University of Kansas

Jamari Traylor signs with Kansas basketball team

Wednesday was going to be a big day for the sub-section of the Kansas basketball fans that spends more time thinking about players that aren't on campus than the ones that are.

Three high-school seniors were going to decide whether or not to make KU their college choice, and that meant the recruiting-obsessed fans could lay their heads to rest Wednesday night finally knowing what the Jayhawks would look like next season at Late Night at the Phog.

Turned out, that feeling of closure would have to wait another day.

Five-star forward DeAndre Daniels, the top unsigned prospect in the 2011 class who is choosing between Kansas, Texas and Oregon, decided to put off his decision to this morning. Andy Borman, Daniels' coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., said that Daniels will actually pick a school today, but it should be noted that Daniels has been rumored to be close to an announcement numerous times in the last five months.

Wednesday was the last day of the late signing period. And, while Daniels couldn't bring himself to sign his name and send a fax, there was some significant action.

First, at 2 p.m., five-star shooting guard Trevor Lacey, a native of Huntsville, Ala., announced at a press conference at Butler High that he was going to stay home and sign with Alabama, choosing the Crimson Tide over Kansas, Kentucky and Auburn.

Then, within the hour, three-star power forward Jamari Traylor assuaged disappointed Jayhawks everywhere with an announcement that he had chosen to sign with KU over Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Indiana and St. John's.

Traylor, a 6-foot-7 Chicago native who attends IMG Academy with Daniels, is rated the No. 141 player in the class by Rivals.com. He is described as a raw talent, a high-energy guy who will be expected to provide depth behind Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey next season.

"I hope to bring some toughness," Traylor said. "I never give up. I can attack the basket with the best in the country."

Traylor fills a need for the Jayhawks, but his signing didn't bring as much excitement as Lacey's would have. Lacey is known as a dependable three-point shooter, which is something that the Jayhawks will be looking for with the departures of Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed. Lacey said that his relationship with Alabama coach Anthony Grant was the difference.

"If you have what you're looking for at home, why leave?" Lacey said.

Traylor found what he was looking for at Kansas. He said he knew he wanted to be a Jayhawk when he made his official visit April 22-23. KU first contacted him in March, he said, and it was clear from the beginning that the Jayhawks were going to need help inside with the early departure of the Morris twins.

"He's a young guy that really wants to be good," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He's got a motor very similar to Thomas, and he's an athlete that at 6-7 can basically guard all five positions. We think he will be an immediate and major contributor for us.

"I really feel Jamari could be a sleeper that everybody will say 'Where did you get him?' a couple years from now."

Traylor has only been playing organized basketball for three years. He was a football player at Julian High in Chicago until the basketball coach there, Loren Jackson, convinced him to come out for basketball. After Jackson took a job at IMG Academy last summer, Traylor followed him there for the past year to develop his skills and get acclimated to a college lifestyle. He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds for IMG this season, and Borman said he is ready to play in the Big 12.

"Athletically," Borman said, "he will not be overmatched. He will not run into an athlete that is superior to him. He'll be fine."

Traylor signed on Wednesday afternoon. Kansas, which lost seven scholarship players from last season, still has three scholarships available for next season.

If Daniels, the No. 10 player in the class according to Rivals, chooses KU, he'll get to play with IMG teammates Traylor and Christian Garrett, a walk-on who will also be a freshman in the fall. Traylor said that he isn't pressuring Daniels, though.

"I'm not gonna try to convince him," Traylor said. "I don't think it's my job to recruit anybody. He's one of my best friends here. I hope he makes a good decision, too."

Daniels' commitment would give Self the home run he's been looking for to end this recruiting period. A slender 6-foot-8, Daniels could play small forward or power forward for the Jayhawks.

  Comments