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Posts tagged with Drew Gooden

Veteran Drew Gooden waived by Washington

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There could be one less ’Hawk in the NBA for Kansas basketball fans to follow next season.

Washington waived veteran power forward Drew Gooden, a fan favorite in D.C., according to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s report on the move.

One of the league’s charismatic journeymen, Gooden has played for 10 different teams since leaving Kansas and becoming the fourth pick in the 2002 draft.

The Wizards, who signed Gooden late into the 2013-14 season, helped revitalize his career after he spent most of that season out of the NBA.

Now 34 years old (Gooden will turn 35 before next season begins), he only played in 30 games this past season with Washington. The backup big man was inactive for eight games during his 14th season — the other 44 he suited up but never checked in.

Gooden averaged just 10.2 minutes a game when he did play, contributing 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and a career-low mark of 32% shooting from the floor — impacted negatively by his 7-for-41 (17.1%) season from 3-point range.

CSN MId-Atlantic reported the Wizards waived Gooden to create salary cap space for the free agents they attained this summer. The franchise couldn’t afford to pay a seldom-used sub $3.6 million next season.

While what kind of market exists for Gooden remains to be seen, he told CSN Mid-Atlantic after the season ended he had no plans to retire.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Gooden said in April.

Now the question is: Will another team be interested in picking him up for what would be Gooden’s 15th season, and potentially 11th franchise.

According to ESPN's Marc J. Spears, Gooden had received inquiries from New York, Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Clippers within hours of being waived.

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The Wizards still have two other Jayhawks on their roster: outspoken power forward Markieff Morris, and second-year wing Kelly Oubre Jr.

After having more former KU players on its roster than any other team last season, Washington will relinquish that very unofficial title to Minnesota. The Timberwolves agreed to deals with Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush in free agency, and, of course, they have third-year rising star Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft who went on to win rookie of the year.

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Drew Gooden claims he snuck into White House to play basketball

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) and Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) have a light moment in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Miami. The Heat won 110-105. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) and Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) have a light moment in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Miami. The Heat won 110-105. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Former Kansas star Drew Gooden is known in the NBA for a couple of things: rebounding and his unique sense of humor.

The 34-year-old Washington power forward showed off the latter of his defining characteristics when bombarded by a TMZ video camera in Los Angeles.

Gooden, while getting into his vehicle to leave a restaurant, was asked whether his time in D.C. had provided him with the opportunity to play basketball at the White House with President Barack Obama.

That’s when — we assume — Gooden decided to have some fun.

“Nah, but I snuck back and played on the court there a couple times, though,” Gooden deadpans to TMZ Sports. “I guess that’s out there now.”

How does a 6-foot-10, 250-pound man creep into the White House undetected?

“Hey, if I tell you,” Gooden says, “I have to kill you.”

Now, it’s not unfathomable that a Wizards player such as Gooden might actually have played at the White House when Obama wasn’t there. Perhaps that’s the case, and this tale is Gooden’s way of clowning the paparazzo.

Or maybe, as the man behind the camera suggests, the secret service agents looked the other way because they like KU basketball.

“Rock chalk!” Gooden responds.

Check out the entire video below and decide for yourself the real story behind Gooden’s supposed stealth move.


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Drew Gooden says Wizards better than nation realizes

Washington Wizards' Drew Gooden III, right, reacts during a NBA basketball media day, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Washington Wizards' Drew Gooden III, right, reacts during a NBA basketball media day, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A 13-year veteran of the NBA, power forward Drew Gooden knows a good situation when he sees it. And the former Kansas star is watching one play out around him, in Washington D.C. — even if the rest of the country isn’t as interested as it should be in the Wizards.

Playing in the lesser Eastern Conference is one reason, Washington, which has advanced to the second round of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, isn’t exactly the talk of the nation.

The star power of the East’s other top teams — LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Rose’s/Jimmy Butler’s Chicago Bulls, Dwyane Wade’s/Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat — also contributes to the lack of attention on the Wizards.

Gooden, a backup big man, explained to The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg why some are over-looking the Wizards, who went 46-36 last season.

