Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ex-players can help recruiting


College sports coaches often cite the need for glitzy facilities to help them procure the best athletes. It sure helps if there are no dark, dank, smelly locker-rooms and playing surfaces aren’t craggy, grubby vacant lots when coaches squire kids around.

Kansas football coach Mark Mangino just inaugurated a new stadium-oriented empire and believes a new arena might be even more helpful for bringing in the gridiron sheaves. Basketball coach Bill Self has the vibrant Phog Allen shrine to display his kids’ wares. His latest contract arranges for a lot more attractive venues to trumpet the merits of being a Jayhawk.

Basketball people get caught up on palaces and throne rooms as big reasons why blue-chippers might harness their futures to Bill Self and Co. Don’t overlook a much bigger factor: KU’s current 11-man NBA roster has combined annual salaries of some $59 million. This doesn’t include the million-a-year Sasha Kaun is getting with a Russian pro team, so push it past $60 million.

National and conference titles, All-America status, constant adoration by school zealots, a great education, good job . . . all that is particularly attractive at national tournament times such as this. Recruits have to be impressed and these are key sales points, especially for those with no ability to reap big loot in the National Basketball Association.

College kids see little of the zillions they help create for the NCAA and its minions, and many understandably resent not receiving stimulus and bonus packages. But street-wise prospects can note how well former Jayhawks have done and decide that maybe the storied KU program with assistants like Danny Manning and Joe Dooley can route them to the same destination.

Quick rundown on the guys’ KU years, their current teams and what they are being paid for the current NBA season:

Paul Pierce, 1996-98, Boston Celtics, $18,077,903.

Raef LaFrentz, 1995-98, Portland Trail Blazers, $12,722,500.

Kirk Hinrich, 2000-2003, Chicago Bulls, $10,000,000.

Drew Gooden, 2000-02, San Antonio Spurs, $7,151,183.

Nick Collison, 2000-03, Oklahoma City Thunder, $6,250,000.

Julian Wright, 2006-07, New Orleans Hornets, $1,869,600.

Brandon Rush, Indiana Pacers, 2006-08, $1,799,160.

Jacque Vaughn, 1994-97, San Antonio Spurs, $1,262,275.

Darrell Arthur, 2007-08, Memphis Grizzlies, $977,160.

Mario Chalmers, 2006-08, Miami Heat, $700,000.

Darnell Jackson, 2005-08, Cleveland Cavaliers, $442,114.

Think of the money Pierce, Hinrich, Gooden, Collison and LaFrentz should have been able to bank by now. The oft-injured LaFrentz has been with Dallas, Boston, Denver and now Portland and if he’s not rich, despite frequent inactivity, it’s his own fault.

Chalmers is clearly underpaid but won’t be for long. Let’s hope he, Arthur and Jackson break the million-dollar-plus level by next season.

One of the big sales points for KU recruiters these days has to be the success of its ex-players in the treasury department.

And always, there is the mind-boggling financial success that ex-Jayhawk Greg Ostertag (1992-95) enjoyed in the NBA — total salary for 11 seasons, $48,253,390, and that doesn’t include any kinds of endorsements.

How’s that for a starter?


BigBrett58 10 years, 10 months ago

Greg Ostertag had endorsements? I'm a big fan of the Big O, but I would be hesitant to put his mug on my product. He's a great guy. I think I remember that he gave a kidney to his sister. Now that I'm thinking about it, I would love to have a coffee mug with his face on it. Where could someone get something like that?

Timmay97 10 years, 10 months ago

Chalmers will cash in as well as Arthur. However, I still wonder about Darnell. Either way, Darnell will earn enough money to pay cash for a house. He will live a nice easy going life.

Man I miss those guys!

KUbsee69 10 years, 10 months ago

AND ... keep Sherron & Cole from reading this.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


You are quite right to think of the Euro dollars. Mayer's big buck numbers are for top talent alone to dream about. For most players, especially those just below the threshold of top talent, the Euro dollars should be the key. KU has many players in Europe earning excellent livings for 5-6 years, while they figure out their next career moves.

Continuity of excellence in college basketball depends not only on landing some superstars. It also requires landing a steady stream of not quite NBA-grade players that develop well over four years. A school with an overseas network of players to plug into that these players can plug into will attract these kinds of recruits.

I hope KU uses not only its superstars, but its European players to recruit young talent. I hope KU does not contribute to the idea that the only measure of success in professional basketball is in the NBA.

