University of Kansas

Kansas basketball pursues 2020 five-star recruits Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham

Bill Self is no stranger to Montverde Academy in Florida, the national powerhouse that has produced the likes of Ben Simmons, D’Angelo Russell, and for a brief time, former Kansas center Joel Embiid.

So it’s no surprise that Self is trying to get two more prospects out of the basketball factory just outside Orlando in five-star recruits Cade Cunningham and Moses Moody.

The duo are just a fraction of the loaded team coach Kevin Boyle trots out every year and both said at the Nike EYBL session in Indianapolis this past weekend that they’ve been hearing from Self, the Jayhawks’ head coach, and assistant Jerrance Howard.

“Coach Howard and Coach Self have been recruiting me very hard,” Cunningham said. “They offered me after my freshman season. It’s been steady the whole time.”

Considered a top-10 prospect in the 2020 class, Cunningham is a 6-foot-6 point guard who can score at will but also serves as a good facilitator.

He said he wants to go to college with other top players and has been keeping an eye on programs such as KU, Duke and Kentucky to see who else they’re recruiting and how he would potentially fit with them. Cunningham said fellow five-star recruits Brandon Boston, Greg Brown and recent Duke commit Jeremy Roach are all guys he enjoys playing with.

“It definitely makes sense to see who else they’re recruiting,” he said. “I play a certain style of game. There’s some guys that I’m really good friends with. It depends on who the guy is. I like playing with guys that like to win. If you like to win, we’ll be fine.”

Cunningham wouldn’t commit to visiting Kansas, but said “it’s a possibility” that he takes a trip to Lawrence in the near future. He plans to cut his list of schools soon.

Moody arrived at Montverde after transferring from his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. The 6-foot-5 combo guard was a heavy target by former Arkansas coach Mike Anderson and has remained a priority for new Hogs coach Eric Musselman.

He’s also hearing from the likes of Ohio State, Texas Tech and Florida. Fellow Kansas target and 2019 forward Precious Achiuwa is another teammate at Montverde and Moody said playing under Boyle against fellow top players leaves one no choice but to elevate their game.

“Playing under Coach Boyle is just, you can’t help but to learn, and then with the guys in my lineup, with (Miami signee) Harlond (Beverly) and Cade and Precious and … just the way they compete in practice, you have no choice but to get better,” he said.

Barnes hearing from KU

Five-star power forward Scottie Barnes said he was visited by Kentucky last week in Florida, but added that the Jayhawks remain firmly in the mix for his recruitment.

A 6-foot-8 scorer, Barnes said Kansas also paid him a visit in recent weeks and said he’s constantly hearing from the Jayhawks coaching staff.

“We text like every day,” Barnes said. “We’re still developing a good relationship.”

Barnes could be a target Kansas has to wait some time for as he said he has no plans to immediately take the next step in his recruitment. He said he plans to sign next spring, which allows him to take his team and watch which schools take another player at his position or elect to wait him out.

A name to watch

As a 2021 recruit, Kansas City’s Lonnell Lane can’t start hearing from schools until June, but when the time comes, he might need a new cell phone plan.

The point guard for a loaded under-16 MoKan Elite team, Lane is a fast-playing point guard that likes to push the tempo and attack the rim. Playing at Harmon High School in Kansas City, Kansas, Lane said his passing has improved since his high school season, while his off-the-dribble shooting still needs work.

The vibe around the gym in Indianapolis is that Lane will be a Power Five recruit and he said he’s already been to games at Kentucky and Kansas.

When asked who his favorite team was as a kid, he didn’t hesitate.

“Kansas,” he said. “Rock Chalk.”

Lane fits the mold of some of KU’s former point guards in Frank Mason and Devonté Graham, which makes it interesting to see if the Jayhawks’ staff takes a look at him in the coming years.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.