KU notebook: Recruit Shakur Juiston on Iowa State’s campus this weekend; KU, UNLV, others remain in mix

Hutchinson Community College’s Shakur Juiston (right) was named the Most Valuable Player of the NJCAA Div I men's college basketball championship on March 25 in Hutchinson, Kan. | Travis Morisse | The Associated Press

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Hutchinson Community College sophomore power forward Shakur Juiston, the No. 1-ranked junior college basketball player in the country and long-time target of Iowa State, will spend this weekend in Ames, Iowa on an official recruiting visit.

Juiston, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound native of Paterson, N.J., traveled to UNLV last weekend. He has said he will visit Kansas and has also mentioned Oklahoma, Illinois, UConn, Seton Hall and others.

Obviously Iowa State coach Steve Prohm would be hoping to land a commitment during Juiston’s visit.

“Coach Prohm drove over after Iowa State beat Kansas (on Feb. 4 at Allen Fieldhouse),” Hutchinson assistant coach Jay Cyriak told the Des Moines Register. “He’s been pretty much recruiting Shakur from day one. Nobody’s recruited him as impressively as Iowa State. Coach Prohm is the point person. That weighs heavy with Shakur.”

Juiston averaged 17.3 points (on 60.9 percent shooting), 12.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.8 blocks per game this past season for national-champion Hutchinson. He had one triple-double and 26 double-doubles in 38 games. Juiston grabbed a school-record 20 rebounds against Dodge City. Juiston is also the school’s all-time rebounding leader (741).

“He gets his hand on everything,” Cyriak said of Juiston, who was named a first-team juco All-American on Thursday. “He’s a quick jumper with great anticipation. He always has good sense of timing on shots he blocks. He’s a tough kid.”

Juiston is aware that KU received commitments this week from Memphis transfers K.J. and Dedric Lawson. The Lawson brothers will not be eligible to play in games at Kansas until Juiston’s senior season.

“Shakur is cognizant to the fact that it’s a numbers game,” Cyriak told the Register. “Shakur is in a different situation. He’s only got two years to play. It’s a concern.”

Of his ability, Coffeyville Community College coach Jay Herkelman told the Register: “Having a guy with that kind of body and those kinds of tools are pretty rare. We had to double-team him. He’d be good in the Big 12. He’s got a body that can bang people.”

Thomas Allen remains KU target

Brewster Academy senior point guard Thomas Allen, who on Thursday vaulted to No. 99 (from 149) in Rivals.com’s final Class of 2017 recruiting rankings, still has KU on his list of schools following fellow Brewster grad Devonté Graham’s decision to return to KU for a senior season.

In fact, KU assistant Norm Roberts was slated to visit with Allen’s family on Friday night in Allen’s hometown of Raleigh, N.C. The 6-foot-2 Allen, who recently de-committed from North Carolina State, is considering Kansas, Nebraska, Xavier, Georgetown, Mississippi and others.

“It’s been pretty cool just having guys like (KU coach) Bill Self coming out to my school to meet with me,” Allen told USA Today.

“All of the coaches are letting me know how much they need me next season, and of course that feels good. I’m planning to take a visit to Kansas. I’m not sure when, but that’s the only visit I have planned for now. It’s just part of the game. I was committed, but now I have to figure it out again. I’m not complaining.”

Allen was released from his Wolfpack letter-of-intent following the firing of coach Mark Gottfried.

“And here I am, back trying to find the right school,” Allen told USA Today. “You think you have it all out of the way, and then you’re back where you started. But, still, you have to take your time. It’s a big decision.”

The current signing period runs until May 17.

Trevon Duval OK with Devonté’s decision

Trevon Duval, a 6-2 senior point guard from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., told SI.com this week that Graham’s decision to return to Kansas for his senior season does not affect his decision-making process.

“Kept it the same. I can play alongside any guard,” Duval said. “I’ve done it before, and I wouldn’t have a problem playing with any other guard.”

Duval told SI.com he’s spoken recently to the head coach of each of his five finalists — Kansas, Duke, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall.

“Setting aside Duval’s claim about being amenable to playing alongside any backcourt type, the cleanest fit for his game may lie with the (Arizona) Wildcats, which could use an upgrade over returnee Parker Jackson-Cartwright,” writes Chris Jackson of SI.com.

“Duval’s a lead guard who dictates the course of possessions by surveying the floor and attacking off the bounce. He might be the best ball-handler in this class, as he possesses a vast repertoire of quick dribble sequences that leave defenders swiping at air. Duval’s upper-body strength is another huge asset for navigating coverage in close quarters, and if defenders back off him in anticipation of a blow-by, he’s got the jets to zoom past them anyway, leaving opposing guards in damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t binds when deciding whether to press up on Duval in the halfcourt. Duval’s skill-set is tantalizing, but it also may not be compatible with another pure 1 who doesn’t like operating off the ball.”

Jackson adds that Self’s Jayhawks, “have proven that they can more than merely get by with two point guards in their lineup. Just this season, they lit up the Big 12 and reached the Elite Eight with Graham and national player of the year Frank Mason running the show. National championship winners like 2015 Duke and 2016 Villanova also bear testimony to the virtues of a dual-PG alignment. Duval’s addition, along with the activation of Mississippi State transfer guard Malik Newman, would ensure Self can roll out another prolific perimeter corps in 2017–18 despite the sizable production void left by the exit of Mason. Graham’s choice may have eased the pressure, to the extent that it existed, on Self to land Duval, but Duval would only give Self more to work with when sorting out his rotation.”

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore


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