Kansas Sizing Up Big Targets For the Future
Jayhawks are aiming for Randle, Shabazz, Walker and Sampson
These are just four big-time names that Kansas is going after to help build their program going forward (Click HERE for Kansas 'Big Board').
"I'm guessing Thomas Robinson's gonna go [to the NBA]," Shay Wildeboor, who covers Kansas recruiting for JayhawkSlant.com, told Five-Star Basketball. "They're going to lose Tyshawn [Taylor]. They need guys that guys score from the wing. They need power forward guys. They need guards and forwards, or at least wings."
Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2012, will decide in the spring and has a long and impressive list that includes Kansas, as well as Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, USC and recent Carolina-killer UNLV.
Conventional wisdom says the 6-foot-6 Muhammad out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman will land at Kentucky, Duke or UCLA, but he's not ruling out Kansas just yet.
"Coach [Bill] Self is a great coach, he makes me play hard," Muhammad told Five-Star. "They bring lots of energy on defense, and offense is really great. They're a really good team. And Coach Self and Coach [Kurtis] Townsend, they tell me how I can fit offensively and stuff like that."
JaKarr Sampson is an athletic 6-8 forward who recently decommitted from St. John's and will also wait until the spring to decide for the fall of 2012. He is currently doing a post-graduate year at Brewster (N.H.) Academy, the No. 1 team in the Five-Star High School Power Rankings.
"I believe that Kansas is very interested in him," Don Anderson, Sampson's AAU coach, told Five-Star. "Coach Self and his staff have reached out to JaKarr and his mom in hopes that the recruitment can parlay into a visit but no date has been set up to visit."
St. John's, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Providence, Baylor, Texas and Florida are also after Sampson.
Looking ahead to 2013, Kansas would love to add Chris Walker or Julius Randle to anchor the frontcourt.
The 6-9 Walker out of Bonifay (Fla.) Holmes County is the Rivals No. 2 power forward in 2013 and ranks Kansas in his top three with Florida and UConn. Kentucky has yet to officially offer.
"They're recruiting me hard and say I can come in and start and be an instant impact," Walker told Five-Star.
"They're recruiting me for the three and four."
After visiting campus in October, Walker has watched a few Kansas games on TV.
"I could help them on defense and help them score a lot and do [well] on the pick-and-rolls."
Randle, the 6-6 power forward from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy, is ranked No. 1 at his position by Rivals.
His Texas Titans teammate Matt Jones committed to Duke on Monday, which apparently has had a big impact on Randle himself.
"Duke, that’s a great school, great tradition," he continued. "They have one of the best coaches ever… Coach K tells me how I can fit in there. He always compares me to the man I'm watching on TV right now, Lebron."
Despite his pro-Duke statements, Randle's list also includes Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Kentucky, North Carolina, TCU and Baylor.
Kansas -- which already signed Randle's Prestonwood Academy teammate Zach Peters -- is working hard to land him, too.
"Coach [Danny] Manning is great at developing post players and Coach Self is just an amazing coach," Randle said. "There is just so much tradition at Kansas."
From the days of Manning on, Kansas has produced a number of talented posts and forwards and Randle believes he could follow in their footsteps.
"[Coach Self] also tells me how many different ways they can use me," Randle said. "He is a great coach, I trust Coach Self that he would be able to use me well at Kansas."
Still, it's early, and Randle hasn't picked a school yet.
"I know that I don't want to go to a place where the coach is going to tell me everything that I want to hear," Randle said. " I want to have a coach that is going to push me and when the game time comes, he is going to have my back. I know he is always going to be there for me."
Harrison Sanford is a reporter for Fivestarbasketball.com. Follow him on Twitter: @HarrisonSanford