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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Look who’s back: NBA veteran Drew Gooden returns to Lawrence

Former Kansas forward Drew Gooden goes up for two points during the KU men's basketball camp scrimmage on June 15, 2011 at Horejsi Center.

Former Kansas forward Drew Gooden goes up for two points during the KU men's basketball camp scrimmage on June 15, 2011 at Horejsi Center.

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Bill Self camp alumni scrimmage

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Former Jayhawks, including Drew Gooden, Scot Pollard, Jeff Hawkins and Cole Aldrich, scrimmaged against KU's current team during Bill Self's basketball camp Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at the Horejsi Center.

Jayhawks scrimmage against KU alumni

Former Jayhawks, including Drew Gooden, Scot Pollard and Jeff Hawkins, scrimmaged against KU's current team during Bill Self's basketball camp Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at the Horejsi Center.

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Drew Gooden, who had last played in Bill Self’s basketball campers game in June of 2005, brought his talents to Kansas University’s Horejsi Center on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think it was just time for me to do it, so that’s why I’m here. It’s great to be back. It feels good to be back,” said Gooden, a nine-year NBA veteran who played power forward at KU from 2000 to 2002.

He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the KU Alumni Team’s 70-58 loss to the current Jayhawks.

“I wanted to come back and see the upgrades, see how the school looked, how the facility looked and compared to when I was going here. I mean, it’s night and day,” said Gooden, especially impressed by the new players’ locker room and lounge.

The 29-year-old native of Oakland, Calif., who just completed the first year of a five-year, $32 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, admitted he felt like an old-timer while playing before 800 Self campers Wednesday.

“It’s funny how the kids out there are 8-9 years old, and I’ve been in the league 10 years now,” Gooden said. “When I was at Kansas, they weren’t probably even thought of yet, so it feels good to see the youth coming in. It feels good to play with the younger guys on this team now. They’re athletic. It seems like none of them even broke a sweat out there.”

Gooden’s losing Red team included 36-year-old former NBA power forward Scot Pollard, who, in playing for the first time in a full year, impressed with nine points and six rebounds. Oklahoma City Thunder center Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 10 boards, while recent KU grads Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed chipped in 10 and eight points, respectively.

KU junior forward Travis Releford scored 15 points to lead the winning Blue team. Elijah Johnson had 11 points, Thomas Robinson 10 points and seven boards, Conner Teahan nine points and Tyshawn Taylor eight points, six rebounds and six assists.

“We stayed with them for a while. We’re old. We’re out of shape. We got tired. They got easy transition baskets. A young team outran us,” said Pollard, who will play two games in two days.

He will compete in today’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity game, (involving former KU players) set for a 7 p.m. tipoff at Free State High’s gym.

“I just hope I can walk (today),” added the 6-foot-11, 275-pound Pollard, who played for five teams in an 11-year NBA career. “Last year’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic is the last time I touched the court or gym shoes or a basketball. I was lucky to even get to the rim today.”

He had a blast being reunited with Gooden.

“I love Drew. It was a pleasure finally being teammates with him one year in Cleveland,” Pollard said. “He is my kind of guy. He’s a walking double-double. The guy knows where the ball is, he finds it, he gets rebounds without really trying. He and Nick Collison together in college was an unreal frontcourt. Drew’s a great guy, and I love seeing him.”

Gooden said there’s a chance he and other NBA players just might be working out in Lawrence this fall and winter if there’s an NBA lockout.

“I can envision that,” Gooden said. “I’m one of the guys saying, ‘Hey, if this does go into November, December, I mean, what better place would there be to train than here in Kansas?’

“To at least practice with the team or be around the facility, I think that’s a great idea. That’s been brought up. The union is trying to prepare some places in certain cities where a lot of NBA guys stay in the offseason and set up some workouts like that. There’s going to be stuff for us to do if there is a lockout, but to come back to your school, there’s no better atmosphere and focusing on getting ready for the season than that.”

One of the stars of Wednesday’s camp game would love to spend more quality time with Gooden, who, by the way, has played with a whopping nine NBA teams.

“I remember watching him a lot (at KU growing up),” said Kansas Citian Releford, who hit six of nine shots, including three three-pointers. “I got to guard him at the beginning of the game and most of the game. He was trying to come at me earlier, and I was going right back at him. It was a lot of fun.”

Gooden, who missed 40 games last season because of a case of plantar fasciitis, enjoyed shaking off the rust.

