Quick recruiting updates from three 2008 targets and one 2009.
MIKE Boelkens, the basketball coach at the Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas, readily admits his bias.
His shooting guard, Chris Babb, can shoot it. He shoots it so well, in fact, Boelkens knows that’s the one skill Babb could contribute immediately to any of the schools recruiting the 6-foot-5 Babb, which includes Kansas State.
“Offensively, they’re telling him he can help right away,” Boelkens said. “… He’s a shooter. His range has improved dramatically. His accuracy is terrific, and he has a quick release.
“He hits consistently from five feet beyond our three-point line.”
But, in the spirit of full disclosure, Boelkens wonders how Babb would adapt on the defensive end, even though the coach insists Babb is Oakridge’s best defensive player.
“They’re not sure about his ability to defend on the perimeter at the Big 12 or SEC level,” he said.
His athleticism, which isn’t a concern at Oakridge, is being questioned. As a result, he’s not as coveted as he might want. Nevertheless, according to Boelkens, Babb is “star-struck” by the attention, even if all of the major schools involved — K-State, Baylor and Arkansas — are viewing him as a backup option should their primary targets go elsewhere. That approach, coupled with Babb’s previous intention to sign early (although Boelkens now says his star may wait until the spring to decide), has given next-tier schools such as Tulsa, TCU, Oral Roberts (where he visited last week) and UAB (which plans to visit Babb next week) hope.
“Personally, I’d like to see Chris go to a school and get some playing time and develop,” Boelkens said. “I don’t know how possible that is at a large school. … I think he should go a notch below where he’s looking and be an impact player right away.”
HIS older brother Josh played at K-State from 1996-2000, averaging 6.6 points during a 102-game career.
His mother and father both graduated from K-State.
It makes far too much sense for Jeff Reid, a first-year junior at Topeka’s Hayden High, to commit to the Wildcats, doesn’t it? K-State has offered the 6-foot-5 guard who played last season at Brewster High, where he averaged 23 points as a sophomore. But Kansas, Gonzaga and Butler apparently are interested, although none of those schools have offered.
Hayden coach Ted Schuler hasn’t worked Reid out yet, and he’s only watched Reid play a couple of times during the state tournament. But from that, and after consultation with AAU types and peers, he knows Reid is a star.
“I’m expecting big things,” Schuler said. “He can play. He plays at a high level. He has made the effort and he puts in the effort.”
According to Schuler, Reid is either an off guard or small forward who can post, if necessary. He’s a 185-pounder with lively legs who “can flat-out shoot it from wherever.”
Schuler said Reid likes K-State, but his brother has been telling him to look everywhere, to take everything in.
“He’s very interested,” said Schuler, who is under the impression that Reid would be K-State’s final commit for 2009 if he issued his pledge. “He likes the coaches a lot, but he just wants to take his time.”
THE Witherspoon family has been studying.
Frank Martin’s inexperience isn’t necessarily a red flag, but. …
“We’re going to be watching Frank and K-State, and we want them to do well,” Will Witherspoon said. “Everything you read says he knows what he’s doing. Everywhere he’s been he’s been successful, at every stop. I’m wishing him well, and we’re definitely watching.
‘With all of the mistakes we made with our first two, we’re definitely not going to rush into anything with Wes.”
Wes, of course, is Wes Witherspoon, the 6-foot-8, 185-pound wing from Berkmar High in Lilburn, Ga., who happens to be, according to Rivals, the No. 58 recruit in the Class of 2008. His core group of schools remain in play — K-State, LSU (where in visited in September), Clemson, Virginia, Memphis and George Washington — although a decision won’t be coming until the spring.
Which might be great news for K-State, especially if the Wildcats are as successful as some expect this season. The Witherspoons will be watching, after all.
But it may not matter, especially if Wynton, Wes’ older brother, sees significant playing time in his first season on the court with the Colonials following his transfer from Virginia Tech.
“I don’t know if GW is the school to beat, but he loves his brother,” Will said. “He won’t hint at anything else but that. … He wants to see how it works out for him there and then he’ll make a decision.”
AND finally, a personal favorite, Tyree Evans.
Here’s the thing — this is all from Evans’ mouth. Take that for what it’s worth, and after all of his episodes, it’s understandable how some will choose to dismiss some, if not all, of what he’s saying.
Now at Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tenn., Evans said he is still in communication with K-State, primarily with assistant Brad Underwood. He hasn’t ruled out the Wildcats, not like he has West Virginia for a very simple reason.
“I’m not talking to Bob (Huggins),” said Evans, who would have two years of Division I eligibility. “Ever since I’ve been following him around, nothing but negativity has followed me.”
He says his legal woes are behind him. He says he spent three weeks in jail this summer back in Richmond, which didn’t faze him much.
“I knew most of the people in there,” Evans said. “I didn’t get into any fights or trouble. It was cool.”
Upon his release, he made his way to Tulsa, Okla., for Jerry Mullen’s JUCO 120 Camp, where Evans says he “killed it” despite not playing for a month. Evans says he earned the camps’s No. 1 ranking — a claim I tried to confirm through Mullen but was unsuccessful in reaching — and his recruitment roared back to life.
“Tennessee has offered,” said Evans, who doesn’t want to sign early but just might anyway. “Texas Tech, Florida State and Louisville are after me.”
With Evans, clarification is necessary.
An offer from Louisville? “No, no offer,” he said.
Bob Knight wants you? “He said he likes guys like me,” Evans said.
Maryland remains a factor, but Evans doesn’t want to stay close to home. Bad things happen, he said, and he says he has changed his image a little bit.
But back to K-State. He likes the coaching staff, but he doesn’t seem inclined to go to Manhattan if Mike Beasley and Bill Walker aren’t around. And then there’s that “other” team in the state.
Seems that at every game in Tulsa at Mullen’s camp, Kansas assistant Danny Manning was front and center, watching. Evans said that Manning called some of his people in Richmond and told them Evans was the best college player he’d ever seen. According to Evans, Manning left a message on a friend’s cell phone — a message Evans said he later heard — in which the KU assistant said, “That Tyree Kid, I gotta get him.”
Again, this is straight from Evans.