Friday, August 8, 2008

Hoops honor on tap

Champs to be recognized Sept. 20

The Kansas Jayhawks go wild after their 2008 NCAA National Championship win over Memphis at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Kansas Jayhawks go wild after their 2008 NCAA National Championship win over Memphis at the Alamodome in San Antonio.


There's some added incentive for Kansas University sports fans to pack Memorial Stadium for the Jayhawks' Sept. 20 football game against Sam Houston State.

On that day, KU's 2008 national basketball champions will be recognized, likely in a halftime ceremony during the nonconference contest.

"We will honor the (basketball) team during that game," KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Thursday, indicating details are not yet finalized.

That will be a special weekend for coach Bill Self's champions.

"Rings will be presented in a private ceremony with the team," Marchiony said of KU's players, coaches and support-staff members receiving their 2008 NCAA championship rings.

Self said late September was a perfect time to distribute the championship rings.

"We will be able to get some of our past players back here. Once camp starts Oct. 1, they will not be able to come back," Self said of NBA players Darrell Arthur (Memphis), Brandon Rush (Indiana), Mario Chalmers (Miami), Darnell Jackson (Cleveland) and Russell Robinson (Houston).

On hand for the football game and ring ceremony will be one of the top high school basketball players in the country.

Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 senior guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, told on Thursday he'll be making an unofficial visit to KU that weekend, then make his official campus visit for the Oct. 17 Late Night in the Phog.

"I don't have any other visits planned right now," Henry said. He is down to a final four of KU, Memphis, Texas and UCLA. "I just know that I'll be taking a visit to Kansas in September and October."

Henry might witness one of the best-ever Late Nights, considering the Jayhawks are coming off their first national title in 20 years.

A national championship banner will be unveiled at Late Night 2008.

"It'll be a different banner than the other four that are hanging now," Marchiony said of KU's NCAA title banners in the north rafters. "We are going to have a commemorative banner at Late Night. We are still developing plans for a (banner) celebration at Late Night and (one) during the regular season."


Collins update: KU junior point guard Sherron Collins, who had arthrosopic surgery on his left knee on April 22, has not yet started playing pickup basketball.

Self said Collins is progressing nicely, however, and will be ready to step up his physical activity when he returns to campus from his hometown of Chicago on Sunday.

"He's not played all summer. We held him out," Self said Thursday. "We maybe could have done a little more, but there's certainly no reason to rush it, except for him keeping his body in shape."

Self said the plan was for Collins to begin working on "basketball stuff" when he returns and have him rehab to the point he's able to begin in earnest on Aug. 21, the first day of practice in preparation for KU's Labor Day weekend trip to Canada.

"Whether he'll play in Canada remains to be seen. The last thing I want to do is set it (knee) back at all. I'm hoping he's available for practice to use him in limited reps," Self said. "If we can use him 50 percent of the reps, I'd be happy. That way he could help the young guys, show them what to do as well as give the majority of the reps to the young guys.

"I anticipate him playing," Self noted of three games in Canada, "but not 30 minutes a game."


Twins update: Self expects incoming freshmen Marcus and Markieff Morris to be eligible this season. They have finished a core high school course they took this summer in Lawrence. Core courses and SAT scores combine to determine whether players are eligible to play college basketball.

"I'd say all the coursework is completed. The grades will be turned into the eligibility center. It's kind of a waiting game now," Self said.


Robinson has five finalists: Another possible Sept. 20 visitor is Thomas Robinson, a 6-8 power forward from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Robinson told he has a final list of KU, Memphis, USC, Miami and Texas.


Kaun cut: Former Kansas University center Sasha Kaun won't be playing for Russia's Olympic team after all.

Viktor Khryapa, who recently suffered a severe ankle sprain, on Thursday was deemed fit to play in the 2008 Games in Beijing. One player needed to be cut from the roster to make room for Khryapa. That player was KU's Kaun.

Kaun has played sparingly in pre-Olympics exhibitions. He did not score while playing seven minutes in Russia's loss to the U.S. on Sunday.


KEITHMILES05 12 years, 9 months ago

The waiting game for the twins continues. Again.

NH_JHawk 12 years, 9 months ago

You couldn't ask for better timing on either of Xavier Henry's two visits to campus. Coincidence? So sorry Memphis, UT, UCLA: Advantage KU.

Timmay97 12 years, 9 months ago

Relax! Bill Self had a pretty good idea that they would be able to play this year. He knew what had to be done for them to be eligible and they are getting it done. They will be playing for the Jayhawks this year. Don't worry!As for Xavier.....he's pretty much a Jayhawk. You can tell his interest lies at KU more than any other school. I don't see Memphis or any other school beating out KU after his two visits. It's going to be too overwhelming for him. Being we will only have a couple of scholarships to give for next year, getting Xavier basically destroys the rest of the field as far as I'm concerned. I don't care how long he stays at KU.

yates33333 12 years, 9 months ago

KeithMiles makes a point. Why is it taking so long to pass a test and get the scores in? I begin to worry that they may never play for KU.

