Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self has extended a scholarship offer to Marial Mading, a 6-foot-10, 195-pound freshman forward from Chipola (Florida) Junior College, Jayhawkslant.com reported Thursday.
Mading, who has heard from KU, Florida and others, will attend the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog as part of an unofficial visit, he told the Website’s Shay Wildeboor.
Mading signed a National Letter of Intent with Rhode Island during the November 2018 signing period and attended classes at the school after graduating from Springfield Commonwealth Academy in Massachusetts midway through the 2018-19 school year.
He decided to enter the transfer portal in May, ultimately electing to play junior college one season.
As an unranked high school senior, Mading received offers from Rhode Island, Tulane, Old Dominion, Texas Tech, Hofstra and Houston. Originally from Sudan, he grew up in Australia.
“Socially he is beyond his years,” former Springfield Commonwealth coach Walter Mfuko told Zagsblog.com in October of 2018. “He’s a very bright and articulate kid.
“He’s all of 6-10 with the ability to operate in the pick and roll at a high level. He passes very well and is an unselfish decision-maker. He is a true wing. He has very good length with a 6-11 wingspan. He is developing as an on-ball defender but uses his size well to protect the rim. He shoots well and needs to continue to add size to his frame, improve his three-point consistency and defend at a high level,” Mfuko added.
Love switches date of KU visit
Caleb Love, a 6-3 senior point guard from Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, has switched the date of his KU visit from Oct. 11-13 to Oct. 18-20 because of a conflict with USA Basketball, according to Rivals.com.
“Don’t know if it’s ideal that it’s three weeks after any other visits,” Bossi says. “That’s a long time between visits when guys are getting into decision making mode.”
Love has narrowed his list to four schools: KU, Missouri, North Carolina and Louisville. He will visit North Carolina (Sept 20-22) and Louisville (Sept. 27-29). He’s already visited Missouri. Love is ranked No. 20 in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com.
KU No. 2 in ESPN’s poll
Kansas is ranked No. 2 in the country in ESPN.com’s most recent preseason Top 25 basketball poll, which was released on Thursday.
Fellow Champions Classic participants Michigan State and Kentucky check in at Nos. 1 and 3 respectively, while KU’s foe in the Classic, Duke, is No. 6.
Florida is ranked No. 4 and Louisville No. 5. Oregon is No. 7 followed by North Carolina, Gonzaga, Maryland, Villanova, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Memphis, Seton Hall, Virginia, Baylor, Arizona, Utah State, Xavier, Saint Mary’s, Marquette, Washington, Colorado and LSU.
Of KU, ESPN.com’s Jeff Borzello wrote: “Bill Self had to remake this roster over the course of the offseason, including some surprising moves (Quentin Grimes leaving, Silvio De Sousa getting cleared, Isaiah Moss flipping from Iowa to the Jayhawks), but he’s got the pieces to compete for a title. Devon Dotson is one of the premier point guards in the country, and Udoka Azubuike is a dominant force down low when he’s healthy and on the floor. There’s a ton of depth in Lawrence, too. One key could be the emergence of David McCormack as an alternative and/or depth for Azubuike. McCormack played an extended role after Azubuike’s injury last season and posted four double-figure scoring outings in his final seven games. Self will be able to mix and match as he pleases this season.”
Tip for KU-Tennessee is 3 p.m.
Tipoff time for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge game between KU and Tennessee will be 3 p.m. Central time Jan. 25 at Allen Fieldhouse, the conferences announced Thursday. Earlier in the week, it was announced that KU and Duke would play the early game in the Champions Classic (6 p.m. Central time Nov. 5 in New York). Michigan State and Kentucky will meet approximately 8:30 p.m.
KU coaches meet with Thor
KU coach Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend on Thursday made a recruiting visit to the Atlanta area to see J.T. Thor, a 6-9 senior forward from Norcross (Georgia) High School. Thor, who visited Oklahoma State last weekend, will attend the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog as part of an official visit to KU. Georgia, UCLA and Kentucky are are also on his list of schools. He’s the No. 52-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2020 according to Rivals.com.
“At this point right now it is definitely Kansas. They’ve probably made him No. 1 priority the most,” Thor’s brother, Jal Thor, told Cats Illustrated. “Georgia has been on him very hard too. They’ve been calling every day. They’ve pretty much said, ‘You’re our No. 1 guy. We have Anthony Edwards, We need somebody to come in and do what he does just like you, and be on your way out.’ They’re kind of pitching that.’’
Jal Thor added: “Right now we’re kind of still up in the air. We’re listening to what everybody has to say. We want to see kind of what everybody else is doing because he wants to play with a really good guard. That’s why Oklahoma State is in there because they’re close with Cade Cunningham. UCLA has Daishen Nix. So he wants to play with good guards so he is watching that closely. Right now we’re just taking it slowly. He’s probably going to pick somewhere by November, but he probably won’t sign until late.”
McCormack draws praise
KU forward David McCormack is included on Rivals.com’s list of 10 players who “should make big leaps” as sophomores.
McCormack, a 6-10, 265 second-year player from from Norfolk, Virginia, who averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in limited duty a year ago, ranks No. 7 on the list.
“Kansas is going to have an interesting front-line situation with senior Udoka Azubuike back from injury and Silvio De Sousa back from suspension so it may be tough for McCormack to get big minutes. But the game started to slow down for the rugged big man late in his freshman season,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He’s continued to get in better shape and he’s going to be too physical and play with too much energy to not log more than the 10.7 minutes per game he played as a freshman.”