Monday, October 26, 2009

Nine ex-Jayhawks in NBA

New Orleans forward and former Kansas player Julian Wright (32) tries to poke the ball away from former KU teammate Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat during an exhibition game. The Heat won, 97-81, Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

New Orleans forward and former Kansas player Julian Wright (32) tries to poke the ball away from former KU teammate Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat during an exhibition game. The Heat won, 97-81, Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.



'Hawks in the NBA

Matt Tait blogs about former Jayhawks currently in the NBA.

Nine former Kansas University basketball players have made the rosters of NBA teams for the 2009-10 season, which opens Tuesday night.

They are: Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics; Drew Gooden, Dallas Mavericks; Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls; Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder; Julian Wright, New Orleans Hornets; Brandon Rush, Indiana Pacers; Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat; Darrell Arthur, Memphis Grizzlies; and Darnell Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers.

Of the group, Pierce, Gooden, Wright, Rush and Chalmers are projected starters. Hinrich and Collison will be integral parts of the playing rotation. Jackson figures to see limited duty, while Arthur is out because of injury.

Here’s a quick look at the nine players:

Paul Pierce: Still one of the NBA’s top players, Pierce, 32, is third-leading scorer in Celtics history behind John Havlicek and Larry Bird. A second NBA title likely would assure him a spot in the Hall of Fame. He may be there already.

Drew Gooden: Gooden, 28, is with his seventh NBA team. He’s expected to start at power forward on opening night, but some are calling him a “co-starter” with veteran Erick Dampier.

“Rebounding, being physical and active, running the floor ... speed and athletic ability,” Gooden told, when asked what he brings to the Mavs.

Kirk Hinrich: Hinrich, 28, has been relegated to a backup role since the arrival of Derrick Rose. The gritty Hinrich averaged 30 minutes a game in the 2009 NBA playoffs.

Nick Collison: Collison, who turns 29 today, started 40 of 71 games a year ago. He had 11 double-doubles last year. He’s expected to play forward exclusively — with no time at center — this season.

“I've said it a lot, and it’s not just a cliché, I just want to get on the floor as much as possible,” Collison told the Daily Oklahoman. “Whether that's at 4 or 5, it doesn’t really matter. I feel like I’m still trying to do the same things.”

Julian Wright: Wright, 22, has been awarded a starting spot in this, his third year in New Orleans. It’s up to him whether he keeps it. He’s still a bit erratic with the ball and not consistent enough for coach Byron Scott, known for not being patient with young players.

Brandon Rush: Rush, 24, will start after coming off the bench as a rookie. Rush’s play in the final 13 games (16.9 ppg) has the Pacers thinking he’s a future star. He had 29 points in consecutive games last March.

“He was nothing short of great in that last month,” Pacers coach Jim O'Brien told the Indianapolis Star. “We need him to play like a veteran even though he's only in his second year.”

Mario Chalmers: Chalmers, 23, will start for the second straight season. If he slips, recent acquisition Carlos Arroyo is expected to steal his minutes.

“He just has to work on his consistency,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “being reliable every single night.”

Following the acquisition of Arroyo, the Sun-Sentinel wrote, “Mario Chalmers’ scholarship expired Sunday.”

Darrell Arthur: Arthur, 21, is out four months because of a partially torn pectoral muscle. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Arthur suffered a pectoral strain a week before training camp began. He aggravated the injury Oct. 12 during a preseason game versus Orlando.

Former Missouri standout DeMarre Carroll, who won the Grizzlies’ “Pride of Training Camp” award, is expected to fill in for Arthur.

Arthur was expected to come off the bench this year following the addition of Zach Randolph.

Darnell Jackson: Jackson, 23, isn’t expected to garner much playing time, at least to start the season. The Cleveland Plain Dealer believes Jackson could wind up on the inactive list for some games. Teams are allowed to designate 12 active players for each game. The paper says two players in the group of Jackson, Daniel Green, Jawad Williams and Coby Carl likely will join the injured Leon Powe on the inactive list.

Two Jayhawks who played in the NBA last year remain unsigned free agents. They are: Raef LaFrentz, who missed all of last season with the Portland TrailBlazers because of injury, and Jacque Vaughn, who played for San Antonio the last two years but was not offered a Spurs’ contract for 2009-10.


tstanlick1909 10 years, 3 months ago

I love the Pacers this year, except for that whole Hansbrough thing. I expect Rush to get as many shots as he wants, and I know he can bury them

b_asinbeer 10 years, 3 months ago

Nine "former" Jayhawks in NBA.

