George, Livingston play at tourney in Alabama

Offered a scholarship by KU, Chris Livingston is regarded by some as the most physically gifted prospect out of Akron since LeBron James.

Offered a scholarship by KU, Chris Livingston is regarded by some as the most physically gifted prospect out of Akron since LeBron James.

USA Basketball photo

Keyonte George and Chris Livingston, two of the top players in the high school basketball recruiting Class of 2022 who each have made official visits to Kansas, were matched against each other at last weekend’s Adidas Stripe Select Basketball AAU showcase in Hoover, Alabama.

George, a 6-5, 190-pound senior point guard/shooting guard from iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy in Lewisville, Texas, scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in Southern Assault AAU’s 74-63 victory over Livingston’s We All Can Go squad.

Livingston, a 6-7, 210-pound small forward from Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio, who is ranked No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com, scored 19 points for the losing team. George is ranked No. 5 nationally in the Class of 2022 by Rivals.com.

“The more I watch George, the more I see him as a lead guard. He has been noted for his scoring, but in this one he looked like a paint-touch point guard. He defended the point of attack well and he made some great passes and reads,” wrote Jamie Shaw of Rivals.com.

George has visited KU, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State and also has Kentucky on his list of schools. He averaged 23.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals a game his junior season at iSchool Academy.

He told SI.com at the Adidas tourney he will announce his college choice “by late August.”

“I don’t have a set date or anything like that, but that’s when I want to get it done,” George told SI.com. “I have to sit down with my mom and a couple people in my circle to figure it all out after the live periods. The visits definitely turned things up a level because they were all great.”

He noted to SI.com that, “All of the schools see me as a combo guard who can play either position. I look at myself as being whatever the team needs to win. I’m comfortable at both positions.”

Livingston finished the matchup against George with 19 points, but it was his “toughness and ability to make winning plays that really stood out,” Shaw wrote.

Livingston has visited KU and Kentucky. He told 247sports.com he will visit Memphis, Georgetown and Tennessee State. He also has North Carolina and others on his list.

Of his recruitment, Livingston told Eric Bossi of 247sports.com: “I loved the Kansas and Kentucky visits. I feel as though the coaching staffs and the atmosphere of the campuses they just did their best to show me their programs and put their best foot forward. I want to wait until next year (to announce choice). I’m looking for where I can strive, how the fanbase loves their basketball, the media and how they treat their players, the atmosphere of the program, the facilities and the coaching staff.”

Livingston also is said to be considering playing pro basketball right out of high school.

Epps scouted by KU at tourney

KU’s coaches watched the games of Jayden Epps at the AAU event in Alabama. Epps is a 6-1, 170-pound senior point guard out of Kings Fork High School in Suffolk, Virginia. He’s ranked No. 68 in the recruiting Class of 2022 by Rivals.com.

He plays for Team Loaded AAU of Virginia, which is former KU guard Frank Mason’s former AAU team.

“Epps has some Damian Lillard to his game with his play style and shot mechanics. He flashed that on Friday night — with Brad Underwood (Illinois), (Chester) Frazier (Illini assistant) and Bill Self watching — by hitting back-to-back pull-up threes in a hotly-contested game against Midwest Basketball Club,” wrote Derek Piper of 247sports.com.

Epps has made official visits to KU, Illinois, UConn and North Carolina State.

“Kansas was a great school. When I went there, the coaches loved me,” Epps told 247sports.com. “I’m building a relationship with them. I love being on campus. It’s a blueblood, so it’s always good to have one of those.

“I’m just taking my time right now,” added Epps, who once was committed to Providence.. “I love all the schools. Just taking my time, keep building relationships with the coaches, keep getting a feel for the schools.”

MJ Rice update from Alabama

MJ Rice, a 6-5, 200-pound senior guard/forward from Prolific Prep in Windsor, California, who is ranked No. 28 in the recruiting Class of 2022 by Rivals.com, scored 22 points Saturday in a Team Loaded AAU victory.

“He knocked down a pair of three-pointers to complement his trademark ability to absorb contact on his way to finishing at the basket,” wrote Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com. “Rice has focused on becoming leaner this offseason and the results show in his physique. And while N.C. State is thought to be the college leader at this juncture, the four-star prospect insists his recruitment remains wide open. He recently visited Kansas and Oklahoma State.”

He added to Rivals.com: “The biggest difference between Kansas and Oklahoma State is that it was so hot at Oklahoma State. Both places are like a big family. Every school and the pro route is all the same right now. I’m taking this whole thing slow.”

He’s also considering Boston College, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Duke, and others. There are reports that Rice may elect to head to the NBA G League rather than play college basketball.

Kijani Wright grabs 16 boards

Kijani Wright, a 6-8, 220-pound senior forward from Windward High School in Los Angeles, who is ranked No. 17 in the recruiting Class of 2022 according to Rivals.com, grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 10 points in a Compton Magic victory at the event in Alabama.

Wright has a top five of KU, Stanford, Texas, Arkansas and USC. He told Rivals.com he is planning visits to KU and Stanford. He’s already made trips to Arkansas, Texas and USC. Florida State and Michigan State have also been listed as contenders.

“It (a commitment) will be prior to the start of my senior season,” Wright told nwahomepage.com.

Wright also is considering turning pro right out of high school.

“Wright is big, strong, and sturdy, but he’s not stiff and has soft hands,” wrote Kevin McPherson of nwahomepage.com. “He can play facing up on the perimeter with shooting range out to the three-point line or in the paint with his back to the basket as he displays a variety of decisive moves capped off by soft-touch finishes. He’s a solid rebounder and rim-protector as well, displaying agility, good footwork, and good instincts around the basket.”

Related stories from Kansas City Star

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.

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