Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kaun making impact for Russia at World Championships

Rush’s Pacers future unclear after incident

DePaul forward Karron Clark can only watch as Kansas center Sasha Kaun explodes for a dunk during the second half Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kaun is the starting center for Russia at the World Championships in Turkey and is making an impact for the team.

DePaul forward Karron Clark can only watch as Kansas center Sasha Kaun explodes for a dunk during the second half Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kaun is the starting center for Russia at the World Championships in Turkey and is making an impact for the team.


Former Kansas University basketball player Sasha Kaun is the starting center for Russia at the World Championships in Turkey.

Kaun, a 6-foot-11, 249-pounder out of Tomsk, Russia, who has played the past two seasons for CSKA Moscow, scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Russia’s first preliminary round game — Saturday’s 75-66 victory over Puerto Rico. He hit three of five field goals and seven of 12 free throws.

On Sunday, Kaun scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds in a 65-56 loss to home team Turkey. He hit five of seven shots and three of five free throws in 31 minutes.

A back injury kept Kaun off Russia’s National Team last summer.

He has emerged as a top pro player in the Euroleague after averaging 9.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in Euroleague games and 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in Russian League games.

The Cleveland Cavaliers bought Kaun’s draft rights from the Seattle SuperSonics after Kaun was picked in the second round of the 2008 draft. He signed a three-year contract in 2008 with CSKA, but has an out clause this summer.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported in mid July that the 25-year-old Kaun likely will remain with the Russia team one final season.

“The buyout involved in getting Kaun, plus the comparable salary the Cavs would have needed to sign him, made it complicated to acquire him,” Plain Dealer reporter Brian Windhorst wrote, noting Kaun would be playing for Russia in a CSKA Moscow exhibition against the Cavaliers on Oct. 16.

Kaun married former KU soccer player Taylor Blue on June 18 in Olathe.

More on Rush

Former KU player Brandon Rush of the Indiana Pacers, who recently was suspended five games without pay by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, received some negative press in Indy following last week’s news of the suspension.

“Now I see why it seems like he just goes through the motions out there,” an unnamed individual told Indianapolis Star writer Mike Wells.

Rush, according to the Star, failed a drug test for the third time. A fourth positive test will result in a 10-game suspension. Every subsequent violation will be five games longer than the previous one.

Wells reports that the suspension comes at a time the team is “already on the fence whether he’ll reach his potential. Coach Jim O’Brien has spent a lot of time the past two years shrugging his shoulders, throwing his hands up and even hitting his head against the wall when asked why Rush is so inconsistent. There’s also no guarantee that the Pacers will pick up the team option on Rush for the 2011-12 season. They have until Oct. 31 to decide if they’re going to pick up the option,” he wrote.

O’Brien has Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones, Paul George and James Posey to choose from on the wing while Rush serves his suspension, the newspaper indicated.


Sam Constance 11 years, 2 months ago

Nice work Sasha! I knew it wouldn't be long before the Cavs decided to cash in your draft rights. With your length, ability to learn quickly and strength, you would be a perfect defensive/rebounding specialist in the NBA.

Regarding Rush...I'm sooooooo glad we now know what "unnamed individual" had to say about his play.

It would be a shame for him to get released by the Pacers, but I have a feeling he has at least one more chance left, for the right price. NBA teams are always taking the "maybe we can get him turned around" approach with young, troubled talent. However, that one more chance will certainly be his last if he doesn't start being more careful.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 2 months ago

I agree about the unnamed source. These "Sources" are getting tiresome in the media world.

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 1 month ago

Actually it's the Indianapolis Star that had the unnamed source.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 2 months ago

The truth of the matter is BRush didn't just start using weed. He's been doing it. That's the history of pot smokers. He isn't the only one from the 08 team. Doesn't take a mind reader to know what I mean either. I could care less if he or anybody else smokes but you still have responsiblities in life so don't mess them up.

nohohawk 11 years, 2 months ago

But remember, pot doesn't have any effect on your output and isn't addictive according to some people. lol

nohohawk 11 years, 2 months ago

I laughing in reference to another post on the original BRush article where a couple people were stating that smoking pot is not addictive and doesn't have an impact on your life.

Sam Constance 11 years, 2 months ago

Well, it's not addictive like cigarettes, alcohol, crack, cocaine, pain-killers, etc... There are absolutely no physical symptoms from withdrawal.

It can be psychologically "addictive", which is another way of saying people who enjoy partaking don't like to stop.

