Friday, June 27, 2008

Jayhawks make history

KU produces record five players in draft

Brandon Rush, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday in New York. Portland selected Rush No. 13 overall, then traded the former Kansas University guard/forward to Indiana, where he will join his brother, Kareem.

Brandon Rush, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday in New York. Portland selected Rush No. 13 overall, then traded the former Kansas University guard/forward to Indiana, where he will join his brother, Kareem.



Jayhawks selected in the 2008 NBA Draft

video thumbnail

A total of 5 Jayhawks were selected in the 2008 NBA Draft, tying the all-time record.

Podcast episode


Spodcasters: Draft Day Edition

Ryan Greene and Tom Keegan break down Kansas University's record-tying night in the NBA Draft. KU became just the third program (UConn in '06, Florida in '07) to have five players drafted in the first two rounds. The guys break down who has the best chance to succeed in '08-'09, ...

Download podcast


Nick Nelson/LJW Staff

All Jayhawks drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft were traded at least once.

2008 NBA Draft Board

Brandon Rush

Drafted: No. 13 overall

Team: Portland (traded to Indiana)

The Skinny: Rush went a little higher than most expected, largely because NBA executives see him as the type of player who can contribute right away. His sweet outside stroke is built for the NBA, and he prides himself on his defense.

The Fit: It seems appropriate that a former KU national champion - Portland GM Kevin Pritchard - would take a current KU national champion, but Rush's time with the Blazers was short-lived. Portland traded Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and Rush to Indiana moments after making the pick. In Indiana, Rush joins his brother Kareem Rush on the Pacers' roster.

2008-09 Impact: Clearly Rush is in the Pacers' plans. Expect him to average around 20 minutes per game, whether as a starter or a key contributor off the bench.

Darrell Arthur

Drafted: No. 27 overall

Team: New Orleans (traded to Portland, Houston and Memphis)

The Skinny: It was a long, uncomfortable night for Arthur. Try to follow along: Memphis traded the rights to Syracuse forward Donte Greene, the No. 28 pick, in exchange for the rights to Arthur, who was picked 27th and traded three times. New Orleans dealt his rights to Portland, which then traded him to Houston. The Rockets then traded his rights to Memphis.

The Fit: If there's any team that needs inside help, it's the Grizzlies, which traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers last season and haven't found a suitable replacement yet. Kwame Brown? Darko Milicic? Hakim Warrick? You get the idea.

2008-09 Impact: There's no question if Arthur's healthy, he should contend to start.

Mario Chalmers

Drafted: No. 34 overall

Team: Minnesota (traded to Miami)

The Skinny: The bad news for Chalmers was that the pick came four picks into the second round. The good news is he's headed to a team that could be in for a bounce-back season.

The Fit: It can't be understated how huge playing with Dwyane Wade will be for Chalmers. Already a solid defender and sweet shooter, Chalmers needs to improve his ball-handling and driving abilities. Wade should be an excellent tutor in both areas. In addition, Chalmers gets a chance to play with No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley and Darnell Jackson.

2008-09 Impact: Because he was picked in the second round, Chalmers will have to fight for his place on the team. But he should earn a roster spot, could even start and will be in the guard rotation.

Darnell Jackson

Drafted: No. 52 overall

Team: Miami (traded to Cleveland)

The Skinny: Jackson seemed to fit in the mold of Heat GM Pat Riley's love of hard workers, but Miami eventually shipped Jackson on to Cleveland for a future second-round pick. With the Cavaliers, Arthur should have an easier time making the roster than with the Heat. And, hey, who wouldn't like playing alongside LeBron James?

Sasha Kaun

Drafted: No. 56 overall

Team: Seattle (traded to Cleveland)

The Skinny: Seattle makes it five Jayhawks in this year's draft - which ties a record with Connecticut (2006) and Florida (2007) for most players drafted by a single school - by snagging Kaun, then the Sonics shipped him to Cleveland. He likely will head to Russia before giving it a go in the NBA. Kaun has solid NBA backup written all over him and eventually could be a contributor during a lengthy NBA career.

