There was serious talk in C.J. Giles' hometown of Seattle that the former Kansas University basketball player would choose to play for pay after being kicked off the Jayhawk team.
Published reports indicated the junior center was close to signing a contract with the Yakama (Wash.) Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association and also considering bolting to one of Europe's many pro leagues.
Turns out the reports were wrong, wrong, oh so wrong.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Giles, who left KU's program on Nov. 6 following a variety of transgressions, on Monday began classes at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.
He may practice with coach Jay John's Beavers immediately, but won't be eligible to play until Dec. 8, 2007. He'll have a year and a half of eligibility remaining.
"He still wants to be a college student and enjoy the college experience," said KU junior Rodrick Stewart, Giles' roommate at KU. Stewart has spoken with his former high school teammate four times since he was shown the door by KU coach Bill Self.
"I don't think he's looking to the NBA right now."
That was the story Monday as Giles indicated in a news conference that "graduating from Oregon State" was now his main goal.
"The second thing I want to do is help change the program and get it winning like the old days," Giles said.
That would be fine with John, who recruited Giles his senior year at Rainier Beach High and again just recently as a transfer.
"When I first talked to C.J., he told me he really wanted to have a second chance to do things the right way. I asked if he wanted to graduate college. He said yes, and we moved on from there,'' said John, who referred to Giles as a "humble, engaging and motivated young man."
He's also a troubled young man.
Self dismissed Giles for disciplinary reasons (academic issues as well as being late for practice) to go with the player's escalating legal problems.
He faces a Jan. 25 court date on battery charges against a woman he admitted to dragging out of bed and out of his apartment as well as failing to pay child support for his baby son.
"We're happy C.J. has found a home. We wish C.J. the best," said Self, who credited Giles for completing his first semester coursework and leaving "in good academic standing."
"We are certainly disappointed how it ended here. We need to move forward. He needs to move forward. I think this could be potentially a good fit for him," Self added.
Giles addressed his problems Monday.
"I was young and immature at Kansas," he said. "Now I'm here, and I'm going to grow up. People grow from their mistakes. The things that got me in trouble in Lawrence, I've learned from that, and I know what I need to change. I've admitted my mistakes. I'm here to start fresh."
Giles chose the Beavers over Eastern Washington and New Mexico State.
"We feel like we know him very well. He understands that he has been given a second chance, and I am confident he will make the most of it," John said. "He wouldn't be here if I didn't believe that he will become a model student-athlete and a solid citizen for us."
Self had nothing negative to say about Giles on Monday.
"I haven't really followed it (recruitment) close enough to know. Neither scenario would have surprised me, if he'd gone to play professionally or go to school, because he is leaving in good academic standing," said Self, who did not speak to Oregon State officials during the recruiting process.
¢ Rumor denied: Daily Oklahoman sports writer Mike Baldwin said in a kusports.com chat Monday that there was a "well-substantiated rumor that Oklahoma State's biggest booster, Boone Pickens, wanted to offer KU's Self "a 'can't-refuse' deal of $4 million or more a season to come to OSU a year ago.
"Sean Sutton, though, had an ironclad contract and Self said he would never have returned even if offered out of respect for the Sutton family AND THE FACT he has one of the nation's best jobs right now."
Self had a simple statement when informed of the rumor Monday. "Everything about that is false," Self said. "The reason it was an unreported story is it never happened."
¢ Sutton ceremony: KU will honor former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton at halftime of Wednesday's KU-OSU game (8 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Sutton, a native of Bucklin, went 798-315 in 36 seasons as a college head coach.
Self credited KU's administration for coming up with the idea to honor the man who led OSU to the 1995 and 2004 Final Fours.
"He means so much to the game of college basketball," Self said. "He'll certainly pull for his Cowboys all the way, but he's always respected everything that has gone on at the University of Kansas. He was certainly one of my mentors. He has great respect for Kansas. I think it will be a halftime that he enjoys very much."
¢ New name: Marcus Thornton, a 6-3, 190-pound guard from Kilgore (Texas) Community College, attended the KU-Boston College game on an unofficial recruiting visit. Thornton, who also has visited Kansas State, tells rivals.com he's considering KU, KSU, Texas A&M;, Maryland, Louisville, Miami and Oklahoma. A native of Louisiana, Thornton is averaging 30.0 points off 58 percent shooting and 7.5 boards a game.
¢ Bowman joins Cowboys: Adarius Bowman, who caught 13 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns in Oklahoma State's football victory over KU on Oct. 14, has joined the Cowboy hoops team. The 6-4 Bowman was a high school standout in Chattanooga, Tenn.
¢ Pride of Humboldt: Humboldt High's basketball players and coaches attended KU's practice on Monday. KU walk-on Brad Witherspoon is one of the school's all-time greats. He visited with the players and coaches before practice.
¢ KU's No. 1: Brandon Rush was asked if preseason pick KU remained the favorite in the Big 12 race: "I think we are still league favorites despite our first couple losses. People are saying we are like the second or third best team in our conference. I think we are the best team in our conference. We've got big competition in the league in Oklahoma State Wednesday, and then we go to Iowa State who beat Missouri."