As far as an impact on one's life--it all depends on the person. Clearly, it is having an effect on Rush's life, since he's been caught 3 times by the NBA, which could jeopardize his career. However, many, many people live perfectly normal and productive lives yet still smoke pot.

Dirtwood 11 years, 1 month ago

You are soooo right marchphog88. Pot is not addictive. BRush would rather just give up his NBA career and all of the money and lifestyle that goes with it just soooo he can keep smoking his pot. Just like a meth user would rather give up all of his teeth in order to keep using meth. Bottom doesn't matter whether there are physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms....If a substance or activity (eg cigarettes, sex, gambling, shopping) cause health problems or interferes with a persons personal or professional responsibilities and that person continues with that behavior then it is an addiction. Pot users would just rather call it a "personal choice"

Joshua Hann 11 years, 1 month ago

Hmmmm.....someone seems to think they are an "expert" on the subject but let me tell you that you are wrong.....

Dirtwood 11 years, 1 month ago

Not the world's leading expert on pot by a long shot and not a Psychiatrist but I am an MD and have recieved post MD training in addiction medicine. So what's your background Royal? Expert pot smoker? I am not advocating for or against pot per se...but people often need to recognize when their behaviors interfere with their life before their treatment can begin. Making blanket statements that pot is "all good and no bad" only serves to delay that recognition.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 1 month ago

Since when has marijuana proven to be addictive?

JHawk74 11 years, 2 months ago

Pot is like any other drug. It can have negative and positive aspects of it. Overuse of it causes negative affects just like any other drug.

Great Job Kaun! I hope you make it to the NBA sometime. Cleveland will need some help over the next few years to rebuild their team.

Carter Patterson 11 years, 2 months ago

Sure, he uses it for medicinal purposes. The NBA has a huge marijuana problem and I suspect that the NCAA does as well. This is a topic that is slowly but surely making its way to the forefront. Ok naysayers...go ahead and start ripping me with your "I smoke pot everyday for hours and it does not bother me" lines.

yates33333 11 years, 2 months ago

Twenty years ago I would never have believed I would ever be cheering for Russia. I am now. Go Sasha!

Chris Shaw 11 years, 2 months ago

“Now I see why it seems like he just goes through the motions out there,” an unnamed individual told Indianapolis Star writer Mike Wells.

I had to laugh at that comment. Granted, Rush may like his modern day "Fix", but I'm getting tired of these unnamed sources. It seems like every story now days has an unnamed source to validate their story. This process runs like wildfire in the recruiting world.

Not a good start for Rush in his final guaranteed contract year.

REHawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Sasha filled the role of super ambassador, Russia to the HeartLand. Here's hoping that he and Taylor spend much future time in Lawrence. Memories of him take me back to that semi-final win over Royz Boyz in '08, esp. the post pressconference which starred Jayhawk budding superstar Cole Aldrich and his energetic throttling of Hansbrough. Media focus on Aldrich really appeared to bewilder and amuse Sasha and his fellow starters. Will be a merry occasion someday to view Sasha and Cole going at it head to head on the basketball court. And quite likely to occur.

REHawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Oct. 14, 2010: CSKA Moscow to play OK City Thunder at the Ford Center. Sasha vs. Nick and Cole. Speaking of the Thunder, in yesterday's USA/Brasil FIBA contest, Fran Fraschilla offered high praise to Kevin Durant, posing the question, If you were drafting topflight players, would you select LeBron or Kobe over Durant (considering Kevin's upside, at age 21)? The Big 12 certainly served as a fortunate training ground for that One-and-Doner. And didn't Bill Self do a splendid job of whipping Texas, even tho Durant scored 37 in the '06-'07 Championship game? If the cogs click with good fortune for Cole Aldrich, he might have landed in the best of all NBA sites for an aspiring young center. Will be exciting if he gets on the court at least 10 minutes versus his former teammate Kaun in this Oct. game.

92Jhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Over the years the KU program has produced young men that we can be proud of...that young "hawks" can look up to as role models and Sasha is a great example of what hard work and dedication can do for anyone willing to put forth the effort and work it takes to succeed...unfortunately, we have had our share of men who just don't seem to get it. Come on Brandon! There is plenty of time for you to turn things around. You've been giving a great opportunity, don't blow it.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 2 months ago

Nice going, Sasha! Continued success and best of luck!

