LAWRENCE — One of Bill Self’s top recruiting targets in the 2016 class is now off the board.
Terrance Ferguson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Prime Prep in Dallas, verbally committed to Alabama on Monday, ending his high-profile recruitment a little sooner than expected. Ferguson, a native of Tulsa, Okla., is rated as the nation’s No. 11 overall player, according to Rivals.com.
For much of the spring, Kansas was believed to be in solid position to land Ferguson, who played for Mo Williams Academy on the Under Armour grassroots circuit. Instead, Ferguson has opted to play for Avery Johnson, the former Dallas Mavericks coach who took over the Alabama program in the spring.
“I want to start my own legacy and I don’t want to follow in anybody else’s footsteps,” Ferguson told Rivals in an interview announcing his decision. “For that, Alabama is the place to be.”
It’s still August, which means this recruiting miss won’t register as much as it would in November or April. But it’s still a loss, nonetheless. Ferguson was among Kansas’ prime recruiting targets in its latest class.
Self and his staff are bracing to sign a large recruiting class in 2016. The Jayhawks will lose senior forwards Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson, while freshman forward Cheick Diallo projects as a possible one-and-done player. There is also the possibility — however remote — that others could ponder an early entry into the NBA Draft. Sophomore guard Svi Mykhailiuk is considered a solid pro prospect — though he is also still 18 years old and trying to secure a spot in the KU rotation. Junior guard Wayne Selden is also a player who could repair his NBA stock with a strong season. Junior guard Frank Mason could be Kansas’ best player in 2015-16, but he is still an undersized point guard, at least in NBA terms.
So where does Kansas turn after missing out on Ferguson? The Jayhawks are still pursuing Rivals’ No. 1 overall recruit, Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-7 forward out of Prolific Prep in California. They are also on the final list for five-star big man Harry Giles, who will reportedly visit KU during the weekend of Late Night in the Phog in October. Giles, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., is also considering North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest and, among recruiting insiders, is a safe bet to stay in the state of North Carolina.