“I am exhausted right now,” Gooden said. “That’s a talented team. Thomas Robinson is going to be a great player. He has great upside, great strength, leaping ability, skill. He needs more playing time at this level, show he can dominate this level, then one day be able to play at the next level. He has upside for that definitely.”

Gooden said he’ll be rooting for all the Jayhawks again next season.

“Something that’s huge in an NBA locker room is representing your college, and me having to always be the only Jayhawk on the team, I’m always fending for myself and defending myself,” Gooden said. “It’s huge following college basketball. You don’t understand how much NBA players follow college basketball and how big a fan they are of their alma mater.”

Draft talk: Former KU forward Markieff Morris worked out for his hometown Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer it would “mean a lot” to be selected by Philly in the June 23 draft.

“I can help the team,” he said. “I’m a stretch four, and I’m tough. I have that Philly pride, so they like that about me a lot. ... It was a good workout. I definitely wanted to impress these guys as much as possible.”

Comments

Funhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Drew Gooden always had a Jayhawk smile on his face when interviewed in college. Remember when Drew was relating to a reporter his freshman year how he was shocked when Roy told him during one practice that he was going to send him back on a bus to Oakland if he didn't quit passing behind his back. Coach told Drew he made all the money in the world and could buy that ticket and kick him off the team now. Drew still smiled when he was relating to the reporter the Roy story. The gist of Drew's story was, One month Roy was courting him to commit to KU and sweet talking him, then first practice the coach was no longer nice. Drew Gooden was fun. These stories about former players are the best.

Jeremy Bolinger 8 years, 7 months ago

I love reading this kind of stuff. I wish more notable alums would make it back though.

lee3022 8 years, 7 months ago

Notable? Nick Collison played a key role for OKC in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Mario Chalmers played a key role for Miami in the NBA Finals. The only player now That I can think of that does not come in Paul Pierce.

Of course there are old-timers who we likely do not hear about as well who stop by but I am thinking of the current NBA players. Were those whom you meant?

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Definitely Paul Pierce.. But I'm not sure if he ever comes back to lawrence.

Jeremy Bolinger 8 years, 7 months ago

I meant more people in general. Guys like Paul, Kirk, now Gooden, but throw in Arthur as well. Seems like Cole wants to be here all the time. I wish they all felt that way. Imagine if you're an incoming recruit on a visit and you're playing pick up basketball with 10 different NBA guys. I'd crap myself

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 7 months ago

I recently watched a sort of DArthur montage on Youtube. He was on a very talented team and his contribution was not truly appreciated at the time, as I now feel should have been the case. When he does attend one of these events, hopefully in the near future, heads will turn. I, for one, underestimated his value to his years at KU and can't wait to see him return soon.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

jaybate Pictures in association with The Legacy Studio present Drew Gooden in this summer's blockbuster hit: "The 32 Million Dollar Man."

Drew proves how the game is not about perfection in anyone aspect of the game but rather talent and skill in most and compensating in a few.

Drew Gooden was wild in college.

Drew Gooden went to the L and was wild there, too.

But as Interstellar Scott said so well, "He’s a walking double-double. The guy knows where the ball is, he finds it, he gets rebounds without really trying."

And Pollard was talking about Drew in the L, not just in college.

Thanks for coming back, Drew. It has to be tough straddling two coaches, but be true to your school. One day, when Roy retires and is no longer stealing recruits from us, we will welcome him back into the fold and you and he and all the guys from his era will be given a royal celebration.

You and Nick created one of KU's greatest paint-tandems and we'll never forget that.

The Twins aspired to surpass you and Nick and probably did in the W&L statement, but for me the final tally for KU greats must wait till the pro career ends and we can weigh you all in fullest perspective.

Whatever, your contribution to The Legacy was a great one, and you are going to be a hit in "The 32 Million Dollar Man."

Rock Chalk!

dylans 8 years, 7 months ago

Who cares what former players do in the league? It's all about what they do in crimson and blue. If they flop in the league I will not think any less of them. Why should I? Russell Robinson was an integral part of the championship team and hasn't sniffed the league. Do you think less of him for it?

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Okay, I'll temper my enthusiasm for what KU's starters accomplished against the Blue front line of Gooden, Pollard and Aldrich, now that I know Gooden has been rehabbing and Pollard has been off-wood with the bon-bons for a year. :-)

Still, ya gotta admit, this is great training for KU's bigs. These guys are as long and brawny as anyone they'll see next season.

