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Originally published February 27, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated February 27, 2009 at 10:44a.m.

Draft gossip quiet

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One of the most delightful aspects of this Kansas University basketball season is the absence of incessant blattering about which Jayhawk underclassman will be turning professional after NCAA time. No seniors have even a faint prayer.

Lordy, we’ve actually become caught up in the excitement of a major scuffle for a conference title rather than that who’ll-go-pro stuff. What a treat!

There’s talk that 6-11 sophomore Cole Aldrich could achieve high NBA Draft status and that junior guard Sherron Collins might do likewise. Yet barring some incredible changes in the selection process, both would do well to spend another season at KU. Aldrich could continue to improve with the specialized help of coach Danny Manning, and Collins could sharply hone his erratic ball-handling and decision-making.

With the new talent Bill Self has lined up, Kansas could be a Top-10 attraction from the outset of 2009-10. Plenty of focus from the scouts and our faltering economy might improve enough to make the money prospects better than they might be in this troubled year of strained and leaking budgets.

Last season there was constant haranguing about whether Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers were NBA goners, along with sophomore Darrell Arthur.

Rush got through the season with no new knee ailments, Arthur began to deliver, Chalmers plunked in that game-tying trey against Memphis, and KU won the national title. It was obvious those three might fare OK in the draft along with Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson.

This season we have ourselves a real Big 12 horse race, and the battle for four, ideally even five, conference teams to make the NCAA Tournament.

Collins obviously can shoot the ball and is enough of an athlete that even at 5-11 he wouldn’t be too horribly undressed on defense as a pro. Lots of skills for the ultra-quick fireplug. But he needs more refinement.

Aldrich with his agility and variety of moves is going to be a bona fide pro star some day. The famed Bob Knight, ex-coach and now a television analyst, has enthusiastically sung Cole’s praises several times. Yet more Manning tutelage could really refine this package.

Team-wise, KU’s victory over Oklahoma gave the developing Jayhawks a great advantage in the league race. But deep, aggressive and speedy Missouri is good enough to break the 39-game home win streak Sunday, and the March 1 visit to Texas Tech is no cinch. While it once seemed the Texas visit on March 7 could be put into the bank, the Longhorns hooked mighty Oklahoma and, importantly, seem to have found a point guard capable of double-doubles in scoring and assists.

With Dogus Balbay, a 6-foot sophomore ball-handler from Istanbul, Turkey, Texas has become stronger. Balbay had a year as a prep in New Hampshire, sat out last season with a bad leg, spent the summer with a Turkish junior team and has done wonders for the Longhorns. He’s a new face Kansas has to cope with on March 7, now that he’s allowed A.J. Abrams to rejuvenate his long-range shooting skills.

But isn’t it great to be talking about teams, league standings and showdown contests without all that tiresome folderol about likely NBA hopefuls?

Comments

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

As Ive said before Collins will be back. The ONLY way he goes is if he continues this 3 game tear he's on the rest of the season and we make a run in the NCAA's. As the writer said above and quoted by several NBA GMs he needs to improve his decision making and ballhandling. Cole is the one I worry about as his stock continues to rise as he's listed as a likely lottery pick while Sherron is barely listed in the 2nd round. As far as Sherron my buddy and I have been arguing about whether Sherron has ever dunked in a KU game. I say no,I dont remember him ever doing it, but my buddy says he has. Anyone else? Can he still do this I wonder? Video below is him in the Mcdonalds all american game with Kevin Durant trailing and thinking he's going to get the oop.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Memo to Bill...

By writing an entire column about not talking about how enjoyable it is not hear speculation about this year's players jumping, as well as about the speculation about last years players jumping, you have succeeded in becoming the enemy in the instant that you preached. You have now written more about players jumping this year than any other LJW writer.

Another Memo to Bill...

If you took the time to read what posters are writing here, you would know that there is almost nonstop speculation about whether Sherron and Cole will jump.

Another Memo to Bill...

I tried conjugating "blatter."

I blatter. You blatter. He/she/it blatters. We blatter. They blatter.

Another Memo to Bill...

I looked up blatter.

