Saturday, May 3, 2008


Keegan: K.C. team atypical


Hoopsters hit the Fieldhouse for Jayhawk Invite

At Allen Fieldhouse, the 9th Annual Jayhawk Invitational AAU basketball Tournament winds down this evening.

Rodney Williams highlights from the Jayhawk Invitational

A highlight reel of Rodney Williams of Howard Pulley (New Hope, Minn.) from Friday night at the Jayhawk Invitational. Behind 23 points from Williams, along with an assortment of other marks on his stat line, Pulley knocked off Stephan Van Treese and Indiana Elite One 72-67.

Acronyms tend to trigger predictable images. Play the word-association game with several listed below and see if you don't spit out the same responses.

UFO: Crackpot.

NCAA: Champions.

KSU: Purple.

NORML: Grateful Dead.

RBI: Tony Perez.

ABC: Terri Hatcher.

AAU: Sloppy, selfish, playground basketball coached by sleazy guys seeking to ride a superstar's coattails all the way to a college coaching job.

Sometimes, that characterization of AAU basketball fits. And then there is the 17-and-under K.C. Pump N Run team, which operates at the opposite end of the spectrum. Structure. Discipline. Fundamentals. Those buzzwords capture the program run for the past six years by Dodge City native L.J. Goolsby, a former point guard at Mississippi and Wichita State.

His teams play as if they practice together daily. Short on flash and long on taking good shots, K.C. Pump N Run had an easy time getting past L.A. Pump N Run, which had just five players show up Friday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

The story pretty much remains the same at the Jayhawk Invitational. The pre-tournament hype centers on highly ranked national recruits that Kansas University wants to land. Spectators come out to watch those players. Another high-flying dunker from here or there creates a buzz. And K.C. Pump N Run sets more picks and makes the extra passes to work its way systematically to the tourney title. Goolsby's team has won the past three Jayhawk Invitationals, never doing so with the best talent. On offense, watching K.C. Pump N Run at times is watching a less loaded version of Kansas.

"We have a few sets they run, try to free up our guards with some ball-screens," Goolsby said with a smile. "We mix it up a little bit, but we do have a lot of what KU does. National champs. I hope it rubs off on us."

Lawrence High junior Dorian Green, a pitcher for the Lions, comes off the bench for K.C. Pump N Run. Last weekend, he played in Dallas, arriving with his father at 3:30 in the morning.

"He's playing baseball so it's hard to get him in the groove," Goolsby said. "He's only been to one practice because of baseball. He's a special talent. He's going to have a heck of a summer for us. He'll help us out a lot."

Goolsby said Green played so well in Dallas that several Div. I schools contacted him about the LHS guard.

"He showed that he can be a good point guard," Goolsby said.

Green played for the 16-and-under K.C. Pump N Run team last summer and played baseball. This summer, he said he will concentrate on basketball.

As usual, most of the buzz generated Friday night came from teams other than Goolsby's. Rodney Williams of New Hope, Minn., wowed the crowd with loud dunks. Derrick Favors, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Atlanta, showed why he is the No. 3-ranked recruit in the Class of 2009.

Meanwhile, K.C. Pump N Run played the game as it should be played and moved on. If Goolsby, a pharmaceutical salesman, ever moves on to a college coaching job, he will do so on merit, not by riding some unsuspecting teenager's talent to a better life for himself.


Michael Leiker 11 years, 7 months ago

I watched Goolsby play in the 6A state finals in Wichita his senior year, probably 1994-1995. Great player, always had a reputation as being a class act as well.

rgreene 11 years, 7 months ago

note to all: 'garybedore' is not Gary Bedore.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Tom, you got a good angle. Goolsby is a very interesting person. Thanks for reporting it.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

I've always wondered, garybedore: are you Gary Bedore, or someone having fun with Gary Bedore's handle?I know that I am not really Jaybate. I am someone having fun with Jaybate by using his handle as jaybate.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

Goolsby is a class act, no doubt about it.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

I've always wondered, garybedore: are you Gary Bedore, or someone having fun with Gary Bedore's handle?--You've "always wondered?" I've only posted on a few stories so far. Just kidding, but it is me. Nobody would be dumb enough to copy another person's name, right?

justanotherfan 11 years, 7 months ago

AAU has gotten a bad rap because it was a convenient scapegoat when things got bad with payoffs, corruption, shoe deals, etc. There are good AAU programs and terrible AAU programs, just like there are good college programs and bad ones. In AAU, like college, the quality of the program is often a reflection of the coach. The most often light that AAU coaches and programs are viewed in is negative, so they have a negative perception (not entirely undeserved for some). However, to paint them all with a broad brush is unfair.

100 11 years, 7 months ago

ksu has a lot to be proud of, and in fact, strangely, they helped us this year. First off, they made the NCAA tourney for the first time in 20 years and got to the 2nd round. Luckily for us, ksu wouldnt let beasley get out of his scholarship after their coach left. If ksu would have, beasley was going to Memphis... So we need to thank ksu for that... Save the cheap shots for duke.

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