Area basketball player picks Kansas

Joel Embiid dunks during practice at The Rock gym in Gainesville in this Sept. 11, 2012 file photo.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville sun
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.

Highly touted 2013 center Joel Embiid announced Tuesday that he's committing to Kansas.

Embiid, a three-star recruit who enrolled at the The Rock School in Gainesville last summer, had Florida in his final three with Kansas and Texas.

“It's bittersweet,” The Rock coach Justin Harden said. “We would have loved for him to stay in Gainesville, but he's going to one of the top five programs in the country.”

Harden said the 6-foot-11 Embiid made his decision over the weekend. He will sign his letter of intent Thursday in a ceremony at The Rock School.

“Billy (Donovan) and his staff did everything they could to try to get him,” Harden said. “It was nothing that they didn't do. It came down to the last weekend. He just felt like Kansas was the best fit for him.”

Florida has two commitments for the 2013 class — five-star point guard Kasey Hill (Montverde Academy) and five-star forward Chris Walker (Bonifay Holmes County). Both are expected to sign their letters of intent later this week.

Embiid is an exchange student from Cameroon who has been only playing basketball for 18 months. But coaches around the country have been impressed with his skills and his upside.

“I wouldn't say this is a case of (Kansas coach) Bill Self stealing a player from Florida's backyard,” Harden said. “He's only been in Gainesville for a few months. So he has no real strong connection here.”

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top