Kansas State men's basketball coach Frank Martin announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on the second day of the fall signing period on Thursday.
The four-man recruiting class, which is considered one of the nation's best classes, includes Jordan Henriquez (Winchendon [Mass.] School/Port Chester, N.Y.), Wally Judge (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.), Rodney McGruder (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.) and Nick Russell (Grace Preparatory Academy/Arlington, Texas).
"It is an exciting time for us at Kansas State," said Martin. "All the hard work by the assistant coaches to go out and promote our program and sell K-State to potential recruits – it comes through in a recruiting class that we are extremely excited about because of the make-up of kids as people and what we think of them as players. It was important with this class that we continue to add athleticism to our team. We have done that when you consider the guys that we have signed. We also wanted to add some size at the guard play and we have done that with Nick and Rodney."
The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from Washington, D.C., who is entering his second year at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla. Considered one of the top power forwards in the high school ranks, Judge was rated as a top 25 recruit by several recruiting services, including the No. 17 prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 23 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. He was also rated as an ESPNU Top 100 recruit. In addition, he is ranked among the top-10 at his position, including No. 6 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 9 by Rivals.com.
"Wally runs like the wind," said Martin. "He is big and strong – just a big time talent that we think has an incredible future ahead of him. He is a workaholic. He is somebody that just continues to strive to improve and get better on a daily basis."
Judge is in his second year at Florida powerhouse, Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, where he helped the Apaches to their fourth consecutive Class 2A state title with a 24-6 overall record in 2007-08. Judge averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Apaches despite playing just half the season after transferring from Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Md.
Judge played perhaps his best game in the state regional semifinal win over Florida Air Academy, posting a season-high 27 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. He was named second team Class 2A All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association.
As a sophomore, Judge helped Bladensburg to a 19-5 overall record, including a 14-3 mark, in league play and final No. 12 ranking in the Class 4A. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in 2006-07 and was an honorable mention selection to the Washington Post All-Met team.
Judge played AAU ball with the D.C. Assault, along with fellow recruit Rodney McGruder. He and McGruder are the fifth and sixth players from the Assault to sign with K-State, following Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley and current players – sophomore Ron Anderson, redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels and sophomore Dominique Sutton.
Judge chose Kansas State after receiving offers from a number of schools, including Georgetown, Maryland, Ohio State, Villanova, Virginia and West Virginia.
A teammate of Judge at Arlington Country Day, Rodney McGruder is considered one of the best shooting guards in the country. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 91 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. McGruder is also ranked among the top-35 at the position by a number of outlets, including No. 23 by Rivals.com and No. 31 by ESPN Scouts, Inc.
"Rodney is one of those guys that has an incredible understanding of playing the game at such a young age," said Martin. "And if you couple that with the fact that he is extremely athletic, along with his ability to shoot the basketball, it makes him an exciting guy for our basketball team."
McGruder transferred to Arlington Country Day in the off-season from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lions to a 16-10 overall record and an appearance in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals in 2007-08. He was named to the Washington Post All-Met first team.
McGruder chose Kansas State after receiving offers from a number of schools, including Clemson, George Mason, Miami (Fla.), Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to Kansas State from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 114 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. Russell is also ranked among the top-40 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 20 by Rivals.com and No. 36 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. In addition, he is rated the No. 4 player in the state of Texas for the Class of 2009 by Texashoops.com.
"Nick has great size and length as a basketball player considering that he is a young man that plays the point guard at the high school level," said Martin. "He brings a tremendous ability of passing the basketball, seeing the floor, and then the ability to score the basketball too. We will continue to add to what we wanted which is a little longer at the guard spot and tremendous understanding and athleticism."
Russell helped Grace Prep to a 26-12 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in league play, as a junior in 2006-07. He helped the Lions to a runner-up finish at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) Class 5A state tournament, where they lost to Midland Christian, 74-60. Russell averaged 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as a junior. He was named first team TAPPS Class 5A all-state as well as co-most valuable player of the District 1-5A and first team all-district.
As a sophomore, Russell was named first team all-state as well as District 1-5A newcomer of the year. He played his AAU ball with the Dallas Mustangs.
Russell chose Kansas State after receiving offers from a number of schools, including Colorado State, Florida State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, SMU and UCLA.
Jordan Henriquez comes to Kansas State from The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he is playing a postgraduate year in 2008-09. The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from New Rochelle, N.Y. signed with the Wildcats this past May after finishing his career at Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y. As a senior, he led the team to an 18-6 overall record and an 8-0 mark in league play en route to a runner-up finish at the Section I Championship. In averaging a team-best 15.3 points, Henriquez scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games in 2007-08, including six 20-point contests.
Henriquez scored a season-high 27 points against Jay on Dec. 12, while he collected a season-best 14 blocked shots against North Rockland on Dec. 15. He was named second team all-county as well as all-conference by the Tri-County Coaches Association.
"He is a very intriguing prospect," said Martin. "When we signed him back in the spring, we understood that there was a chance that he would not qualify and we are happy that he has owned up to his commitment and he is still in our corner. He is 6-foot-11 – has great hands, very competitive and he is a runner. That is something that is important to us. When our 'bigs' can run, it is something we are excited about. When you consider that we add Curtis Kelly to that mix of players, it gives us five pretty good first-year guys next year."
The quartet will be joined by the junior forward Kelly, who is sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from the University of Connecticut this past summer. A 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward from Queens, N.Y., Kelly played in 51 games in his two-year career with the Huskies, averaging 2.4 points on 50 percent shooting (47-of-94) with 2.2 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per game. Kelly was the New York Post and New York Daily News Player of the Year in leading Rice High School to the city and state Catholic school championships as a senior in 2005-06.