Kansas University center Sasha Kaun has been invited to try out for Russia's national basketball team.
Kaun, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound senior from Tomsk, will travel to Moscow for tryouts in early July in hopes of representing his country at the 2008 Summer Games in China.
"This is a great opportunity for me to continue to play basketball and move toward a professional career, whether that be the U.S. or overseas," Kaun said Tuesday.
NBA player Andrei Kirilenko (Utah) and Viktor Khryapa, who was cut by the Chicago Bulls this season, led the Russian nationals last summer.
Kaun - he averaged 7.1 points and 3.9 boards a game - said he was flooded with phone calls and text messages from friends in Russia the past several days, congratulating him on KU's national title.
¢ Appleton to ink today: Tyrone Appleton, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard from Midland (Texas) College, today will sign a national letter of intent with KU on the first day of the spring signing period, which lasts until May 21.
Gary, Ind., native Appleton averaged 13.2 points (46 percent shooting), 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season for 28-4 Midland.
He joins a class that includes Mario Little, 6-5, from Chipola (Fla.) CC, originally from Chicago; Quintrell Thomas, 6-8, from St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, N.J.; Marcus and Markieff Morris, 6-8 and 6-10, from APEX Academies in Pennsauken, N.J., originally from Philadelphia; and Travis Releford, 6-5, from Roeland Park Miege.
Appleton's signing puts KU one over the roster limit of 12 for next season.
His scholarship will be made available by junior Brandon Rush, who before the April 27 deadline will make official his decision to enter the NBA Draft.
KU, which also is expected to lose sophomore Darrell Arthur and possibly junior Mario Chalmers to the NBA, is still in the market for a big man. One possibility is Ater Majok, 6-10, from Sudan, who is considering UConn, KU, Kentucky and Baylor. Another possibility is J'Mison Morgan, 6-10, from Dallas, who signed with LSU, but is considering asking out of his letter of intent.
Another guard possibility is Tyshawn Taylor, 6-3 from Jersey City, N.J., who has asked to be released from his Marquette letter of intent. He considered KU, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech the first time around.
¢ Collins staying put: One player with NBA aspirations who won't be leaving KU is sophomore Sherron Collins, who has told KU coach Bill Self of his desire to run the point his junior year. "He said he's excited about coming back, excited about next year," Self said.
¢ Travel package offered: A travel package for KU's Labor Day trip to Ottawa, Ontario, is available through Travellers Inc., of Lawrence. Details are available at the Web site travellersinc.com.