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 2 months ago


insert Capt Kirk picture here

justinryman 11 years, 2 months ago

Looks like Brandon is following in the shoes of his older brothers....million dollar ability and a 10 cent mind.

dmb40fan 11 years, 2 months ago

I truly don't believe that Brandon has that much ability. He could only go to his right off the dribble, and had a very limited mid range game. From the games I've seen him play meaningful minutes, it doesn't look like he worked on either of those over the summers. He has a excellent explosive jumping ability far better than Kareem ever was, but as the article points out is inconsistent. Plus, let's not lump Kareem in with Brandon and Jaron. Kareem got moved a few different times around the league and if I'm correct I think may have a ring with the LA Lakers. He found his niche in the league, spot up shooter, defensive stopper and played it for all it's worth.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Regarding Rush, he's just one of those guys that doesn't seem to really LOVE basketball. Jim O'Brien isn't the first coach to throw his hands up. Remember Bill Self? Three failed drug tests is ridiculous. For one, that tells everyone that he doesn't even care if he gets busted, and two, it tells everyone he has a legitimate problem. It's sad he's pissing this opportunity away. You would think he would have learned something from Jaron's situation and work harder.

Sam Constance 11 years, 2 months ago

I get a kick out of the fact that this country can be so inconsistent in its value judgments.

I'd hazard a guess that many athletes enjoy the occasional adult beverage (or two or three) in their leisure time, and as long as they aren't driving drunk or getting so bombed that they get violent or make a fool of themselves, no one seems to care.

Yet, when it comes to cannabis, all we need is evidence that someone has used it and we whip out the comments about how disappointed we are and begin questioning their character and integrity. It just seems strange to me--especially since alcohol is more often linked to more serious problems like violence, fatalities and socially unacceptable behavior in general.

Look, we all know pot is illegal, but that doesn't completely explain the mentality towards it, because there are many things that are strictly illegal, but we take a much more lasseiz-faire mindset, allowing people to make their own decisions and live with the consequences with out leveling judgment against those people. Like speeding. Or jaywalking to name a couple.

What makes smoking pot different from other minor law-breaking? And why is it cast in such a far more negative light than consuming other types of drugs?

tis4tim 11 years, 2 months ago

Things like speed limits are prescriptive. That is, they are based on some collective's idea of the way things OUGHT to be. You are free to drive above and below the prescribed limit, but go too far and you risk a ticket or worse.

Drug laws are descriptive. They are based on what IS. Those in charge have decided that pot smoking and other narcotics usage is unequivocally bad. Some supporting evidence is rooted in science, but I'm guessing some of the evidence, whether justified or not, is also circumspect and based on some moral or ethical foundation. Whatever the case, no matter how much or how little you use, for now it is a big no-no.

I would suggest, though, that it is cast less and less in a negative light anymore, to the point where there is quite a bit of open discussion about the prospects of legalization.

But to answer your query about the difference in value judgment between alcohol drinkers and pot smokers, I would suspect, (even though I agree that alcohol kills many more people) that it is based on the fact that one is legal and the other is not.

92Jhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Your mistake is equating a legal substance with one that is against the law. How can that possibly be "inconsistent is it's value judgements"? Weed is against the law (at least for now)...There is also a huge difference between getting high and having an ocassional adult beverage. I admit that I'm not a big drinker but I don't drink to get drunk (and many, many Americans don't either)...those who smoke pot ABSOLUTELY smoke to get high.

Taking a stand against an illegal substance is NOT being inconsistent in value judgements. Your mistake is you are comparing apples to cannabis...

PS, those people, citizens and atheletes who get behind the wheel while impaired by booze or drugs are looked at the same way by the law and by the powers that be in the NBA and other professional leagues...suspensions will follow anyone convicted of drunk driving.

Ron Franklin 11 years, 2 months ago


Once upon a time, I could not eat, nor drink with African-Americans. We couldn't stand in the same line, or go to class together.

It was the law.

Nor could my wife vote, because of her sex.

It was the law.

Further, my great-grandfather worked in a mill when he was five years old until his hands bled.

It's okay, because that was the law.

A governments laws and rules change. We all understand what is morally correct & incorrect, and it's up to us to make a change, or not.

Sam Constance 11 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure your distinction between prescriptive and descriptive is clear. Not to me at any rate...

Your comment seems to imply that there is some margin of error with one law (speeding) and not with the other (drug usage), but in reality, what you are describing as the "freedom" to exceed the limit is really the low likelihood of being caught at speeds that are closer to the established limit. It's no less illegal to exceed the limit by 3 mph than it is to exceed it by 20 mph, the same way it's no less illegal to possess a joint than it is to possess a brick of cannabis.