Pronunciation: ˈbla-tər Function: intransitive verb Etymology: perhaps from Latin blaterare to chatter Date: circa 1555 dialect : to talk noisily and fast

I never hear anyone talk noisily and fast about Sherron and Cole jumping to the NBA.

When I read posts here, I never notice anyone typing noisily and fast about Sherron and Cole.

Better find a word other than "blatter" the next time you want to say you are tired of people talking about some subect.

Eurekahwk 10 years, 3 months ago

But what about the scholarship situation? Are we not allowed ONLY 13? Haven't we already exceeded that number with incoming EJ, TR, JW?

Robert Brock 10 years, 3 months ago

I think that Bill has his dates mixed up. The Hawks play UT on March 7.

woodhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Mayer-

I believe the word you're looking for is 'blathering.' Why is there an absence of incessant BLATHERING regarding our players jumping to the NBA?

Interestingly enough, your 'blather' above is more of a hypocritical musing than a decent piece of journalism.

Do you like how I used blather in both the intransitive verb AND noun forms? That's skill I dare any LJW writer to match.

Jim Williamson 10 years, 3 months ago

What some are ignoring are the economic realities that could change the face of the NBA for awhile, anyway. I would expect to see an unprecedented number of 2nd rounders and free agents sitting on NBA benches next year while one superstar leads four role players.

Overpriced reserves (sadly, guys like Kirk Hinrich) are going the way of the dodo. Guys like Darnell Jackson who are just happy to be there -- for now at least -- who work hard, listen to their coaches and give their team plenty of cap room will become the rule.

For that reason, this may be the perfect time for Sherron to come out. Borderline guys like him who are willing to work for less will be hot commodities.

WilburNether 10 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, well, the fact of the matter is that much of the "incessant blattering (sic) about which Jayhawk underclassman will be turning professional" is generated by a reporter at the Journal-World.

jacqueshock 10 years, 3 months ago

"With the new talent Bill Self has lined up, Kansas could be a Top-10 attraction from the outset of 2009-10."

Correction, Kansas WILL be a top-10 attraction at the outset next season. I say top 5.

BucknellJayhawk3 10 years, 3 months ago

Honing your skills in college is better than honing your skills from the bench of an NBA team. The only equalizer is the money. I hope and think one more year would be good for them- even though I don't know their own personal situation.

keith horinek 10 years, 3 months ago

Collins and Aldridge have been to the big dance as underclassmen, and they took home the big prize. To the victors go the spoils. it's in their blood, I can't see either one leaving untill they have been back.

twowheels 10 years, 3 months ago

Bill:

March 1 Missouri Lawrence 1 p.m. (CBS) March 4 Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2) March 7 Texas Lawrence 3 p.m. (CBS)

chalmers4thetie 10 years, 3 months ago

i talked to sherron and he said he is stayin one more year

JayhawkPhil64 10 years, 3 months ago

We already have 14 people for 13 scholarships next year and coach is still recruiting two other guys. I'm pretty sure he already knows that two or three people plan on leaving the program next year. As much as I would hate to lose either Aldrich or Collins, I would rather a player leave to go the pro's than be run off. Granted, a player may volunteer to transfer but I think most of our current players would rather sit on the bench at KU than burn a year to get more time at another school. Possible exceptions could be Thomas and Appleton. I'm just saying there is a fine line between wanting to transfer and being encouraged to transfer.

Having said all that, Collins and Aldrich are good bets to leave early because both should be first round picks. Worse players than them have been picked in the first round. Aldrich could go in the top 15 or 20 with the NBA always desparate for token white guys. Remeber these are the same guys who were actually debating whether Chris Webber or Shawn Bradley should be the first pick in the draft several years ago. Collins has the toughness NBA teams love but he may be to short for his style of play in the league.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 3 months ago

The NBA, since beginning to draft HS players, has completely left behind any notion of drafting the best player in favor of drafting the player that they "think" has the most "potential". There was an article a couple years ago about if a player isn't drafted by their soph year, they have no more potential and their draft value is actually diminished. The NBA is probably one of the most perception distorted group of people on the planet at the moment. Cole is big. Sherron is short. Cole is not an agile, and has not developed a major low post game. Sherron's game will not improve nearly as much as that of the players around him in the next year. Fortunately, that will make him look better.

