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Kansas gobbles up Isiah Thomas’ leftovers

Isiah Thomas

Florida International head coach Isiah Thomas speaks with an official during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland in College Park, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. Maryland won 65-61. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Isiah Thomas may not have worked out as a basketball coach at Florida International, but he had an eye for unpolished talent, which is an important skill a mid-major coach can have. He proved it by nabbing an early commitment from Chicago Marshall’s Milton Doyle, a player one Chicago Sun Times reporter called “the ultimate sleeper”.

Bill Self, on the other hand, has the blue-blood’s luxury of pouncing late and still getting his man. When Thomas was unceremoniously fired earlier this year, Doyle reconsidered his decision to become a Golden Panther. He wasn’t the most hotly recruited late de-commit, but his top two were pretty impressive. Doyle was considering attending either Marquette or Kansas, and he visited Kansas first and fell in love. Not one to waste time, the incoming freshman graduated high school last week, had a goodbye party, and is scheduled to begin classes in Lawrence on Monday.

Doyle is a 6'4" combo guard with an all-around game, a cool head, and a reputation for slashing to the hoop when he sees an opening.

“I call him the quiet assassin,” Marshall High coach Henry Cotton told the Chicago Tribune. “He just goes about his job relentlessly. If he had waited (until second semester instead of committing to FIU) he could have gone anywhere he wanted to, but he was loyal to the people who showed him interest when no one else did. That’s the way he is.”

With Tyshawn Taylor on the way out, it’s time for Bill Self to develop another speed merchant to help run the Jayhawk offense. Doyle was a first-team all-public-league player in Chicago, and should slot in nicely at Kansas, with his ability to score and play either wing position.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.