we?
G Phillip McDonald
Bill Self loves big guards. At 6'5", McDonald fits the description. Warren and Releford are both a little on the big side (both are 6'4") and Rush is 6'7". I know I am sounding like a broken record, but Phillip isn't good enough to hold up a class on his own. Frankly, I think he is the worst player we have discussed so far, except possibly Rotnei. He has trimmed his choice of schools down to four ($), with the Jayhawks being one of them. He and Releford could both battle for a starting position by their junior years, but both figure to be bench players at best their first two years on campus.
F Clarence Trent
Trent's name had yet to come up, likely because he is only a 3 star recruit, but he is clearly interested in the Jayhawks. And guess who else is recruiting him? That would be Kentucky, who just might become our rivals with all of the recruiting battles taking place between the two schools. Trent is likely too small to play Pf at 6'7" 200, but might not be athletic enough per se to be a small forward. Another role player in the making, this class seems to be full of them. Trent is the most role-playerish as he doesn't have a big possibility of breaking out, whereas players like Terrance Henry and J'Mison Morgan could reasonably become solid starters.
Basically, we have to sign Willie Warren. The more and more I see of this kid, I want him to come to Kansas that much more. A new Kentucky blog, Big Blue Blog, has an article up on Willie from a Wildcat's perspective. There are plenty of exciting players on this list, but our class will be hard-pressed to honestly compete for a National Championship without a special, special player and the only two guys like that left on our radar are Greg Monroe and Willie Warren. Monroe isn't coming to Kansas, I have already accepted that, and now I am hoping and praying for Willie Warren. J'Mison Morgan is probably my second favorite recruit, he is a big kid and I get a good vibe from him. Of the kids highlighted in this update, here is my list of who I would want to come to Lawrence the most.
Not bad, not bad. If we can pick up recruits from Willie Warren, Terrance Henry and/or Rotnei Clarke I will be happy with snagging 3 of the above.