CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – There were a number of players at NBPA Top 100 Camp who are being recruiting by Kansas and The Shiver had a chance to talk to many of them. Two of those players who took the time to speak with The Shiver were Marcus Smart of Marcus (TX) and Ricardo Gathers of Riverside Academy (LA).
A 6-foot-4, 220-pounder who can play the one, two and three, Marcus Smart (Flowermound, TX/Marcus video, Pics) has a host of colleges to choose from. He listed scholarship offers from the entire Big 12, including outgoing members Colorado and Nebraska, as well as North Carolina.
“No, not really,” Smart said of whether he has any favorites. “I’m still trying to decide, trying to narrow it down, but no schools stand out.
Smart that there are three schools currently coming after him the hardest: North Carolina, Texas and Kansas. Only two schools, Baylor and Kansas, have had Smart on campus thus far.
He said the visit to Baylor came “in the fall.” As for the trip to KU, Smart said of when it took place, “April area, if I can remember correct.”
“It [has] a great tradition,” Smart said of Kansas. “Once you check in the facilities, you can feel the chemistry and tradition there. They [have] . . . coach [Bill] Self, and coach Self knows how it win.”
Smart said that he is being recruited to KU by Self and went on to elaborate a bit on the relationship he has with the head coach.
“It’s mutual,” Smart began. “[There is] a lot of respect between us two from when I was there to visit.”
The Lone Star State standout, who noted that he did not have a favorite college growing up, said of the strongest part of his game, “Leadership on the court and off.”
As for his primary weakness, Smart remarked, “Probably my jumpshot right now, but I’m working on it.”
As aforementioned, Smart is versatile enough to play three positions, but said he sees himself as a combo guard. Strong and athletic, Smart finished NBPA Top 100 Camp tied for 13th in scoring at 10.8 points per game. He had nine or more in five of the six games at 14+ twice.
Like Smart, 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward Ricardo Gathers (Laplace, LA/Riverside Academy video, pics), has a long list of schools, all of whom he said have offered. Gathers mentioned Texas, Baylor, Kansas, LSU, USC, Arizona, Oregon, Cal, St. John’s, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia, and Memphis.
Gathers said that St. John’s, LSU, Texas, Baylor, and Syracuse are showing him the most love right now. As far as a leader goes, Gathers said he does “not really, not right now” have one.
St. John’s and Texas are the only two schools that Gathers has visited, but he is hoping to add to that list.
“[I am] trying to get to Arizona, either by sometime towards the end of this month or August sometime.” Gathers said. “And [I will visit] Oregon, definitely in August.”
The rising senior said that he plans to take all five of his allotted official visits and already knows a few of the schools for whom he plans to use them.
“Definitely LSU, St. John’s, Syracuse, Arizona, and then I don’t know about the fifth,” Gathers said.
Asked if location will play a part in his decision, Gathers responded, “I know at one point I really wanted to be on the West Coast . . . but as of now location doesn’t affect me.”
There are three coaches in particular who Gathers said he feels he has developed the strongest relationship with: LSU assistant Brent Scott, Texas assistant Russell Springmann and Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack.
As for Kansas, Gathers said that he is being recruited by former Jayhawk star Danny Manning.
“We talk a little bit through email and we probably talked on the phone once, but that’s really about it,” Gathers said, adding that he has not spoken with head coach Bill Self.
Although it seems there has not been all that much communication with KU of late, Gathers gave his thoughts on what he likes about the Big XII program.
“I mean, just the history of Kansas,” Gathers said. “I like what they did with the Morris twins and Julian Wright and stuff. [They] basically play my style of play, 15-feet and in basketball.”