Monday, July 28, 2008

KU’s Sasha Kaun to represent Russia in Olympics


Former Kansas University center Sasha Kaun on Monday was named a member of Russia's 2008 Olympic men's basketball team. The 12-player list has been described as preliminary, according to CSKA Moscow's Website. That's because forward Viktor Khryapa will fly with the Russian team to China and play if he recovers from an ankle injury.

Kaun has been practicing and playing in games while trying out for a spot on the Russian team the past couple weeks. Other members of the Russian Olympic team: Andrei Kirilenko, J.R. Holden, Viktor Keiru, Zakhar Pashutin, Petr Samoilenko, Sergei Bykov, Vitaly Fridzon, Andrei Vorontsevich, Sergei Monya, Aleksey Savrasenko and Nikita Morgunov.


Chris Shaw 12 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate: I enjoyed your post yesterday about someone that I do not want to bring into a conversation. You're stretching today in my opinon of all these championships that Kaun is going to win. You also have to be somewhat realistic and if Kaun did become a citizen, there is no way he would be on the USA Olympic team. Just not going to happen. Good post just a little farfetched.

actorman 12 years, 1 month ago

Although you guys are almost certainly write that Sasha couldn't make the U.S. Olympic team, I enjoyed reading Jaybate's comments. Sasha is indeed an inspiring story and will no doubt continue to be so. In fact, Jaybate, you left off the idea that, as someone with a degree in computer science, Sasha could also come up with some brilliant technical solution that will solve a lot of problems. The sky's the limit for the big Russian!

irish2255 12 years, 1 month ago

If he's into fantasy sports, he could also bring home a fantasy football and baseball title.

Ben Kane 12 years, 1 month ago

So who would play Sasha on the big screen? Would they bring back the hoosiers theme song? Better yet, lets skip to the 2012 olympics, Sasha still plays for Russia and has to play against Rush, Wright, Chalmers, Jackson, and Arthur in the gold medal game!

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

THE SASHA KAUN STORY?If Hollywood still made inspiring sports biopics, there might one day be "The Sasha Kaun Story" playing at theater near you.Here was a Jayhawk basketball player who at times seemed unable to compete, seemed on a path to basketball oblivion, because of all the things he could not do on a court. Yet he persevered and lived the maxim of Coach John Wooden: "never let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do." While others seemed to have the world by the tail, Kaun soldiered on through life in a foreign land, language barriers, knee injuries, inept free throw shooting, lost confidence eventually regained, and increasingly limited minutes. Through it all, he kept finding ways to contribute substantially to four Kansas teams that won 80 percent of their games. In short, Kaun did not let what he could not do keep him from doing what he could.By doing so, Kaun became an NCAA basketball national champion.In turn, Kaun became a professional making millions in Russian basketball, then an NBA draftee, AND now a member of a Russian Olympic team. Is this the stuff of sports biopics? Well, maybe not quite yet some will say. Fine.So consider this: Kaun will likely come back to USA in 2-3 years to play for an NBA team. Wouldn't it be remarkable if Kaun were to continue to develop, as he is very likely to do, and continue on his fortunate path and land with an NBA champion.Kaun has within his grasp the opportunity to do something probably unprecedented in basketball history. He has a chance in his career to win an NCAA championship, a Russian professional championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and an NBA championship.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

