Saturday, April 14, 2012

Buzzer-beater fantastic fantasy finish


Michael Ferdman, a 40-something executive from New York, accepted a pass from a teammate with three seconds left on the clock Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

The man who recently scored a game-winning goal in overtime in a Mark Messier/New York Rangers hockey fantasy camp game in Madison Square Garden, calmly swished a three-pointer to lift his Bill Self Fantasy Camp hoops team to a 47-45 come-from-behind victory over a shell-shocked Norm Roberts-coached squad that was burned at the buzzer.

“It’s the most exciting thing. I’m sweating. My heart is pounding. I’m a nervous wreck. I was like, ‘Gosh,’’’ exclaimed ESPN announcer Holly Rowe, one of the coaches of Ferdman’s team.

The shot improved the Rowe/Ferdman squad to a perfect 3-0 with two games left to play. It was so clutch — so Mario Chalmers-esque — it raised the question: Did it come off a scripted play from the bench?

“It was a set play. I don’t think we were running it quite right,” Rowe said. “Michael has hit clutch shots. He hit four free throws to win our last game. He hit the three to win this game. He has ice in his veins. He’s been terrific.”

Many of the 48 players (and six non-playing participants) who paid $4,995 ($2,995 for Williams Fund members) apiece to compete at the weekend camp had ice applied to their aching joints Friday and Saturday nights. One of the campers (they range in age from 35 to 74 years old) actually tore an ACL and will have a date with the surgeon sometime next week.

So far, Ferdman has remained injury-free — knock on wood.

“I’ve gone to 15 camps — Michael Jordan’s (in Vegas), Duke’s (Mike Krzyzewski in Durham, N.C.). For a first-time camp, this is as good as any,” said Ferdman, who was born and raised in Chicago.

Of his penchant for making the big play, he said: “The guys know I like taking it at the end. I don’t mind shooting the ball. Maybe I have a good ‘no memory’ thing. I forget about it if I miss.”

Some of the campers take the games more seriously than others.

All seemed to be having a blast Saturday, fresh off a party at coach Bill Self’s house Friday night with another to be held at a local restaurant Saturday evening.

“This camp is great. Coach Self is a funny guy. You’ve got to have tough skin around him. He’ll nail you,” joked Richard Rosenzweig, another executive from New York. He’s playing on a team coached by KU assistant Joe Dooley that’s off to an 0-3 start. “Coach Self coached against us. I heard a lot of yelling at me from the sideline when I hit a couple threes against his team. He wasn’t very happy.”

Like Ferdman, Rosenzweig travels to camps all over the country. Pro Camps Worldwide ( out of Cincinnati puts on a total of 65 fantasy camps and/or youth camps run by players in the NBA, NFL, college basketball and major-league baseball.

“Coach K has a camp we go to every year, which is awesome,” Rosenzweig said of Krzyzewski’s Duke camp with a $10,000 price tag. “Jordan ($17,500) had a camp many years in Vegas. Syracuse and coach (Jim) Boeheim has a camp, coach (Jim) Larranaga at Miami. This one is right up there. “We met coach Self in Vegas at the Jordan camp,” he added of he and buddies. “He’s a nice guy ... when they put this together, we figured, ‘Why not come to Kansas?’ We’d not had an excuse to come here before.

“This building is pretty cool. It’s a lot nicer than the Garden. The rims are really soft. I know why you guys win a lot of games here,” he added, smiling.

KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend held a film session with some of the campers Saturday after one of his team’s games.

“They definitely want to be coached. They want me to tell them how you are supposed to guard ball screens, what they are doing offensively,” Townsend said of the players on the six teams, which consist of eight players per team. No KU players compete on the teams, though some former Jayhawks competed in a camp-opening scrimmage Thursday.

“They told me they’re getting tired — some have hip flexors. They’re always looking for the trainer for ice. They are having fun, a great time. The coaches are having a great time meeting a lot of people,” Townsend added.