“I think we have less [national] games this year than we had last year,” noted Gooden. “People want to see the Heat play, people want to see the Knicks play, people definitely want to see the Bulls play, people want to see the Cavaliers play. So where do we fall out in the East as far as prime-time teams? And that’s what they look at.”

At 34, Gooden is Washington’s oldest player, and young stars John Wall and Bradley Beal make the team an upper-echelon squad in the East. But The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo reports D.C. will look for more than just rebounding and put-backs from its bearded, 6-foot-10 journeyman.

Washington found success in last year’s playoffs by going small, and using former KU star Paul Pierce (who signed with the L.A. Clippers this summer) as a stretch power forward. Gooden played that role off the bench and is expected to do the same this season, while occasionally playing center, too.

While Gooden (5.4 points, 4.4 rebounds last season) is a 26.9% career 3-point shooter and only has attempted more than 50 3’s in a season twice in his career — he made 23 of 59 in the 2014-15 regular season before making 12 of 26 in the 2015 playoffs — Gooden led D.C. in 3-pointers made (11) and taken (28) during the preseason.

The Wizards will play small, take 3-pointers and, according to Gooden, be more entertaining than people realize.

“We want to play that up-and-down game, and it is fun to watch,” Gooden said. “We’ll open some eyes up. People will recognize sooner than later.”

Don’t be surprised if by the end of the season Washington finishes as the No. 3 or 4 seed in the East.


2015-16 ’Hawks in the NBA Season Previews


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‘Hawks in the NBA Media Days highlights

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul Pierce speaks during the team's NBA basketball media day, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul Pierce speaks during the team's NBA basketball media day, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

During the past few days, players for the NBA’s 30 franchises posed for photos, answered questions and took in media day festivities with varying degrees of seriousness.

That means it’s time to get the old ’Hawks in the NBA blog up and firing again. At this moment 19 former Kansas players draw paychecks in The Association, and they all — well, almost all of them — had their moments in the spotlight at media days.

From rookies just getting started, to veterans joining new teams to role players fitting in, here are some of the KU-related social media highlights from around the league.

COLE ALDRICH, L.A. CLIPPERS

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CLIFF ALEXANDER, PORTLAND

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DARRELL ARTHUR, DENVER

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TARIK BLACK, L.A. LAKERS

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MARIO CHALMERS, MIAMI

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In case you were wondering, “Spo” is Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, and Chalmers’ “new role” will be him coming off the bench.

NICK COLLISON, OKLAHOMA CITY

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JOEL EMBIID, PHILADELPHIA

If you were curious about how Joel Embiid is handling his ongoing injury and rehab process, you’re not alone.

Appropriately enough, the injured-for-another-entire-season Embiid wasn’t a part of the 76ers’ media day, according to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.

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Presumably, he’ll attend a media day and play in the NBA one of these years.

Embiid’s last known whereabouts? Going to see the Pope.

DREW GOODEN, WASHINGTON

Before looking for Drew Gooden content, I thought, What’s that maniac up to?

Well, he’s up to this:

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That dude has to be a blast to cover. Rarely not entertaining.

KIRK HINRICH, CHICAGO

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BEN MCLEMORE, SACRAMENTO

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MARCUS MORRIS, DETROIT

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The Pistons’ Twitter account did a tweet Q&A with a number of Detroit players Monday, but apparently Marcus bounced before they could get one rolling with him.

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As a side note, ESPN’s NBA folks ranked Marcus Morris as the 191st-best player in the league. So there’s that.

MARKIEFF MORRIS, PHOENIX

By far the biggest ’Hawks in the NBA news to come out of media days was presumably disgruntled forward Markieff Morris putting on a happy face and stating he wants to be in Phoenix.

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That’s not what he was saying back in August, when he told The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey: “One thing for sure, I am not going to be there.

At the time at least, Markieff was hot and bothered about Phoenix shipping his twin brother and roommate Marcus off to the Pistons. He still might be a little sour with Suns general manager Ryan McDonough about that transaction.

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SASHA KAUN, CLEVELAND

Sasha Kaun is Russian. Timofey Mozgov is Russion. Hijinks ensued.