— The Kansas University basketball team scripted some suspenseful moments on the way to the 2008 national championship, and NBA Draft night turned out to be more of the same for the Jayhawks.

Three dramatic storylines evolved as Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers combined to make Kansas history. For the first time since 1989, when the draft was trimmed to two rounds, more than two Jayhawks were selected in a single draft. Rush was a lottery pick, Arthur became the sympathetic figure who dropped lower than expected, and Chalmers, who will always hold a special spot in KU history, was taken in the second round.

It was a wild night in the Big Apple.

Senior forward Darnell Jackson was selected by the Miami Heat with the 52nd pick overall. And senior center Sasha Kaun, who already has signed with a team in his native Russia, became selection No. 56 when Seattle called his name, then traded him to Cleveland. The five players taken in two rounds of the draft tied the record for one school. Connecticut had five in 2006 and Florida matched that in 2007.

Rush had the opportunity to wear a Portland Trailblazers cap for about 30 minutes. He never seemed too concerned about the fit. Rush, who helped lead the Jayhawks to the NCAA title after coming back from ACL surgery, was the first of the three selected at the Wamu Theater at Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Portland used the 13th selection overall to take Rush, but he will most likely end up in an Indiana Pacers uniform for his rookie season.

Just minutes after drafting Rush, the Trailblazers and Pacers announced a proposed trade. In the deal, Portland would send the rights to Rush and guard Jarrett Jack to the Pacers for the rights to Jerryd Bayless and forward Ike Diogu. Indiana had selected Bayless, a freshman guard from Arizona, with the No. 11 pick.

But the roller-coaster ride for Rush was quick and harmless compared to the emotional experience endured by Arthur. Rush had to wait just 1 hour and 15 minutes before commissioner David Stern called his name. Arthur's wait was closer to two hours, and as the last player in the "green room" he became one of the major storylines of the night.

Rumors of a mysterious and unspecified kidney condition evidently led to Arthur's tumble to the No. 27 pick. When New Orleans finally ended the wait and made the sophomore forward a first-round pick, he let out a sigh of relief and then hugged his mother and grandmother.

"I was just waiting there anxiously and just nervous because I didn't know who was going to pick me up," Arthur said. "Me and my mom, me and my family, we were just waiting patiently and just trying to see who was going to pick me. I didn't work out for New Orleans, so it's a blessing just to be picked up."

In the end, Arthur was traded three times, first from New Orleans to Portland for cash.

Houston traded No. 25 pick Nicolas Batum (of France) to Portland for Arthur (27th overall) and Joey Dorsey (33rd overall).

The Associated Press reported Arthur was then traded again early this morning from Houston to Memphis for Syracuse forward Donte Greene.

Reports of a kidney condition started popping up Wednesday on the Internet when Arthur was in Washington for a workout with the Wizards. As he sat waiting in the green room, ESPN reported that Arthur had declined lab work at several workouts. ESPN also reported that coach Bill Self said Arthur had been tested at Kansas and there was no indication of a problem.

Arthur said that was confirmed on Wednesday.

"I slipped a lot because they said I had a kidney problem but I did some blood work in Washington and everything came out fine," Arthur said. "I didn't know it was going to happen at all. I thought Washington was going to let everybody know ahead of time.

"I guess word didn't spread fast enough and I'm just blessed right now just to get picked up and be picked up by a team."

The crowd in the theater, going against the reputation of New Yorkers, gave a big cheer for Arthur when he was selected. Even Stern applauded at the podium when the wait was finally over for the former Jayhawk. Arthur's mother, Sandra, said she was "overwhelmed" at the moment she heard her son's name called.

"We expected him to go sooner, so it was difficult to see the anticipation and the hurt that he might not go in the first round," she said. "But we got through this and now he's going to do well."

