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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Langford, Miles to get shot at NBA

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It didn't take long for undrafted former Kansas University basketball guards Keith Langford and Aaron Miles to hook up with NBA teams.

A day after the NBA Draft, Miles on Wednesday agreed to play for the summer-league teams of the New York Knicks and Seattle SuperSonics. Langford accepted a spot on the summer-league roster of the Dallas Mavericks.

Their goals will be to land invitations to preseason camps in October and ultimately sign free-agent contracts.

"It's a perfect opportunity," said a happy Langford, who hails from Dallas' twin city of Fort Worth, Texas. "Dallas was there from the start. They actually called before the draft and said they were interested in me."

The Mavericks had no picks in the two-round draft.

"Donnie Nelson, the GM, said they wanted some youth and athleticism in the backcourt, and the opportunity is there for me," Langford said. "They've been watching me since the Global Games (when he was in high school) and are interested in me playing the point."

The Mavericks, who have promised combo guard Langford plenty of summer playing time, will participate in the Los Angeles summer league July 8-23.

"Dallas has four spots to fill on its roster," said Langford's agent, Mark McNeil. "The thing with Dallas is, they've indicated they will give him a lot of minutes. We wanted to make sure he was with a team that will play him. He's going to be seen by a lot of teams."

"I'm thinking like I'm a Maverick right now," Langford said.

Miles, a Portland, Ore., native, will play for the Knicks in the Las Vegas summer league July 6-11 and for the Sonics in the Salt Lake City summer league July 16-22.

"The way I look at it : even if I was drafted in the second round, I'd still have to make that team, because there are no guaranteed contracts in the second round," Miles said. "I'm in the same position as all the second-rounders. I just have to make a team."

Miles' agent, Chris Emens of Octagon, believes his client actually is in a better position than a lot of second-rounders. That's because Emens found Miles a pair of teams that need guards. The Knicks, who drafted combo guard Nate Robinson, have only one point guard under contract: Stephon Marbury. The Sonics have one point guard under contract in Luke Ridnour.

"We actually dissuaded a team from drafting him," Emens said, not naming the team. "There was one team we wanted to draft him, and I will not reveal the team, but it is one of the teams he'll be playing with this summer. People say all the time it can be in your best interests not to be drafted.

"If he'd have been drafted by Seattle, he'd be in the exact same situation he is in now. Now he'll spend 10, 11 days with the Knicks, as well as be seen by 16 teams in Las Vegas. It gives you more an opportunity to show what you can do."

NBA rosters may expand from 12 to 14 next year under the new collective-bargaining agreement. Also, the fact the NBDL is going to expand and become more of a true minor-league system for the parent NBA could help the former Jayhawks.

¢ Draft watch: Langford and Miles watched the draft in their hometowns.

"I wasn't upset, just because the way my workouts went : I had some good workouts, but I know how touchy the business is," Langford said. "If Keith Langford comes in and plays better than some of the other guys they are working out, they can't take Keith Langford over the other (first-round) guy. Politics gets into it. I just wanted an opportunity and I'm getting that."

Miles' reaction? "It was a childhood dream to hear my name called, but it didn't happen. I've got to move on and go about it in a different way."

¢ Simien fan: Langford, on Wayne Simien being tapped No. 29 in the first round by Miami.

"I'm going out and buying a Wayne Simien Miami Heat jersey online right now cause it's going to be worth something. He's going to be great," Langford said. "It's a shame he didn't go before a lot of other guys. Wayne's been a warrior his whole career, and Miami is a great place for him."

¢ More on Chalmers hiring: KU coach Bill Self says he is "excited" about his hiring of Ronnie Chalmers as KU's new director of basketball operations.

Chalmers, father of incoming KU guard Mario Chalmers, has experience in basketball in both the Air Force and private sector. He won two state titles and compiled a 109-29 record at Bartlett High in Anchorage the past five years and coached traveling AAU teams.

Prior to that, during his 22 years in the Air Force, he was assistant coach of the All-Air Force Basketball Team, head coach of the Air Force Command Level Team, player on the U.S. Armed Forces team, and he also coached the AAU Armed Forces Team.

Chalmers graduated from Wayland College with a bachelors degree in business and a masters degree in human resources from the University of LaVerne. He has a doctorate in education from LaVerne.

"He has been around basketball and done a lot of things. I would not have hired him if I didn't think he was the most qualified for the job," Self said.

Self said he "could care less if (opposing fans) think this was a package deal. Getting to know him, I just become more and more impressed with him. He's the right man for the job."

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