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KELLY OUBRE JR., WASHINGTON

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Looks like Kelly Oubre Jr. loosened up and got comfortable at the Wizards’ media day.

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PAUL PIERCE, L.A. CLIPPERS

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THOMAS ROBINSON, BROOKLYN

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BRANDON RUSH, GOLDEN STATE

Yes, Brandon Rush won an NBA championship with the Warriors. But, no, there isn’t a lot of media interest in him out in Oakland.

Upon posting this blog, Rush hadn't appeared in any Golden State tweets — or, really, anywhere else in the Twitterverse.

ANDREW WIGGINS, MINNESOTA

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Unlike Marcus Morris, the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year was able to answer a few questions on Twitter.

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JEFF WITHEY, UTAH

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Paul Pierce, Thomas Robinson, other Jayhawks hit free agent market

When the clock strikes midnight and June turns to July, NBA free agent season officially begins.

With the 2015 draft out of the way, teams can begin attempting to plug the last — or many — holes on their rosters by offering millions of dollars to the players whose previous contracts just expired.

While national attention turns to the rumors and meetings surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Loves and other marquee names, the coming days and weeks will determine the professional futures of some former Kansas stars, too.

Here is a look at seven Jayhawks in play as free agency begins.

Paul Pierce | Washington | F | age: 37

Washington Wizards' Paul Pierce, walks away after a confrontation with Atlanta Hawks' DeMarre Carroll, not pictured, in the third quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Washington Wizards' Paul Pierce, walks away after a confrontation with Atlanta Hawks' DeMarre Carroll, not pictured, in the third quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Pierce might be on his fourth team in four seasons by the time the summer signing frenzy finishes. Now a 17-year league veteran, the former Boston Celtic and one-year Brooklyn Net surprised many last summer by signing on with Washington.

Though the Wizards, who made it to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as Pierce averaged 14.6 points and 4.2 rebounds this past spring, didn’t expect him to opt out of his deal this summer, the veteran forward decided to give himself some options as he nears retirement.

While D.C. remains a legit candidate to re-sign him, the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston both are reportedly interested in adding the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, who won a title with the Celtics, while playing for now-Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

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In a piece from The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg, Wizards coach Randy Wittman remained positive about keeping Pierce in the fold.

“End-of-the-year meetings, talking to him here after the season, I think he was really pleased with the situation that he walked into here, what he was able to help with this team, the future of this team and where we’re headed,” the coach said. “I think those are all great positives. I feel very positive that we’re going to be able to have him back in the fold next year.”

Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer, however, thinks Pierce will chase another title with Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers.

Thomas Robinson | Philadelphia | PF | age: 24

Philadelphia 76ers' Thomas Robinson in action during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Monday, March 30, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia 76ers' Thomas Robinson in action during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Monday, March 30, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Three years removed from Sacramento taking him with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Robinson likely will join his fifth NBA franchise this summer. The athletic, raw 24-year-old post player experienced a crazy couple days in February, when Portland traded him to Denver, the Nuggets promptly waived him, Brooklyn planned to sign him and Philadelphia snagged him off waivers before he could become an in-season free agent.

The New York Post’s Tim Bontemps reported Brooklyn, who planned to sign Robinson if he cleared waivers, will target him in free agency.

“He could provide energy and rebounding as a low-cost reserve big, an area where the Nets could use help,” Bontemps wrote.

The decision is all Robinson’s, though. Other suitors could emerge, and he’ll likely take the deal that is best for his financial future.

Upon landing with the 76ers, Robinson averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in 18.5 minutes a game.

Cole Aldrich | New York | C | age: 26

New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich (45) dunks the ball in front of Orlando Magic's Elfrid Payton (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. New York won 80-79. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich (45) dunks the ball in front of Orlando Magic's Elfrid Payton (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. New York won 80-79. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

While the Knicks figure to actively recruit some bigger available names, Newsday reports Aldrich is one of the Knicks’ own free agents who is likely to return.