Gregg Darbyshire, chief executive of Pro Camps Worldwide, said plans are to return to KU next year. Part of the proceeds of this camp go to Self’s Assists Foundation.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Darbyshire said. “Coach Self is one-of-a-kind. He is what made it special. He’s been part of everything, social events, the camp itself.”

Added Sean Rowland, director of operations of Pro Camps: “The players are having an awesome time. To live the life of a Kansas basketball player is something money can’t buy.”

Of course, many of the participants have money to burn.

“We have millionaires and decamillionaires here,” one observer said of the participants who for one weekend have provided ESPN’s Rowe what she considers an opportunity of a lifetime.

“I’m here to learn about basketball, help me be better in my job,” Rowe said. “We had a film session with coach Self. He broke down the second Missouri game. I wrote down stuff I’ll use in my reporting for next year. I felt I’d be shy (coming into the weekend). I’m the only woman. I didn’t want to be annoying. The guys say they love my scouting reports. They’re encouraging me to be part of this. I’m invested.”


Chris1955 7 years, 1 month ago

“I’m here to learn about basketball, help me be better in my job,” Rowe said. “We had a film session with coach Self. He broke down the second Missouri game. I wrote down stuff I’ll use in my reporting for next year. I felt I’d be shy (coming into the weekend). I’m the only woman. I didn’t want to be annoying. The guys say they love my scouting reports. They’re encouraging me to be part of this. I’m invested.”

Really, "I didnt want to be annoying."....

Why do we need reporters interviewing coaches before they go into the locker room at halftime. It doesn't matter whether or not it's football or basketball. Is this something the fans have asked for? Is any real insight gained?

prusso25 7 years, 1 month ago

Coach (of any sport) answer when down at half time:

"We just have to come out, play smart, play aggressive, and play defense."

Coach (of any sport) answer when ahead at half time:

"We just have to come out, play smart, play aggressive, and play defense."

Thank you, Holly Rowe. Thank you ESPN. Where would sports be without the half time reports?

Stan Unruh 7 years, 1 month ago

At least Holly Rowe is better than (not much better) than Tracy Wolfson on CBS. I know the networks pay a lot of money to broadcast these games but these halftime interviews are VERY unnecessary.

RISEABOVEHATE56 7 years, 1 month ago

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kranny 7 years, 1 month ago

If I was a "decamillionaire" I would gladly pay.

lee3022 7 years, 1 month ago

R.A.H. These guys are having fun. Most can pay cash for any car they want. The experience is not only valuable for the time with coach Self but for the networking opportunity with each other. There are limited times and places where they can bond with other millionaires and basketball fans.

That said - I would rather pay a scholarship (academic) for a deserving and needy student than go to this. Perhaps some of these good folks do both.

kusayzone 7 years, 1 month ago

I hope Hollie Row learns a lot about improving the quality of questions she normally asks. "Gosh coach, why are you losing? Why aren't your players playing any better?" I only wish she could get feedback on how many times tv watchers push "mute" when she talks and ignore what she tried to add to the game.

ParisHawk 7 years, 1 month ago

What's your point? You want no article? That's easy, just pretend it doesn't exist.

Gary can only write about the news there is. This is his beat and the camp is what's going on right now.

Camps are a business and only some of the money goes to charity, but they are a way of getting coaches and former players to meet money and influence. Maybe TRob met a good investment guy (and yes, he is a former player now).

NorthStarHawk 7 years, 1 month ago

+1....and it helps promote the Kansas brand.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, pretty much. And if you don't like it, you certainly don't have to read it.

Ryan Michael 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow could you show any more envy here? Grow up man, there are always going to be more successful and more wealthy people in the world.

