Ultimately, it turned out to be a Kansas-Kansas State battle for blue-chip high school center Gethro Muscadin.
“It was those two schools,” Muscadin, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound senior from Aspire Academy in Louisville, Kentucky told The Star on Thursday afternoon after announcing for KU on Twitter. He also seriously considered Louisville, Texas Tech and Minnesota during the recruiting process.
“It was a tough decision but I knew this was the best way. Kansas is where I wanted to go. It’s where my heart told me to go,” Muscadin, a native of Haiti, added in a phone interview. “I mean it’s the tradition, the relationship I have with the coaches. I feel Kansas is the best spot for me to reach my goals the next few years.
“I felt great about the school. It’s where my heart was. So today I was like, ‘Why not?’’’ he added of moving his commitment from an announced date of Nov. 1 to Thursday.
Muscadin, the No. 131-rated player in the recruiting class of 2020 according to Rivals.com, attended Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas, last season. He transferred to Aspire Academy this year.
“His ultimate goal of playing in the NBA weighed heavily in his decision,” Aspire Academy coach Jeremy Kipness told The Star. “They’ve done a great job developing players. They play for a national championship every year.”
Muscadin told The Star he hopes to play in college at least two years.
“I love it there, the coaches and players. They have experience coaching guys like me,” Muscadin said. “It is where you want to go knowing they (coaches) know you and players like you.”
His high school coach says the tools are there to play basketball professionally someday.
“He is a modern day big. He can play the 5, the 4. At the end of the day, he is positionless,” Kipness said. “He is able to impact the game in different ways. He is an elite level rebounder. He rebounds outside his area and finishes the play as well. That is a huge thing. He’s able to stretch the floor, pick and pop, keep the defense honest with his perimeter shot.
“He’s able to protect the rim and block shots and will do that more and more as he develops. He’s just scratched the surface. The good news is he’s a coach’s dream, willing to soak up knowledge.”
A former soccer player, Muscadin started playing basketball in Haiti at 15. He moved to the U.S. at 16.
“My people back home are proud of me. I know that for sure,” Muscadin told The Star.
He described his game.
“I am a great shot blocker. I rebound hard. I love that,” Muscadin said. “I pass it well. I can shoot it, too. I make good decisions.”
Muscadin said he’s not worried about the fact the NCAA has alleged major violations by coach Bill Self and the KU basketball program.
“We discussed it. Coach Self told me not to worry about it. Obviously it doesn’t bother me,” Muscadin said. “I really like coach Self. He is a great coach and person. He has a great personality. We talk a lot. I feel he really cares about me. He cares about his players. It’s something I like about him. I’m looking for somebody that will push you. He will push me every day to get better.”
Muscadin is the second player to commit to KU in the recruiting class of 2020. The Jayhawks on Monday received an oral commitment from 6-foot-7 Indian Hills Community College sophomore guard/forward Tyon Grant-Foster. He is a graduate of Schlagle High School in Kansas City.
KU, which figures to learn its NCAA fate sometime next spring or summer, will likely need to fill several vacant roster spots for next season. KU currently has 12 players on scholarship, one under the NCAA limit of 13. The Jayhawks will lose scholarship seniors Udoka Azubuike and Isaiah Moss with current senior Mitch Lightfoot possibly redshirting this season and returning for a fifth year.
Meanwhile, non-seniors Silvio De Sousa, Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack all could conceivably turn pro. Losing others to the pros or transfer is always a possibility.
Isaiah Todd, a 6-10 senior from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, who is ranked No. 10 in the recruiting class of 2020 by Rivals.com, orally committed to Michigan on Thursday night at his high school. Various recruiting analysts had said in days leading up to the announcement that Michigan was the heavy favorite.