Aldrich told the Journal-World a couple weeks ago he didn’t yet know what kind of deals would come his way.

“It’s just nice to get out there again,” he said. “It’s another summer to get better, and that’s all that matters.”

As a young, inexpensive big man coming off a career year (5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds), Aldrich shouldn’t have any trouble finding steady work.

Darrell Arthur | Denver | PF | age: 27

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, left, is stopped as he tries to drive to the basket for a shot by Toronto Raptors guards Greivis Vasquez, center, of Venezuela, and Terrence Ross in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, left, is stopped as he tries to drive to the basket for a shot by Toronto Raptors guards Greivis Vasquez, center, of Venezuela, and Terrence Ross in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A 6-foot-9 backup big man, Arthur won’t create a lot of buzz, but The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg put the former KU standout on his list of “sleeper” free agents. Some advanced stats, cited by The Post, reveal Arthur’s worth:

“The Denver Nuggets were 9.6 points per 100 possessions better defensively this season with Arthur in the lineup,” Greenberg wrote, “ and he held opponents to 0.9 points per play when he was called on to defend in the post.”

CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore ranked Arthur as the 37th-best available free agent, ahead of Pierce (40th).

Drew Gooden | Washington | PF | age: 33

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Gooden has stuck around the league for 13 seasons, so he must be doing something right. The veteran big man reinvented his game to remain relevant and served Washington this past season as a stretch power forward.

Gooden averaged 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Wizards’ playoff run. According to The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo, Gooden had a “we’ll see what happens” approach to his free agency.

“I feel like I was a component to help get to where we at right now,” Gooden said. “… Whether I am here or somewhere else, I will continue to get better and fill this role I have taken with the Wizards. I would love for it to be here but if it is not, this is a business and I can swallow that pill, too.”

Jeff Withey | New Orleans | C | age: 25

Miami Heat forward James Ennis (32) goes to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans center Jeff Withey (5) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. The Pelicans won 105-91. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Miami Heat forward James Ennis (32) goes to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans center Jeff Withey (5) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. The Pelicans won 105-91. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

The Pelicans haven’t used Withey much (9.9 career minutes per game) in his two seasons of service, but that doesn’t mean they want to dump him in the offseason.

The Advocate reported New Orleans would extend a one-year, qualifying offer to Withey, a restricted free agent. If Withey doesn’t find an offer from another franchise for more money, the Pelicans will keep him for next season and he’ll become a true free agent — unrestricted — in 2016. They can retain him for $1.1 million next season in that scenario, or match any offer another team comes up with for the seldom used backup center (2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.0 minutes this past season).

Xavier Henry | L.A. Lakers | G/F | age: 24

Los Angeles Lakers forward Xavier Henry, center, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors center Ognjen Kuzmic, left, of Bosnia, and center Festus Ezeli, of Nigeria, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Xavier Henry, center, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors center Ognjen Kuzmic, left, of Bosnia, and center Festus Ezeli, of Nigeria, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Actually, Henry has been a free agent since last December. After a breakout fourth season in 2013-14 (10 points per game), the young swingman ruptured left achilles this past November, cutting his fifth season short. The Lakers then cut Henry in order to sign another former KU player, Tarik Black.

Henry’s history of injury problems might scare away some organizations, and no one will sign him until he’s back healthy and cleared by a team’s medical personnel. If he can get back healthy, though, and recapture the kind of play he displayed almost two years ago, Henry could emerge as a wild card addition that no one is mentioning at this juncture. Considering all the variables, the offseason uncertainty figures to stretch on for months for Henry.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply 3 comments from Kristen Downing Shimsham Kingfisher

Who wore it best?: Jayhawks make list of all-time greats, by jersey number

The folks behind Mitchell & Ness specialize in sports, nostalgia and jerseys. So when the company put together a list of the all-time greatest NBA players — by jersey number — you knew it would be something to behold.

The accompanying graphic began making its way around social media platforms Monday afternoon.

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As one might expect, the comprehensive list included some former Kansas basketball standouts who made their way to the league. In fact, five different Jayhawks showed up on Mitchell & Ness’s historic jersey directory. One KU product actually appears twice.