Projecting the draft at this point is on par with predicting the NCAA tourney at this point. Most of the season, and definitely the most important part, is still remaining to be played. It was nice to not have all the silly talk this year. Thanks Bill.

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 3 months ago

This article is oxymoronic. Emphasis on the second half of that word.

frompekka2sasha 10 years, 3 months ago

I'm still having trouble adjusting to the fact that we will only get to see Dez Briscoe for 1 more year. I'm not too worried about anything with Coach Self at the helm. If Cole or Collins leaves because they believe it's in their best interests... then we should support them. I know that I will.

milehighhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Hilarious.

"Nice how there's no talk about the draft."

"Now for some talk about the draft."

Please. For the Love of God. Hang. It. Up.

jhawkshocker 10 years, 3 months ago

Another memo to Bill.....

I looked up jaybate.

dialect: to irritate, and, to cast the first stone

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Another Memo to Bill...

I looked up jhawkshocker.

dialect: functional illiterate often mis-using nouns, such as "jaybate," as verbs in lame attempts at sarcastic criticism.

see also: twit

kranny 10 years, 3 months ago

Bill, Some posters take themselves way too seriously. Keep on writin' and I'll keep on readin'. I'd like to read some more "classic" or "back in the day" stories.

KUballer 10 years, 3 months ago

Wow nice comeback Jaybate. Way to stay original and think of that all by yourself.

Lone_salina_kufan 10 years, 3 months ago

Also doesn't lack of draft talk also in some ways is the nice form of saying "not much NBA talent" ? Im not so sure that its a good thing we don't have the draft talk. I'd take another Paul Pierce

klineisanazi 10 years, 3 months ago

Ol Bill yearns for the good old days. . . but in the modern world of college basketball......there will be a direct correlation between the amount of draft talk and the Jayhawks' prospects for a National Championship. Maybe not a conference crown, or a nice seed, but if a team is to compete at the elite level, it will include players about which there is speculation of an early entry in the draft. So if one finds such talk annoying, then comfort yourself with the knowledge your team, with a coach like Self, will be in the hunt for the big prize.

jahawkdave 10 years, 3 months ago

Cole is gone he'll go somewhere after Griffin and way before Hansborough. I'd like to see him stay develop his post moves, and leave a greater legacy for himself at KU, 1st Team All American and 45 hanging in the rafters are within reach. Who knows even the wooden award?

theno1kufan 10 years, 3 months ago

How about we wait until the season is over to talk about who's leaving and who's staying(AVOID THE JINX!!!!!!!!)?

In the meantime lets go out and blast missouri.

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

Lebowski I think your right on about Cole.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Reasons Cole Should Stay:

--Get stronger arms and shoulders.

--Jordan Miller, MSU bigs, Craig Brackins, DeMarre Carroll took it to him pretty good and none of them will be more than average players in the NBA.

Reasons to Go:

The game is getting so violent among big men in D1 that the risk of injury, especially head trauma, makes taking the money the only rational thing to do. Put another way, if you're going to get assaulted in both D1 and in the pros, you might as well off set the risks of assault with the benefits of cash.

Conclusion:

Who knows? It depends on how lucky Cole feels, and how willing he is to risk losing a big pay check to injury. If it were me, and if I expected D1 officiating to continue next year, as it has this year (i.e., for the game to remain as rough as it is), I would not hesitate to jump. I would take the check as fast as they could issue it and go out and buy myself a couple of masks, and every form of body armor they allow in the NBA. I would also hire Scott Pollard as a full time consultant to teach me how to protect myself in the L. Oh, and I would definitely work to earn a black belt in karate ASAP.

Greg Lux 10 years, 3 months ago

Sherron - senior Cole - Junior

Tyrone Appleton will likely leave for another school Quintrell Thomas is another possible departure as both lack playing time opportunities in the next year

There is some other possibilities but I don't want to open a black box.

CasperCorps 10 years, 3 months ago

Kansas could be top ten this year, let alone next year.. Leave Jaybate alone, he kicks a.... Rockem Hawks!!1

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

CasperCorps,

Thanks for the help defense. So do you.

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