Ryan Gerstner 12 years, 9 months ago

To me, it looks like their test score wasn't quite high enough so they needed a little higher GPA to meet the minimum. It's kind of a sliding scale thing. Either that, or they figured out there was some core course they absolutely should have completed in h.s., but for whatever reason didn't so they had to pass it to get in.

Chicago_JHawk 12 years, 9 months ago

It says clearly in the article that they JUST finished a course. Now the clearinghouse has all the grades and the scores. As everyone knows, it takes the NCAA a long time to act on this. Too bad about Sasha - at least he had a chance to play some in the exhibitions.

KGphoto 12 years, 9 months ago

Xavier has two visits planned at Kansas, and no others, anywhere? He might as well just sign the papers.Welcome aboard.Man! Collins at point, Henry at the swing, and Aldrich in the middle.That's good stuff.

Joe Ross 12 years, 9 months ago

DrPepper...Great point!!! Well done...

KU 12 years, 9 months ago

jaybate......Take a valium. Let's just enjoy being Jayhawks and leave all the negative harping to the MU fans.The future's so bright.....I gotta wear shades!

okjhok 12 years, 9 months ago

I don't think it's that unusual for a high schooler who is borderline eligible to have to wait this long to get all the scores in and become eligible. It's just that we've been fed this information for so long, some of us feel like we should have an answer by now. It's also fairly unusual for KU to bring in guys that aren't eligible yet.

KU 12 years, 9 months ago

So glad the LJW is pouring resources into the extensive coverage of Fall football camp. You get better coverage of KU from the Big 12 blog on than we're getting here!

wishart 12 years, 9 months ago

Some more good news:Looks like Mario will get a lot more playing time with the news that sees starting point, Jason Williams aka white chocolate, go to the Clippers. One less shmo in the way of Rio's stardom. Here's to piling up assists to D-Wade and B-Easy and hitting game winners at the next level.

Jeff Hargate 12 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone remember how long it took Brandon to get cleared? It took forever. Maybe it is a prep school thing.

Dee Shaw 12 years, 9 months ago

August 8 and the twin boys still don't have a clue if they are elegible or not. Something does not smell right. When I was in high school way back when you knew if you were accepted in college by spring break or no later than graduation. I am assuming school starts in two weeks and these bozos don't know if there elegible or not. How can that be. Oh there athletes that get special treatment and special favors. Oh well, thats life.

Timmay97 12 years, 9 months ago

Did you guys know that Sasha Kaun will go down in history as the last pick the Seattle Supersonics ever chose? Though he didn't last with them and was traded fairly quickly, it's still history. Info that I'm sure nobody cares about, but figured I would pass it on.

John Stowell 12 years, 9 months ago

Too bad about Kaun. I was really looking forward to being able to see him play again before disappearing for a few years into Russian basketball.

bmcmich1 12 years, 9 months ago

dlshaw, were you an athlete awaiting a scholarship? KU doesn't have to clear an incoming Liberal Arts major set to live in McCollum with the NCAA, widely known as the s...l...o...w...e...s...t moving organization on god's green earth.

Joe Ross 12 years, 9 months ago

Dont feel too bad for Sasha. Consider Russia has a professional league over there from which they could have brought in a ton of Russian players. Its very flattering that Sasha was invited to the team. Besides, hes gonna milk some professional team out of a seven-figure salary. No...Sasha doesnt need sympathy! It's a great life to be a Jayhawk!

KUFan90 12 years, 9 months ago

The twins will be fine and will be with the team this year. But here is a question : assuming the final ruling is not received from the NCAA clearinghouse by the end of Aug, can they still make the Canada trip since it's just exhibition?

imnotpaulpierce 12 years, 9 months ago

Kaun played seven minutes in Russia's game against the USA and didn't record a SINGLE STATISTIC. No foul, no turnover, no missed shot, no rebound, no steal, nothing! That has to be difficult to do.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 9 months ago

Shazam,"disappear in Russian basketball?"Do you have any idea who CSKA is?SI just did a major profile of that club a few weeks ago ... when the NBA expands to Europe, they'll be at the top of the list!***I agree, too bad he got cut from their Olympic squad, that stinks!

DrPepper 12 years, 9 months ago

Ross, it is not always about the money. Sure, I don't need to loan Sasha any money, but playing in the Olympics is something special. Hopefully he gets another opportunity in 4 years to play for his country at the Olympics.

