Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chalmers, Wright to return to K.C. for exhibition

Julian wright, Former KU basketball player and current forward for the New Orleans Hornets, is introduced at the Bill Self Basketball Camp. Wright made an appearance at the camp in this 2008 file photo.

Julian wright, Former KU basketball player and current forward for the New Orleans Hornets, is introduced at the Bill Self Basketball Camp. Wright made an appearance at the camp in this 2008 file photo.


Former Jayhawks making basketball news

Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright will meet in an exhibition game for the NBA this fall. Roderick Stewart also signed a one-year deal with a professional team in Finland.

Former Kansas University basketball players Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright will be playing an NBA exhibition game in Kansas City, Mo., this fall.

Chalmers’ Miami Heat will meet Wright’s New Orleans Hornets on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Sprint Center, the Heat announced Thursday.

Miami, which also has former Kansas State forward Michael Beasley on the roster, will play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 14 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said the Heat did not contact KU about perhaps holding the game in Allen Fieldhouse.

KU’s Late Night in the Phog is Oct. 16.

“I would suspect Miami was thinking that with somebody from Kansas and somebody from Kansas State, they’d be better off playing it in the Sprint Center,” Keating said. “The Sprint Center probably went out looking for the game with a lot of dates available.”

Keating said KU, which hosted an exhibition between the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics in 2006, does not contact NBA franchises about potential exhibition matchups in Allen.

“The only time we did it was when Chicago approached us,” Keating said. “It’s hard to do. It’s always a preseason game and comes right when we are getting started. You’ve got to lock up the facility two days to get it done. It takes your teams out of the facility. We always listen, especially if it’s our former players, but not something we seek out.”

Last October, the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers played the Atlanta Hawks in the Sprint Center before an announced crowd of 12,000 in the 18,000-seat facility. The Los Angeles Kings will meet the New York Islanders in an NHL preseason game on Sept. 22 at Sprint Center.

l Stewart headed to Finland: Former Kansas University basketball guard Rodrick Stewart has signed a one-year contract to play basketball in Finland during the 2009-10 season.

Stewart’s dad, Bull Stewart, said Thursday that Rodrick will leave the U.S. on Aug. 17. His son will report to the training camp of pro team FoKoPo, which is located in Forssa, Finland.

“The owner called. He was really excited. He said Rodrick’s going to be their starting point guard. He’ll be a 6-foot-5 point guard,” Bull Stewart said of Rodrick, who shattered his kneecap while attempting a dunk at a practice session at the 2008 Final Four in San Antonio.

“He started playing again four months ago. He’s 100 percent healthy and in good shape at 205 pounds. He’s in good enough shape to play above the rim,” Bull Stewart added.

Stewart said his son, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds a game his senior year at KU, would like to play for an NBA summer-league team in 2010 and perhaps land an invitation to a team’s veterans camp.

“He wants to prove he can be a good pro ballplayer,” Bull Stewart said.

Stewart’s twin brother, Lodrick, who played in Germany last year, likely will play in Greece this season, Bull said. Lodrick played his college ball at Southern California, where Rodrick started his career before transferring to KU. Both were prep standouts in Seattle.


Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

This is going to be totally cruel, but I couldn't resisit. I wonder if the exhibition will be anything like the Sports Illustrated cover from 2008 with Chalmers shooting and Julian Wright in street clothes 3 rows back under the basket. Ouch! I know that was bad, but it just came out. I love you Julian! I still follow you, wish you would get some more playing time.

jayhwx3003 10 years, 9 months ago

I am definitely booking this game. Anyone know when the tickets are gonna be out?

Andrew Ledell 10 years, 9 months ago

Shaw: I'm sure they'll let Julian play, but only because it's an exhibition and so close to Lawrence. Seriously, what happened? Guy was a lottery pick, showed promise early and then nothing. Frustrating.

trmatlock 10 years, 9 months ago

He should have stayed another year. These kids think that they can just go and play in the NBA. It is not like going to the playground down the street. Someone who loves them should talk to them about reality. The problem is that their families get greedy and don't care about what is best for the kids. Are you paying attention Carl?

