50 in 50 is a feature here at RCT counting down until the Jayhawks kick off the 2011 basketball season on November first. Got an idea for something you'd like to see featured here? tweet @rockchalktalk or @fetch9 or email me at fetch9 at gmail dot com.
As you know if you're a regular RCT reader you know I'm not a big recruiting fan. However, with the recent Perry Ellis commitment I have dived into Rivals and done a little research into some of the guys KU is currently recruiting. As everyone here is aware, recruiting has been somewhat of a mixed bag recently, with Bill Self missing out on some 5 star prospects, while not having much luck with some other highly rated guys.
Fortunately recruiting doesn't matter as much in basketball as it does in football, and Kansas has won a lot despite some not very highly rated recruiting classes. But it is important to note that the 2008 title team was built on the backs of recruiting classes that were ranked 2nd, (2004 had Russ Robinson, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson), 4th (2005 had Mario Chalmers along with Julian Wright and Micah Downs, who obviously weren't on that team) and 12th (2006 had Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar).
With that said, here is a look at the top players at each position KU is still in on:
Nino Jackson (7th PG, 46th overall)
Jackson is a 4 star from Oklahoma who Kansas is currently in the lead for. Baylor, OU and Texas all have offers in on him as well, though he's recently narrowed his list to only Oklahoma and Kansas. He's gone from pretty far off the radar to a top 50 guy with a great summer last year. He's been described as a likely combo guard in college, which of course is the type of guard Bill Self prefers to recruit. Right now he's better in transition and going to the basket than he is shooting jumpers or pull-ups, but he's also probably a little small to be able to handle that grind. You can see some YouTube goodness here.
KU, as far as I can tell, is not currently in on any top 100 shooting guard.
Shabazz Muhammad (1st forward, 1st overall)
Right now we're not in his top 5, but we currently had our in home visit with him and he was a big fan. Muhammad would be an awesome get for Bill Self. He can get to the rim and score with all sorts of floaters and runners (and of course dunks) but also can pull up in transition very effectively. He looks like potentially a very good defender as well.
He has struggled a bit to create offense otherwise, but that is to be expected for a HS player who has to be his team's entire offense.
Savon Goodman (17th forward, 53rd overall)
Goodman recently de-committed from Villanova, and has interest in Kansas, Seton Hall, UCLA and USC in addition to still having interest in Villanova. Goodman is pretty raw at this point but is really athletic and makes a lot of hustle plays. He also is a good offensive rebounder. I haven't seen or heard much of Goodman, so I'll let DraftExpress take it away:
Looking forward, Goodman's going to need to shore up his perimeter shooting to develop into a noteworthy long-term prospect, as right now he's strictly a severely undersized power forward, but the attributes he brings to the table from a physical and intangible standpoint are both very attractive, especially at his age. Still a junior, he has plenty of time to work on those skills, and appears to have the work ethic to do so.
Wanaah Bail (21st forward, 66th overall)
We're not in his top 5, so I'll be brief. I want him only for his name, but he is 6'7" and pretty thin right now. Doesn't have a very good perimeter game but he can defend multiple positions and is very good in transition.
Kaleb Tarczewski (1st center, 20th nationally)
Tarczewski has narrowed his choices to Kansas and Arizona. He's not all that aggressive offensively yet, but is a great passer, especially for his age and is a potentially elite shotblocker. It's a pretty obvious comparison to make, and I hate making them, but he looks like he could be a skinnier version of Cole Aldrich.
If I had to rank these guys in terms of players I want, it would probably be Tarczewski 1st, then Muhammad (who is only 2nd because he looks like an obvious 1 and done guy), then Nino Jackson because KU will definitely need a guard in the coming years, especially in case Tharpe doesn't pan out.
Finally, if you've made it this far, a personal note to pass along. I'd like to announce that I'll be the Big 12 correspondent for Rush the Court this year, so feel free to read me over there as I try to slip in as many Missouri jokes as possible.