Rush answered questions with ESPN and in the media interview room related to his selection by Portland, with his Trail Blazers cap on, before the deal was announced. But as he traveled from one television network to another, he didn't seem surprised. He had gotten word of the trade before he walked across the stage.

"My reaction is the same," Rush said. "I'm going to do the same things to help Indiana win. Their coach (Jim O'Brien) is a defensive minded coach and shoots the three. That's what I like to do.

The trade is contingent upon approval by the NBA, based on salary cap restrictions for both teams.

Rush's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said he expected the league to approve the trade soon, perhaps as soon as today.

"He worked out at Indiana the first week of workouts and did very well," Bartelstein said. "He's done well wherever he's gone. He's done extremely well. Portland wanted Bayless and Indiana wanted Brandon. I think the key players were the players in the draft but I think Indiana also likes the idea of getting Jack."

Rush's brother Kareem played for Indiana last year but is a free agent and may not be back with the Pacers next year.

"I'm excited for him," said Kareem Rush, who was in the green room with his brother. "I don't know if I'll be back but if I get to go back and play with him that will be amazing. I want to make sure things go well for him and he has a smooth transition. We plan on working out together there in August and I'll make sure he does the right thing."

Brandon, taken at the same spot in the draft that Wright was selected last year, said Kareem told him not to worry too much on draft night and to enjoy hearing his name called.

"I don't know if he's going to sign for next year but it would be fun battling with him every day for the same position," Rush said. "Right now I feel good about the whole situation and what happened last year. I didn't enjoy going through rehab but winning a national championship and coming to the green room and being a lottery pick is a big blessing."

Rush's mother, Glenda, said she was relieved when Brandon's name was called. She also said she might collect a lot of frequent flyer miles between Kansas City and Indianapolis if both her sons are playing for the Pacers next year.

"I'm just glad this is all over now after coming back from the knee injury and everything," she said. "It worked out really well for him. He worked really hard. I'm so proud of him."

Minnesota took Chalmers with the 34th pick overall. But late Thursday night the NBA announced that Minnesota will trade the rights to Chalmers to Miami for two future second round picks. That means Chalmers and Jackson would be reunited with the Heat.

Chalmers, who hit the memorable three-pointer to force overtime in the national championship game against Memphis, wasn't invited to sit in the green room. But like many other draftees, he elected to sit in the crowd. He was joined by several family members, including his father, Ronnie, a member of the Kansas coaching staff.

Chalmers was asked to compare the shot against Memphis to being drafted.

"Right now, that's a tough decision, but I'd definitely have to say being drafted in the NBA (is bigger)," he said. "It's a dream come true.

"It was a long wait for me but it was a great accomplishment. After the national championship, we all talked about going in the first round together. Congratulations to (Rush and Arthur) for making it. Now I just have to make the best of my opportunity."


FlaHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

klineisanazi & slaurenzo,Sorry about the typo ... did not have my first cup of coffee yet :-)!The point I so inarticulately made is that Mario Chalmers as in (Allis-Chalmers ... I grew up on a farm) now has a non-guaranteed contract due to his falling out of lottery pcik land.Miami is a very poor team and Mario will have a great chacce of getting significant playing time. The NBA is littered with players with potential, devastating injuries poor team chemistry along with overblown egos and coach clashes.Jason Williams was an All-American and he has been a total bust iwith the Heat. I don;t believe Mario had any better college career than Jason Williams. Williams is a head case from growing up with Randy Moss in WVA! The point is their are a lot of unknowns in pro ball.Big Wayne Simien was a bust in Miami and at best is a journeyman player in the NBA. Wayne was a twiner and then was injured. Mario is not big enough to play SG and is not average heights for a PG so he physically does not match the NBA physical profile.The NBA is a totally different game than NCAA! Look at Kaun's stock as an example. Mario making the "shot" had nothing to do with his NBA Draft potential and the draft proved this.Rush came out better by dropping out of the draft last yar. He improved (marginally) but showed his knee was heathy again. He cashed in very well this year and has a guarantted contract which will serve him well.We don't know what might have happened to Mario if he came back. Next yar's draft does not appear to be loaded at guard like this year. Then again, Mario would have to carry the team more than this last year, if he came back. This might have been good or bad as he would have been more exposed and his tlent better measured.I think he took a hit in the work outs. He is a presure player and this is instinct and hard to measure during work outs or psychological testing.I just don't believe he thgought he would end up with a non-guanteed contract (heck even JR went higher - because he has a better NBA physical profile). Could you believe Mario with JRs body (not the 'tude)!Mario has to provide for himself nd I am sure for his parents to some extent. A guarantted contract would have allowed him greater financial freedom (like $800K a year would not - lol) and allow him to push his skills to show his upside! He is now one injury from toastville!I hope he makes a difference because the HEAT suck bigtime!GO HAWKS and CHALMERS!!PS Mario was very good, but not in the Top 25 All-Time Hawks! A NCAA championship may look good in Lawrence, but does not mean much in NBA. Mario even said his greatest thrill was being drafted and not NCAA Championship!

didjabuti 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm confused. If you read through the side-bar detailing the drafts and trades, it states that Mario will be able to play with Jackson in Miami. Then it states that Jackson was traded to Cleveland. Then it says that ARTHUR will have an easier time making the roster in Cleveland(in Jackson's segment). I guess I'll have to go somewhere else for my Jayhawk news.

Brian Skelly 11 years, 7 months ago

I think the whole "Mario Chalmers stock was rising due to workouts" was a smoke screen by teams. Not that that information was false. But it was the perfect storm to cover whatever else they were wanting to do. "Yea, we want Chalmers, who wouldnt." I agree, both Chalmers and Arthur would have been better off staying another year. But isnt that always the case? And lets face it... arent we a weeeeeee bit biased in that aspect. Not unlike any fan or alums for any other school. Waiting another year probably makes Arthur a lottery pick and Chalmers a first rounder.But whats done is done, and I think they'll both be fine.Chalmers will fit perfectly with Dwayne Wade. Any issues with him not being a "pure point" should take a back seat playing with him.Arthurs not-so-excellent adventure last night ending in Memphis is probably for the best. With Love getting sent to Minnesota for Mayo I'd think his odds of getting more PT are pretty good. Granted, they'll suck ass. But they would have done that with Arthur or without. You'd have to think after Mayo and Rudy Gay he'd be a likely candidate for the next ammount of "shots".Who knows.It's just good to see the fruits of the National Championship paying off for these guys.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if JR and Paul Pierce will compare knife scars?***Seriously though ...5 NBA picks, 4 NFL picks - what a year to be a Jayhawk!! :D

Joshua Hann 11 years, 7 months ago

As a Pacer fan here in Indy, was totally psyched to see Rush fall to them!

ohjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

didjabuti - Yeah, I was confused by the way the article read too. So, I went to the Cleveland Cavaliers' website and confirmed they traded for the rights to both Darnell and Sasha before posting anything.

JayViking 11 years, 7 months ago

Yeah..there are some editing problems with the left side-bar.

slaurenzo 11 years, 7 months ago

"Chambers should have stayed another yaar, He has no guaranteed money now and must over come some unknown odds to make one of the worst teams in the NBA"I don't know who Chambers is, but maybe you should stay in Florida FlaHawk. Come back next yaar.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 7 months ago

Belatedly, and without hating on any of the decisions the guys made, I agree wholeheartedly with KanFan27's assessment of the guards in this draft.

Drew Bender 11 years, 7 months ago

Just so everybody knows:CorrectionRush- Traded to IndianaArthur- Traded several times overnight. Ended in MemphisChalmers- Traded to MiamiJackson- Traded to ClevelandKaun- Traded to Cleveland

TheTruth08 11 years, 7 months ago

Anybody hear of Mario and Bill Self's situation?

