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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Counselor Keith

Langford makes first return trip to Lawrence

Former Kansas University basketball player Keith Langford speaks at the Bill Self Basketball Camp. Langford and former teammate Aaron Miles made appearances at the camp Monday afternoon in Horejsi Center.

Former Kansas University basketball player Keith Langford speaks at the Bill Self Basketball Camp. Langford and former teammate Aaron Miles made appearances at the camp Monday afternoon in Horejsi Center.

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Basketball camp starts with surprise speakers

From September to May, KU head basketball coach Bill Self is in charge of more than a dozen 18- to 22-year-olds. In the summer, the Jayhawks leader takes on a much larger and much younger group of hoopsters.

Keith Langford was ready to hop in his car and hit the highway after his Kansas University graduation ceremony in May of 2005.

"We had just lost in the first round," the 24-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, native, said of a shocking NCAA Tournament defeat to Bucknell. "I had some injuries, some personal things going on. I didn't leave on the best of terms."

He finally returned Monday - to a hero's welcome from 500 or so Bill Self campers - who wildly cheered the sweet-shooting lefty at Horejsi Center.

"This is my alma mater. I'd not been back in a couple years. It's about time," said Langford, happy to be reunited with former KU teammates Aaron Miles and Michael Lee, who also are in town for camp.

"The guys winning a championship, just the atmosphere ... I like what's going on here," added Langford, whose brother, Justin Wesley, attended Self's Elite Camp last weekend. His girlfriend's two brothers are in camp this week.

"I thought it'd be a great experience for them," Langford said.

Wesley, a 6-foot-8 senior-to-be from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas, is considering Marquette, Texas A&M;, Oklahoma State and others according to Keith, whose brother, Kevin, is a senior forward at TCU.

Keith would approve if the Jayhawks wanted to recruit Wesley.

"Coach Self is one of the most charismatic coaches in the country. He was one of the most supportive people during my time this past season in the D-League (with Austin Toros) and with the (San Antonio) Spurs," Langford said. "Coach Self was in touch a lot. Our relationship took a turn for the better."

Langford said he never had a beef with Self at KU, but held some resentment when the coach who recruited him - Roy Williams - left KU for North Carolina after Keith's sophomore season.

"I was here during a really strong transition period. Getting to two Final Fours with coach Williams and coach Self coming in, it was a difficult period," Langford said.

"Coach Williams ... it wasn't like he promised (he would stay), but you felt secure. A lot of times a coach makes the best decision for himself. ... It takes a couple years (for players to adjust)."

Self said he enjoyed coaching the ever-emotional Langford, who finished his career as KU's sixth-leading scorer of all time.

"The biggest problem with the guys when they left is we lost in the first round and their careers ended on a sour note," Self said of the '05 seniors. "I had no problems with Keith. I still talk to Keith's mom, Charlene, all the time. I talk to Keith all the time. The last time was the NCAA Tournament when he was overseas (playing in Italy). We texted."

Self believes the 6-foot-4 Langford, who will play for the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets summer league teams in July, is "good enough to be in the league. He just needs the right fit.

"I think he is a fabulous talent. He'll take the tough road like Billy Thomas (KU grad now with Cleveland Cavaliers). Keith will get there."

Langford was his old, brash self when asked if he "was an NBA player."

"Are you a reporter?" he cracked.

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Miles seeks NBA call: Former KU point guard Miles, who played in Spain last season, hopes to attend an NBA camp this fall.

"I need to be in the best shape of my life," Miles said, noting the knock on him is his "shooting ability even though I shot 50 percent my senior year."

Miles brought two nephews and two cousins to Self's camp this week.

"I come back every summer. Once you are part of Kansas' program, you are part of the family," Miles said.

He's happy to be reunited with best buddy, Lee, first-year assistant coach at Gardner-Webb in North Carolina.

"When God tells me it's my time to quit playing, Mike will be a head coach and I can be his assistant," Miles said with a grin.

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Chalmers on way out: KU guard Mario Chalmers, who had an impressive workout with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, told Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News reporters he had no intention of returning to KU for his senior season.

That does not surprise Self, who has said for weeks there was a "great chance" Chalmers would remain in the draft.

"I think that's what he wants to do. He wants to stay in the draft," Self said. "If he gets positive feedback, - and I think he will - he'll stay in the draft."

Chalmers is "definitely a defender that can play NBA defense," Nuggets coach George Karl told the Post. "His athletic ability and strength and courage is prime time."

Chalmers, who has worked out with Denver and Phoenix, is in Washington for a session with the Wizards today.