And were Kaun eventually to become a USA citizen, and a successful NBA player, he could very well get a shot to win a second Olympic Gold Medal for a second country. Think about all of above for a moment. Sasha Kaun has a significant chance to become the man with the most different championships in basketball history. I can think of no other person on the planet who even has the chance of accomplishing this feat. If persons get jazzed about Larry Brown winning two measely rings in the NCAA and in the NBA, and elect him to the basketball hall of fame, imagine what Kaun's accomplishment would trigger.I can never wish for a USA Olympic team to lose a Gold Medal, but if they were ever to do so again, I would hope it were to Kaun's Russian team. And then I would hope that Kaun gets that Russian professional championship, comes back to USA and finds his way onto an NBA champion, then becomes a nationalized USA a citizen (preferably a dual citizen, if such a thing were possible one day, so he could remain an inspiration to the youth of two nations) and wins a second Olympic gold medal.Last but not least, I would hope the University of Kansas would one day decide to hang his jersey high in Allen Field House and say: "In certain rare instances, there are cummulative accomplishments in a basketball career so distinguished, so remarkable, so indicative of stellar character and commitment to excellence that a Kansas Jayhawk jersey must be hung in honor of them."I know all of the above remains a long shot at this point, but, again, no other player on the planet even has a shot at doing this.And Sasha Kaun has already proven that he is a man with a predisposition to triumphing over incredibly long odds.Heck, if Sasha accomplishes the above, Hollywood might even bring back inspirational sports biopics.Go, Sasha, go!

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 1 month ago

Knock it off with the negative waves man....Sounds like jealousy ....

JayCeph 12 years, 1 month ago

Was the issue with Russia or the Soviet Union or with the Soviet Republic 'Russia'?I know the officiating was horrible in '72 and the US was jobbed but, with whom did you direct your ire?

Bruce Brock 12 years, 1 month ago

Since '72, I could not possibly have foreseen that I'd bee rooting for the Russians in Olympic basketball. Go Russia, win the silver!

TtownHawk 12 years, 1 month ago

i agree with you kushaw. yes maybe he'll win the olympic gold this year and a russian championship is possible too. but him becomming a us citizen and winning a gold with us will not happen. by the time he'd become a citizen he'd be much older and the next crop of dwight howards would be here and he wouldn't be asked to be on the team.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

rockchalkAZ,you be my kind of detractor. no digital game at allllllllllllllllllll!write it right right now: i luv brian piccolo and i want you to luv him, too.and cut out the diet cokes, light beers, nonalcoholic tequila, and free basing aspartame. you're a quart low on sugar.everybody, i luv, rockchalkAZ, and i want you to luv him, too.

smitty33 12 years, 1 month ago

I think I may actually root for the Russians over the US. I just have troubles pulling for Kobe and Carmelo. On another note... I'm looking forward to spanking the overrated Volunteers in January. The SEC sucked this year in BB and our newbies will have no problem with this basketball 'wannabe' school.

tis4tim 12 years, 1 month ago

"So who would play Sasha on the big screen?"Robbie Benson

Derek King 12 years, 1 month ago

What's most shocking to me is the revelation that J.R. Holden is Russian. I had no idea. :-)

Bryan Summers 12 years, 1 month ago

all good, but ... Jaybate, have you been drinking?

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

dear summers,No, you have to drink alone, my friend. But I will talk you through the DTs,if you think it would help.

Bruce Brock 12 years, 1 month ago

Hey JayCeph,Interesting questions. I'n not sure 'ire' is the right word. Nausea might be better. The feeling is one of violation about an injustice that cannot be corrected, but one that is not necessarily directed at any one entity. The guiltiest parties would be the officials, but I have no idea who they were, other than citizens of one East Bloc country or another. I just didn't think I'd ever have the stomach to root for today's Russia, heir to the Russian Soviet Republic, dominant nation within the Soviet Union.

JayCeph 12 years, 1 month ago

jhawk252-Got it. Good points. I, too, hate any form of anything that appears (and in this case... IS) unjust.I'm just so excited for Sasha though and I hope he has some terrific success.Regarding the lineage that Russia has with the '72 Olympics... a lot has happened in the last 36 years. Is the USA still the same country we were back then? Not even close. The former Soviet republics have all undergone such monumental change and evolution that, aside from their names, they are nothing like what was once our main global political nemesis... especially Russia. In fact, some would argue that Russia is more of a free market economy than the United States.Kinda twisty weird and odd, no?

lee3022 12 years, 1 month ago

The USA team has reportedly been required to finalize their roster on July 31st so perhaps Russia has the same deadline?

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