- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
LSU coach Johnny Jones isn't done recruiting for the class of 2012, but that doesn't mean he and is staff aren't already working on the 2013 class.
LSU hosted three players ranked in the 2013 ESPN 100 during the weekend when members of the stacked Dallas-based Urban DFW Elite grass roots team made an unofficial visit to LSU on Memorial Day. Center Karviar Shepherd (Dallas/Grace Prep), the No. 29 player in the 2013 100, forward Jordan Mickey (Dallas/Grace Prep) the No. 41-ranked player, and guard Kendal Harris (Richardson, Texas/Berkner), the No. 93-ranked player, were among the players who made the visit.
Also notably present was guard Shirmane Thomas (Dallas/Skyline).
"Pretty much the whole team went. The visit went very well," Urban DFW Elite coach Jazzy Hartwell said. "They all really liked it. I think for all three of (the top 100 members), LSU's in their top five."
The connections between Jones, the former North Texas head coach, and Urban DFW Elite run deeper than one might think. Not only are there ties between Hartwell and Jones because of Jones' 11-year run as head coach at North Texas, which is located on the edge of the DFW Metroplex in Denton, there is a longer history than that because Hartwell has a Louisiana past.
"Most definitely, the kids knew (Jones)," Hartwell said. "Johnny always had his eyes on them because they were in his backyard."
Hartwell has known Jones even longer. He grew up and Baton Rouge and said he knew Jones when Jones was an assistant at LSU for Dale Brown in the 1980s.
Hartwell went to Baton Rouge's Glen Oaks High, then went to Waco, Texas in college to play for tiny Paul Quinn College, an NAIA school that moved from Waco to Dallas in 1990. Hartwell stayed in Dallas, became a program director at a YMCA and eventually became involved in select basketball.
His teams have sent several players to colleges. One of his signature players was J'Mison Morgan, who signed with LSU in 2008, but backed out after John Brady was fired and eventually signed with UCLA.