Kansas Men's Basketball Lands Three Recruits

Nov. 10, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas men’s basketball team signed three highly-touted recruits – Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs and Julian Wright – to national letters-of-intent, coach Bill Self announced Wednesday.

“Although it is somewhat anti-climatic because we received the commitments some time ago, this is a great day for the future of Kansas basketball,” Self said. “Never during my tenure as a coach have we had the opportunity to sign three young men who are so highly-ranked nationally by various scouting services. Although those scouting services do not guarantee success, I think it is safe to say these three are well thought of and have a very bright future in college basketball.”

Chalmers is a point guard from Anchorage, Alaska. As a junior at Bartlett High School, the 6-1 Chalmers averaged 23.2 points, six assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. He guided Bartlett to a state runner-up finish as he shot 60 percent from the floor and 90 percent from the free throw line. Chalmers is ranked No. 12 nationally by Rivals.com and is the top-rated point guard by the service. He chose KU over Wake Forest, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

“Mario is a very explosive athlete that should be able to fit in here immediately and play both on and off the ball,” Self said. “He comes from a basketball family, having played for his father, and has a great understanding of the game.”

Downs averaged 19.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a junior at Juanita High School in Kirkland, Wash. The 6-8 shooting guard is ranked No. 14 nationally by Rivals.com and is the fourth-rated shooting guard. Downs chose Kansas over Duke, Gonzaga and Washington.

“Micah is one of the most fun players to watch because he does a lot of everything,” Self said. “He’s tall. He’s skilled. He can block shots, can rebound the basketball and has a great feel for the game.

“We so much appreciate that the Downs and Chalmers families that had the confidence in us to commit before the summer even began.”

Wright is a forward from Chicago Heights, Ill., who averaged 10.4 points, seven rebounds and 4.9 assists in guiding Homewood-Flossmoor High School to the state runner-up finish his junior season. Homewood-Flossmoor finished the season 31-3 in 2003-04. Ranked No. 10 overall by Rivals.com and the No. 2 small forward, Wright, 6-8, chose KU over Arizona, Illinois and DePaul.

“Our last signee is a very pleasant surprise. Julian is one of the very best all-around players in America,” Self said. “With his size he can handle the ball in transition, he has some point guard skills but is still big enough to play anywhere on the floor. His versatility will be a huge asset for us. His recruitment has been well documented. We are so appreciative of Julian and his mother Gina having the confidence in us to commit on his home visit. Julian has the privilege to play for Homewood-Flossmoor and coach Roy Condotti, one of the best programs in the state of Illinois.

“The people that deserve the most credit for any good recruiting class is obviously the assistant coaches. Joe Dooley identified Micah and Mario early, which may have given us a head start with those two. All three assistants – Joe, Tim (Jankovich) and Kurtis (Townsend) – did a great job in cultivating relationships with these three youngsters throughout the recruiting process.”

Kansas Signees At-a-Glance

Mario Chalmers (G, 6-1, Anchorage, Alaska – Bartlett HS)

Micah Downs (G, 6-8, Kirkland, Wash. – Juanita HS)

Julian Wright (F, 6-8, Chicago Heights, Ill. – Homewood-Flossmoor HS)