They're still Jayhawks in our hearts.

Justin LoBurgio 10 years, 3 months ago

We have heard Raef may be ready to hang 'em up.

What about Jacque? Any chance of him ending up on a NBA roster?

These guys both bring back such good memories. I have been going to KU basketball games for roughly 30 years. The shot against Indiana and the 360 move against UCLA were two moments that still give me chills. Of course, Raef's dunk against Missouri following Jacque's miss was not to shabby.

Raef and Jacque are two of the all-time class acts to come out of KU.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 3 months ago

Next year at this time, we could be bragging about 12-15 Jayhawks in the League!

I know one of you is resourceful enough to come up with a stat of which college team has/had the most players in the NBA in the same year and the number that was represented. It'll be intersting to see how we rate in this stat.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

Pierce is getting rusty and becoming an old man. But, my heart is in bean town with Pierce. He has been by far the b-ball Jayhawk that is shining the brightest. I hope he plugs along with KG and Ray Allen to win another World Championship.

I keep my eyes on the baby hawks, especially Rush, Chalmers and look at what Collison is doing in OKC. Wright is doing really well and still wish he would've stayed another year at KU.

DJ will have a tough time in Cleveland with all the focus on LeBron and Shaq. I think if he goes to another team, he gets way more mins.

Good luck to all the NBA Hawks!!

Jaminrawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Wow. It make me really proud to see Paul Pierce as the 3rd leading scorer in Celtics HISTORY. Havilicek and Bird are two of the all-time greats and for Pierce to be in their company is pretty outstanding. A few more solid years and he is a HOFer.

honk_for_hawks 10 years, 3 months ago

dang. that means russ-rob didn't get picked up.

VegasJhawk09 10 years, 3 months ago

Damm. Russ Rob didnt get in. Thats a bummer.

VegasJhawk09 10 years, 3 months ago

Mario can handle the pressure... he is Mr Clutch.

jayhawk1996 10 years, 3 months ago

Jacque had a good run, but it was obvious by the end of last year that he wasn't what the Spurs needed at PG. He slid to third on the depth chart and only played in blowouts. I'm sure he'll get a call during the season if someone loses a PG to injury.

Otownhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

Fellas I think Paul Pierce is a hall of famer anyways. Regardless of another championship. He was good even when the Celtics were terrible. I just he would have cut the nets down for the Jayhawks.

Otownhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

Another thing. Jacque Vaughn is my favorite KU player of all time. Followed by Danny Manning

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

A good group about to get better with the addition of Aldrich, Collins and Xavier.

tdub 10 years, 3 months ago

I'll do the Heat's job for them:

Carlos Arroyo's rookie stats - 1 start, 9 minutes per game, 3 PPG, 2.3 APG, 0.3 SPG.

Mario Chalmers' rookie stats - 82 starts (every game), 32 minutes per game, 10 PPG, 4.9 APG, 2 SPG.

Give the guy a break, he's not a 7 year vet like Arroyo. Should be no contest by the end of this year if Mario continues to develop. The ONLY advantage for Arroyo seems to be turnovers, though Mario pretty much counters his 2 TO average with steals.

Steve Brown 10 years, 3 months ago

Someone let us know when/where Russ Rob Mr. New York New York signs with Europe or another team.

Carter Patterson 10 years, 3 months ago

Gary, I thought that Big O was going to try and make a comeback. Any word on that?

kitley 10 years, 3 months ago

10 former Jayhawks if you count J.R. Giddens on the Celtics.

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

carter, I liked Ostertag while at KU, so don't think I'm an Ostertag basher... but the real Big O - Oscar Roberston - has a better chance of making an NBA comeback than Ostertag does. Too old, too slow, and horrible work ethic reputation across the league. There is no follow-up story because there will be no story.

Scott Smetana 10 years, 3 months ago

Mario will be fine... he's a gonna be a NBA Star. This is a make or break year for Julian. I wish RussRob, Vaughn, Billy Thomas, Pollard and all other Jhawks would play for the Nuggets! (and trade away Melo)

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, from last I heard Giddens is still on the team at Boston.

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 3 months ago

Small point but, they will never be ex-Jayhawks, but Jayhawks!