Ted Hume 8 years, 7 months ago

Scot Pollard, looking rough, even by his standards. We're talking old, grizzled sailer rough; old, been-livin under a bridge chain smoking Luckys and sleeping on the ground rough. Yikes, man, we are all getting old...

Jared Grillot 8 years, 7 months ago

Now dangit, he and I were at KU at the same time, and I am NOT old. :) Just 'cause he chooses to go with the scary '70s/'80's mob movie enforcer look, doesn't mean we're old. Then again, if he came out clean shaven with a "normal" look, that might actually be a little scarier.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

tHume,

Serious posting. Solid. Inspiring.

Pick ax swingin' chain gang tough.

Sweaty, one-bath-once-a-week Devil's Island tough.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Scott looks like Jack Nicholson having a really, really, bad day!!

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Auto-raging, car-attacking, Big Bertha-swinging, windshield-spidering, bad-day-in-LA bad!

79ictjhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Jack Nicholson as the Wolverine, bad day!

FoCoCoHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Like I posted on another thread, I first thought that HCBS had found a Klingon with a couple of semester of eligibility.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 7 months ago

from the video, you can definitely tell that Reed's wheels are fixed.

He's got the springs working well, too. I hope he gets a chance to be a pro.

In the pictures, it looks like Pollard is wearing some old man style walking shoes or something. Does he not have a pair of gym shoes?

Ted Hume 8 years, 7 months ago

I love it! "old man style walking shoes" Exactly- his look is manicured for the modern-day "old 49-er / prospector" style that those who live in San Francisco and spend any time at all in the park know so well.

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

TT made a runner! TT made a runner! TT made a runner!

All last year I said we'd win it all if he started making those. He made about 1%.

This year if he makes 25% of them, we'll win the Big 12.

If he makes 50% of them we'll be in the Final Four.

With his speed, length and FT%, that's a tough shot to defend. That's a go-to shot. The shot that kills a scoring drought. The shot that keeps you in games. The shot that finally gets the foul call to turn momentum. The shot that draws in the D to open up the 3. The shot you need with the shot-clock at 4 sec. and nothing else available. The shot that raises TTs average to the mid teens. The shot that elevates TT from a 3rd team all conference to 1st team.

Now if Withey will get that sky-hook going...

KULA 8 years, 7 months ago

He had a broken hand last year, Coach.

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey, now that this is kinda Robinson's team, can we change his nickname? I always thought TRob was a little lazy. Any of those first-initial-abbreviated-last-name nicknames are a little too easy for intelligent fans like Hawks.

I'm open for suggestions. Personally ever since he dawned that #0 jersey and flexed the steel, he was more than just a TRob to me.

To me, he will always be Mr. Zero. And you know what you don't do with Mr. Zero.

Baldwin023 8 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Zero sounds like he's a zero or something. Sounds like he's worthless..try again.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Scot Pollard doesn't march to a different drummer. He marches to a different band altogether.

Let's hear it for the Scot Pollard All Accordian, Kazoo, Bagpipe, Bongo Drum Band!!!

PS Something tells me that Scot would love it!!

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

"Mr. Pollard's Neighborhood"

I would like to see him do a children's show called Mr. Pollard's Neighborhood in which he portrays a kind of Mr. Roger--a former NBA player from off planet.

I think it would be edgy enough to be a hit with both today's kids and today's network execs.

Scot would get visits from NBA players and his favorite rock stars.

This would expand the shows market segment into college students, unemployed men, and that oh, so important affluent 18-65 market of employed men with TIVOs (or with taping capability through Comcast).

Scott could walk into a set with a space program like Mr. Rogers, only it would be decorated the way an ex-jock from off-planet would decorate it. He would enter with his faded, old KU letter jacket on, walk to the closet, take it off, revealing some very hip t-shirt, hang it up, then pull out an old button down letter sweater, amble to the big sectional sofa with a chaise section, and flop down with a sports drink called Moon Juice.

The Moon Juice would be a product tie in that would make millions.

That's the pitch!

I'm ready when you are Scott.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Please go to rivals.com for a great article by Jason King on the toughest college venues to play in.

Jason has his "you know what" together because he picks "you know where" as the toughest!!

Kenny Terry 8 years, 7 months ago

It is cool that these guys come back to do these scrimmages. Off subject but does anyone know whatever became of Ron Kellog or Cedric Hunter or if they have ever come back?

Steve Williams 8 years, 7 months ago

“I wanted to come back and see the upgrades, see how the school looked, how the facility looked"

see the new crop of pooooooooooooooon

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