San Jose, Calif. The one question lingering, waiting to be asked as soon as the season ended, "Stay or go?" was put to bed quickly and firmly by two Kansas University basketball players Saturday.
Sophomores Julian Wright and Mario Chalmers confirmed following KU's 68-55 loss to UCLA in the West Regional finals, that they plan to return for their junior seasons in 2007-08.
Wright, who again said he was "100 percent sure," had made that clear several times in recent months. Chalmers sang a similar tune in a sullen locker room in the HP Pavilion.
"Yes, I'll come back. I want to come back," Chalmers said. "I think everybody's coming back. I don't think anybody's talking about leaving right now. We've got a little taste of it now, and with everybody coming back, we'll have the same type of success."
Less than definitive was sophomore Brandon Rush, who quickly grew tired of being "bombarded" by the question in the locker room.
"I think so," Rush said of taking more time than last year to decide, "but I'm not even worried about that right now. No timetable at all. I'm just trying to not think about that right now. I'm not even commenting on that now."
A day earlier, he had indicated his "magic number" for deciding to leave would be guaranteed top-20 draft status.
KU freshman Darrell Arthur said: "I'll probably be back next year. We're going to try to make another run if everybody comes back. But I don't know what the word is. And we'll have to see what happens."
Freshman Sherron Collins also has NBA dreams.
"A couple of changes might happen, a couple of changes might be made," he said of a possible NBA defection or two. "But I don't know what's going to happen with me. I can't look forward right now. I don't know. Hard question to answer right now. So I don't know."
KU coach Bill Self said he would check the draft status of all his players in coming weeks. Realistically, it appears Rush would be the only player logically to jump.
"If he projects to be a high pick, then I think there's a great chance he may want to test it," Self said. "If he doesn't, I think there's a great chance he'd be back. I'm not keeping my fingers crossed for us, for him to return, because that's a selfish thing. I told him, 'Here's the deal.' We're going to evaluate it and see where he stands. I don't think he's in a hurry because he's enjoying school. But we'll talk about it the next week or so. We haven't talked about it in a long time."
Self said his mind had been on the team, not the NBA.
"I don't have a clue how the guys project," he said. "If they are not a high pick, it'd be foolish to leave. We'll gather information, and I'll speak to them and their families."
Russell Robinson, who along with Sasha Kaun definitely will be back, said: "One thing is, I just hope guys do the best thing for them. I know Kansas will be good and will be ready to be contenders next year regardless of who stays and who doesn't."
- Assistant sports editor Gary Bedore contributed to this report.