Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gary Bedore’s KU basketball notebook


KU prospect Elijah Johnson happy with Lawrence visit

Elijah Johnson didn't expect to play in the Jayhawk Invitational AAU Basketball Tournament last weekend. However, a last-minute plant ticket enabled the KU basketball prospect to come to Lawrence.

Draft talk

Chad Ford, ESPN's NBA Draft analyst, lists KU sophomore Darrell Arthur as the No. 16 prospect in the 2008 Draft, junior Brandon Rush 20th, junior Mario Chalmers 36th, senior Sasha Kaun 65th and senior Darnell Jackson 79th. There are 60 total picks in the draft, 30 in Round One.

"There's a great chance all of them will stay in the draft," KU coach Bill Self said, referring to Rush, who has an agent and is in for good, as well as Arthur and Chalmers, who have not hired agents and can withdraw by June 16 to retain college eligibility.

"We're preparing like we're not going to have those guys," Self added, noting there likely would be no updates on the players for a month or so, considering the NBA Orlando camp isn't until May 27-29. Individual workouts for NBA teams will be held the first two weeks of June.

"Very slim," ESPN's Jay Bilas said in an online chat, asked to assess the chances of Chalmers and Arthur returning to KU. "Arthur has size, skill, athleticism and potential. Chalmers is one of the best two individual defenders in the draft. I think they will both stay in." lists Arthur 22nd (Orlando) and Rush 24th (Seattle) in the first round and Chalmers the No. 4 pick of Round Two (Minnesota).

'Bobo' bolting LSU

J'Mison "Bobo" Morgan, a 6-11, 255-pound senior from Dallas' South Oak Cliff High, tells the Dallas Morning News he officially has asked to be released from his LSU letter of intent. He wants to attend UCLA.

"It was a real hard decision for me," said Morgan, who considered KU before inking with LSU. "My comfort level was at LSU, but I felt like UCLA was a better fit for me as far as exposure."

Dixon hot prospect

Lee's Summit (Mo.) West point guard Michael Dixon, who is's 87th-rated player in the Class of 2009, tells the recruiting service he has a list of 10 schools.

The 6-foot, 165-pound Dixon has received scholarship offers from Arkansas, Cal-Berkeley, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Missouri, Oklahoma and Purdue. He's also considering Kansas and Tennessee.

Dixon led Kansas City Pump N Run to the title of last weekend's Jayhawk Invitational AAU Tournament.

"If it (KU) is a place I would get to play, great," Dixon told Rivals. "But if not, that's great, too, because I'm getting my education paid for."


kranny 13 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't agree that being a second round pick is better for any player unless the player just isn't college material which is not the case for Chalmers. Being a first round pick is a "guaranteed" contract with "guaranteed money". Even late first round is close to a million a year depending on the team and the player. Chalmers will take it and run.

FlaHawk 13 years, 8 months ago

I believe (don't know) that Bilas believes Chalmers is NOT a 2nd round pick.I agree whey would Chalmers miss out on guaranteed money!

jayhawkinATL 13 years, 8 months ago

After Love bolted for the NBA, it looked more likely that Bo Bo would end up there if he left LSU.

Nutflush21 13 years, 8 months ago

Even if Mario is a second round pick, clearly he is good enough to make a roster and contribute. He shouldnt be overly concerned with the guaranteed 1st round contract. Id look for San Antonio to take him with their late 1st round pick. Not only is he a good fit for them, but the close connections KU has with the Spurs should be beneficial.

Robert Brock 13 years, 8 months ago

UCLA's Lorenzo Mata used up his eligibility and Love jumped at the opportunity to enter the draft so 6'8 Mah a Moute is the only real big returning for the Bruins. Good opening for Bobo if wants it.

kcmostwanted 13 years, 8 months ago

Elijah Johnson looks like Julian Wright in that video.... at least in my opinion

cklarock 13 years, 8 months ago

I liked Elijah Johnson's interview. Sounds like he really has his head screwed on straight. Come play for Kansas, Elijah. The fans will love you, Coach Self will help make you an elite NCAA guard, and the academics are really good here as well.

eastTXjayhawk 13 years, 8 months ago

Morgan is more LSU talent than UCLA...have seen him in Austin at the State Tournament the last few years, he's no Shady....he's not even a Kevin Rogers (both former SOC teammates)...but he is a great shot blocker. And a big big fella...{and yes, I know LSU went to the FF a couple years ago, but they're not a basketball powerhouse}

justanotherfan 13 years, 8 months ago

Late first round picks are a mixed bag. If you go to a good team and stay healthy, you typically will stick around in the league. On the other hand, if you end up on a perennial loser, you may be asked to do much more than you are capable of doing early in your career, which may cost you when its time for your second contract. More than anything, a second contract is about your situation. Unless you are a breakout star, your second contract is going to come down to whether you fit into a certain role on a team. Jacque Vaughn is a perfect example. Late first round pick, fits the role of back-up PG. Ten plus years in the league. Scot Pollard is another great example. Meanwhile, Raef Lafrentz is an example of a guy picked really high, asked to do too much, and had his career suffer overall as a result. Early second round picks aren't guaranteed, but they do go to teams where it will be easier to make the roster, since the early second rounders are the ones that go to bad teams. However, you may end up in a situation where you are asked to help "save" a franchise.

