Finally, the draft projections for national-title-game superstar Darrell Arthur appear reasonable. Why it took so long for him to get ranked in the top 10 remains a mystery.
Did all of those draft prognosticators who had him going in the 20 range as recently as a week ago not see him outrun, outjump and generally out-talent the formidable Memphis front line on his way to a 20-point, 10-rebound night in the Alamodome? Did they forget how, as a freshman, he looked so ready to take on a Florida front line that played a huge part in the Gators winning back-to-back national titles?
Analyst Jay Bilas, working Tuesday night's NBA Draft lottery show for ESPN, ranked Arthur as his eighth-best prospect in the draft and predicted he will "surprise a lot of people with how high he goes."
Bilas, a big believer all year in KU's chances for winning the national title, also put Texas guard D.J. Augustin 12th and KU's Brandon Rush 14th. He ranked only 15 players. Mario Chalmers, expected by most to be on the fringe of the first and second rounds, was not among them.
Bilas' projection must have put a smile on the face of Arthur, considering that the authenticity of his high school algebra grade became a source of national discussion when a former teacher of his at South Oak Cliff High said Arthur was flunking his class and was given another teacher who would pass him. Arthur can make the whistle-blower go away by hiring a lawyer who reminds the teacher it's against the law to make a student's grades public. He'll be able to afford F. Lee Bailey.
By then, Kansas will know whether Chalmers will be back teaming with Sherron Collins in the backcourt or will have been drafted himself. The guess here is the latter. The national champions didn't have a more confident player than Chalmers, a quality that made him the ideal candidate to have the ball in his hands at make-or-break time. Once it comes time for Chalmers to ponder what he hears from talent evaluators, his considerable self-confidence will make him listen to the more optimistic projections.
Arthur technically could return because he hasn't hired an agent. Forget about that one. He's gone. If Arthur felt like he got punched in the gut last week, Steve Schanwald, executive vice president of business operations for the Chicago Bulls, can relate. The night represented Schanwald's 15 minutes of fame as the Bulls' lottery representative. And then ESPN's Doris Burke introduced him as "Stan" Schanwald and misidentified his title as executive vice president of "basketball" operations. Schanwald froze for a fraction of a second and blinked, as if the wind had been knocked right out of him. Then he smiled and was going to correct Burke, a strong game color analyst, but knew it was too late because she had moved on.
Schanwald got the last laugh when the Bulls' 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery hit. They now have the luxury of deciding whether to select Kansas State's Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose of Memphis. As badly as the Bulls need a pure point guard to lead the team, and as much of a can't-miss prospect as Chicago native Rose is, Beasley's the right call.