So which Jayhawks made the cut?

How about Jo Jo White?

Chet Walker of the Chicago Bulls is guarded by Jo Jo White of the Boston Celtics (10), as he tried to lay up a shot in their game in Boston at night on Jan. 13, 1972. Tom Sanders of Celtics Comes in at right. Boston won the game 113-112. (AP Photo)

Chet Walker of the Chicago Bulls is guarded by Jo Jo White of the Boston Celtics (10), as he tried to lay up a shot in their game in Boston at night on Jan. 13, 1972. Tom Sanders of Celtics Comes in at right. Boston won the game 113-112. (AP Photo)

Nope. The No. 10 slot belongs to Knicks legend Walt Frazier?

Surely Paul Pierce’s No. 34 is represented?

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce celebrates during the second half of Boston's 91-89 win over the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game in Boston Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce celebrates during the second half of Boston's 91-89 win over the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game in Boston Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. by Nick Gerik

Wrong again. A few greats have donned the same number combo, including two-time Rockets champion Hakeem Olajuwon.

Actually, in terms of all-time stature, most of the KU names on the list might surprise you.

Except for the first one, which was a no-brainer.

13 — Wilt Chamberlain

In this file photo from March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading “100” in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., after he scored 100 points as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147.

In this file photo from March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading “100” in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., after he scored 100 points as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147. by Associated Press

Mitchell & Ness description: “Wilt wore No. 13 over 16 seasons with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA’s 35th Anniversary Team of 1980 and chosen as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996. Over his career, Chamberlain was a two-time NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, 4-time NBA MVP and 13-time NBA All-Star.”

39 — Greg Ostertag

Utah center Greg Ostertag, right, posts up Sixers center Dikembe
Mutombo. Ostertag was 0-for-4 on field goals in 16 foul-plagued
minutes on Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Utah center Greg Ostertag, right, posts up Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo. Ostertag was 0-for-4 on field goals in 16 foul-plagued minutes on Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse. by Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

Mitchell & Ness description: “Only four players have ever worn No. 39 in the NBA, the best of whom is Greg Ostertag. Greg enjoyed a successful 11-year career in which he made back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.”

62 — Scot Pollard

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan drives to the basket as Indiana Pacers forward Scot Pollard defends. The Spurs beat the Pacers, 99-86, Tuesday in San Antonio.

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan drives to the basket as Indiana Pacers forward Scot Pollard defends. The Spurs beat the Pacers, 99-86, Tuesday in San Antonio. by Eric Gay/AP Photo

Mitchell & Ness description: “Only two players have ever worn No. 62 in the NBA: Bob Dille, who only played one season in 1947, and Scot Pollard, who wore it for two seasons in Indianapolis.”

66 — Scot Pollard

Boston's Scot Pollard (66), Kevin Garnett (5), James Posey (41) and Eddie House complain to a referee in this December 2007 file photo. Pollard, a free agent, isn't ready for his NBA career to be over.

Boston's Scot Pollard (66), Kevin Garnett (5), James Posey (41) and Eddie House complain to a referee in this December 2007 file photo. Pollard, a free agent, isn't ready for his NBA career to be over.

Mitchell & Ness description: “Scot wore No. 66 in 2008 with the Boston Celtics when they won the NBA Championship.”

89 — Clyde Lovellette

Mitchell & Ness description: "Clyde wore No. 89 in his first season with the Minneapolis Lakers. Over his 11-year career, Lovellette was a 3-time NBA Champ, 4-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA Second Team. Lovellette was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

90 — Drew Gooden

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) celebrates after a play with Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) nearby in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 28, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 91-78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) celebrates after a play with Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) nearby in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 28, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 91-78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Mitchell & Ness description: “Drew has worn No. 90 (and is the only one to do so) with a number of different teams throughout his still active career. He’s enjoyed a successful career, averaging 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.”


In the case of this particular catalog of jerseys, it pays to be have an atypical number — less competition — to match your offbeat basketball personality (see: Pollard, Ostertag and Gooden).

