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Sunday, July 31, 2005

KU duo feeling young

Miles, Lee have blast coaching at camp

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— It was hard to tell who the real kids were at the Aaron Miles basketball camp earlier this week at Wichita Collegiate High.

Lorenzo Beach and Markus Phox looked the part, barely measuring to the waist of their two-on-two basketball counterparts - former Kansas University guards Miles and Michael Lee.

But the Jayhawks were flashing bigger smiles. First, the inseparable duo from Portland, Ore., cracked up when Beach rolled a ball through Lee's legs to Phox, who turned it into an easy (and obviously uncontested) layin.

The biggest applause from the 50 or so campers watching - and widest grins from the Jayhawks - came when Miles burned the two youngsters with a quick dribble and jumped into the arms of Lee, who hoisted the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Miles for an emphatic jam.

"I enjoy being out there with the kids," said the recently graduated Miles, who left his mark at Kansas by becoming the school's career assist leader with a total of 954, which ranks eighth all-time in NCAA Division One.

"I love having fun. I love helping, teaching basketball to little kids," said Miles, who came to Wichita along with Lee and KU senior-to-be Jeff Hawkins for the camp that founder Jeff McEntarfer started last season with former KU All-American Nick Collison.

For the first time in four years, Miles was unable to participate in the annual KU camp earlier this summer because he was trying to hook up with an NBA team.

"Playing basketball at the University of Kansas gave me a chance to reach a lot of people, more people than I ever thought I could," Miles said. "These kids look up to us, they watch our games. They're our fans, they support us, they love us. It's only right that we come back and show our faces and try to help them."

¢ End of an era: This summer is unique in another way for Miles and Lee, who, for the first time since they met as 5-year-olds on the baseball field, will go their separate ways.

"It's real different," Miles said with a smile. "I'm used to waking up every morning and seeing Mike, whether it was back in Portland or at school every year."

Lee said he would miss seeing the friend he became so connected with during their football and basketball days at Jefferson High.

"We still talk every day, but physically not seeing each other every day will definitely be a little weird," Lee said. "But it's cool, our careers our taking us two different ways, but our friendship has been one for so long that it will never end."

¢ New challenges: Like his former Jayhawk teammate Keith Langford, Miles wasn't drafted last month - meaning his road to the NBA will require more maneuvering.

Whether through a good showing at an NBA preseason camp or hard work at the National Basketball Developmental League, Miles said he was willing to work.

"I'm only thinking about the NBA," said Miles, who had a subpar summer-league showing when he averaged 3.3 points per game and had 13 assists to 15 turnovers in six games for the Seattle SuperSonics earlier this month.

"I didn't play as good as I would have liked," Miles said. "But there's some big adjustments to the NBA. But the most important thing was I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about the NBA game, and I'm making adjustments as we speak. I'm definitely looking forward to going into training camp prepared."

Lee said he was looking into overseas opportunities, but he said he wasn't 100-percent sure of his next move.

"Hopefully, that works out," Lee said. "If not I'm thinking about going back to school, going home, or coaching or something."

Hawkins - who started at KU during the 2001-02 season along with Miles, Lee, Langford and Wayne Simien - said he was looking forward to continuing the tradition that the five started.

"I've been where they've been the last four years. Right now, I'm just trying to lead by what I learned from them and past players in the program," Hawkins said. "Just feed off that knowledge and try to bring that to this year's team because we're going to be so young."

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