Friday, May 30, 2008

Camp hasn’t helped Jayhawks

Seniors Jackson, Kaun, Robinson so-so in Orlando


Kansas University seniors Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun and Russell Robinson have not yet distinguished themselves on the court at this week's NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando, Fla.

So says analyst Rodger Bohn, who watched the Jayhawks and 62 other NBA hopefuls scrimmage Tuesday and play camp games Wednesday and Thursday.

One final set of games is on tap for today.

"The three Kansas players have not hurt themselves, because they were on the outside looking in coming into the camp, but they have not done anything to help themselves, either," Bohn said.

Will any of the KU seniors be selected in the two-round, 60-pick draft?

"If the draft was held tomorrow, no," Bohn said.

Bohn said 6-foot-8 power forward Jackson has, by far, played the best of the Jayhawks in their first two camp games.

"He has played really hard, but has been in foul trouble the entire camp," Bohn said of Jackson, who scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in Thursday's camp game after totaling eight points Wednesday.

"He's really active on the offensive glass. He's shown flashes of being a possible sparkplug for a team. He can take up space as a 4 (power forward) and be a glue guy. He will not make a team based on his skillset."

Kaun, a 6-11 center, scored two points with five rebounds Thursday after a four-point, nine-rebound outing Wednesday.

"Sasha has struggled quite a bit. He will have one good play followed by two bad ones," Bohn said. "Sasha is a guy who could use two more years in school. Unless he wows somebody (at individual workouts), he has no shot of being drafted based on his performance here.

"The word is he has big-money offers in Russia," Bohn added. Kaun recently told the Journal-World he might land a seven-figure deal in his native land if he's not drafted or signed as a free agent.

"It would be impossible for him to play in the D-League for $30,000 a year if he can make that kind of money."

Meanwhile, 6-1 point guard Robinson had five points and three assists Thursday after scoring six points Wednesday.

"If I could give Russell advice it's, 'Be aggressive,'" Bohn said. "What he showed at Kansas made him a valuable role player. What he showed at Kansas is not good enough for him to make it (in NBA).

"Russell has been very hesitant to make a smart move to the basket here. He's not doing anything wrong. He's not doing anything well, either. He's played good defense and has not turned it over. We haven't seen him take it inside of the three-point line in all his time here."

Bohn believes KU guard Mario Chalmers made an incorrect decision not to attend the camp.

"Ty Lawson (North Carolina) is much closer to being a first-round pick than Mario, and (Lawson) is here," Bohn said.

The scout checked into a rumor that the San Antonio Spurs have told Chalmers they'll take him if he's available at No. 26 pick of Round One.

"The Spurs have absolutely denied that. There's no credence to it," Bohn said.

ESPN's Chad Ford said he's talked to two NBA executives who have deemed the 6-1 Chalmers a possible lottery pick (top 14).

"If Russell Westbrook and D.J. Augustin are off the board by the time teams like the Pacers, Kings or Blazers pick, I wouldn't be shocked to hear Chalmers' name called," an NBA exec told Ford. "I think he's much better than you or anyone else has been giving him credit for.

"He's not a spectacular athlete or passer, but he's fearless, and he knows how to win. I'd love to have a guy like that on my team," another scout said.

Bohn said he's heard Brandon Rush is a lock to go in the first round - No. 15 to Phoenix remains the hot rumor. Also, Darrell Arthur looks like a solid lottery pick.

¢Simien to Cavs: Former Kansas University power forward Wayne Simien, who sat out last season while recovering from offseason knee surgery, reports he will be playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer into next fall's training camp.


Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 6 months ago

No one has gone through their career playing a great game every time out. Give Lawsome a break. He's been far more good than bad.

TheTruth08 11 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like the seniors are a little nervous and thinking too much. I hope they can bounce back.

KU 11 years, 6 months ago

We won the National Championship guys!

Chicago_JHawk 11 years, 6 months ago

If Sasha really has the chance to pull seven figures in Russia, I can't see why he'd consider playing in the league as even a 2nd rounder with no guarantee.As this guy says, Kaun could use two more years in college. Well, unless he got guaranteed 1st round scale money for 3 years, go play a few years in Russia, bank some money, then give the NBA a shot if he wants.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 6 months ago

The seniors need to move on to other things if they don't get what they want out of these tryouts. Nothing to be ashamed of.

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

Give me a break!!!!! Ty Lawson looked liked crap when went up against us. He got EXPOSED!!!!

