KJ’s  Basketball Journal                                     June 20, 2000


Lakers win and BB is now officially over for the season.  Personally, the basketball season essentially ended with ISU’s loss to Michigan State in the Midwest Regional round of the NCAA tourney.


While I usually experience severe withdrawal symptoms and twiddle my thumbs during the off-season, this year I’m working on my new web site, HoopsZone.  It will focus primarily on the Kansas Jayhawks, of course, with information and analyses for every KU team since 1898, coaches and assistants, players, records, statistics, links to other KU basketball sites, etc.  HoopsZone will also have info on Iowa’s big four, Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa.  Mark Wheeler, my business partner and fellow hoops junkie, has agreed to occasionally offer his viewpoints as an avid Hawkeye, and hopefully we’ll get Norm Riggs’ (aka white chocolate) insights on the Bulldogs.


Future editions of KJ’s Basketball Journal will be published on this website, rather than through email. I expect to have it up and running in the fall, before the basketball season starts.  At such time, I’ll send you an announcement via email.

KU Recruiting     In a word: DISASTER!  The biggest disappointment of the recruiting season was the DeShawn Stevenson debacle, which ended with Stevenson declaring for the NBA draft, after having committed to KU, then saying he was going pro, changing his mind after passing his ACT, etc., etc.  He was ranked by most recruiting gurus as the best high school point guard in the country.  Then there was the Travon Bryant situation.  Reportedly the best power forward in the US, he put KU on his short list, but eventually chose Missouri after Williams decided not to pursue him.  So, not only did we not get Bryant, but also we’ll have to play against him (so let’s hope he goes out for the NBA early).

The Jayhawks ended up with three players, none of which are classed as “diaper-dandies”.  Mario Kinsey is a football quarterback recruit out of LeVega High School in Waco, TX. At 6’2, 185 lbs., he is a basketball point guard, who plans to redshirt his freshman football season.  Also signed was 6’6 swing forward Bryant Nash from Turner HS in Carrollton, TX, where he averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks his senior season.  He has already qualified academically.  Chris Zerbe, a 6’5 transfer from Hutchison Juco, will walk on.  He went to high school in Andover, KS.

With the transfer of Marlon London to DePaul, KU has six scholarships to give for next year.  Wayne Simien, a 6’8 forward senior-to-be of Leavenworth, KS, has already committed.

Drake Recruiting      Coach Kurt Kanaskie has done an excellent job this year.  Mike O’Neill, a 6’10 260 pound center, is transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, the same school that produced Lewis Lloyd, who averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds for Drake from 1979-81.  O’Neill is one of six transfers who will join the Bulldogs this season.  Also signed were 6’2 Dontaie Smith  and 6’3 off guard Aaron Knight, both of St. Catherine Junior College in Kentucky (the same school that produced current Bulldog guard Lamont Evans); 6’7 Albert Jampierre of Daytona Beach CC; and T.J. Welton, a 6’5 forward from Kirkwood CC in Cedar Rapids (who played high school ball at Hoover HS in Des Moines). Andry Sola, a 6’7 forward will also be available after transferring from George Washington last year.  Perhaps the best of the incoming recruits, however, is freshman Luke McDonald, a 6’5 guard from Friendship High in Wolfforth, TX.

Another recruit, point guard David Newman (also from Hoover HS), will have to sit out this season after transferring from Northwestern.

Iowa Hawkeye’s Recruiting      Steve Alford brought in one of the nation’s best recruiting classes this year, including eight newcomers.  A probable starter will be Luke Recker, a 6’6 guard who transferred from Arizona/Indiana. Three other possible starters are juco All-American Reggie Evans, a 230 lb. power forward transfer from Coffeyville CC; 6’11 freshman center Jared Reiner, from Tripp, SD; and freshman Glen Worley, a 6’8 forward from Iowa City West HS.  Both Reiner and Worley were heavily recruited by KU.

Other Hawkeye recruits include Sean Sonderleiter, a 6’9 225 lb. center from Des Moines Christian; Indiana scoring king Brody Boyd, a 5’11 guard from Union HS in Dugger, IN; Ryan Hogan, a 6’3 transfer from Kentucky; and Courtney Scott, a 6’5 power forward from Lansing, MI.

Iowa’s first recruit for 2001 is Pierre Pierce (you gotta like that name!), 6’4 from Westmont, IL.  Sometime back, high school junior-to-be Jeff Horner of Mason City also committed to the Hawkeyes.

Iowa State Recruiting     Even though Indian Hills CC superstar Ernest Brown has declared for the NBA after first signing with ISU, Coach Eustachy’s incoming class looks awfully good. Transfer Tyray Pearson, a 6’7 forward from Kankakee CC is the most highly touted.  He’ll be joined by four high school recruits, including forward Shane Power from Crown Point, IN; 6’2 guard Zach Fortune, Nebraska’s Mr. Basketball last year at Bellevue West HS; Andrew Skogland, a 7’1 center from Minnetonka, MN; and Jake Sullivan, a 6’1 guard out of Oakdale, MN.  Guard Marcus Jefferson, who transferred from Providence, will have to sit out the season.

Luke is Back!     Luke Axtell, who left KU’s team last season because of an undisclosed medical condition, is healthy now and will be back for the 2000-01 season.  He also has been picked to play on the Big 12 Conference All-Star team that will play six games in Austria and Slovakia this August.  One player from each of the league’s 12 teams has been selected to the All-Star team.  Also selected was Jamaal Tinsley of Iowa State.

p.s.  Wilt Chamberlain’s untimely death reminded me of the story about former KU coach Phog Allen, who, upon being informed by the press that Wilt had announced he was going to college at KU, commented that he “hoped that Chamberlain would go out for basketball.”