"This is a fun process, coming here and working out for all the teams," Chalmers said. "You dream about this growing up, and to actually be here, to actually have a chance to have it right in your hands, is a great opportunity."

Comments

lumpegravy 12 years, 4 months ago

Goodbye Mario. Best of luck to you. I know you will represent the University of Kansas well in the NBA.

kansaspike 12 years, 4 months ago

One of the biggest disapointments to me as a KU fan was Langford's play at the end of his senior year. If you look at how his career progressed and what he did as a freshman, he should have been a dominate player at the end of his career. It's hard to know why he resented Self because Roy left, but glad to hear it's behind them. Welcome back Keith.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Ya know ...my daughter, Big Jay, has a red Keith jersey!

justanotherfan 12 years, 4 months ago

Self's relationship prowess contributes greatly to his recruiting prowess. The fact that he felt it important to smooth over a relationship with a former player who left on less than pleasant terms speaks volumes about him, and that's why players and parents love him. That relationship piece is the difference in recruiting. If you are down to a couple of schools, all other things being equal, Bill Self is a closer, and he can get the deal done, whether you are a kid from Jersey, the Windy City, down in Texas or his home state of Oklahoma.

12 years, 4 months ago

seven - are you referring to Keith's nickname, or the phrase commonly heard by the miscreant athletes in Columbia, MO?I could not agree with jaybate more regarding Self's character and relational prowess. Talk about a stand-up guy.

Mike Blur 12 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the memories Mario, and I hope he doesn't wind up in Denver!

d_prowess 12 years, 4 months ago

Langford was amazing at getting to the rim, hanging in air for days, and then finishing. I felt like he won more games for us on last chance clutch shots/drives than anyone in recent memory.

FSUJHAWK 12 years, 4 months ago

Keith is a good guy and a great athlete. Unfortunately he was injured most of his senior season and possibly part of his junior year. His resentment I believe is not against Coach Self but possibly at himself and Coach Williams. The pressure to adjust to a new system (at historic KU), coach and injury is something most of us cannot imagine. If you can now imagine that scenario then also try to imagine also having to deal with losing someone who you may have considered your father. That person, who through his very actions, probably indicated that you were not good enough for him to stay at home. That's some serious you know what. We're all glad you're back home Keith. Good luck to you and Aaron in your quest to make it to the league. And just in case anyone hasn't mentioned it yet...."thank you" for all that you've done for KU.

Shawn Mansfield 12 years, 4 months ago

It's good to hear Keith and Aaron are doing well, I wish them best of luck in cracking into the NBA.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 4 months ago

Langford said he never had a beef with Self at KU, but held some resentment when the coach who recruited him - Roy Williams - left KU for North Carolina after Keith's sophomore season.He never had a beef with Self. He was frustrated - with Roy, with being injured, with losing too soon. Like most of us, he just needed enough time to regain perspective; to see past the junk to the enduring good he knows at KU.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

tex ... lolKeith's old nickname, I yelled it out when I first saw his photo, Mrs. 7 was not amused! :D

mojayhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Mario, I watched you play in Springfield, MO as a HS senior, then all the way through your KU career. You have gotten better and better and better and have been an absolute pleasure to watch. We will miss you, your talent, and your winning attitude, but best of luck in the League! P.S. My wife nicknamed you "Cutie" since every time we see you on camera, you beam that Chalmers grin! Rock Chalk, Mario. We'll never forget "The Shot"!

Toto_the_great 12 years, 4 months ago

Okay, never mind, I should look before sending (I didn't see the tabs next too the NFL), but I still think they should include the D-League (e.g., Eric C.) and overseas (e.g., Bradford).

MGJayhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

That's why Self is such a great recruiter is because the past players talk to these recruits and tell them that Self will always keep in touch because Bill relates to all types of people. He can go to the streets of NYC and NJ and recruit the kids because they see him as a person they can relate to and deal with. We need to start scheduling Duke every year. I think now that we pounded UNC, we need to tear the Dukie hearts out as well.

MGJayhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Chalmers will fit in well in San Antonio or Phoenix if he drops that far. He'll be the next Bruce Bowen but shoots and handles the ball better. If he goes to the Suns, he'll be a great backup for Steve Nash and possibly be the future PG. If Rajon Rondo can lead a team to the NBA Finals, Chalmers certainly can.

Joseph Leon 12 years, 4 months ago

Keith: You're an amazing player. So great to have you back in the fold. A lot of us fans also went through a tough transition period, but here we are on the other side. I totally loved your game at KU and will be praying for you to make it in the NBA. I am sure you will.

