Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LaFrentz’s NBA career likely coming to an end




Former Kansas University basketball standout Raef LaFrentz’s NBA career appears to be over.

The 33-year-old LaFrentz — who had surgery on his right shoulder 13 months ago as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers and missed the entire 2008-09 season — is currently a free agent living in Des Moines, Iowa.

“He was debating on whether to stay (in Iowa) or go play ball,” said LaFrentz’s dad, Ron, who lives with wife Ellen in Monona, Iowa.

“I told him, ‘You’ve still got some knees left. If you stay in it much longer, those knees are not going to be any good. By 45, 50 you’ll have to have a knee replacement.’

“I’m not too much in favor of him going back and playing any more. His personality is such he likes the competition and all that, (but) he’ll get over it,” Ron LaFrentz added of his son, who has had surgery on both knees to go with the shoulder operation.

Raef LaFrentz, who made $12.7 million with the Blazers a year ago, has bought land throughout the Midwest.

Raef and his wife, Joie, have one child — 2-year-old son Cael.

“As for what he’s going to do when he gets bored ... like Ted Williams said, ‘You can only fish so much.’ He’s staying busy,” Ron said.

As far as hoops ... Raef might consider a return if an NBA team made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Because of his injury history, that doesn’t figure to happen.

“His competitiveness has not died down too much. He said it’d be awfully difficult to get into (playing) shape,” Ron said.

Raef averaged 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game in an 11-year career that included stints in Denver, Dallas, Boston and Portland.

“He probably would consider a one-year contract or so. His skills don’t seem to have deteriorated too much. But the healing process gets slower when you get to be 33, 34. He’s very content with what he’s doing now.”

The 6-foot-11 LaFrentz, a two-time consensus All-American who is KU’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer, had his KU jersey No. 45 retired during the 2002-03 season. He’s not been able to get back to a game since.

“He loves that place,” Ron said, noting Raef has Kansas City Chiefs season tickets. “There’s no other place in the NCAA where the atmosphere is such as in Allen Fieldhouse.”

Late Night visitors

Josh Selby, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Lake Clifton High in Baltimore, is scheduled to attend Friday’s Late Night in the Phog.

Selby’s mom, Maeshon Witherspoon, told on Monday her son will be in Lawrence as part of an unofficial recruiting visit.’s No. 4-rated prospect is considering KU, Baylor, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami and Syracuse.

Other members of the Class of 2010 who will attend Late Night: No. 2-rated Harrison Barnes, a 6-7 forward from Ames (Iowa) High, who is considering KU, Duke, North Carolina, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State; No. 21-rated Doron Lamb, a 6-4 shooting guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who is considering KU, Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma; and Royce Woolridge, 6-3 combo guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix. Woolridge,’s No. 117-rated player, has orally committed to KU.

High school juniors to attend: Brad Beal, 6-3 shooting guard from Chaminade High in St. Louis and Josiah Turner, 6-3 shooting guard from Sacramento (Calif.) High.

J.P. Tokoto, a 6-5 sophomore from Menomonee Falls (Wis.) High, also will attend.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., Friday, for the 25th annual Late Night. Festivities will run from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Admission is free with seating first come, first served.

Wright’s in Wichita

Former KU forward Julian Wright’s New Orleans Hornets will meet the Orlando Magic in an NBA exhibition game at 7 tonight in Koch Arena in Wichita.

The Hornets will meet former KU guard Mario Chalmers’ Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Third-year pro Wright — who has made two of 17 shots in the Hornets’ last two exhibition games — hit five of eight shots and scored 13 points in the preseason opener.

Wright has been named a starter in his third year in the NBA, after playing a reserve role his first two seasons.

“I’m going to stick with it this whole preseason and we’ll see how it looks after that,” coach Byron Scott told the New Orleans Times Picayune. “But my intentions are to stick with it when the season starts. Now if it gets to a point in the season where I think it's just not working, then I'll make the change. But right now, No. 1, I just want him to get comfortable in that role.”


Aligned 10 years, 3 months ago

I recall some of Raef's left-handed putbacks that would rank right up there with the most impressive on a KU highlite reel.

Adam Collins 10 years, 3 months ago

Maybe I missed something...Late Night isn't going passed midnight? What is the schedule?

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

slaterman, Late Night info -

Raef was an incredible college basketball talent. Sadly, his great college talent did not translate into a great NBA career. I'd love to see him back in Lawrence, like so many former KU greats.

twhit999 10 years, 3 months ago

TheShiver broke the news on Selby with this article. Sounds like him and his mom really like HCBS and the style of play at KU. Good to read that they have been on top of Selby as much as possible too.

Kenny George 10 years, 3 months ago

Raef was a tremendous player and could have had a great NBA career if not for injuries.

Thanks for the memories Raef.

By the way Raef was able to make about $84,000,000 in his career..........not a bad job if you can get it!

<p> has all of the statistics and salary information for all NBA players if you want to find out salary history.

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 3 months ago


Late Night used to go past 12 because teams were not allowed to practice until the second Saturday of October or whatever. But since so many schools were having these Late Night and Midnight Madness activities, the NCAA allowed the teams to start earlier so that people would be safer driving home. This happened at least 3 years ago, because I remember going to Late Night my senior year and it was already moved up.

Now the term Late Night may be a little inaccurate, maybe we could call it Evening in the Phog (just doesn't have the same ring... and it sounds like you should wear a tux and be served hors d'oeuvres). But at least it's still more relevant than calling it Midnight Madness and being done by 10.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago


Either play in the NBA, or move onto a farm. Life is too short for Des Moines!


Your are one heckuva father! Get him out now and we'll keep a jersey ready for Cael!


We know Julian can beast. You know Julian can beast. The problem is Julian has to re-believe he can beast. Julian is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Beast. What you have seen in games so far is only the doctor. But soon the beast will emerge. Forget coaching him, or talking about starting, or about his shooting percentage. Instead, before every game, give him one pill from a prescription bottle marked: Julian Wright, Prednibeast, take orally 5 minutes before each half, Doctor Bill Self. It is a sugar pill, but research proves that placebos work, even when persons know they are taking placebos! See Science magazine.

Given your other talented players, when Julian beasts, your job will be secure and you will be looking down at David Stern at season's end and saying, "Thank you commisioner. On behalf of the New Orleans Hornets organization, I accept this NBA championship trophy."

Adam Collins 10 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the info. I last went my freshman year when it still went to midnight. How times change...

Ron_Kellogg 10 years, 3 months ago

Hope he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Celtic.

David Black 10 years, 3 months ago

I will always remember Raef's jam on a missed shot against Missouri! I have yet to see a better throw down. Thanks for the memories Raef.

okjhok 10 years, 3 months ago

prednibeast...very nice, jaybate. I too remember beast-mode fondly.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 3 months ago

I like the Ted Williams quote, and somewhat apropos considering that a frozen Ted Williams is only slightly less mobile than Raef was in the NBA.

raefrules15 10 years, 3 months ago

i was named after him!!!! This hurts, but now he has more time in his life so i can meet him!

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