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.
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.
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."