I hope Bill Self has recruiting incentives built in to his contract, 'cause he has pulled off a masterpiece.
Well, all that gibberish about welcoming Dwight Lewis with open arms looks mainly to be just that at this point. I said to some friend yesterday that I didn't think we'd be seeing him at KU, and today's news confirms it. But before that became fact, we did get the standard PR posturing from family of recruit on why Lewis made his decision:
"I really don't want to get into details. He is re-opening his recruitment," Lewis' dad, Dwight, Sr., told the Journal-World on Monday. "Kansas is still being considered. Everything with Kansas is exactly the same as before. The staff is wonderful. There's not a problem."
And then reality sets in, twice.
Though KU officially remains on his list -- with LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, Miami, USC and others -- sources have told the Journal-World the Jayhawks no longer will consider Lewis for one of four available scholarships in the Class of 2006.
Also, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports today that LSU will not recruit the Archbishop Rummel High player.
My favorite take on this came from a Phog.net poster yesterday, who entitled a new topic "What was your favorite moment of the Dwight Lewis era?"
Goodbye son, and good luck wherever the wind may take ye.
No Rush for Mizzou?
It's played out in the comments section already, but I ought to bring attention to this quote from today's Star:
"(Missouri) was just a fall-back plan," Rush said. "I don't have any interest in going there. I'm just ready to pick a school so I can chill out until school starts."
Eric Bossi is reporting that Dwight Lewis is back on the market again?
After playing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the Reebok ABCD camp and competing in the Adidas Super 64 with the New Orleans Jazz, it looks like Lewis has decided to reopen his recruitment. Phog.net spoke with Lewis' high school coach Steve Alfonso who confirmed that his player was back on the open market.
"Yes, he has reopened his recruitment," said Alfonso. "I don't really know why yet, but he has decided to reopen things."
At this point it is unclear who else will jump into Lewis' recruitment. However, according to Alfonso there is still a scholarship offer on the table from the Kansas staff.
"It's reopened but the scholarship offer is still on the table from Kansas," said Alfonso. "I think he just wants to explore some other options right now.
Could have Bill and Co.'s interest in the latest Rush brother given Lewis time for pause, or is it the other way around - that Dwight Lewis's ambivalence have given Self reason to seek some preemptive insurance in Rush?
A happy ending and a happy beginning?
"It's their pro team in Lawrence," added Lewis, who averaged 27.5 points and 9.7 rebounds a game his junior season for 26-12 Rummel High. "It's Kansas basketball. It's what they live for. I like that, playing before a packed house every night. Who wouldn't want it?"
Indeed. I always find it strange when the kids who visit in the Spring say such things about Kansas Basketball. I understand why Russell Robinson joined me on the field in October of 2003 as we beat Missouri in football - it was a glorious day to watch college football and Lawrence had to look a lot different from what he may have expected.
Because for our coastal betters, most of whom view Kansas as a sort of dusty plain attacked daily by tornadoes, a visit to Lawrence is like a strange dream. It's hilly, diverse and stocked with just just enough down-home country goodness to be comfortable and just enough sophistication that you won't get too many strange looks if you don a black turtleneck anytime you wax ambivalent about the guilty pleasure of eating foie gras. The weather's nice in the Spring, flat out crappy in the Summer and sometimes epic in the Fall.
And then there's the basketball, when a fifth of Lawrence's population throbs inside the hallowed halls of Allen Fieldhouse. If Dwight Lewis is impressed with KU now, his mind will boggle the first time he walks through the tunnel into the loving screams of 17,000.
"I'm a two guard, but in Coach Self's offense, all three guards are interchangeable," said Lewis, giving us yet another view of Self's little/big system. Lewis added, ""I think I can be an impact guy right from the start." His high school coach agrees:
"He definitely will be a contributor early on. He's a scorer," said Rummel coach Steve Alfonso, who compares Lewis to former Villanova player Kerry Kittles, who also hails from Louisiana. "His best asset is he has a great mid-range game. He can handle the ball and pull up quick."
Lewis is said to be a great off the dribble shooter - a penetrate and shoot kind of guy. Watch him rise up the rankings throughout the Summer. Parade considers him one of the top 6 juniors in the country, or so one might judge by their inclusion of Dwight in their this year's All-America team. If the past is any indication, he'll be playing in the McDonald's game next year - so about 11 months from now, come back for a highlight video...
Welcome back Dwight.
According to the Lawrence Journal World, Dwight Lewis has committed to KU, and this time, he's serious.
Dwight Lews[sic], a 6-foot-5 guard from Louisiana, has committed to Kansas. Lewis, who chose KU over LSU, said he was blown away by his visit to campus and loved the atmosphere in Lawrence surrounding basketball. He said his decision was final and he would make no other visits.
Welcome back Dwight Lewis. Please hang around a little longer this time :).
Update: The Slant is now reporting that Lewis is backing off his committment, or that maybe he never committed, or that, well, who knows anymore...:
"Dwight is still very high on Kansas," Dwight Lewis, Sr., told JayhawkSlant.com. "He is still very much interested in attending the University of Kansas. However, I think that he wants to take some official visits before he actually makes a final decision...
Why does it have to get weird? Either news travels very slowly in Louisiana, or something strange is afoot. Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate today writes that "it turns out the demise of LSU's recruiting pursuit of Lewis was exaggerated." Rosetta goes on to explain a few more surprising things about Lewis's committment, or lack thereof:
"Dwight has not committed to Kansas," Rummel coach Steve Alfonso said emphatically Wednesday morning, repeating a spiel that he repeated several times during the day. "It's down to LSU and Kansas, but nothing has been decided between those two."
Evidently, the confusion, which none of the local papers have picked up on yet, is due to Dwight Lewis Sr's comments earlier this week. You may remember that he said there's no use prolonging it. Earlier this week, it was supposedly between Oklahoma and KU. Then Lewis 'picked' KU. Now LSU is back in the picture? I'm generally more inclined to listen to the father in this situation, rather than the coach, but it's all getting rather strange. First the coach talks to the Kansas media folks, laying down all sorts of money quotes about Dwight's shooting ability, about his scholarship, about his lack of truancy, and the next day he's emphasizing very clearly that young Dwight has not chosen Kansas.
Now, even his dad is backpedaling. A few days after saying of his son, "He's definitely going to Kansas," Lewis Sr. now says the following, according to Coach Alfonso:
"The Internet people called him and asked him about Dwight Jr. visiting Kansas and how interested he was in Kansas, and somehow that got turned into a solid commitment," Alfonso said. "The bottom line is this: It's going to either be LSU and Kansas and LSU is still very much alive. What Dwight has definitely decided is that it's down to just those two."
I do not like the way that this is going, but I think it will resolve itself nicely. Still, it's not just the "internet people" that got fooled...it's every major newspaper around here. Did they not bother to confirm the story? Did Shay Wildeboor somehow wildly exagerrate Lewis Sr's comments?
I bet we find out soon. And Lewis is coming here one way or the other, so hopefully it will straighten itself out.