Some advice for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander: choose from the numbers 58, 59, 63, 64, 69, 74, 75, 78-82, 87, 95 and 97 for your first NBA jersey. No player ever has worn any of those numbers. Go with something crazy. You might end up in the same graphic as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell one day.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply 9 comments from Eric TheCapn Biek Chris Morrison Wichithawk Benton Smith Jeff Braun

Veteran Paul Pierce turns it on for postseason opener

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce plays against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce plays against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

That Paul Pierce from the 2014-15 regular season — you know, the one that looked every day of 37 years old, with 17 seasons of NBA games continuing to break down his body. That was a hoax. A con man.

At least that’s what the former Kansas star would have us believe after scoring a game-high 20 points Saturday at Toronto, helping Washington take a 1-0 lead in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

On the court for his post-game interview with ESPN, the sideline reporter pointed out Pierce hadn’t scored that much since an 18-point effort at Utah on March 18 — a month earlier.

Sure enough, Pierce only scored in double figures twice in his final 10 games.

“I was resting, I was resting for this moment right here,” Pierce responded, with a grin.

Now that the playoffs have arrived, maybe the real Paul Pierce will keep making appearances. “The Truth” lives for this stage. He now has 3,027 career postseason points — moving past Lakers great James Worthy to take 22nd place on the all-time NBA Playoffs scoring list.

Pierce, who said he felt good entering the postseason because coach Randy Wittman didn’t push him too hard down the stretch, spent some time as Washington’s stretch-4 to give Toronto issues in what turned out to be a 93-86 overtime road win for the Wizards.

He took over the game and scored half of his points in the second quarter, as Washington battled a raucous crowd that has gown to despise Pierce in particular after he knocked the Raptors out of the playoffs last season, when he played for Brooklyn.

“I don’t mind playing the role of underdog, villain or whatever you want to call it. I was just trying to help my team win, try to give us a mental edge,” Pierce said in Michael Lee’s writeup for The Washington Post. “If that’s the role I’m going to play, I just got to embrace it. It’s not that I’m a bad guy. Everybody knows I’m a good guy. I mean, off the court.”

He evidently didn’t mind a Toronto tabloid poking fun at his age, either, because he posted a photo of the back page graphic on his Instagram account.

View this post on Instagram

Lol

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Pierce, who opened OT by draining a 3-pointer that have D.C. the lead for good, said afterward the Raptors are down and the Wizards have to take advantage.

“We’re going to try to get greedy,” Pierce said in Jorge Catillo’s Washington Post story. “We didn’t come up here to try to get one game. We came up to take it one game at a time. We got Game 1, and now we’re trying to get Game 2.”

While Pierce hit 7 of 10 shots, 4 of 7 from deep and secured four rebounds, his teammate Drew Gooden, another former KU star, hauled in 10 rebounds, scored 6 points off the bench and helped protect the rim.

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It never hurts to have savvy veterans this time of year — especially ones who saved their legs for the playoffs.

“As a unit, we’ve been here before,” the 33-year-old Gooden told The Washington Post. “It’s nothing new to us. We know it can be done. We got that first one from them and now we got to taste a little bit of blood.”

Game 2 in Toronto is Tuesday night (7 p.m., NBA TV).


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply 2 comments from Joseph Bullock Don Burgundy

Five Jayhawks chasing glory in playoffs

The 2014-15 regular season concluded this week in the NBA, marking the end of the road for the majority of former Kansas players in the league.

Cole Aldrich, Darell Arthur, Tarik Black, Ben McLemore, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson and Andrew Wiggins? All of them already find themselves in offseason mode.

Even playoff regulars Mario Chalmers of Miami and Nick Collison of Oklahoma City are on the outside, looking in, after monumental injuries derailed their team’s seasons.

So when you start watching the 2015 NBA Playoffs, you’ll only find five Jayhawks playing on the 16 teams chasing a championship.

TORONTO VS. WASHINGTON

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

As you might have figured, Paul Pierce is the most prominent KU product in the hunt. Even at 37, “The Truth” still finds ways to make an impact on the floor. Now in his 17th season, Pierce averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals in 26.2 minutes, and made 44.7% of his shots, 38.9% of his 3-pointers and 78.1% of his free throws.

