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Kansas lands first commitment in 2019 recruiting class

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Kansas landed their first commitment in the Class of 2019 as Christian Braun, a four-star guard from Overland Park, pledged to the Jayhawks.

Braun is from a basketball family. His brother, Parker, is a preferred walk-on at Missouri, where is mother, an uncle and an aunt all played collegiately. His father played college hoops at Saint Louis before going to Kansas for med school.

This is a nice pickup for the Jayhawks, as Braun profiles as the kind of four-year kid that Bill Self has had plenty of success with. Think Tyrel Reed or Brady Morningstar. He’s a good shooter and, at 6-foot-5, big enough to be able to defend a couple of positions on the perimeter. He’s not a program-changing talent, but he’s a good player that will be able to fill a role for Self for years to come.

Five-star guard Cole Anthony announces 12 finalists

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For a kid that’s the son of an NBA player (who also is prominently on TV as an analyst) and a top-five recruit, Cole Anthony has kept his recruitment remarkably quiet. Our own Rob Dauster wrote 2,500 words on him earlier this summer, and still had to “read the tea leaves” as to who, exactly, was recruiting the talented guard.

Anthony finally provided some clarity on the situation ahead of his senior year.

Twelve schools made the cut for Anthony, who will now consider Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisville, Oregon, Villanova, Wake Forest, Pitt, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Miami as his college destination.

Anthony essentially had his pick of any school in the country, so this list is a trim, but considering the size of it, Anthony is still keeping his options open. Those options basically being all the top programs in the country. And Pitt.

(Sorry, that was mean to the Panthers. Clearly the hiring of Jeff Capel, who spearheaded Duke’s recruiting of recent seasons, is putting them in contention for top-level players.)

Anthony has said previously he’s looking to make a spring decision on where he’ll attend school.


Four-star 2019 PG Markese Jacobs reopens recruitment

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Point guard Markese Jacobs, Kansas’ first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019, announced Friday that he has decided to reopen his recruitment. A native of Chicago, Jacobs committed to Kansas in the fall of 2016.

Given the way in which things can change in the recruiting world, it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that Jacobs is going in this direction nearly two years after making his pledge to become a Jayhawk. A 5-foot-11 lead guard who attends Uplift Community High School, Jacobs played for the Mac Irvin Fire grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit this summer.

In the aftermath of Jacobs’ decision the four-star point guard received offers from Florida State and Nebraska.

The news leaves Kansas without a commit in the 2019 class for the time being, but there’s obviously plenty of time left for the program to evaluate other point guard options. All three of Kansas’ current scholarship point guards, sophomores Marcus Garrett and Charlie Moore and freshman Devon Dotson, are underclassmen.

Evansville lands former Kansas guard Sam Cunliffe

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Tuesday afternoon guard Sam Cunliffe announced that he will be transferring from Kansas to Evansville, where he’ll play for first-year head coach Walter McCarty.

Cunliffe, a Top 100 recruit who began his collegiate career at Arizona State, appeared in 15 games last season for Kansas and averaged 1.9 points in just under five minutes per game. Playing time was tough to come by for Cunliffe once he became eligible to compete at Kansas, and that was likely to be the case again in 2018-19 given how loaded the Jayhawks are on the perimeter.

Three of Kansas’ four incoming freshmen are perimeter players, and Memphis transfers Dedric and K.J. Lawson can play on the wing as well. Add in senior LaGerald Vick, who originally had no plans of returning to school after entering his name into the 2018 NBA Draft, and guards Marcus Garrett and Charlie Moore (a transfer from Cal), and Bill Self will have a lot of options from which to choose this season.

Cunliffe joins an Evansville program that will have to account for the loss of its top three scorers from a season ago, including a guard in Ryan Taylor who averaged 21.3 points per game. Cunliffe won’t be able to help the Purple Aces in game action this season, but he’s a talented option McCarty can use as a feature option as he looks to build a program that can consistently contend in the Missouri Valley.

Kansas ordered to turn over materials about Adidas, recruit

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A grand jury investigating alleged recruiting abuses in college basketball ordered the University of Kansas earlier this year to turn over communications involving its men’s team coaches and at least one prospective recruit, newly released records show.

The federal grand jury in New York also demanded copies of any agreements with apparel manufacturer Adidas and communications between the basketball coaches and company representatives.

“These documents do not suggest any wrongdoing by the university,” spokesman Andy Hyland said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press, referring to the two subpoenas, which were sent in January and March. “We are cooperating fully with investigators in this matter.”

The university released edited copies of the subpoenas Tuesday. Each demands documents and communications regarding “the recruitment and enrollment” of a person whose name is blacked out, so that it is not clear whether both subpoenas refer to a single person or different people, or whether they involved someone who ultimately enrolled at Kansas.

The subpoenas were part of a multi-year investigation into the alleged payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks designed to influence recruits in choosing a school, agent or apparel company.

Multiple schools are enmeshed in the investigation, including Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina State and Maryland, which earlier this month released copies of subpoenas it received. The fallout has included the ouster of Louisville’s Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino, who was not charged criminally.

“Because this is an active investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time,” Hyland said in his email.

The first subpoena to Kansas was issued Jan. 8 and demanded the production of records by Jan. 22. It sought documents, including emails and texts, from Jan. 1, 2016, going forward.

It included documents and communications between men’s basketball coaching staff or any other athletic department member regarding the recruitment or enrollment of the unnamed person, family or representatives.

It also demanded all “application and/or enrollment forms, financial aid forms, eligibility forms including any NCAA student athlete statements, and/or any national letter of intent” submitted by or on behalf of the unnamed person “whether completed or in draft form.”

The same subpoena also demanded contracts and other agreements between Kansas and Adidas effective after the start of 2016 and any communications between the athletic department and men’s basketball coaches with current or former Adidas employees.

The second subpoena to Kansas was issued March 14 and demanded the production of documents by March 23. It covered only documents regarding the recruitment and enrollment of an unnamed person.

Kansas guard to transfer out of the program

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Kansas announced on Monday afternoon that junior guard Sam Cunliffe will be transferring out of the program.

“Even though we hate to see Sam leave, we totally respect his decision,” head coach Bill Self said in a statement. “Sam has been terrific since he’s been here. He’s been a great teammate. He’s been a guy that has put forth the effort and it hasn’t translated to playing time for him yet. I respect this because the opportunity for him to impact another program would probably be greater now, than it would be a year from now. We wish him the best. We’ll always be a fan and pull for him.”

Cunliffe played sparingly for the Jayhawks during their run to the 2018 Final Four after transferring into the program from Arizona State. He played in 15 games, getting eligible during the semester break, but managed just 4.9 minutes per contest.

“After the season I was exploring my options, trying to do what’s best,” Cunliffe said. “I wasn’t for sure if I wanted to go but I needed see it out and go until I came to a clear decision. After going through (summer) workouts with the team and talking with the coaches and my family, we all agreed that this is the best decision for me, to go play somewhere else. I know now having gone through this process.”

He averaged 9.5 points during his one semester as a freshman at Arizona State.