MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As point guard Tarik Phillip prepared to make a weekend recruiting visit to West Virginia, his junior college coach said Thursday that Kansas has taken an interest.

“The University of Kansas was in today to see him,”  Independence (Kan.) Community College coach Tony Turner told MetroNews. “They are aware that he’s going on a visit to West Virginia this weekend. He’s got two big dogs in the Big 12 recruiting him, and he’s just looking for the right fit.” photo

Tarik Phillip was MVP of the Jayhawk Conference this season as a redshirt freshman.

A redshirt freshman this season, the 6-foot-3 Phillip averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists for Independence, becoming MVP of the Jayhawk Conference. Because he sat out most of first semester as a transfer, power conference teams had fewer opportunities to see him play.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and assistant Larry Harrison liked what they saw upon visiting Phillip in late March, subsequent providing his first high-profile offer of this recruiting cycle. Back in 2012, Phillip had committed to South Carolina but failed to qualify academically.

“He liked talking with Larry and Coach Huggins and I think he’s leaning toward West Virginia,” Turner said.

Whether Kansas has officially extended a scholarship offer was unclear, but Turner said “they have a spot for him.” Freshman center Joel Embiid formally announced Thursday his plan to enter the NBA draft.

Juwan Staten’s decision not to enter the draft hasn’t deterred Phillip from prioritizing West Virginia or WVU from pursuing him.

“Tarik’s not going to worry about that,” Turner said. “He’s the kind of player who will figure out a way to get on the court, and he’ll look forward to playing alongside (Staten).

“He’s a point guard and a two-guard—he’s just a ‘guard.’ He can play the one, two or three. He’s about ‘Let’s do whatever we can to win games and compete for a national championship.’ That’s the kind of kid he is.”

West Virginia’s coaching staff went searching for another guard recruit when sophomore Eron Harris asked to transfer in the aftermath of a first-round NIT loss at Georgetown.

Phillip shot 55 percent from the floor overall and 38 percent from 3-point range, attempting three 3s per game.

“He can get to the rack … but you can’t label him as a kid who couldn’t shoot, because if you sag off of him he’ll make the jumper,” Turner said. “He could score from wherever you needed him to score.

“He’s just a very coachable kid and I think teams will see how much he affects the game.”

Forced to sit out his senior year at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy reportedly because of a disciplinary issue, Phillip spent a post-graduate season at Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C., where he averaged 26 points and seven assists per game before committing to South Carolina.

Rivals senior writer Keenan Cummings first reported Phillip’s plan to visit Morgantown on

“Phillip is aggressive on both ends of the floor and has a pit-bull mentality,” Cummings said. “He will have three years of eligibility and has the mentality that should help him fit into the program.”

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  • VaultHunter

    This is how bad our basketball program is right now. This kid looks like he could be a solid player one day...if he can qualify and stay out of trouble. We are now forced to rely on two players we have not seen play and now this first year kid with issues to save the basketball program. We should be bringing in kids like this to develope and bring along but because of the numerous failed recruiting adventures from this staff we cannot.

    Still waiting on Huggs to "fix" it.

  • whatamoroon

    This kid has had only discipline issues in the past and has not been arrested. I don't think he is our type of player so I don't think he will commit.

  • An actual athlete

    Haven't seen the kid play but he has good size for a combo guard. If Kansas if even remotely interested then he can obviously play. Recruiting at this point and time is the search for the next one and done for major programs. So the fact that he is kinda below the radar isn't a concern really. Also at this point most teams have filled their scholarship limits unless you have a transfer or draft pick. Hope we get this kid seeing as how he was 4star out of high school.

  • Jason

    espn got him going to KU or NC.State to bad for WVU i would liked to seen him here.

    • Aaron

      Funny, I couldn't find that story.

  • Bobby Ganesh

    Didn't ply senior yr in his due to disciplinary reasons.......perfect thuggins recruit

  • L77


    This guy will fit right in with recent recruits....grade issues and discipline.

    Why can't we find a basketball player who can play and from a great family? Probably they don't want to play for someone yelling that can be heard 20 rows up.

  • Rick55

    If Coach Huggins had not recruited this kid, Bill Self would still be completely unaware of him. Kind if flattering when you think about it!

  • Hop'sHip

    Any academic eligibility issues? When does spring signing period begin, or does that not impact JUCOs?

  • MikeCowen

    Stop with the literal interpretations. Muscle to fat is a common expression that is well understood.

  • Shawn H

    It's supposed to be warm this weekend. I trust the ladies will be dressed appropriately, and by that I mean, with hardly anything on. Take him on a stroll of the campus.

  • Dave

    Tarik Phillips, You would make a great fit to our team and would definitely see lots of playing time. I'm sure once you get to Morgantown and see what they have to offer, you will commit. A brand new basketball facility awaits you, open 24/7.

  • GoEers

    What a great addition to the team! I look for a commitment made this weekend.


    If Huggs likes the kid so do I ..... Here is to him and Staten becoming to two peas in a pod!!!

    Another floor General that can handle the rock and understands the game of basketball is what WVU needs (less turnovers = more opportunity for everyone on the team)

    Lets win games here at West Virginia!!

    Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!Mountaineeeeeeeers!!!!!

  • Holgie

    Game over. Who would you rather play for Huggs or Self?
    No contest.

    • Aaron

      I guess young Mr. Phillip answered your question, huh!!!!!

    • Beaver Sniffer

      Game over. Who would you rather read a post from? Holgie or anyone else? No contest.

    • Jay

      Huggs. Not even close.

      • GoEers


  • Ike

    Kind of like our chances here with the relationship between Frank Martin and Bob Huggins both going after the same ball player. If this young man plays to his stats, plays hard nosed defense and can dribble the basketball, we are already ahead of what we lost. I would welcome this as a solid pick up for WV Basketball. The hills are calling Tarik. Come experience Wild and Wonderful WV.