TheTruth08 12 years, 4 months ago

The Los Angeles Lakers need a point guard like Mario Chalmers. They need a guy who can play defense, is tough and can knock down the open shot. He's better than anything they have now.

KEITHMILES05 12 years, 4 months ago

It was also a well kept secret until the very end that Giddens was a cancer to the team and butted heads with the seniors. That also had to contribute to some bad taste for Keith.Whatever did or didn't happen Keith is THE man. He gave 1000% no matter what. I'll always love and respect him for being a great person.

Toto_the_great 12 years, 4 months ago

What ever happed with LJW's little section on this page with 'Hawks in the NBA (similar to where the NFL guys are now)? I had no idea Thomas was with the Cavs. I must of missed that one because my buddy (huge BT fan) knew about it. I think LJW should have a list of 'Hawks that play in the NBA, D-League, overseas (and maybe a history of former 'Hawks that played for a living). Kind of neat to see where they are and have been. LJW editors, can you make this request happen?

jaybate 12 years, 4 months ago

This story about Bill Self being willing to keep the lines of communication open with an openly dissatisfied player after he has left the program probably earns more respect from me than any single other thing Coach Self has done. All KU coaches are supposed to be good recruiters and good game coaches and good Xs and Os men. And they are supposed to be smooth with the media. But Self could easily have let go of the headache of dealing with a disgruntled former player and no one but Self would have ever known or cared.Him hanging in with Keith Langford probably did a HUGE amount for Keith in helping him to adjust.And Keith had a lot to adjust from. It was a terrible break for all those players to have to transition from Roy to Bill, even though Bill has turned out to be Roy's equal or better.Kudos for Coach Self.And kudos for Keith for hanging in too.Relationships: can't live with'em, can't live without'em.But sometimes they transcend the bumps in the road.

kiernan77 12 years, 4 months ago

Mario! Don't come to Denver! I live here. The weather is great, the cheerleaders are hot, and the team is terrible. No wait...that isn't a strong enough word. The Nuggets blow. Hard. Only if they trade Mello and A.I. is it a good idea to come to Denver. Otherwise, go somewhere with teammates that aren't thugs and slackers. And I will come and see you when you are on the visiting team, just like I do with every other player from the KU Family. DO NOT come towards the mountains...save yourself.

Alan Mills 12 years, 4 months ago

I haven't posted in a few months, since the Championship and shortly after. It continues to amaze me how hypocritical our fans can be. I recall a year ago all the, well, vicious posts about Rush considering leaving and Wright making the wrong choice. Everyone was an expert. Why has it changed? Just because the team won a Championship? These young men MUST make a life decision. These are not decisions that involve Jayhawk fans in any way. Hats off to Rush, Arthur, Chalmers, AND Wright! I wish them all the best, always!

jaybate 12 years, 4 months ago

garybedore (assuming your are the one and only),"One small step for a sports writer, one giant leap for sports writing."Thanks for responding.More importantly, thanks for daring to become Sportswriter Version 2.0--The Interactive Sports Writer (ISW). The ISW is what I have thought for sometime that sports writers should evolve toward.Step 1: Write the story.Step 2: Respond to the responses to the story.The internet IS interactive.Readers quickly became interactive because they had no professional legacy to overcome.Sports writers can enhance, expand, and deepen their relevance to interactive readers by being as interactive as the readers. Your Q&A was a good idea that was, unfortunately more organic to the hard copy newspaper medium than to the internet newspaper medium.If you are the first to go interactive in this fashion, you are going one day to be called the Father of Interactive Sportswriting.I hope you win an award for it, though pioneers are often not recognized until long afterwards.In three years, all sportswriters will be interactive.The medium not only enables it, but it improves your sportswriting IMHO.I took a year and went to teach high school in a school that was struggling to migrate to a state of the art campus network. I showed kids how to use computers and the internet and interactive software like Microsoft Sharepoint. What was striking was how much interactivity allowed change and insight to move in all directions. Not only were students changed by how much more feed back they began to get from teachers and software, but teachers were changed by how much more feedback they got from students! And all found themselves much more in contact with administrators and, most amazing of all, the isolated administrators were forced out of their bureaucratic cocoons. It was remarkable and mostly good.Interactivity builds community, whether you want it to, or not. You have always been someone we read and respect, even when we criticise, or challenge.Welcome to our community. I guarranty this will change us and you and in time your boss and his boss and the World Corporaton.The World Corporation has tried to pioneer things like convergence internally and internet media externally, but it is about to discover that all that has been intellectualizing and strategizing about how to control and channel infrastructure and the public opinon that it precipitates. It is about to discover that the most exciting, profittable and professionally respectable way to influence the community is from within the community. You may or may not know what a significant step you are taking.I hope you do.We, you, us, and the World Corporation, will all be the better for it.