Frankly, what would really be great for college basketball would be for an alliance of wealthy, basketball dedicated alumni from, say, the top basketball programs in Division 1 to organize and form a European, or Asian, or Latin American, or African (maybe even a multi continent) professional league specially designed for nonNBA D1 talent from their respective schools to move up to, and for declining NBA talent from their schools, to move down to. This league would also provide jobs for coaching track careers.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Who knows, maybe the program could even be a joint venture enterprise with each university. The universities already retain some of their own brightest students to be graduate students and to move into tenure track positions in academics. Universities have multiple campuses and relationships with foreign universities. Universities form research institutes to hold onto their professors that are able to attract vast grants. There is no reason this model cannot be adapted some modification to basketball. It is crazy to put all this time and money into developing these players and then just turn them loose with a few getting big bucks the university gets no share of, and some getting Euro money the university gets no share of, and most winding up struggling to make a living outside basketball, again without the university getting a share of any that make it. Everyone would be better off if college basketball followed a model more like college academics. Colleges can't use all their college graduates by any means, and they could not use all their basketball players in the foreign league I am imagining. But they could use many more, and they could make more money doing it. And by creating continuity and organization to what is now an ad hoc process, they could improve the lives and salaries and stabilities of the players and coaches that convey from KU Jayhawks to EU Jayhawks (European Union), or AU Jayhawks (African or Asian Unions), or SAU Jayhawks (South American Union).

And by building up a foreign sports presense of the college game and the universities associated with it, the league would also attract local talent, and, best of all for the bottom line folk in KU's budget and development offices, these foreign teams would further market the University of Kansas to billions more students. And everytime either KU-Lawrence, or KU-EU, or KU-AU, etc. won championships this would translate to increasing applications for enrollment in Lawrence, Kansas.


not_important 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe his point about Ostertag is that even without bringing in large endorsement deals that the big stars get, Greg still managed to pull in $48 million.

As far as Darnell goes, if he can find the right team that he fits with, he can definitely end up with a big contract. I liken him to Scot Pollard who was a perfect fit in Sacramento, and they signed him to very good money with his second contract. I don't know if Sacramento thought they needed to change things up after they couldn't overcome the Lakers or if Indiana thought they could use him and for whatever reason didn't, but his trade out never seemed like a good fit. But he already had the contract. Darnell's key is to work hard, find a good role on a good team and he'll get his BIG money (because you really can't dismiss $442K/yr).

CRIMSONnBLUE 10 years, 10 months ago

Stephenson has already made his decision. He's just being a media whore and waiting to announce his decision. Personally I don't care if he does or doesn't come to KU. His attitude stinks and too many people have convinced him that he's a one man show. If he chooses Kansas I hope Bill Self puts a leash on him immediately and lets him know that he needs to be a team player and that KU is a respectable and hardworking team. Not a stupid internet reality TV show!

JayhawkCasey 10 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know if the game is going to be played on the internet? Thanks

jco8394 10 years, 10 months ago

JayhawkCasey - Try ESPN 360....They have all the Big XII Tourney games available on there

Drew Bender 10 years, 10 months ago


As a coach, you dont pass up on a talent such as Lance Stephenson... He has a swagger and toughness you rarely find in a player his age... People said the same thing about Brandon Rush's attitude before he came to KU... I think that situation turned out pretty well for everybody

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

Crimsonblue: You are absolutely correct about Lance Stephenson in one regard. Those things you mentioned are currently hurting the perception of Lance Stephenson. However, I think as fans, we can be a little harsh on kids like this. We also have to remember that he is a product of his environment. We can only hope that somebody within the group of people that is giving him advice will register towards the young man and allow him to make a smart choice towards his future. Now, this is just my opinion, but I've always felt it's good to get away from an environment or area that makes you feel comfortable. I think you really learn about yourself in another capcity when people don't know you and you're having to prove yourself all over again.

There was a video that someone posted last week or the week before that showed Lance Stephenson as an 8th grader going head to head against OJ Mayo. That kid was trying to prove himself back then. He needs a new challenge, but in my opinon he needs to separate himself from the confines of the New York Greater Metropolitan Area. There are too many "Leaches" already around him and going to St. Johns will only create an increased amount of pressure within that core group. What I mean is that not only will he have to produce on the court, but in some way he's going to have to produce off the court even when he is at St. Johns. Ron Artest, even though he was the 16th pick in the draft, went through it, Felipe Lopez went through it, and most recently Omar Cook went through it. I think St. Johns would the safe and easy choice, but also a career mistake. I like Norm Roberts and wish he was back on KU's staff, but there are some things you can't control as a coach and being that close to New York there are just variables (Lance Stephenson's Group) you can't control.

His family has even stated that they thought it was good for him to maybe venture out and get away from these outside influences so I hope he listens to his family and only his family in this decision process. As far as Lance's attitude, I don't think it's so much a problem as it is his surroundings and environment. If there is a coach to change his perception and get him in the league, it's Bill Self.

Hawkish4bigM 10 years, 10 months ago

I would hope that Coach of the Year would mean something to recruits. That Bill Self can make you look even better than you are. That is marketing at its best.

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