WilburNether 11 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately, Simien is not going to make it in the NBA. In size, he's a "tweener." He's not big enough to play inside as a 4, and he lacks the quickness and outside moves to make it as a 3. In four years at KU, he never displayed the ability to make moves to the basket from beyond about six feet or so, and his outside game consisted solely of shooting open jump shots. I'd love for the kid to succeed, but I just can't see it. His size and game are too limited.

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

I will take Mario any day of the week over Lawson...and not because I'm a 'hawks fan.

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

tis...I'll die of peptic ulcerations if Xavier chooses Memphis. It's not the right choice for him. fihsch...Dude, that's FUNNY!

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

I've got a hunch Xavier Henry is leaning toward Kansas. I mean if he's not looking at UNC or UCLA then the largest draw remaining for media showcasing is Kansas (between Kansas and Memphis). Besides, Kansas is where his father went and Memphis doesn't have that going for them. Furthermore, Kansas is just as much a threat to win the championship as is Memphis. And finally Kansas places more guys in the pros than Memphis does.He's gotta be leaning toward Kansas.

tis4tim 11 years, 6 months ago

jross,I hope for your sake (and for the sake of your health) that Xavier commits to Kansas :D

Chad Dexter 11 years, 6 months ago

Lol, soapbox. That is true that Cassel looks like an alien.

hometownhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with ku98. There was an awful combination of things that Wayne had no control over that worked against him in his first couple years. He'll never be an all-star, but he could definitely contribute.Also, seems like this bohn-head just isn't too high on KU. I'll have to believe his Orlando notes because he's there, and I'm not. But, there's no way in hell that Lawson is sitting better than Mario right now. Mario looked like the best PG in the FF, and that's saying something. Lawson does not have the privilege of letting his FF performance speak for itself because he got HANDLED by the KU guards.

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 6 months ago

Regarding Russell Robinson--Just my 2cents, but I think everyone that has followed college ball the last 2 years or so knows about Russell's defense, his assists, and the famous fact that he went to "Rice HighSchool", but maybe the scouts want to see him 'unleashed offensively', OUTSIDE of the confines of his role in the KU scheme. What can HE do with the ball? I remember him as a freshman, subbing in for Miles or Langford, and at times slashing it right to the bucket enough that I recall thinking "he's a mini-Langford!", but then he adapted to what the team required. It must have been hard, as I believe he was a scorer in H.School averaging 23ppg, and rated in the top50, almost choosing Ga.Tech in the ACC...It has to be difficult to undo 3 years of habits of pass-first, shoot-second mentality. Go Russell-I wish you get whatever it is you want. Go dunk on em like Mario can...

justanotherfan 11 years, 6 months ago

I think Bohn made a good point about Mario not playing at the camp versus Lawson playing. Mario wasn't necessarily a lock to go in the first round, but he still passed on playing. I was surprised when I heard that he didn't go to the camp myself. Saying that our guys aren't playing very well isn't a knock on KU. If DBlock and Sasha are having foul problems, and Russ isn't attacking the basket, that isn't disrespect so much as its a wake up call to those guys as to what they need to improve to get their name called next month. I think Darnell still has an outside shot at getting picked. Sasha will play in Russia, because the money will be better over there to start than it will be here. That's a no brainer. Russell will have an opportunity to play somewhere, but probably not in the NBA right away. As for Simien, he did endure the perfect storm of calamities early in his career. At this point, I don't know if he will be an NBA player because of his game. Wayne isn't a "glue" guy that always out worked guys. He was the #1 option. He isn't a #1 or #2 option in the NBA. He was a solid rebounder and defender, but he was never a high volume rebounder or shot-blocker. He isn't a DBlock type energy guy. He's a primary scorer. In order to succeed in the NBA, he's either going to have to up his scoring ability and become a David West type player or amp up his energy and turn into a Udonis Haslem type. I'm rooting for him because of what he went through, and hopefully he can expand/alter his game enough to become a productive pro.

ku98 11 years, 6 months ago

Wilbur:I disagree. I think Wayne has not done much in the NBA, not because of a lack of size or skills, but because he got stuck with Miami, at the time a championship-caliber team with a head coach who does not give much playing time to rookies. Then he got hurt, then got salmonella, then hurt again, then traded, then dumped by the T-Wolves, because he had not played in over a year.Bottom line, he will find a spot on an NBA roster and he will contribute.

justanotherfan 11 years, 6 months ago

I've heard of William Wesley aka Worldwide Wes. If you are interested in more stories, just do a google search. There are a lot of articles about him. According to legend, Wes knows and has on speed dial just about every NBA all-star from the last several years. Every college and NBA coach knows him. Most of the prominent high school coaches know him as well. He is an admitted Memphis fan, but he doesn't always work with or direct players to Memphis (note his close connections with other coaches). It is also interesting that, although he seemingly knows everyone in the basketball world, his name never comes up with regard to illegal payoffs or recruiting violations. I'm not a proponent of the guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think he is an interesting character.