niemoth 13 years, 8 months ago

Mario would probably be better off going in the second round this year than the 1st. Late 1st round picks go to great teams and never get to play and don't get second contracts and have a tough time staying in the league (see Simien). Going early second round, you get a lot of playing time by going to a lottery team and thus get a great chance to get better and make a name in the league. You then get a second contract and are in the league for awhile. I don't know how often it goes like that, it just seems to me like it would. I would love to see some stats on guys who are the last 10 picks of the 1st round compared to the first 10 picks of the second. That doesn't mean I think Chalmers should go, becasue I think if he'd stay, he'd be a top 20 pick next year.

KEITHMILES05 13 years, 8 months ago

Jay Bilas can say what he wants and it may very well be true about Mario. However, if he is second round this year why would he stay in the draft? Nothing is guaranteed second round.

actorman 13 years, 8 months ago

I agree that Bilas must think Chalmers is going to go in the first round, especially if he says that Chalmers is one of the two best individual defenders in the draft. (And wow, how great is that compliment?!?! Not that any of us would have expected anything different.) I can't imagine Bilas would be saying that about Chalmers not returning if he thought Chalmers was going to go in the second round.I would still think his father being at KU might have at least some influence on his decision, especially if he's not sure whether he'll go in the first round. So although it would be great to see him go to a good situation, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he returns to have an All-American season.

actorman 13 years, 8 months ago

Interesting discussion about the differences between being late first round and early second round. I would think another factor that makes it better to go in the first round is that you would get to practice against better players and (often) play under a better coach. I know NBA teams don't practice that much during the season, but I would think a young player would still benefit from the preseason and from whatever practices are held during the season.

TheTruth08 13 years, 8 months ago

People wishing that Chalmers would fail in workouts and come back to KU make me sick. He's a pro. End of conversation.

Steve Hengeli 13 years, 8 months ago

Some late-first round teams are actually ideal to go to in the draft. A lot of those teams are good NOW but they may be on the brink of a rebuild. Simien was actually drafted onto the perfect team, considering that the Heat ended up playing a bunch of D-League players this year. His problem was that he couldn't stay healthy. It's a shame, but I still think he was lucky to land on a veteran team like the Heat. Now, if you land on a team like New Orleans it might be a bit more difficult. Julian Wright entered that team at the right time, but I think it'd be hard to see any playing time as a late first-round pick on that team (and Julian Wright, who was a lottery pick for that team has only just now been able to really crack the lineup). They are young but they basically have their team set for the next few years.

okjhok 13 years, 8 months ago

IMO, Chalmers is a great off-the-ball defender, but not much better than an average on-the-ball defender. Bilas may be right about him being one of the best in the draft, but that could also say something about the defensive talent in the draft. Chalmers was regularly beaten by his man over the course of the year. His steals came off the ball. Just an observation. There's no point in making predictions before the workouts, but I will say this. If he stays in the draft and goes 2nd round I'm going to be sick. There's nothing good about a junior going in the second round of the draft. There are just too many reasons to wait for the '09 draft if 1st round isn't guaranteed this year.

lee3022 13 years, 8 months ago

Mario has ultra-quick hands and does gamble some in taking away balls. He is committed to play defense and not many others do so. But I see Mario scoring more in the NBA than KU. His game against Texas was an excellent example (30 points) of his capability. He was among the very best in the NCAA in offensive efficiency last year as well.As far as the early 2nd round goes note that Portland has two picks in the top 10 there (33 and 36). with a young nucleus ready to explode next year they are a dominant perimeter defender and point guard away from perennial championship challengers. They also have Kevin Pritchard (KU 86-90) as GM and architect. So if Chalmers does well at work-outs and Orlando pre-draft camp he may well move into the 1st round or be satisfied with the early 2nd round. Coach Self does not sound like Mario is coming back.

okjhok 13 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I want Chalmers back. I have no problem stating so, but that doesn't mean I want him to fail in his workouts. If he's deemed a 1st rounder, I say congratulations to him and I'll be watching him in the league. But I'm a KU alumnus and care about KU basketball much more than the NBA, so it just follows that I'd prefer to see Chalmers finish his career at KU, lead the team back to the final four, complete his education, and then make millions as a first-round selection in the '09 draft.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.