In both cases, the police are allowed to use discretion and the slimmer your margin of violation, the less risk there is of getting in trouble for the violation.

I don't think the difference in value judgment comes solely from the legality/illegality of the two drugs in question. If that were the case then I think people would react similarly to speeders as they do to pot smokers. You know, the "illegal is illegal is illegal" sort of mindset. It's my personal opinion that the difference largely stems from the fact that pot is propagandized to be on the same level of hard drugs like crack and cocaine and so the attitude toward it is similar to those drugs, at least in the minds of people who don't have much/any direct familiarity.

Two other notes:

1) I do agree that cannabis usage is viewed less negatively now than it was 5 years ago and has been becoming increasingly less stigmatized as time passes. This, imho, seems to support the notion that the negative stigma towards the drug comes more from propaganda and misinformation than it does the fact that it is illegal.

2) I don't think there is much science behind the fact that cannabis is illegal and alcohol is not. Not surprisingly, private industry played a major role in both. Cannabis was a competitor to the established tobacco industry and given the fact that the plant requires less specific conditions/climate, it was a threat and was lobbied against relentlessly. Alcohol was such a big money maker for private enterprise that when it was outlawed, a black market popped up immediately.

But I doth ramble too much...especially on a sports forum. Sorry everyone.

Sam Constance 11 years, 2 months ago

This was a reply to tis4tim's post. I'm not sure why the forum posted it as a separate thread.

Kit Duncan 11 years, 1 month ago

This is an excerpt from the NIH website:

"The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and - contrary to popular belief - it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs.4,5,6 The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory,7,8 verbal skills,9 and judgment10 and distort perception.11,12"

Nora D. Volkow, M.D. Director National Institute on Drug Abuse

Also from the NIH:

From personal experience, my first semester at KU I was regularly invited by some guys to share a joint in a room just down the hall from my dorm room. One of the fellows was a full-ride scholarship ROTC student. Needless to say I declined to join in as I was also a scholarship ROTC student and didn't want to throw everything away for a "little high.". By year's end this other fellow had lost his scholarship after flunking out.

Four years later, as I neared graduation, I ran into this fellow who was getting by painting houses in Lawrence. He recognized me and, when I came over to say "Hello", he told me (without any mention on my part) that he wished he had listened to me when I had told him years before that he was throwing everything away for a "little high."

Say what you will, marijuana (and alcohol) are drugs which, when abused cause people to lose inhibitions and their ability to comprehend right from wrong.

I hope for Brandon's sake he decides to acknowledge he has a problem and seek help for his "addiction." Otherwise, he may well throw away a very lucrative career... and life.

Sam Constance 11 years, 1 month ago

"Say what you will, marijuana (and alcohol) are drugs which, when abused cause people to lose inhibitions and their ability to comprehend right from wrong."

Yes, they are both drugs.

Yes, when abused, can have detrimental and sometimes irreversible effects on one's life. Even the most staunch user/supporter must admit that.

And yes, some people are unable to stop using, even when use causes them major problems in life, which is addictive behavior (but not substance dependency, which is typically what "addiction" refers to).

However, I'm not sure I follow you when it comes to losing one's ability to comprehend right and wrong. That's some of the propaganda to which I was referring in an earlier post. I've met plenty of stoners or casual users of cannabis who lose their motivation and ability to make responsible decisions--you know things that would certainly have an effect on one's life. But the idea that one's inner "conscience" cease to function is just ludicrous.

I also must admit that I have a hard time trusting any research paper that insists on using the label "marijuana", a term that was concocted in the 1930's to make cannabis sound scary and foreign. I don't think that his research is made up, but at the very least it makes me skeptical that the research was done with a predetermined mindset as to the outcome. I also think it's worth noting that the government probably isn't the most objective source, since cannabis use is against the law. Again, not saying that any research was falsified, just that it's hard to get away from Confirmation Bias.

Probably the most succinct description of cannabis that I've ever heard as to why it can ruin people's lives is that it makes people content with being bored. Since boredom is often a driver for one to get up off their arse and do something, it inevitably leads to lethargy and a lack of drive. However, you might be surprised at how many functional, contributing members of society use the drug on a regular basis without abusing it.

It sounds like your acquaintance made the wrong choice to use cannabis, and based on the fact that Rush has managed to test positive 3 times in a short 2-year stint in the NBA, it seems like he might be making the wrong choice as well.

However, it has nothing to do with their character and the fact that it is not the right choice for some doesn't mean it should be prohibited for all, imho. After all, choices are all about what's right for a given individual.

