Banged-up Kansas University big men Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun practiced two hours (with physical contact) Thursday at Moody Bible College and took part in a shootaround in the United Center. They proclaimed themselves fit for tonight's game.
"I'm 100 percent now. I had a good practice yesterday, and today I didn't feel any pain. I went through everything," said Arthur, who suffered a bruised pelvic bone in Saturday's Big 12 title victory over Texas.
"It definitely feels better," Kaun said of the back he bruised after falling hard against Texas. "I can sleep and everything. As long as I do not put too much pressure on it, it's fine."
He explained his week.
"It was never ridiculously terrible," Kaun said of his back pain. "When I woke up Monday, it was really sore. Other than that, the pain hasn't been bad at all."
¢ Home of da Bulls: Sherron Collins says he's pumped to be playing basketball in the United Center, home of his favorite NBA team, his hometown Chicago Bulls.
2491 total votes.
"They are my Bulls," KU's freshman guard out of Crane Tech High said.
He went 3-0 in the United Center during his high school career.
"When I hit a shot," Collins said, "I think, 'That's the same spot Mike hit a shot.'"
Of course, he's referring to Bulls legend Michael Jordan, who helped Chicago claim six world championships.
Collins, by the way, said he left a message on his cell phone this week telling buddies to contact his uncle if they need tickets.
"There's a lot of messages on there," he said.
¢ Wright likes Chicago, too: KU's other Chicago native, sophomore Julian Wright of Homewood-Flossmoor High, went 1-1 in high school in the United Center.
"I like it," he said. "I like being home, but we came here to take care of business. It doesn't really matter where we are playing because we're so focused on what we want to accomplish this postseason.
"That first trip here taught me and Sherron a lot," he added of a Dec. 2 trip home which resulted in a loss to DePaul in All-State Arena in Rosemont.
¢ Stopping Brown: Brandon Rush was asked who would guard 6-foot-7 Clif Brown, who scored 32 points in Niagara's victory over Florida A&M; in Tuesday's tournament play-in game in Dayton, Ohio.
"I think I or Julian will take him," Rush said. "He's a great shooter. I was kind of surprised at their whole team. Their whole starting five can shoot threes."
Of Brown, Kaun said: "They're always on the three-point line. You always have to close out on them and stuff, knowing they can shoot the ball. It's always a matter of thinking about finding him on the three-point line as well as under the basket."
¢ Pierce likes KU still: Former Kansas University forward Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics is rooting for one team in the NCAA Tournament.
Obviously, that's his alma mater.
"Kansas Jayhawks," Pierce exclaimed to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, identifying his pick to win it all. "You expect my answer to change every year or something?"
Pierce hasn't shifted his loyalty to North Carolina. UNC coach Roy Williams, of course, coached Pierce at KU.
"I like Roy," Pierce told the paper, "and I hope a lot of success for him, but my heart is with Kansas."
¢ Recruiting: Murphy Holloway, a 6-7, 210-pound junior forward from Irmo, S.C., told Rivals.com he had been offered a scholarship by KU. The No. 68 player in the Class of 2008 also is considering Arizona, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, DePaul, Florida, Georgia, Miami, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and others.
"Kansas is probably my leader now," Holloway told Rivals.com.
¢ Former teammates to clash: Niagara's Charron Fisher was a teammate of KU's Russell Robinson at Nike camp during their high school days.
"I might say something to him if I see him before the game. But it's all business," Robinson said.