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November 2, 2012
BEL AIRE, Kan. -- Located on the outskirts of Wichita, there's a nice basketball program being built at Sunrise Christian. After gaining momentum over the past few years, Kyle Lindsted's program is ready to take the next step. There's talent, there's depth and there's no shortage of hard work for a program that is on the rise.
Thursday night, Rivals.com swung through to watch the Buffaloes go through a pretty intense and high-energy two-hour workout and see what has made Sunrise a must-stop for college coaches.
The highest profile of the Sunrise players belongs to class of 2014 four-star point guard LouRawls Nairn. Better known as "Tum Tum" to his coaches and teammates, the 5-foot-10 point guard is a blur with the ball and sets the tone for his teammates with his speed and ability to make things happen off the dribble. He's surrounded by size and athleticism, and for Lindsted it's been a matter of building the program slowly with a goal to maximize what they can do.
"I really think the vision is to just be the best that we can be," Lindsted told Rivals.com. "I don't want us to be a basketball mill. We've done it with good kids and good academics, and the support around us has been big."
There's no question that it takes support to build a program that is pushing double-digit Division-I prospects, especially when most of the players in the program are from outside of the area and need help adjusting to life away from home.
Nairn hails from the Bahamas, as do 6-foot-7 senior power forward Andre Sands and 6-foot-5 junior wing Nathan Bain. Ole Miss commitment Sebastian Saiz (who had to sit out the workout with a bum ankle) is from Spain, and forward Janari Joesaar adds more international flavor. Junior wing Marvin Clark is a transplant from Kansas City, while junior big man Larry Dennis is the only local product.
"We're trying to do it right and we're excited about the caliber of player that we are getting," said Lindsted. "We're just trying to develop them the best we can as students and players."
Tum Tum is more than a blur
A four-star prospect, junior point guard Nairn currently ranks No. 73 nationally. He certainly looked the part of a nationally ranked point guard prospect during the Sunrise workout. He had control of his team, led by example and vocally, and most of all played fast.
Nairn is strong and compact, and while he knows that his strengths are his speed and quickness, he also understands that the team's post depth will help him a lot.
"I think our post play is going to be a big difference this year," said Nairn. "The big kid from Spain, Saiz, can really play and so can everybody else."
Nairn is feeling plenty of love from college coaches as programs such as Kansas State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Miami, Ole Miss and Iowa have all been strongly involved. Indiana, UCLA, Wake Forest, Wichita State, Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky are among many others to express interest.
For now, Nairn says that he's not even thought about his recruitment or making a list of his favorites. He's more focused on improving his game.
"My jump shot is the biggest thing that I've been working on," said Nairn. "After the summer, I got back in August and went to work on my shot and my attitude. I'm not letting it get me down if I miss shots, and I'm working hard."
Clark settling in at Sunrise
During the summer, Clark got a taste of high level play in the EYBL. After getting that taste for high-level play, the well built 6-foot-6 junior wing is working to raise the level of his own game.
"I think it's going to be real good for me," said Clark of his move to Sunrise. "I've gotten bigger, stronger, faster and been working on everything else. I'm going to be more prepared."
A southpaw who can shoot it a bit from deep, Clark is a good baseline finisher, can rebound and is an above-the-rim finisher in transition. He's heard from many of the same programs as Nairn as well as others such as Utah, Iowa State, Oregon, Wichita State and Missouri State.
"I played in the EYBL last summer and I feel like I showed some glimpses," said Clark. "I'm showing more now and I think that I'm going to be a lot bigger factor down the road.
Closing notes from Sunrise
A 6-foot-6 senior, Joesaar is scheduled to take an official visit to Ole Miss on the weekend of Nov. 9. He can face up and shoot the ball, is a good north/south athlete and looked good playing as a faceup four man while a few of the Sunrise bigs were sitting with injury.
Power forward Sands doesn't play the game of a polished low-post scorer. But he is strong, athletic, gets on the glass and is an above-the-rim finisher. The senior scraps on the glass, runs the floor and seems willing to do the dirty work.
Junior big man Dennis looks to be every bit of 6-foot-8 he may be pushing 6-foot-9. He can really run the floor, and while he's still skinny, he's adding noticeable strength and glides in transition. Dennis actually has a broken hand and couldn't compete in any of the contact drills, but he jumped into the drills that he could and was putting miles on the exercise bike when he couldn't be on the floor.