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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  • 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.

  • ole sasquatch

    Will his personality be a fit for our team? Has to be asked.

    • Tyrone

      Good one Ole . If he is not a good fit or if it is a good fit. it wont matter Huggs will run him off so who cares.

  • Rick55

    This kid isn't the kind of marginal recruit that some lone D1 coach is taking a chance on. You can't hide him away. If he's a player, other schools are going to find and recruit him. If we get him, it will be because he wants to play for us.

  • Motown fan

    Kansas wants to take a wvu starter and turn him into a bench warmer just so we can't burn them later with him. It's how recruiting works.

    • KeatonsCorner

      nope, Kansas is reportedly losing at least one of the PGs to transfer. Considering PG play was what cost them games this season, Phillip could come in and play/start from day 1.

      • Aaron

        Another factor in the recruiting process is that Kansas is also seeking the the services of Devonte Graham, ranked higher than Phillip.

        I cannot imagine why he would go to Kansas to compete with 2-3 other point guards but who knows.

      • Aaron

        FR 4-star recruit Frank Mason recently replaced former 4-star recruit JR Nadir Tharpe in the lineup last year meaning that 3rd string 4-star recruit Connor Frankamp, who played well when he managed to get on the court. His problem was, he couldn't get on the court.

        SG is out as in addtion to 5-star recruit Wayne Selden who is coming back to Lawrence, they have 5-star recruit Kelly Oubre coming in this year.

        I guess he could play a forward and battle with the 5-star recruits KU has coming in there for quality playing time, huh.

    • squad

      you are correct, he will never see anything but pine at KU.

    • Aaron

      Particularly with programs that are rolling their rosters on a yearly basis.

  • Marcellas

    Shawn 108, what makes Allan such a judge/expert on recruiting talent?

  • Aaron

    Hopefully he will see the revolving door that has become Kansas and know that if a 5 star PG decides to come to Lawrence, he could easily be sent to the bench.

    In WV, he has a better opportunity to become part of a team while seeing significant minutes at both guard spots before being handed the keys to the kingdom in a year.

    Time will tell.

  • clair

    Hmm- combo guard with three years to play sounds good. Does anyone know what Statens real height is, he looks about 5-9.

  • Shawn 108


    Have you seen the dude play? Do we want him?

    • Allan Taylor

      Have not, Shawn. And after speaking with his juco coach, it seems a lot of programs haven't seen him play either.

  • Shawn 108

    If Kansas wants the kid he must be decent. Hopefully he sticks with the first team to want him. But we really need a big man. In my opinion

    • Motownfan

      WVU already has a quality big man coming from in state playing and currently playing for Huntington prep. Levi Cook. If Billy Hahn can teach him how to turn fat into muscle he'll be an absolute beast.

      • Pt

        It is impossible to turn fat in to muscle. Fat is fat. Muscle is muscle. One doesn't become the other.

        • Bill Wagner

          If anyone can turn muscle into fat its our strength coach Andy Kettler! He will show this young man how to work out and eat right. Look out for our future!

      • JT

        Unless he's made tremendously huge strides at Huntington prep, he's a non issue in D-1 basketball. Can't jump, gets burnt and takes about 3min to run the floor when he actually makes the effort to run. And before anyone asks, yes I've seen him play multiple times.

        • Richard A Fisher

          JT I thought he played well against Montverde in the National Tourney. I feel he can definitely play D-1 especially when he gets his baby fat off.

          • JT

            I hope he has made huge strides and I must qualify my statement by saying I've not seen him since he has played at Huntington prep. But at liberty he was as described above.

      • JoeyO

        Cook will be a Sr next season at Huntington... at this point he can only jump about 2 inches.