May 27, 2024

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KU Jayhawks’ freshman basketball class and summer time drills

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KU Jayhawks’ freshman basketball class and summer time drills

Kansas Jayhawks freshman forward Zuby Ejiofor posed for a picture with a camper on Tuesday at Brett Ballard’s Washburn camp for youths.

Kansas Jayhawks freshman ahead Zuby Ejiofor posed for an image with a camper on Tuesday at Brett Ballard’s Washburn camp for teens.

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Kansas’ extremely acclaimed males’s basketball recruiting Class of 2022 — the one ranked No. 3 nationally by Rivals.com, No. 4 by 247sports.com and No. 5 by ESPN.com — has lived as much as its billing approaching the midway mark of the June 7-July 29 summer time session on KU’s campus.

“Our newcomers are good. They’re simply younger,” Twentieth-year KU coach Invoice Self stated of incoming scholarship freshmen Gradey Dick, Zuby Ejiofor, MJ Rice and Ernest Udeh.

The 4 freshmen have been absorbing data throughout the 4 hours of on-court instruction (4 extra with power workers) they’re allowed weekly with KU’s coaches, per NCAA guidelines. They’ve additionally finished their finest to impress throughout unsupervised pickup video games.

“Every little thing has been going nicely at observe. I’ve been making an attempt to make a reputation for myself, showcase myself,” stated Ejiofor, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound energy ahead from Garland (Texas) Excessive.

He arrives ranked No. 43 within the Class of 2022 by 247sports.com, No. 44 by Rivals.com and No. 75 by ESPN.com.

“It’s completely different from highschool, I’ll inform you that,” Ejiofor stated, chatting with The Star at Brett Ballard’s Washburn basketball camp, the place Ejiofor labored Tuesday as a camp counselor.

“I’ve been adjusting, getting used to it. I’ve been getting higher day-after-day, in order that’s actually good.”

Ejiofor averaged 22.0 factors, 13.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks, and a pair of.0 steals per recreation final season in Texas. He impressed Self’s campers and media onlookers a few weeks in the past when he made two threes and scored 28 factors within the Self campers recreation (a workforce intrasquad scrimmage) at Allen Fieldhouse.

“In our practices, we begin with bigs exercises,” Ejiofor stated. “We go about half-hour. The guards are on their very own. Towards the top (of an hour exercise 4 days per week), we observe collectively, run some (with scrimmaging). I’ve been adjusting to protection down within the submit, find out how to guard down there as nicely. The nice factor is I’m studying day-after-day.”

Ejiofor stated the suggestions from his new school coaches has been optimistic.

“My strongest level that each coach says I do nicely is run the ground,” Ejiofor stated. “It’s exhausting to seek out bigs who run the ground a lot. That’s the strongest half about me. What I’m enhancing on is conditioning, getting rebounds and submit strikes.

“There’s all the time one thing to enhance on — my handles and a few of my photographs as nicely. Simply rebound the ball and play with vitality loads. That’s actually what I really feel will get me the place I need to be at. I’m enhancing day-after-day.”

Fourth-year KU junior ahead Jalen Wilson likes what he’s seen from Ejiofor, in addition to from KU’s different freshman huge, Udeh.

Udeh, a 6-10, 220-pound McDonalds’s All-American out of Dr. Phillips Excessive College in Orlando, averaged 13.2 factors (on 65.1{cf07cd047201b183b19c0b335dbd7d35a498f84568531c8abe8643bd3ccfd494} taking pictures) and 9.2 rebounds per recreation in his senior season.

“They’ve been battling day-after-day. It’s high-level competitors so far as them wanting it,” Wilson stated of Ejiofor and Udeh.

Wilson additionally labored Ballard’s Washburn camp Tuesday.

“Rebounding, working the ground … that’s huge with these new bigs,” Wilson stated. “They actually run the ground nicely. They know what they need to do, know what they should do and know what coach desires them to do. That’s a head begin.”

