Kareem Richardson has had a good week for his first recruiting class as the University of Missouri-Kansas City head coach, and it’s only Tuesday evening.
Olathe South Senior High (Kan.) shooting guard Noah Knight became Richardson’s first commit. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard landed a scholarship offer from UMKC on July 15, and picked the Kangaroos on Monday night, according to his AAU team MoKan Elite.
Less than 24 hours later, Cahokia High School (Ill.) small forward joined Knight in Richardson’s inaugural recruiting class. The 6-foot-6 small forward Darius Austin was also considering DePaul, Drake, Indiana State and Murray State. Austin will be a versatile player for Richardson, serving as a point forward.
“I built a relationship with Coach Richardson when he was at Xavier,” Austin told Nate Latsch of STLToday.com. “He was recruiting me when he was at Xavier, and it was a special relationship. He stayed consistent. He never backed off. He stayed on me. When he was at Louisville, he recruited me there. Then he recruited me hard at UMKC and stayed on me. I felt like that was the right place for me.”
Hours later, Seward County Community College (Kan.) 6-foot-8 forward Thaddeus Smith became No. 3 for Richardson in the two-day span, according to Rivals National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi.
Richardson was hired on Mar. 19 after serving as an assistant coach on Louisville’s national championship team this past season. He takes over for Matt Brown, who was fired after an 8-24 (5-11 Summit) record in 2012-2013. The Kangaroos are moving from the Summit League to the Western Athletic Conference this season.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.