Pierce proved last season as a member of the Brooklyn Nets he can still come through with game-winning plays during crunch time in the playoffs.

And he also became quite a villain in Toronto in the process.

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A pseudo first-round rematch — Pierce vs. the Raptors — should provide plenty of entertainment. Especially when you consider how competitive Pierce is and that he is getting closer to retirement.

The 2008 NBA Finals MVP spoke about the urgency of the postseason with The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo. As a veteran leader on a team that features an explosive young backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal, Pierce’s responsibilities these days aren’t limited to play-making.

“I just try to get the guys to focus in on the task at hand. These are special moments,” Pierce told The Washington Post. “You got to take advantage of these moments. There’s nothing like playoff basketball. The intensity, the smell of the popcorn, the national televised games every night. This is where good players become great players, and you try to relish these moments and that’s what I’m trying to [instill] into these guys, that every moment counts.”

The Wizards, of course, have another veteran from Kansas: Drew Gooden. In his 13th season, the journeyman power forward comes off the bench for Washington and has provided two double-digit rebound games, as well as a pair of double-digit scoring efforts in April.

In D.C.’s last 10 games, Gooden has seen his minutes and production go up: 7.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 25.7 minutes.

Compare that with his season numbers: 5.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 16.9 minutes.

If Pierce and Gooden can find some of their youthful bounce inside those high-mileage legs, Washington might have a chance to advance to the next round.

MILWAUKEE VS. CHICAGO

Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich directs his team against the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game Friday, March 13, 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte won 101-91.(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich directs his team against the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game Friday, March 13, 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte won 101-91.(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Another old man by NBA standards, 12th-year guard Kirk Hinrich has a chance to play a complimentary role for one of the Eastern Conference favorites, Chicago. That is assuming he is healthy enough to do so.

According to an ESPN.com report, Hinrich didn’t practice Friday and he was listed as uncertain for Saturday’s series opener, while recovering from a hyperextended right knee.

Hinrich, who plays alongside ultra-talented Bulls Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah, sat out the final two games of the regular season. He hasn’t played more than 20 minutes in a game since March 28.

If/when Hinrich plays, he’ll mainly be asked to facilitate and defend. He averaged just 5.7 points this season in 24.4 minutes a game, shot 37.3% from the field and made 34.5% of his 3-pointers. He hasn’t knocked down more than one 3-pointer in a game since Jan. 23.

GOLDEN STATE VS. NEW ORLEANS

Golden State Warriors' Brandon Rush, right, drives the ball against Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 112-87. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Golden State Warriors' Brandon Rush, right, drives the ball against Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 112-87. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Don’t hold your breath waiting to see former KU stars in this series.

Brandon Rush is lucky enough to play for the league’s best team, but Golden State — No. 1 in the Western Conference — doesn’t need to use him much when the Warriors have guys like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala.

Rush, who only played in 33 games this season, last played significant minutes (23) against Denver in mid-March and went scoreless. He didn’t play in five straight games before making brief appearances in three of the last four, highlighted by 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 14 minutes in the finale.

The Warriors might advance far enough for Rush to be the last Jayhawk standing in the playoffs, but when you see him it will usually be on the bench cheering on one of the most entertaining teams in recent memory.

The Pelicans’ Jeff Withey finds himself in the same situation (except that his season figures to end much sooner, playing for No. 8 New Orleans).

The former Kansas pivot only played 7.0 minutes a game in the regular season, which ranked him next-to-last on the team. With big men Anthony Davis (an emerging superstar), Ryan Anderson, Dante Cunningham, Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca eating up all the minutes inside, Withey isn’t a part of the Pelicans’ game plan.

The lean 7-footer averaged 2.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks this season while shooting 50% from the field.

In theory, he could get some run if New Orleans finds itself on the wrong end of a blowout. Withey last made a field goal on March 20, at Golden State. The Warriors won, 112-96, and he played 29 minutes, going for 14 points (5-for-9 shooting) and 8 rebounds.