JayCeph 12 years, 9 months ago

Did RussRob sign with Houston? That is pretty cool if he did. I hope he landed with a (solid? any?) franchise in the League.Kaun? I feel bad for him. I wonder if he is planning on sticking around in China with the rest of the team even though he isn't officially going to play...

jaybate 12 years, 9 months ago

Self's contract was announced yesterday.Why yesterday?Why did it take so long?What were Lew, Bill and Marchiony waiting for? A slow news day?We know other coaches (e.g., Calipari and Howland) have had long term contracts drafted and signed in short times. So: it can't be the complexity of a long term contract that caused the delay.People say Bill was asking for a lot of upgrades to facilities and he refused to sign until all those construction projects were guarrantied. Presently, there is no evidence that all those contracts for construction projects have been let. Certainly none of the work has been done. So: it does not seem like the contract delay was about cementing facilities upgrade agreements. Again, why the delay? Why announce now? Can't say.But what can be said is: a rush of feel-good news releases followed the announcement. A KU hoops honoring is to take place at a football game. Rings are to be handed out in a ceremony. Talk of the new NC banner to be hung at Late Night occurs. Xavier's coming to Late Night and has no other visits planned. Thomas Robinson may come to Late Night.Yet sandwiched in the middle of all this feel-good is, as of August 7th: a) Collins, facing a pending trial for a civil suit for assault, which is not even referred to, still hasn't touched a ball since last season--supposedly because of arthroscopic surgery; and the Morris twins, already living at Jayhawker Towers, have yet to qualify academically and be admitted to KU.And receding in the ethers without reference, and not apparently yet resolved, is Darrell Arthur's high school grade changing "issue."

Keith Kienzle 12 years, 9 months ago

imnotpaulpierce - I watched the Russia/USA game, and Sasha was the only guy on Russia setting screens. He was setting screens the whole time in there, and he was active in the passing game, and in highfiving his teammates after the point. During the time he was in the game, Russia played the U.S. even on the score, and I felt Sasha contributed a lot of good energy and helped the Russian team quite a bit with spacing. In fact, I think Russia could have used a lot more Sasha minutes and a lot less JR Holden minutes (their trigger-happy, me-first point guard who happens to be Bucknell's old point guard) who did not display in that game that he knew how to run an offense.

Chicago_JHawk 12 years, 9 months ago

Rush wasn't cleared to play until Sept 3 of his first year.

jaybate 12 years, 9 months ago

Regarding Collins, four months of no ball after arthroscopic surgery? That must have been some serious arthroscopic surgery, since some guys start playing fairly soon after getting scoped. And Self expects Collins to suddenly ball in 14 days and be ready for exhibition games in Canada in less than a month? Hmmm.Regarding the twins, the grades have been turned in and its a waiting game, according to Self. A waiting game to learn the twins academic eligibility when the teams first exhibition games are less than a month away? Well, people say Brandon Rush didn't qualify until the very last second either. Yes, but Brandon was switching gears late in the process from turning pro to spending a year in college. The twins, on the other hand, have known they had to do a one year hitch in some college--or jump to Europe--from the beginning. The twins have been here for awhile, so contemplating a jump to Europe does not appear to have been a reason for the delay. Tough to explain.Regarding the Darrell Arthur grade changing "issue," well, early on Marchiony indicated he did not see how it could possibly affect KU; that is, he did not see how KU perhaps playing an academically ineligible player--perhaps erroneously approved by the NCAA--during its championship season could affect KU. Recall this was the inquiry that Bill Mayer indicated would have no fall out, even if something untoward were done, apparently because the powers that be would find taking away KU's title away, ahem, to complicated.Perhaps, but Bill Self indicated that it was a serious issue and that everyone would have to wait and see what was discovered. So: I reckon we are all still waiting on that one, too. I have not heard Coach Self say that the waiting is over.All coincidences and snafus?Maybe.Maybe not.And then there is Bill Self's remarkable admission immediately after the contract announcement that gave him the long term security that he said he wanted. Self effectively said that after "the near term" he would not rule out jumping to the NBA. Yep, you read that right. He is only here for sure, in his mind, for the near term.Go figure.

ralsterKUMed95 12 years, 9 months ago

It would make my day (year, actually) to know if RussRob got picked up by an NBA team. He is all heart and effort. He WILL find his offense, and obviously he already showed some of his high-school/KU frosh year offensive highlights. The other feel-good story is Darnell Jackson. As Ive said before, I will start watching select NBA games to follow all of our ChampTeam guys.

KGphoto 12 years, 9 months ago

JayCeph, I hope New York did sign with Houston. Many NBA teams need a guy that specializes in theft. Russell is fearless and would be very reliable in special defensive situations. Guys like Russell suddenly find minutes in playoff games, when possessions are invaluable and defensive stops act as a defibrillator. I'm sure that's why Houston is looking at him. Since they can't seem to get past that first level. Now with Artest, the addition of RR would make Houston a tough defensive team.It would be amazing to have 6 guys from one team playing in the NBA in the next couple of seasons.

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