100 11 years, 6 months ago

Its common sense that Mario knew he has some things he needs to work on: Mario's long range shooting will be DY NO MITE next year, as will his passing. Its the perfect storm for him that the NCAA line is moving back. The pretenders will be exposed next year (not him). He just needs one more year of college. He will be a lottery pick next year. His family is all very intelligent.

hawk4evr 11 years, 6 months ago

It's quite a comentary on the state of Russian basketball when a marginal player like Kaun can pull down 7 figures. Sasha, take the money and your mother and go back to Russia for good. Your NBA dreams are just that, dreams.

Robert Brock 11 years, 6 months ago

I have to believe that Henry is leaning towards KU as well. The family ties to the program and the fact that he will probably be able to step right in for a year or two and start and be the focal point of the offense has to be appealing. But, I would not rule out Memphis by any means. Kids seem to love the "family atmosphere" at Memphis, i.e. the player's mansion/dorm, connections to the league, etc. I would highly recommend you read this NY Times article if you haven't already. It goes into detail about William Wesley, an individual with connections to the league and also celebrities. He has much interaction with today's young basketball stars and he appears to "recruit" and sway these kids' decisions to play for Memphis and other schools. Very sketchy. A MUST READ.

hometownhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

When can I expect the William Wesley story to hit theaters?

soapboxstew 11 years, 6 months ago

We just got T-Bohned.He may or may not have valid points; I hate him for dissing my boyz. I feel like the mother hawk watching out for my baby Jayhawks, and when I hear somebody putting down my Jayhawks, it makes me mad all over.One thing to note about these pre-draft workouts: KU had 15-30 scouts at most games this year. That goes for many NBA talent laden teams. My point is that these scouts for these teams have done their research, they know the players (They have known Mario since HS and the McD's AA game, and all 3 years @ KU). They know who they want for the most part. These pre-draft workouts are mostly for the second round, minimal moves at best. Mario is not hurting from missing these. Besides, what else does the tourney MVP have to prove in April/May?As far as Mario going to San Antonio: If San Antonio retains Timmay (if he doesn't retire) for a couple more years, then I can't see how they pass on Mario. They need a back-up for Parker that can knock down the 3-ball. Udoka is a 2 or 3, Berry is a 2 or 3 (and he's 76 years old), leaving Vaughn as the only back-up. And as much as I love him, Vaughn is done. Mario would be the perfect fit in SA. BTW- the draft board that I have seen has SA taking a 7'2 Spanish player that has 3 years left on his Euro contract. They have been burned by this before, where a Euro baller stays in Euro for the better contract, so I don't see them making this move. Besides, you don't replace Timmay with a late first-rounder from Euro. So I don't see them looking for the future replacement for Timmay in this draft, I see them looking at the immediate future, and taking a PG that hit the best shot in NCAA history not 3 miles from where the Spurs play.Another good fit for Mario would be Boston, where they need a 3-ball PG to back-up Rondo and who won't be a defensive liability. Right now they have a 40 year old alien as a back-up for Rondo (Cassell).Lastly, I always thought that Simien had an unstoppable turn-around 16 ft. jumper. I still think that he does and that will translate to the NBA. I hope that the 'preacher' has taken the time to shake off the rust and go back to the basics of his training. He could find a new beginning in Clevleand.Best of luck to all the Hawks, may they find glory!

xkujayhawksx 11 years, 6 months ago

I think Sasha should either play in Russia or just use his computer science degree.. he can make way more than 30,000 being a computer programmer than being in the D-league.

nameer 11 years, 6 months ago

I'd say that the problems that Sasha and D-Jack are facing in the pre-draft camps is due to the fact that these camps are pretty much guard-shows. I mean, the guards are the only ones that are going to get to ball every time down, and I doubt that they're interested in getting the ball in the post, waiting for pass back out, and then catching the player when he reposts. Thats just one extended sequence that I doubt happens very much, and thats how post players score unless its on the fast break. So far as I see it, all their stats look like "garbage" stats (although far from garbage if you're trying to build a winning team) that come entirely from their own effort and due to little help from guards setting them up. Thats part of why it would have been nice if chalmers had gone to the camp, as i bet it would have raised his stock (i never saw him get badly outperformed by an opposing guard) as well as the stock of whichever other jayhawk post man was on his team.

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