MrC 10 years, 9 months ago

Not sure I understand how Julian was ever a lottery pick, was it just based on his potential upside? I really liked the guy, but I seem to remember so many "what the $#$ was he thinking" moments, that sometimes we wondered why he was getting that much PT at the college level.

mjlindsm 10 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't disagree more trmatlock. Julian came out at the exact right time for him. He can jump out of the gym, but he's not a particularly good shooter nor ball-handler, and there's no reason he can't work on those in the NBA every bit as much as he could have in college. You don't practice those things in games (though Julian tried to the UCLA game), you do it in practice and on your own. He's not big enough to be a 4 in the NBA like he was in college. I'm just not sure Julian is really an NBA player, so he left and got the guaranteed millions before people could see that his ceiling was lower than they thought. Great move by him.

Omari Miller 10 years, 9 months ago

I hate to sound like those readers that are always complaining about how the JW doesn't do this or mess up that, but I do find it disappointing that on the first day of camp for the football program, in the midst of the fever pitch, nationwide, for the start of college football... not one football story at I understand that there may not have been any breaking news items today, but a color story maybe?

Aligned 10 years, 9 months ago


You're anaylsis of Julian's timing for the NBA draft is accurate. There is a pervasive, yet incorrect idea among fans that a player will improve more in college than in the NBA. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. However, some players do leave before their draft potential has peaked, such as Mario for example. I hope that Cole's decision to stay another year serves his best interest.

Chicago_JHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Happy to hear about Rodrick getting a shot to play for pay. Good for him!

I agree with others that Julian made the right call for him. He wasn't going to improve his shortcomings with one more year to move higher in the draft, and he'd have another year on his odometer, potentially lowering his stock. His athleticism is his biggest talent, and so he needed to take advantage of that. Also, from a selfish standpoint, the argument could be made that his presence on the squad could have skewed the chemistry on the 2008 team - maybe we don't win the title.

Also, if folks are going to AGAIN disparage the LJW for a lack of FB articles, then why not write one yourselves and post it in the blog section? Maybe there's nothing to report yet? It is, after all, day one.

Joe Baker 10 years, 9 months ago

I tend to agree with trmatlock. I know it all makes sense for a player to jump ship and head to the NBA like Wright. But, there's much to be said for a player to stay one more year before they commit. I'm not arguing improvement in college v. nba, but I think it gives them time to "grow" in other ways. I think the mental maturity is important. Julian could've stayed one more year. Chalmers definitely should've stayed along with Shady. Yeah, I'm selfish, but it would've been best for them all on many levels. But, and that's a big but, the $$$$ is hard to pass and the dream is to play in the NBA. I don't fault him, but just think Self could've worked wonders with all three of these guys. I'm not saying they should've stayed all four yrs, that would be too much, but another year for each would've been much better in the short run of things. One huge issue is injury. If you don't bail and sign, you do risk injury, ie. Brandon Rush. He would've been gone earlier if not for his injury. I will say and most would have to admit that another year did do him good, like a NC which improved his stock!! There's nothing like a NC to improve your stock. This is why we lost five total players to the NBA after that '08 NC.

Alex Wishart 10 years, 9 months ago

did you just say that an NBA starting PG should have stayed in school? are you on crack? Mario maybe could have improved his draft status but at the end of the day he is injury free, making 1st round money, and starting along side one of the best players in the game. as for D. Arthur, he was projected to be a lottery pick and fell fell fell because of some misinformation about an injury. he gets a healthyammount of playing time for a team loaded at his position. we had a great team last year and wouldn't have been able to repeat without RussRob, D Block, Sasha, and Rush anyway. I think we would have made the final four but UNC was clearly the best team. plus wanting those guys to stay is a selfish way to look at it.

Ross Hartley 10 years, 9 months ago

Mario is not making first round money. Actually he got a thrilling $56,000 raise from last year and is making the least amount of money on the entire Heat team. On the other hand if he would have stayed another year, he could easily be earning in the 2.5-3.0 million range which would equal his first four years with the Heat (assuming they don't give him a bump). Mario made 700 grand last year while his teammate Beasley made 4,300 grand.

Aligned 10 years, 9 months ago

Actually there are very, very few players in the entire NBA making as little money as Mario. Certainly no starters. Leaving in '08 was a huge FU for Mario. Especially in light of the much publicized '09 weak draft.

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