Chris Shaw 11 years, 7 months ago

I think Arthur in Memphis is a scary situation for him. Memphis right now is the worst franchise in the NBA. Yeah, Arthur could get some immediate playing time, but he could also just as easily get lost which happens with this awful franchises. Look how many players have gotten lost in Atlanta and LA Clippers over the last 20 years. I hope Arthur can play his way to a trade or good free agency contract in 3 years. That is what he needs to do is put all feelings aside treat it like a business and go out and get his guranteed contract in 3 years with a team other than Memphis.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 7 months ago

good link OH....there it is, Jackson to Cleveland.Well, it's Mario and Beasley in Miami...and Lebron, DJ and Sasha in Cleveland. And Brandon with Larry Bird....and OJ Mayo with DA. some interesting combos for sure.go Jayhawks!

ohjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Link from the Cleveland Cavaliers' web site confirming both Jackson and Kaun acquisitions.

justanotherfan 11 years, 7 months ago

Chalmers and Arthur both ended up in situations where they can help out immediately. Because Dwyane Wade is a slasher, he needs to be surrounded by either shooters or strong post up bigs to be most effective. Chalmers can help Wade by really spreading the floor and knocking down shots. The PG position in Miami is a mess right now. They had Jason Williams and Chris Quinn there last year. Chalmers has a great shot to make that squad and have a strong season there.Arthur likewise ended up with a team that needs a lot of help, and got it last night. He will team up front with Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay to form a pretty tough four man rotation. Since Love and Gasol aren't as athletic, Arthur should get plenty of minutes there. Also, since Gasol isn't a scorer and Gay isn't a post up guy, he should get a lot of touches on the block to show his skills.I was pumped about Rush being in Portland because Portland has all that young talent. The Indiana situation isn't very good right now because they just dealt Jermaine O'Neal and I'm almost sure Tinsley is on his way out the door. That team still hasn't recovered from the Artest fight. It may be another year or two before they do. Of course, parting with almost all of your best players for reduced value as a result of that fight (Artest, Stephen Jackson, O'Neal now) really has to hurt.Sasha is in Russia, and should be ready to come back right around the time that Big Z retires, so that will smooth his transition. DBlock should get into Cleveland and follow Anderson Varejao around and learn how to be an energy guy at the next level. He has to screen, hit 14 footers and grab every rebound in sight, while making sure that no one roughs up the King. I'm a little surprised with all of the deals being made that Cleveland didn't make a run at trading for Rush, who would be perfect alongside a creator like James. He's a great perimeter shooter and, besides that, would relieve James of having to defend the other team's best perimeter scorer, which would save James a lot of energy.

Drew Bender 11 years, 7 months ago

Just so everybody knows:Rush- Traded to IndianaArthur- Traded several times overnight. Ended in HoustonChalmers- Traded to MiamiJackson- Traded to ClevelandKaun- Traded to Cleveland

imnotpaulpierce 11 years, 7 months ago

I am confident that Mario will sign with Miami, but to all of those who say Mario couldn't have improved his stock by staying another year:How so?There were, what, 11 freshman taken in the draft before Mario? Next year's freshman class is nowhere near as talented. Mario would have increased his status simply be default. Not to mention he would have been featured in KU's rotation, first-team big XII, and probably an all-american. Somebody --or somebodies-- was feeding Mario a bunch of b.s.

Paul Meyer 11 years, 7 months ago

Not much of fan of Dicky V, but his summation at the end of ESPN's Draft show was strong. And watching segments of the show reminded why my preference lies in college hoops, opposed to NBA. Chalmers and Beasely as teammates?

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

I might watch a little NBA next year! Chalmers, D-block, and Beasley in Miami?? I think Wade just got a lot of good, young talent.

