Sunday, July 10, 2005

Giddens will transfer to New Mexico


J.R. Giddens has decided to transfer to the University of New Mexico.

Giddens' mom, Dianna, told the Journal-World on Saturday night her son orally committed to the Albuquerque, N.M., school.

"I think it's going to be wonderful for J.R.," Dianna Giddens said of the former Kansas University guard, who selected New Mexico over Tennessee, Miami, Florida, Arizona State, UTEP, TCU, Pittsburgh and others.

"The coach (Ritchie McKay) talked to J.R. about being a better person as opposed to being a basketball player. He wants to get him in church. It's mandatory to go to church. He talked about building character. He says if you build character, he'll get a better ballplayer."

Giddens' mom said she was not surprised her son chose UNM without making any other campus visits. Albuquerque is about an eight-hour drive from the family home in Oklahoma City.

"He's been on the phone with so many coaches already," Dianna Giddens said. "He knows he likes this coach and wants to play for this coach. It's somebody he really likes and trusts as a person, and somebody he wants to play for."

Giddens, who was unavailable for comment, told the Albuquerque Journal he regretted the end of his KU career.

He was stabbed in the right calf May 19 outside Lawrence's Moon Bar.

"Anyone can make a bad decision," Giddens, 20, told the Journal. "What happened happened, and I can't change it. But what I can change is what I do from now on in my decision-making. ... Life is too short to just be out there on the wing."

Giddens must sit out a season according to NCAA transfer rules. His mom said his health should have him on the court before long.

"The injury is coming along wonderfully. He's doing squats and things now. He's getting massages twice a day," Dianna said.

Giddens apparently is not the first member of his extended family to attend UNM. Former New Mexico football lineman Frank Giddens, a distant relative, played at New Mexico from 1977 to 1980 and later for the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I'd always hear stories of him being in the NFL," Giddens said. "Then we had a family reunion one time, and I remember seeing him there."

Giddens said he knew Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger played at New Mexico. In fact, Giddens has spoken to Granger about the school.

"I talked to Mr. Granger, and he had nothing but nice things to say," Giddens said. "He's a phenomenal player, and I'm a fan of his. He told me he was really comfortable playing here, and he said (the UNM coaching staff) helped him get to the next level."

¢ Thomas on Spurs' roster: Former Kansas University basketball guard Billy Thomas will play for the San Antonio Spurs' summer-league team at the Rocky Mountain Review July 15-22 in Salt Lake City. Thomas played for the New Jersey Nets last season.

¢ Another Henry excels: Former KU basketball players Carl Henry and Barbara Adkins have two sons who are standout athletes.

C.J. Henry, who orally committed to play basketball at KU, recently gave up that offer by signing with the New York Yankees for a bonus in the $1 million-plus range.

Xavier Henry, 14, is attending this year's Nike All-America camp. A member of the recruiting Class of 2009, the 6-foot-4 Henry will be a freshman at Putnam City High in suburban Oklahoma City.

He's the youngest invitee to this year's Nike camp.

"I play basketball with my brother all the time," Henry said. "C.J. ... he's a good basketball player."


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