Former KU commit Markese Jacobs headed to DePaul; Nnaji completes KU visit

| From Twitter

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Markese Jacobs, a 5-foot-11 senior point guard from Chicago’s Uplift Community High School, who de-committed from Kansas on Aug. 24, has decided to attend DePaul University, he announced Sunday on Twitter.

Jacobs — he is ranked No. 124 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com — had considered Illinois, Nebraska, Florida State and others since reopening his recruitment.

“110% Committed … I’m From Chicago For Chicago … Repping My City I’m Staying Home,” Jacobs Tweeted on Sunday.

“60614 … Chicago … Chi town baby,” he said on a video announcing his commitment to the Big East school, located in the heart of the city, zip code 60614.

Jacobs told the Chicago Sun Times that DePaul, “has always been in the picture. DePaul offered me even before Kansas did (in June, 2016, four months before the Jayhawks). I took an unofficial visit to DePaul two years ago, so there was already a lot of familiarity for me. Even when I was committed, I noticed coach (Dave) Leitao in the stands watching me all the time. They never left and have been around a long time.

“From my perspective, all I wanted was a head coach who loved my game and trusted me — not the assistant coaches but the head coach,” Jacobs told the Sun Times. “I got that feeling from coach Leitao, that he loved my game. It’s the overall vibe I felt that this was the right place for me.”

DePaul also has landed Romeo Weems, a 6-6 senior forward from New Haven (Mich.) High School, who is ranked No. 47 nationally by Rivals.com. DePaul last landed an NCAA Tournament bid in 2003-04.

Nnaji completes KU visit

Zeke Nnaji, a 6-10 senior forward from Hopkins (Minn.) High School ranked No. 37 in the recruiting Class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, completed an official visit to KU on Sunday. He made an unofficial visit to KU on Sept 29-30. That’s the same weekend his sister, Maya, a 6-2 freshman guard/forward from Hopkins High, made an official visit to KU.

Zeke Nnaji will visit Arizona (Oct. 12-14), UCLA (Oct. 19-21), Baylor (Oct. 26-28) and Purdue (Nov. 2-4) in coming weeks.

“For us it’s more about the program’s style of play and how it lines up with Zeke’s style of play,” Zeke’s father, Apham Nnaji, told Zagsblog.com recently, referring to what Zeke is looking for in a school. “Most importantly is really the program’s needs — who’s coming and going when Zeke gets there.”

Apham Nnaji has said Zeke will likely announce his college choice at the end of November.

Maya Nnaji early in the recruiting process, has received offers from KU, Kansas State, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Georgetown, Illinois, Purdue and Ohio State.

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Hurt in no hurry to make visits

Matthew Hurt, a 6-9 senior forward from John Marshall High in Rochester, Minn., ranked No. 6 in the recruiting Class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, will make several official visits during the upcoming season and likely choose a school in the spring signing period, he told Rivals.com.

Hurt — he says he’s considering KU, Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, Memphis, Minnesota and North Carolina — said Saturday from USA Basketball’s junior national team minicamp in Colorado that he probably won’t cut any schools from his list before his decision day.

“I’m trying to get my official visits in for games, like on a Saturday when I can come down and see the real atmosphere and environment for a game,” Hurt told Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi. “I want to see how they (college coaches) prep a team before a game and stuff like that because I’ll consider a lot of that in my decision.

“Football games are probably more fun type visits because you are there with the team and the students having fun. But I think I will get more out of it by going to a basketball game,” Hurt added.

Asked what he’s looking for in a college, Hurt said: “I think it’s just relationships with the coaches. How comfortable I am with them is big for me and my family. So I think as I get closer I’m going to really lock in and focus on that.”

Hurt played well at USA Basketball minicamp over the weekend, Bossi stated.

“There aren’t many shooters in 2019 like Hurt,” Bossi wrote after Friday’s session. “Factor in his size, overall basketball IQ and that he’s a pretty good athlete and he continues to validate his status as a top 10 prospect in the senior class.”

The weekend USA Basketball minicamp included 24 members of the high school Class of 2019, 23 from 2020, 13 from 2021 and 29 from 2022. Tonja Stelly, mother of KU freshman Quentin Grimes, was scheduled to be a guest speaker, answering questions from parents of players of elite prospects about the recruiting process and other topics. L.J. Goolsby, coach of KC Run GMC’s AAU program, was to serve as one of the on-court instructors.

Wiseman speaks from USA camp, too

James Wiseman, the No. 1 college basketball recruit in the Class of 2019 according to ESPN.com and 247sports.com and No. 2 prospect according to Rivals.com, told USA Today at USA Basketball’s minicamp that, contrary to reports, he is not a lock to attend either Memphis or Kentucky.

“I’m open,” said Wiseman, a 7-foot senior center from Memphis East High School. He last week announced a final five of Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida State. “I really don’t know where I’m going, seriously.

“I understand why people think it’s either Kentucky or Memphis and, don’t get me wrong, I love both of those schools,” added Wiseman, who in July said UK and Memphis were his two leaders. “But I’ve got three other great schools that I really love too. They’re all even to me.”

Wiseman has made official visits to KU and Kentucky. He has upcoming trips planned to Vanderbilt (Oct. 12-14), Memphis (Oct. 19-21) and Florida State (Oct. 26-28).

“The visits are fun and I feel like I’m getting a lot of information out of them,” Wiseman told USA Today. “It’s all just rumors that I’m only considering two schools. I have no idea where I’m going, but I know I’ll make the best decision for me in the end.”

He attended KU’s Late Night in the Phog on Sept. 28.

“I liked the atmosphere and the environment,” Wiseman told Rivals.com. “I was getting feedback from the players about (KU coach) Bill Self and how he really is behind the scenes. I mostly talked to the coaching staff about my future and stuff like that.”

Some analysts believe Memphis is the leader because Wiseman played for first-year Memphis coach Penny Hardaway last season at Memphis East. He also attended the recent Memphis Madness event, which drew a packed house of 18,000 fans at FedEx Forum in Memphis. KU’s Late Night in the Phog also filled Allen Fieldhouse (16,300).

“It was crazy, I was getting swarmed by a lot of people — a lot of people taking pictures and I could barely even get into the arena. It was crazy, I had a good time,” he told Rivals.com of the Memphis Madness experience.

Robinson-Earl at USA camp

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a 6-9 senior forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and formerly of Bishop Miege, had a successful USA Basketball minicamp, reports Rivals.com’s Bossi.

“There are not many more mature and polished forwards nationally than Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Efficient and understanding of just what he does well, Robinson-Earl has been one of the more outgoing personalities all weekend and also one of the more productive ones thanks to his offensive diversity,” Bossi wrote Sunday of the country’s No. 10-rated player in the Class of 2019.

“He left his home in Kansas City to attend IMG Academy in hopes of getting stronger and facing better competition. He’s sure doing a great job of getting himself in the best physical condition possible and the results show. He’s just consistent in all areas. Next weekend, he’ll take his final visit to Arizona and I would expect him to decide between the Wildcats, Kansas, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Villanova relatively soon,” Bossi said.

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