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 3 months ago

There's a lot of love for all the players, but especially Russell Robinson. And then there's Kahn . . .

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Giddens played as many seasons at KU as did Julian Wright. Two.

It is sad that Aaron Miles, Russel Robinson & Jacque missed contracts by not all that much. Three of the classiest Jayhawks we've had, all from slightly different evolutionary moments on the Jayhawk-Naismith-Chamberlain-Manning Quantum Mechanics of the Universe Timeline.

They all fought for their lives... They were all shooting (passing) stars... In all those years... No one knows.... Just how hard they worked...

But we all know...

Aaron, Russel & Jacque -- you three put the "J" in Jayhawk.

Rock Chalk

Sherronimo 10 years, 3 months ago

100, I agree w/ almost all you say, but 40- 0? Bet we lose 3 maybe 4. Just care about the final 6 myself. At texas, one tough fought one, and one where were just bored and flat(like tech or iowa st in ames)

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 3 months ago

100 -

I would have thought you would have had the answers to my earlier query about the number of players from a particular school in the NBA.

If not, its a jump ball. I'm just curious.

100 10 years, 3 months ago


Excellent query.

I have no idea currently. I know when we had 12 or 13 a couple years ago we were second to none.

I'd imagine UNC probably has the most right now, perhaps 11 or so.

However considering Giddens two years at KU & Kaun is already signed on an NBA team, for all intents and purposes that puts us at 11.

Take Wayne out of the pulpit & onto the court & we have twelve.

Now next year, throw at least three of our guys to the NBA & possibly add a Russell Robinson & it gets a lot more Jayhawkesque in the NBA.

I'd say next year we'll have 14 total Jayhawk NBAers, at minimum.

100 10 years, 3 months ago


Excellent post. And for a normal team, with a normal coaching staff that doesn't do their best, you are completely right.


We're talking about the 2009-2010 Jayhawks...

Each & every game, we shouldn't only win, but with a passionatic temptacious freedom of all that's right in the Universe, we will win.

What was the '97 team lacking?

Bill Self.

What was the '82 Tar Heel squad lacking?

Bill Self.

Even Carl Sagan & Steven Hawking are putting their money right here:


Don't believe me? Go check out a quote from another genious named John Calipari.

"Everybody says it can't be done. The season's too long. My players are too young. I coach a one dimensional style. My kids cant shoot free throws. At Memphis we went 38-2 a couple years ago, a couple points short of 40-0. It starts with a belief. Somebody has to do it first. I hope it's me."

Notice how "Cal" uses "me"?

A fatal flaw in all Shakespearian/ Caliparian tragedies... "me"...

Now back to your question:

Here are three reasons we'll go 40-0 this year.

  1. Bill Self.

  2. Danny Manning.

  3. "We"...

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 3 months ago

I had no idea that Steven Hawking was a college basketball fan!

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 3 months ago

OK, my curiosity got the best of me. (and nobody else came through for me)

The following is based on the 2008-2009 season opening day for the NBA.

School In NBA

Duke 14 Connecticut 12 UCLA 12 Kansas 11 North Carolina 11 Arizona 9 Florida 9 Georgia Tech 9 Kentucky 9 Michigan St. 8 Texas 8 LSU 6 Memphis 6 Ohio St. 6 Stanford 6 Syracuse 6 California 5 DePaul 5 Maryland 5 Oklahoma St. 5 Southern Cal 5 Alabama 4 Arkansas 4 Illinois 4 Michigan 4 Missouri 4 UNLV 4 Villanova 4 Wake Forest 4

This list went on for over 350 schools.

I will try to find the current list after the regular season opening day. Since we didn't add to that list significantly in the 08-09 season, we probably won't see much improvement in our quantity. But, our ranking may rise.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

"KU could go billions and billions wins and no losses." --Carl Sagan

"KU's season will, like the universe, have limits but no bounds, although TRob and Cole will grab nearly an infinite number of rebounds." --Stephen Hawking

Mike Johns 10 years, 3 months ago

all those NBAers... wish we had a little more hardware!

murph 10 years, 3 months ago

Two reasons we don't have more hardware: Roy Williams choked, and Paul Pierce loafed.

Milhawkee 10 years, 3 months ago

Title should be:

Nine Jayhawk Legends in NBA.

chasekc 10 years, 3 months ago

Did you forget about J.R. Giddens? Granted he left here but he is still an X jayhawk

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