Sam Constance 11 years, 1 month ago

No joke. Not a word for a couple weeks now.

I'm getting anxious.

Ron Franklin 11 years, 1 month ago

maybe the ncaa is high on pot marijuanas, and are not motivated enough to carry out the investigation.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

There is a rumor that Mike Wells will report an unattributed source saying Josh Selby will replace Brandon Rush on the Indiana Pacers. But its just a rumor. :-)

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

"Some Unbelievable Rumors From Unnamed Sources about Indy Death Star's Strike Mells"

~Strike Mells is rumored to be in love with Brandon Rush and Brandon feels no affections for Strike.

~Strike Mells is rumored to make stuff up about professional athletes and attribute it to unnamed sources, when ever his vas deferens is inflamed.

~Strike Mells is rumored to have been caught freebasing Afghanistan Heroin by Brandon Rush in a bathroom on a team flight and Stike is trying to ruin Brandon's credibility before news of an Interpol investigation into Strike Mells ties with most of the major drug rings of the world breaks on Hannity and Colmes with Brandon rumored the star witness.

~Strike Mells is rumored to be a multiple personality and his alter ego named Nico is a pathological liar who surfaces Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, as a reporter who prints unattributed sources, who are themselves pathological liars.

~Strike Mells is rumored to have a second life as Utah polygamist and his six wives that are all under 12.

~StrIke Mells is rumored to be the al qaeda terroist responsible for setting the thermite charges that reputedly severed the frames of the WTC Towers at 45 degree angles, fell the towers in their own footprints and caused then NYC Mayor Adolph Foolliani to be temporarily mistaken for a human being.

~StrIke Mells is rumored to have been the animatronics expert that operated the Vice President Dayle Pheasant robot during the first Rush Administration.

~StrIke Mells is rumored to have had a menage a trois with former Indiana Senators Lirch and Levan Hiyh and to have been The Company's mind control expert assigned to "manage" Senator Pritchard Dugar's female transvestite doppelganger.

(Note: All of the above is fiction. There is no Strike Mells. There is no Indy Death Star. And there is no malice intended. There is Just poking fun via exaggeration at the unattributed source technique.)

DoubleDD 11 years, 1 month ago

I have to say I'm a bit shocked my some of the comments about Rush and his connection to that evil plant we call cannabis. Lets see where do we begin. I believe that a person brought up a study about the harmful affects that cannabis has on the human body. Which maybe true, however there are other studies that show that this evil cannabis plant in fact allows some to live somewhat normal lives. "It helps them to cope with the pain" Yes it is illegal in most states, yet our own government grows it. That its for medcial purposes of of course. Bottomline to blame Rush's failure as an NBA player on his cannabis use has no valid point. Lets no forget that Rush would often disappear in games when he played for KU. Now be honest all of us KU fans have screamed at the TV wondering where in the hell is Rush. One last thought. If your driving down the road with your wife and kids, and a car is coming at you??? The person is impaired!!! Would you rather that person be drunk or stoned??? If you say neither their both against the law then you miss my point. Laws are broken all the time. Just becuase laws exist don't mean that all them are right and that everyone follows them. In fact I think it was against the law to put ice cream on apple pie in the state of Kansas at one time. Almost every law that is passed has an agenda behind it or is backed by money.

ku98 11 years, 1 month ago

Kaun scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds today against China. Way to go, Sasha!

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 1 month ago

Reefer Madness is playing on TBS for the REAL down low on marijuana!

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 1 month ago

Ok, everyone put down your beers or cocktails and quite being so judgmental.

Dirtwood 11 years, 1 month ago

Ralster...I agree with a lot of your comments however..WRT the "judgement" comment I would differ in opinion. MRI scans of the brain show various stages of 'myelination' or maturing of the brain as we get older. It progresses primarily from inferior (brain stem) to superior (cerebral cortex) and posterior (cerebellum) to anterior (frontal cortex) beginning soon after birth and continuing....if you would believe it.....until around age 26! So..the last portion of the brain to be fully developed is the frontal brain which is responsible for personality, executive decision making and judgement. This is something our forefathers and even the Greeks realized long ago when they enacted public policy making those younger than 25 ineligible for congress or public office! I dare say the insurance companies got this right too as car insurance is much cheaper for a 26 yr old versus a 24 year old. One of my Developmental Psychiatrist mentors said he generally considers patients under the age of 25 as 'frontal brain injured' which goes a long way in explaining the actions of your typical teenager! old is BRush?

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