Mostly, he should be ready to pose for any celebratory post-game photos quickly, having not expended much energy beforehand.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply 2 comments from Clara Westphal Koolkeithfreeze

2014-15 season outlook: Drew Gooden

Hunker down, get hydrated and tell your loved ones you will see them next spring.

Hopefully that’s not your mindset, but people should be warned: The at times seemingly never-ending NBA regular season is at hand.

The first handful of games tip off October 28, marking the start of the 82-game grind.

Thankfully for us, all we have to do is sit back, watch and enjoy. To make sure you’re fully prepared for the 2014-15 campaign, we’ll be rolling out a season outlook for each former Kansas University player who currently calls The Association home.

Drew Gooden — Washington Wizards

6-foot-10 power forward | 13th season

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden , right, shoots past Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff game in Washington, Sunday, May 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden , right, shoots past Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff game in Washington, Sunday, May 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

2013-14 numbers: 22 games | 18.0 minutes | 8.3 points | 5.2 rebounds | 53.1 FG% | 88.9 FT%

Can you name the NBA franchises Drew Gooden has played for since he left KU early back in 2002?

Yeah, probably not.

The correct answers are…

Orlando, Memphis, Orlando again, Cleveland, Chicago, Cleveland again, Chicago again, Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee and Washington.

That’s 10 teams, three encore runs and 709 regular-season games over 12 seasons.

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Gooden, a career 11.7 points per game scorer, caught on with the Wizards late last season and they liked him so much they brought the ever-traveling veteran back for what they plan to turn into the franchise’s most successful run since the late 1970s.

The once-Bullets/now-Wizards have won a first-round playoff series just three times since a 1979 Finals loss to Seattle. One of those came last spring, when the ultra-talented backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal also nabbed Washington a pair of second-round wins against Indiana before the Pacers finished them off in the conference semifinals.

The Wizards will expect continued growth from their two stars, whom they’ve surrounded with veterans such as Gooden and another ’Hawk in the NBA, Paul Pierce.

Gooden, who signed a one-year free-agent deal this past summer, could only last this season in Washington. Still, while he is there, he’ll provide some quality depth to a frontcourt that includes Marcin Gortat, Nene and DeJuan Blair. At 33, he might be getting up there in NBA years, but he can come in and rebound and/or score for you in a pinch.

So what do we expect out of Gooden for the 2014-15 season?

He probably won’t play major minutes off the bench unless Washington runs into injury or foul trouble. However, he’ll be a part of one of the up-and-coming teams in the Eastern Conference and every once in a while get to prove he’s still got some double-digit production hidden somewhere in his beard.


’Hawks in the NBA 2014-15 season outlooks:

• Cole Aldrich — Knicks

Darrell Arthur — Nuggets

Tarik Black — Rockets

Mario Chalmers — Heat

Nick Collison — Thunder

Joel Embiid — 76ers


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First comes the clowning, then comes the grind

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, poses for a photographer during the NBA basketball team's media day, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, poses for a photographer during the NBA basketball team's media day, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Considering how much of a grind the 82-game regular season has to be for NBA players, you can’t blame the guys for enjoying the preseason goof-off spectacle that is NBA media days.

Players surely take their interview responsibilities seriously enough, but when it comes time to mean-mug or bring some absurdity to photo and video shoots, they happily oblige.

Believe it or not, it’s actually training camp time in The Association, so the past few days have been light-heartedly busy for most of the former Kansas University players lucky enough to call the NBA home.

Some get to enjoy it a little more than others, as you can see in our social media roundup from the festivities.

Cole Aldrich, New York Knicks

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Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat

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Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

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Drew Gooden and Paul Pierce, Washington Wizards

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Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls

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Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder

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Xavier Henry, Los Angeles Lakers

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Marcus and Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

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Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings

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Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers

Brandon Rush, Golden State Warriors

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Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves

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Media day / throw-down night

Minnesota had an open practice for Timberwolves fans to watch following its media day, nicknaming the fun: Dunks After Dark.

Wiggins delivered a few throw-downs to help it live up to its name.


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