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

crap, I didn't see that Jackson got traded to Cleveland. Oh well. I do think Miami faired well in this draft though.

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 7 months ago

I do not disagree with Chalmers decision to go to the NBA early, but I do think that he should have stayed one more year. If he had stayed he would have been a huge leader for this team and the NBA would see that. His stats would have gone up and he would have exceeded any expectations. Also the NBA Draft was LOADED with guard's this year and would have been a much weaker draft next year and he would have been a sure first round pick possibly a lottery pick. Now like I said I do not disagree with his decision to leave early I just think that he would have been happier with his results if he had stayed one more year.

Paul Meyer 11 years, 7 months ago

It would be nice if KUSports could do some investigative reporting with KU b-ball alumnae holding executive positions in the NBA regarding these draft issues: i.e. Portland's GM - Pritchard, San Antonio's GM - Buford, and DC's - Newton.

kutravis 11 years, 7 months ago

Has anyone heard anything new on the morris twins? did they pass their classes and/or tests (whatever it was)? Have they made it to campus?Hopefully they don't catch wind of this jennings kid at arizona potentially leaving to play ball in europe if he doesn't pass his SAT.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 7 months ago

the DJ trade to Cleveland is nowhere on and they have the Arthur to Portland, to Houston, to Memphis roller coaster...and that didn't finalize until about 4 a.m.So where is this deal? anyone have a reference?BTW, Mario and Darrell should have stayed at Kansas. bask in the glow of a title, and greatly improve their stock. and i've said it all along.

FlaHawk 11 years, 8 months ago

Chambers should have stayed another yaar, He has no guaranteed money now and must over come some unknown odds to make one of the worst teams in the NBA.This has got to be close to his biggest nightmare.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure most of the comments today will be about Arthur's ordeal and Chalmer's fall to the 2nd round, but I would just like to say the following:I'm guessing those who posted the other day that Kaun was "insane" if he thought he would be drafted after signing with a team in Russia feel rather stupid right now. And to that I say... you should. You know, the whole spouting out comments when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about thing, yeah, good job with that.Now commence with the aforementioned discussion.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 8 months ago

Chalmers should not have stayed another year. He left when the time was right and there was no way he could have duplicated what he did for Kansas this year. Even if his stats were better Chalmers still would only be compared to "The Shot" and the expectations would be unfair to him. Chalmers also knew that he was going to between 25th and 35th. I still can't believe Chad Ford had him projected at 12. I thought it was pretty cool for him to be projected that high, but I didn't that opportunity was realistic. You are right, Chalmers doesn't have a "Gurantee", but Chalmers will make the Miami Heat Roster as well as D-Block. The heat are very weak at the guard spot and the Heat personnel believe they got a steal in Chalmers at the 34th pick. I would have liked to have seen Chalmers go 30th to the Celtics, but I think Miami will be a great fit for Chalmers. I am just glad that Chalmers didn't wind up in Minnesota. Minnesotat and Memphis are league's worst franchises right now and I really bad Arthur because he has to play in that disaster they call the Memphis Grizzlies. Chalmers will make the Miami Heat. This is his biggest dream and it's going to work out for him.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 8 months ago

"biggest nightmare"......... really??Um, I guess I just always thought that recurring dream I had as a child where I was stuck in my bunk bed that was covered in spiderwebs with giant arachnids as my mom attempted to save me only so that I could stand there paralyzed in fear as they pulled her in and ate her was what I would call a nightmare.But you're right, having to work a little to try and make high 6 if not 7 figures for an NBA franchise is pretty bad too...........

klineisanazi 11 years, 8 months ago

flahawk..."Chambers"? Mario Chalmers will be one of the most famous Jayhawks ever, and you can't get the name right? Go to bed. Stop drinking. Or, both.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm just stoked that the Cavs ended up with two Jayhawks (even though Sasha probably will be a couple years in Russia)! I was bummed when Pollard was allowed to leave and they traded Drew.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.