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Kansas Gets to the Point; O’Bryant, Harrison and Royal Commit; Other Pledges from the Recruiting Beat

Naadir Tharpe - Brewster Academy/Kansas (Photo credit: Robert E. Klein/Boston Globe)

Hardcore Kansas fans were certainly perturbed as the Jayhawks missed out on highly-touted guard Josiah Turner, when he pledged to Arizona several weeks ago.  Kansas was presumed to be the leader for Turner, and it was somewhat out of the blue when Turner pledged after tripping to Tucson.  Kansas tried to turn up the heat on Oak Hill Academy guard Quinn Cook in conjunction with their pursuit of wing Ben McLemore, but the popular belief was that they were trailing Duke and North Carolina.

Yesterday, Kansas got a stellar consolation prize in #72 Naadir Tharpe, a pass-first 5′-11″ point guard from Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH).  Tharpe was formerly committed to Providence, and should be around in Lawrence for several seasons.  Tharpe will be a great distributor of the basketball to Kansas’ many talented options, and is a great insurance policy if current freshman Josh Selby is, as believed, a one and done player.

Additionally, Tharpe could be a help in Kansas’ pursuit of Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7′-0″ 2012 center, and Tharpe’s teammate on the New England Playaz.

Though it was popular belief for about a week, Johnny O’Bryant made his commitment public today to LSU.  O’Bryant’s committment to LSU could mean more than any player to any other program in the class of 2011.  He has a unique ability and is considered by some sources to be the top center in the 2011 class.  O’Bryant could step in and start immediately, and is a huge win for coach Trent Johnson.  Scout.com did a great video today on O’Bryant to LSU.

It went down to the last minute, with recruiting analysts fit to be tied, and ultimately 6′-8″ forward Julian Royal of Milton (Alpahretta, GA) went with Georgia Tech, over Georgia.  Royal eliminated Wake Forest from his list recently, leading into the in-state showdown for his services.  Royal came in at #58 in our consensus class of 2011 rankings, and is the first Georgia Tech commit in their 2011 class.

#49 D’Angelo Harrison of Dulles (Fort Bend, TX) made the call today on ESPNU to St. John’s.  The cat came out of the bag yesterday, as several sources indicated that Harrison was set to pick the Red Storm, though at least one recruiting news outlet took the contrary view that Oklahoma State would win Harrison’s services.

Harrison is a unique talent as an athletic 6′-3″ guard.  Harrison wasn’t very well-known until the spring circuit, where he scorched nets playing for the Franchize All-Stars, a Texas-based AAU team.  Anyone who doubted the impact that new coach Steve Lavin would have on the St. John’s program has their foot firmly placed in their mouth at this point.  In Harrison and previously committed forwards Jakarr Sampson and Maurice Harkless, St. John’s has a good core to work from, but also has at least 5 other pledges to give to fill out next season’s roster.  Stay tuned!

Other commits from the college basketball recruiting trail:

  • 6′-6″ small forward George Matthews of Westwind Prep (Phoenix, AZ) committed to Utah.  Matthews is a solid pickup for the Utes as they embark on Pac 10 (12?) play next season, as he had a solid four year prep career at St. Mary’s (Phoenix, AZ) prior to prepping at Westwind.
  • SMU picked up their best 2011 commit so far in 6′-9″ power forward Cannen Cunningham of Arlington Lamar (Arlington, TX).  According to Rivals.com, Cunningham picked SMU over Arkansas, Boston College, Purdue and Texas Tech.  It’s been a good week for SMU as similarly talented forward Jalen Jones also committed earlier in the week.
  • David Lamore of Dexter (Dexter, MI) made the call to Cornell, reportedly over James Madison, Tulane, and Navy.  Lamore is a 6′-9″ center.
  • IUPUI grabbed their third prospect out of the Bluegrass State, scoring 6′-4″ shooting guard Marcellus Barksdale of Tates Creek (Lexington, KY).  Barksdale reportedly selected IUPUI over Morehead State.
  • San Francisco added some size to their roster, as the Dons received a verbal commitment from 6′-9″ power forward Mark Tollefsen of San Ramon Valley (Danville, CA).
  • UW-Green Bay took a verbal from 6′-8″ power forward Greg Mays of Crete-Monee (Crete, IL).
  • The Citadel has grabbed a pair of forwards in recent days, in 6′-7″ Jordan Robertson of Greensboro Day (Greensboro, NC) and 6′-8″ PJ Horgan of Cleveland (Rio Rancho, NM)
  • 6′-4″ shooting guard Kevin Henderson of Auburn (Auburn, WA) committed to Montana, over Portland State.
  • Northstar Basketball is reporting that St. Francis (NY) grabbed big man Jalen Cannon of William Allen (Allentown, PA).
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