Prize guard Kira Lewis has Kansas, ISU, 10 others on list; McBride a rising senior

Former Kansas Jayhawk Sam Cunliffe, a Seattle native, says the University of Washington is his first choice for a transfer destination to continue his basketball career. | Antonio Calanni | AP

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Kira Lewis, a 6-foot-3 senior combo guard from Hazel Green (Ala.) High School, has announced a list of 12 schools on Twitter.

Lewis, the No. 29-rated player in the recruiting class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, is considering Kansas, Alabama, Baylor, TCU, Iowa State, Mississippi, Auburn, Providence, LSU, Indiana, Houston and Georgia.

Lewis — he averaged 28.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.9 steals a game his junior season at Hazel Green High — recently told Rivals.com he was considering a move to the recruiting class of 2018. With 12 schools on his list and the 2018-19 school year beginning soon, that would seem unlikely at this time.

Iowa State is an intriguing possibility for Lewis.

“Iowa State assistant coach James Kane was one of the first guys to recruit Lewis back at Murray State and Dayton. Now, the Cyclones are combining Kane’s relationship with the one Lewis had already developed with (Iowa State head coach Steve) Prohm and assistant coach William Small,” writes Matthew Bain of the Des Moines Register. “Iowa State made Lewis’ top 12, but it probably would make a top seven, too,” Bain adds.

KU on another list of 12

Kofi Cockburn, a 6-foot-10, 280-pound senior center from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., also has a list of 12 schools. He told recruiting writer Andrew Slater they are: KU, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Oregon, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, St. John’s and Syracuse. He told Slater he is planning on visiting KU in the near future before heading to his home country of Jamaica for a visit.

“Kofi is a player who can affect a game on both ends of the floor,” Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith told Zagsblog.com. “I really like his offensive skill set with his ability to score in the post and step out, but I’m more impressed by how hard he works on defense and his desire to rebound the ball.”

Cockburn is ranked No. 25 in the recruiting class of 2019 according to Rivals.com.

KU target Boston nets Duke offer

Brandon Boston, a 6-foot-6 junior shooting guard from Norcross (Ga.) High, on Wednesday announced he’s received a scholarship offer from Duke. Zagsblog.com reports that Boston, who is ranked No. 14 in the recruiting class of 2020 by Rivals.com, has also received offers from KU, Clemson, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Arizona State, Auburn, DePaul, Florida, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, USC and others.

McBride now on KU’s list

Isaac McBride, a 6-foot, 160-pound senior point guard from Arkansas Baptist High School in Little Rock, Ark., is now being recruited by KU, according to a report from Eric Bossi of Rivals.com.

The unranked McBride has heard from KU, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Loyola, College of Charleston, Murray State and others, Bossi reports.

“Last week in Las Vegas, I probably got asked more about McBride of the Joe Johnson Hawks than any other player I came across,” Bossi writes at Rivals.com. “So, I settled in to figure out why, and his tough and confident play were why. He can score it from deep, finishes at the rim and has a calming presence about him. Is he as good as Frank Mason was? I’m not sure, but he reminds a bit of what Mason looked like when he really started to take off and went to prep school to wait out a scholarship release from Towson.”

Jayhawks looking at Newman

Brandon Newman, a 6-foot-4 senior combo guard from Montverde (Fla.) Academy, who is ranked No. 81 in the recruiting class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, tells Rivals.com’s Corey Evans he is being recruited by KU, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Maryland, Xavier, Creighton and Seton Hall. The Chicago Tribune adds Kansas State and Florida State as possible contenders.

“They (KU coaches) just have been telling me to stay consistent, keep making shots, defending and that maybe I can get onto campus in August some time before I leave for school,” Newman tells Rivals.com.

He averaged 24.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season at Valparaiso (Ind.) High School and was named the Gary (Ind.) Post-Tribune player of the year.

“He’s so versatile. He’s a shot maker, not a shot taker, and he rebounds so well,” Valparaiso High coach Barak Coolman told the Post-Tribune.

Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans writes of Newman: “A 6-foot-4 scoring guard and a more-than-capable perimeter defender, Newman had a standout run on the Nike EYBL circuit. Averaging over 18 points and five rebounds, all while making close to 40 percent of his three-point attempts, Newman’s game and skill set should translate seamlessly to the college level.

“Look for a pair of unofficial visits to be taken to Xavier and Ohio State in August, as each should be thought of as strong contenders for his commitment. Purdue has also put a lot of attention into recruiting him, and more are likely to jump into the mix, especially if he decides to keep things open a bit longer than others in his 2019 class.”

Lawson’s cousin to consider KU?

The Jayhawks also may become a factor for D.J. Jeffries, a 6-foot-7 senior forward from Olive Branch (Miss.) High School, following his recent de-commitment from Kentucky. Jeffries, the No. 46-rated player in the recruiting class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, is a cousin of KU players Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson. Memphis and Mississippi State will also be considered, according to Rivals.com.

Cunliffe likely to attend UW

Former KU guard Sam Cunliffe wants to transfer to the University of Washington in his hometown of Seattle, he told the Seattle Times.

“Washington is my first choice,” Cunliffe, a graduate of Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School, told the Seattle Times. “If I can make it work, I will. I’ve been talking to a lot of schools and I’ve told all of them, ‘Listen, I’m not saying I wouldn’t come to your school, but I just got to meet with Washington.’ And if it doesn’t happen, then I’ll move on. But I’m really looking at coming home. I owe it to myself and I owe it to my city,” Cunliffe added.

Cunliffe has also received interest from Grand Canyon, Maryland and Minnesota, according to Jon Rothstein of CBSsports.com.

Cunliffe, according to the Seattle Times, scored 31 points in a game last weekend at the Crawsover Pro-Am at Seattle Pacific University.

UW seems a good fit for Cunliffe, who recently announced plans to leave KU, where he played sparingly last season. His hometown Huskies have a scholarship available and lose three senior guards after the 2018-19 season. He’ll be eligible to play in 2019-20 after sitting out a year in accordance with transfer rules.

“I don’t know (UW coach) Mike Hopkins quite well, but I’m from the city and all of the positive things I’ve heard about him (playing at UW) is something I’m definitely looking at,” Cunliffe told the Times. “They were out on the recruiting period so they’ll be back in town and then I’ll see if I can figure something out with them.”


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