Here they are supporting Bills camp and singing high praises of Kansas, and you are whining about it. Get some perspective. The world doesn't revolve around you.

jhox 7 years, 1 month ago

Personally, I enjoyed reading the article. So what if they're a bunch of multimillionaires living out their dreams? Reading this I can picture myself taking part in something like this, and as someone above pointed out, it helps promote the Kansas basketball brand. I want Coach Self's camp to be successful and help his charity as much as possible.

JacquesMerde 7 years, 1 month ago

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tical523 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow, crazy the society we are living in to frown upon financial success. How do you know these men didn't work their ass off and put everything on the line to succeed? We are going to hell in a handbasket as a society if personal financial success is frowned upon. Nobody likes a rich jackass that was handed everything, but to instantly not like a group of people because they are wealthy just blows my mind. Should we hate the top athletes or successful actors because maybe they got lucky with god given talent or looks, or maybe even worked hard as hell to EARN success? Scary stuff.

Chad DeShazo 7 years, 1 month ago

I think it would be pretty cool if there was a drawing or a contest or something where one person who doesn't have the wherewithal to afford one of these camps could win a slot at the event. Hey HCBC, I know you claim not to read these posts but if you're out there lurking, how about it?

prusso25 7 years, 1 month ago

Am I the only one who is mad that coach K's class is twice as much as ours? I'm sorry but self is worth more than 5k in my opinion.

REHawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Holy Moly! Negative words tossed toward Holly Rowe? In my humble opionion, it is a huge plus, Holly and so many wealthy guys visiting the heralded site of the early appearance of the game itself. This week represents tremendous opportunity for future news coverage and perhaps even donor support, ravings about our coaches and facilities in high places.

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 1 month ago


You know why Dick V never has anything bad to say about Duke? Because Coack K gives him an enormous speaking fee to come and speak at his camp.

You know why always outspoken Charles Barkley didn't have one bad thing to say about Coack Cal during the NCAA Tourney? Because Coach Cal's foundation gives him an enormous speaking fee to come and speak at his camp.

This camp is just Bill Self playing the game. Watch over the next few years while it grows. Holly Rowe will turn into Reece Davis then Digger then Vitale, etc. And don't be suprised to see a shoe exec or recruiting expert be "invited" to speak or coach.

It's sick, but it's just the way things are.

Oh, and rich guys paying 5grrr to play (errr, tax write off) at this camp, you're the ones getting played!

JacquesMerde 7 years, 1 month ago

At last a worthwhile comment from ahperse....

kranny 7 years, 1 month ago

Agree completely and we shouldn't forget it's going to a good cause. This is America and capitalism at it's finest. At least the money isn't going towards greasing some lying politician's campaign.

Redlandsjhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I enjoyed the read. About halfway through I had already concocted my fantasy where I win the lottery, lose weight get in shape and attend next year.

Of course for some reason I can never leave well enough alone and in the end I break my hip and scream like a school girl in front of everybody.

But it sounds like fun. Even the guy with the ACL has an awesome story to tell the rest of his life.

lee3022 7 years, 1 month ago

Tearing his ACL was probably not necessary in order to have a good story to tell but it might go something like this:

"Yeah, I am limping - it is an old knee injury I got playing basketball at KU."

"What, Allen Field House? Of course. At KU."

"Bill Self was great and was right out on the floor as soon as it happened."

"I can't decide if it was Bill feeling bad about the team or about me!"

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 1 month ago

“This building is pretty cool. It’s a lot nicer than the Garden. The rims are really soft. I know why you guys win a lot of games here,” he added, smiling."

The guy who made this comment, Richard Rosenzweig, another executive from New York, seems to credit the rims for the legacy of KU basketball. Typical East Coast arrogance. Has he never payed attention to college basketball vs. the NBA?