Udeh and Ejiofor are growing a powerful friendship throughout the summer time session.

“We joke round loads. That’s actually good,” Ejiofor stated, noting Udeh, “is an efficient lob catcher. That’s his strongest capability about him. He can catch lobs.”

Udeh entered school ranked No. 23 by ESPN.com, No. 30 by 247sports.com and No. 32 by Rivals.com.

The brand new wing additions are McDonald’s All-People Dick and Rice.

Dick, a 6-7, 200-pound taking pictures guard out of Dawn Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas, averaged 18.3 factors, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per recreation in incomes Gatorade Nationwide Participant of the 12 months honors his senior season.

“He’s a extremely gifted child. He can spot up and shoot the ball. He shoots rather well. He can assault at instances as nicely. Spot up and off the dribble, he’s a extremely good shooter,” Ejiofor stated.

Wilson has additionally been impressed with the taking pictures of Dick, who entered school ranked No. 14 nationally by ESPN.com, No, 20 by 247sports.com and No. 27 by Rivals.com.

“I’ve seen him within the nook,” Wilson stated. “Gradey not often misses from the nook, “ Wilson stated. “He’s a man I believe will probably be large for us so far as having the ability to stretch the ground along with his size and slashing capability. He reveals actual good indicators of being athletic.”

Rice, a 6-5, 225 combo guard out of Prolific Prep in Napa, California (although initially from Durham, North Carolina), averaged 17.1 factors and eight.1 rebounds per recreation throughout his senior season.

“Mj is a gifted child as nicely,” Ejiofor stated. “His robust go well with is attacking the paint — attacking for positive — and spot-up taking pictures.”

Wilson provided his tackle Rice’s recreation.

“He’s very assured having the ability to shoot the ball and make completely different performs for guys,” Wilson stated of Rice, who entered school ranked No. 28 within the Class of 2022 by Rivals.com, No. 30 by ESPN.com and No. 35 by 247sports.com.

“He’s a powerful guard. I believe he’s very underrated in his power and having the ability to get to his personal spots I believe he’s very conscious of the place he desires to be on the on the ground as far choosing and selecting photographs. He’s a much bigger guard that may get to the cup and use his physique to maneuver the place he desires to go.”

Self final week talked in regards to the newcomers at a Topeka Jayhawk Membership golf occasion.

“Each have bounce, each have respectable fingers. Each can run. Each are very aggressive,” Self stated of Udeh and Ejiofor. “In the event that they understand what their position can be this yr,” he added, primarily referring to rebounding and taking part in protection, “they might each be actually good gamers as freshmen. I don’t predict them beginning however I believe they may very well be within the combine for lots of taking part in time.”

“MJ and Gradey … they’re good. They’re good,” Self added. “That’s like us recruiting (Wayne) Selden and (Kelly) Oubre or any person like that. They’re legit good gamers that each have an opportunity to play all they need proper off the bat in the event that they proceed to work exhausting.”

KU additionally has added first-year Jayhawks in former Texas Tech wing Kevin McCullar (from the switch portal) and freshman walk-on guard Wilder Evers.

The gamers will return to their respective hometowns on the conclusion of summer time college earlier than reporting again to campus for the 2022-23 college yr by the beginning of lessons on Aug. 22.

“I nonetheless get calls from my dad and mom each single day. I’m not homesick but,” Ejiofor stated, smiling.

He stated he particularly has loved working at current camps just like the one at Washburn. And, in fact, at Self’s KU camp.

“It’s actually good. You possibly can see the thrill and pleasure within the children’ eyes,” Ejiofor stated. “For me to make an influence on their lives, I’ll do this any day.”

This story was initially printed June 29, 2022 7:54 PM.

Associated tales from Kansas Metropolis Star

KU Jayhawks’ freshman basketball class and summer time drills

Gary Bedore covers all features of Kansas basketball for The Star — the present workforce in addition to former gamers and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, in addition to Lisle, Sick.

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