Gary Bedore 12 years, 4 months ago

You said:This story about Bill Self being willing to keep the lines of communication open with an openly dissatisfied player after he has left the program probably earns more respect from me than any single other thing Coach Self has done. All KU coaches are supposed to be good recruiters and good game coaches and good Xs and Os men. And they are supposed to be smooth with the media.But Self could easily have let go of the headache of dealing with a disgruntled former player and no one but Self would have ever known or cared.Him hanging in with Keith Langford probably did a HUGE amount for Keith in helping him to adjust.And Keith had a lot to adjust from. It was a terrible break for all those players to have to transition from Roy to Bill, even though Bill has turned out to be Roy's equal or better.Kudos for Coach Self.And kudos for Keith for hanging in too.Relationships: can't live with'em, can't live without'em.But sometimes they transcend the bumps in the road.GB says:Great post. That's the main thing I got out of Keith's comments as well.It was neat to see how excited and happy Keith was to be here after leaving in his words not on good terms.He brought his brother, and his girlfriend's two brothers to camp.It's like Keith was so excited about showing everybody his alma mater.Nice ending.Glad you recognized it and pointed this out.

smitty33 12 years, 4 months ago

I live in Denver and don't want Mario here unless they get rid of Melo. Mario's too good to play with him. Sadly, my stock in Mario returning to KU is doing about as well as sales of large SUV's.

Gary Bedore 12 years, 4 months ago

One thing about Langford that the haters (many on message boards referring to this story) should realize and repeat 50 times:Keith Langford is KU's sixth leading scorer of all time.That isn't half bad, folks.Only a handful of guys have scored more points at KU.Two Final Fours, tons of points. Quite an on-court presence. Langford if you stop and think about it is one of the best players you all have ever seen step on the KU court.

KEITHMILES05 12 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree with Bedore.Keith can have my babies once a year.

okjhok 12 years, 4 months ago

Actually, garybedore is posing...not really Gary Bedore, which makes him/her nothing more than a clown.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 4 months ago

PS. Mario, Ignore Klernan. Sure the Nuggets have some issues but they do not blow. The just need someone to distribute the ball and play lock down defense. Sounds like someone weknow?

jaybate 12 years, 4 months ago

okjhok,I acknowledged this possibility at the beginning of my post. Posters often pose as others, but I thought on the chance that it was the real Gary Bedore and not Gary Bedore Prime, I would encourage it.Next, if "garybedore" is a posing lurker, then my compliments to his facility at mimicry. Gary Bedore's writing voice would be very difficult for me to mimic and I have some ability in this direction.And, no, I am not pretending to be Gary Bedore, or garybedore. Finally, if garybedore is not Gary Bedore, maybe Gary Bedore will read this and decide that Gary Bedore ought to replace garybedore with Gary Bedore in these posts, so that Gary Bedore is not drowned out by garybedore. :-)Either way, I am enjoying the experience. Either Gary Bedore is becoming an interactive sportswriter, or garybedore is doing a funny virtual spoof. This is a win-win for me.

Gary Bedore 12 years, 4 months ago

Wow jaybate, I didn't realize this was historic.One small step for man; one giant leap for Internet mankind.Okjhok. There's nothing wrong with clowns.Clowns bring great joy to make little kids, who are the future leaders of society."Where are the clowns/ There ought to be clowns. Well maybe they're here."

jaybate 12 years, 4 months ago

I am, however, thinking about resubscribing as GARYBEDORE, because this is so much fun. Here is a list of possibilities for others to take on Gary Bedore's internet persona:GaRyBeDoRegaryBEDOREGARYbedoreGDeboreGary_BedoreGaryBedore1GaryBedore2...nWhatever, I hope he's real.But, as I said, spoof tickles my funny bone, too.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 4 months ago

Actually , Denver is a great fit for him. They need a point guard who is not a ball hog andthere are a lot of KU alum who would cheer him on. Besides they made the playoffs last season and there are a lot worse teams to be on. Like my Bulls for instance. After a joke like the hiring of Del Negro I am now hoping that Kirk andDrew go somewhere else.

Gary Bedore 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey jaybate, I reread this and realize I stole your line."One small step for a sports writer, one giant leap for sports writing."Sorry bout that.I don't know about all the interactive stuff you mention, but it is food for thought.I personally think journalism will head in whatever direction the money can be made.When they figure it out, that's the way it'll go.I still think there's a market for the hard copy newspaper. If it goes away, I just may have to start my own.gb

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