Some sort of history lessons should be mandatory when attending these camps to make sure the people playing know the background of the teams and venues that are sponsoring the camps. I bet these guys who attend multiple camps laying out big money to fulfill their personal fantasies stemming from their shortcomings as athletes are not aware of the traditions and spirit that is alive at these venues. Thanks for the money, but, if you are not a true fan and supporter of KU basketball, maybe another camp would be a better fit for you. Our camp should be reserved for guys who respect KU and it's history and hold it in the highest regard as well as considering it an honor just to dribble a ball on the court at Allen Fieldhouse.

bsimoes 7 years, 1 month ago

Are you serious? It's clearly a joke. ". . . [H]e added, smiling[,]" probably should have given it away for you. You know, like every single time Bill Self makes a joke about a player and KU Sports reports it as ". . . added Bill Self, smiling." Feel free to Google "bill self smiling."

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 1 month ago

I assumed Self's Assist Foundation was the one putting this camp on. Why this professional company? How much organization does it take? Why split the proceeds with some outside company? I bet there were very, very few actual KU supporters who paid money for this camp.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 1 month ago

Interesting insight into the world of fantasy camps at The KU camp page has box scores, game summaries, photos and other info that LJW would probably not be able to provide due to some legal issues of rights, etc.

I had originally envisioned this as a sort of "bucket list" thing. But, it is toy for the well healed sports enthusiast who enjoys challenging themselves.

John Randall 7 years, 1 month ago

Do you suppose the injured well-heeled weekend warior can afford to get his ACL well-healed?

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 1 month ago

But of course! Health care, no problem for those golden parachute types. No doubt he's also had injuries at the club of some sort. Maybe a sprained wrist from a rigorous card game or a hyperextended elbow reaching for a towel in the sauna. These guys are tough competitors!

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month ago

Some questions Holly Rowe could ask Bill Self at halftime:

1] At your BBQs, do you baste or dry rub your ribs before putting on the flames? 2] Is Calipari a big a d-bag as he seems? 3] What's your favorite flavor of Gator-Aide? 4] Who is prettier, me or that stuck up, caught naked in the key hole, dunce? 5] If you were a tree, which one would it be? 6] What's the most money T-Boone has offered you so far? 7] Besides me, what other women would you want to be marooned with on an island? 8] Do you believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or any presidential candidate? 9] Can you explain "Okie Ball" better than Jaybate? 10] Where did you get that fantastic hairpiece? 11] Which TV network bugs you the most [all is an acceptable answer]? 12] Who will win more football games this year, The Jayhawks or the Chiefs?

REHawk 7 years, 1 month ago

13] If you knew for certain that Josh Selby would have to sit out the first 9 games, then opt for departure in April, would you have recruited him anyway? 14] If you knew that Markieff would leave in May, would your recruiting targets have changed in emphasis? 15] Is Naadir likely to glean an average of 15 minutes at the point next season? 16] If no new big men come into the program, will Perry Ellis likely play mostly at the 4 position next season? 17] If we should yet land a promising big man, and if Ellis is able to be slotted at the 3, what do you envision for Releford next season?

Regina Clarke 7 years, 1 month ago

My husband was one of the camp attendees. We are not millionaires. The camp was not any more expensive than one of our family vacations. He works very hard and very long hours. He doesn't drink, smoke, or go to the strip clubs to "relax". He loves to play basketball. Like most born-and-raised Kansas boys, he loves Jayhawk basketball. It was a dream for him to play in Allen Fieldhouse and I hope he can attend every year.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month ago

Please tell me he wasn't the guy at the end of the bench!!

Seriously, I can appreciate your feelings. As a "born again" Jayhawk from 1966, I am thrilled just to walk into Allen. To actually step on the court and play basketball...well....I think I would have to pinch myself to see if I was deaming!!

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing this. Your husband is a role model for these types of "camps". If he hasn't done so already, he needs to go onto the ProCamps website and download the boxscores from the games that he played in.

Thanks for supporting his dream!

Regina Clarke 7 years, 1 month ago

No, my husband wasn't in those pictures but I hope he can play ball as well as those guys when he is that old! They are both in their 70's and were incredible.

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