Arizona junior prep guard Kyree Walker decommits from Arizona State, considers KU

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By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

Kyree Walker, a 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard from Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest Prep, who is ranked No. 14 in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, has decommitted from Arizona State and has Kansas on his new list of schools, ESPN.com and the Arizona Republic has reported.

Walker committed to Arizona State on June 30, 2017 after moving with his family from Hayward, Calif., to Arizona.

Walker has heard from coaches from KU, Arizona, Kentucky, California, Nevada and Texas, his dad, Khari, a coach at Hillcrest Prep, told the Arizona Republic.

“We sat down and talked about it,” Khari Walker told the Republic. ”He just wants the opportunity to be recruited. We’re not saying he’s not going to go to ASU. He just wants the opportunity to go through a year of being recruited.”

Walker averaged 25 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 2.7 steals a game as a sophomore at Hillcrest Prep. As a freshman, he averaged 21.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic High School.

This past summer, he averaged 7.9 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 17 games for the Oakland Soldiers in the Nike EYBL. Walker hit 15 of 43 threes according to 247sports.com.

“Walker is an attacking guard/wing who can get to the rim,” reads Walker’s player profile on ESPN.com. “Walker has the quickness and frame to defend both wing positions. Walker can dribble, bounce and create for himself and others and doesn’t back down from competition. Walker has a lot of confidence in his defense and does a great job communicating on the floor. He is not afraid of making plays on both sides of the floor and his frame allows him to play through bumps. He must invest time into his jump shot and mid-range game. He must also work on his change of speed and direction to become an elite attacking guard. Walker plays up two grade levels so he’s young and full of competitive juices.”

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Stanley to visit UCLA

Cassius Stanley, a 6-5 senior shooting guard ranked No. 31 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, will make his second of three official visits — to UCLA — this weekend.

Stanley, who attended KU’s Late Night in the Phog on Sept. 28, will visit Oregon after that and is expected to choose a school in the Nov. 14-21 early signing period.

“As his recruitment heads into what should be its final weeks, the Bruins should probably be considered at least the slight leader,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com.

Collison missed in OKC

Former KU forward Nick Collison, who announced his retirement last summer after 15 seasons in the NBA, is greatly missed by his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, Steven Adams.

Adams, a 7-foot, sixth-year NBA veteran from New Zealand, and Collison had their own pre-game ritual — a firm handshake followed by a staredown with no words spoken — the past couple seasons they played together in OKC.

Without Collison on the bench, Adams now shakes the hand of an invisible player and performs the fake staredown before each game.

OKC is off to an 0-3 start this season without Collison.

“Nick is such a unique and special person,” OKC coach Billy Donovan said prior to the start of the season as reported by USA Today. “You hate to sit there and say this guy or that guy is going to replace Nick Collison because there is only one Nick Collison. And you’re not going to replace that.”

Donovan said Adams and Russell Westbrook would be two players who will need to provide a “collective ownership” for the team.

G-League to offer one-and-dones

The NBA G League recently announced it is implementing a “professional path” for would-be one-and-done college players.

Starting next season, elite prospects, ages 18 and up, will be able to sign a “select contract” worth $125,000 for the five-month season.

“We still need to learn a lot more of the details and it is my hope that some sort of provision about assistance with regards to furthering education – if a player wants to – is put in there. But, in general I love this idea,” wrote recruiting analyst Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “I’m sure many agents will scoff at prospective clients potentially getting exposed (in the pros) over 125K, but NBA teams are smart enough to understand that this won’t be an easy situation for high school kids. I’d love to see somebody from the Class of 2019 try this route and make the leap. The more options for these guys to consider for their futures, the better,” Bossi added.

The league said last week it is establishing a working group to identify players who could be offered the select contracts. Players are not eligible to enter the NBA Draft until one year after high school. They, however, are allowed to join the G League. Low salaries have prohibited that from happening in the past.

NBCsports.com praises freshmen

KU’s Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson are two of the country’s top incoming freshmen basketball players as recognized by NBCsports.com.

Grimes is listed as “one of 10 names you need to know (entering the season).”

“Reigning MVP of the 2018 FIBA Americas, Grimes helped USA Basketball capture a gold medal at the event. With his future head coach, Bill Self, already coaching him with Team USA this summer, Kansas will have plenty of ideas on how to unleash the talented guard during the season,” wrote Scott Phillips of NBCsports.com.

“Grimes is an explosive scorer who is also skilled enough to have the ball in his hands to run some point. If Grimes can shoot a consistent deep ball, then he will be one of the toughest covers in the country this season,” Phillips added of the 6-5 guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas.

Dotson, 6-2 from Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C., was listed as one of “five names that will have an impact in March.”

“Although Kansas has a lot of talented guards in the fold, the aggressive, downhill nature of Dotson could come in handy for the Jayhawks this season,” Phillips wrote. “Dotson is an attack-minded floor general who should benefit greatly from all of the talent that he has around him in Lawrence this season. Dotson is capable of getting his own buckets, or getting others involved, as his style of play should fit in well at Kansas. If Dotson shows that he’s capable of making a perimeter jumper then Kansas might need to explore the use of more three-guard lineups.”

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