A trip to the 28th annual Pete Newell Big Man Camp won't magically transform Kansas University's Sasha Kaun into the next Shaquille O'Neal.
Yet this week's participation in the six-day camp in Las Vegas with about 70 other college and pro big men should speed the progress of KU's 6-foot-11, 246-pound sophomore pivot from Russia.
So says KU coach Bill Self, who is an admirer of the work of Hall of Fame coach Newell.
"It's a great camp," Self said. "Danny (Manning) went to Pete Newell's camp (several) consecutive years. It's a teaching camp. Coach Newell always has been a master of teaching footwork for big guys."
Kaun, who did not begin playing basketball until he was in the 10th grade, averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 boards his freshman season at KU.
"Certainly, Sasha is a guy who needs to get out and play, and this experience should be good for him - for all guys who attend that camp," Self said.
The 80-year-old Newell compiled a 234-123 record as coach at San Francisco, Michigan State and California. He led Cal to the 1959 NCAA title, San Francisco to the 1949 NIT title and the U.S. to a Olympic gold medal in the 1960 Rome games.
At California, Newell directed the Golden Bears to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA championship game (1959-60).
¢ Wilkes update: Speaking of California, former Jayhawk guard Omar Wilkes has impressed his teammates since arriving as a transfer at the start of last season. He practiced in games but could not play in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
"I'm not sure what he was like at Kansas, but he does some amazing things here," Cal guard Rod Benson told the Contra Costa Times. "He can get into the lane and create shots I haven't seen other people do. He's got a 40-inch vertical leap and him only being 6-3, he could be the X-factor on our team."
Wilkes and his brother, 6-9 freshman Jordan, will play against KU on Dec. 10 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
¢ All quiet on Rush front: Brandon Rush, a 6-6 guard from Kansas City, Mo., did not visit the KU campus on Wednesday. It's unknown if or when he'll visit KU.
Rush is considering KU, Illinois, Indiana and perhaps other schools. He also may practice all year at the IMG Academy in Florida while awaiting the next NBA Draft.
Brett Dawson of the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette had a funny Rush take on Wednesday:
Brandon Rush is visiting Kansas. I'm sure of this.
No I'm not.
I'm sure Rush visited Champaign last week. I think. When I talked to him on his cell phone, that's where he said he was. Of course, I was also sure that after that visit, he was going to Bloomington, Ind., to check out Indiana. I was sure of that because he told me so. Turns out he decided not to go.
I'm sure that Illinois has a great shot at landing Rush.
No I'm not.
I'm pretty sure Rush will sign with the Illini. I'm pretty sure he won't. I'm almost positive he'll qualify for freshman eligibility. But I'm not sure of that at all.
Is this confusing you?
Welcome to my world.
Dawson went on to say there was so much information and misinformation out there about Rush that he would give the topic a rest for a while.
"If he ends up at Kansas, it won't shock me. Heck, he could end up at Southeast Missouri State and I probably wouldn't think it odd," Dawson wrote.