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Wichita State basketball coaches evaluate prospects close to home

BEL AIRE (TNS) — Wichita State’s basketball recruiting summer is all about numbers and miles.

The Shockers lose six seniors in 2018. Their needs are many. Coaches are traveling to the top summer tournaments across the country to check out prospects this month. The addition of assistant coach Donnie Jones — former head coach at Central Florida — flavored their efforts with scholarship offers going frequently to athletes from Florida. The move to the American Athletic Conference put the Memphis talent pool in their plans.

Over the weekend, recruits came to their neighborhood with Mullen Sports tournaments for 108 summer teams of high school athletes and 100 invited junior college players at Wichita Hoops in Bel Aire.

Colorado Hawks guard Daylen Kountz, a 6-foot-4 senior at Denver East High, describes his college decision as largely open with Colorado, Wyoming and Wichita State among the schools most seriously in the picture. He said he plans to take an official visit to WSU. A date is not set.

Kountz took an unofficial visit to WSU in April, his first time on campus.

“It was pretty nice, a lot better than I expected,” he said. “The facilities were nice. Beautiful campus.”

Wichita’s location is a plus for Kountz. Daryl Kountz, his father, grew up in Kansas City and has family in the area. The drive from Denver is not intimidating.

“I’ve got family about two hours away and that’s always cool,” he said.

He started his July recruiting run in South Carolina, where Shocker coaches watched his team go 3-1, and will travel to Las Vegas later this month. Kountz said he will narrow his choices later this fall and decide in December. He wants to wait until the April period to sign a letter of intent with a school.

“It’s a little tiring, but it’s pretty much fun when you get to play basketball everywhere,” he said. “Different places, different people.” ranks him a three-star prospect and No. 1 in Colorado. He earned a spot on the Colorado Preps All-Class 5A second team.

On the juco side — Saturday morning’s opening game of the Top 100 sophomore juco showcase filled the metal bleachers surrounding the court with coaches.

Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and assistant Isaac Brown watched the game matching a team composed largely of Kansas juco athletes vs. a team largely from Florida schools. Coaches such as West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, Xavier’s Chris Mack, Oregon’s Dana Altman, Chris Jans of New Mexico State and Steve Forbes of East Tennessee State also observed, as did assistants from schools such as East Carolina, Bradley and Indiana State.

The Kansas team featured guard Devonte Bandoo and forwards Kai Mitchell and J.J. Rhymes of NJCAA champion Hutchinson. Their opponents had three players from NJCAA runner-up Eastern Florida State College — center Shaq Carter, forward Eli Abaev and guard Ali Ahmed.

Carter (6-9, 245) said Wichita State offered him a scholarship since it started recruiting after the national tournament. His team practiced at Koch Arena in preparation for Hutchinson. He averaged 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman.

Carter isn’t close to narrowing his list or thinking about favorite schools. According to, schools such as Xavier, Purdue, Auburn and Rutgers are also recruiting Carter.

“I’m interested (in WSU), but I still want to play the season out and after the season is over, I’ll be looking at decisions,” he said. “They’ve been recruiting me for a pretty long time and we have a pretty good relationship with the coaches. We talk from time to time.”

Carter grabbed 11 rebounds in Saturday morning’s game. He scored six points.

“My role on the basketball court at all times is to be the best rebounder out there and be a great teammate,” he said.

Michigan to Kansas — East Lansing (Mich.) High senior Jaida Hampton gave Wichita State’s women’s basketball team a non-binding commitment on Wednesday.

Hampton, a 5-foot-11 forward, earned honorable mention Class A honors from the Associated Press and third-team All-Class A honors from the Detroit News. According to the Lansing State Journal, she averaged 14.4 points and six rebounds. She also considered Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Detroi and UTEP, where WSU coach Keitha Adams came from.

“This has been a dream of mine since I knew what college basketball was,” Hampton told the Lansing State Journal. “It’s just a good feeling knowing that I’ve worked hard enough where I can actually go and actually do what I’ve been wanting to do. Next year at this time I’ll be starting what I love doing at the next level.”

Worth noting — Wichita State’s women’s basketball non-conference schedule will be released Monday. The Shockers open at Creighton, which shared the Big East title last season, on Nov. 10. They play at Tennessee on Nov. 20. Tennessee hired former WSU assistant coach Brigette Gordon on Thursday as an assistant. Gordon spent seven seasons at WSU with former coach Jody Adams-Birch. Gordon played at Tennessee from 1985-89 and won two NCAA titles. … Former Shocker basketball player Joe Ragland signed a two-year contract with the Russian club Lokomotiv Kuban. He played the past two seasons with Italian Serie A club Avellino and averaged 17.7 points and 5.1 assists in 2016-17.

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