Injured Jayhawks making progress

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Several Kansas University men’s basketball players are making steady progress in their return from injuries, Jayhawk coach Bill Self said Tuesday night.

• Freshman guard Elijah Johnson, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on June 23, “has been given the green light. He’s been released (for full activity),” Self said.

• Senior forward Mario Little, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his lower left leg on April 16, is “full speed,” Self said.

• Freshman center Jeff Withey, who suffered a severely sprained right thumb in mid-June, “is right to the point of being released,” Self said.

Earlier this week, junior guard Brady Morningstar, who had surgery June 9 to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, reported he has been working out full speed with other college and some pro athletes in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, senior guard Sherron Collins, who checked in at 5-foot-11, 228 pounds on June 24 at the Deron Williams Skills Academy, continues to work himself into shape.

“Sherron has made a lot of progress with his conditioning,” said Self, not giving an exact weight, but indicating he was pleased with the player who has plenty of time to meet his playing weight of 205 of a year ago. The season-opening Late Night in the Phog is Oct. 16.

• Controversial dinner: ESPN.com reports that several college basketball coaches decided to skip the Grassroots Basketball of America dinner in honor of former shoe executive Sonny Vaccaro last week in Las Vegas. Florida’s Billy Donovan skipped the banquet after reading an e-mail the NCAA sent out the morning of the dinner.

“I was told that there could be repercussions for anyone who did go,” Donovan told ESPN.com.

Self, St. John’s Norm Roberts, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt and two other coaches attended the dinner, according to ESPN.com.

“(My compliance officer) said you can go as long as you don’t pay for dinner or are at an event with prospects,” Roberts, a close friend of Self, told ESPN. “I didn’t pay and there weren't any prospects.”

Self also said he did not pay.

Apparently the NCAA was unsure where the $800 a table and $195 per person funds were going. The organization apparently didn’t get it cleared with the NCAA that a portion of the proceeds were going to Coaches V. Cancer. ESPN said it’s against the rules for college coaches to contribute financially to organizations or individuals with ties to prospective student-athletes. GBOA sponsors AAU basketball.

Several other AAU programs hold similar fundraisers, however, and the NCAA has yet to act against them. It has made some speculate the appearance of NCAA critic Vaccaro sparked the organization’s interest in this banquet.