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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thrice as nice

Talented KU trio says it's staying put

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Russell Robinson, who was named the repeat winner of Kansas University's coveted "Mr. Jayhawk" Award at Tuesday's annual basketball banquet, will definitely be back for his senior season.

His return has never been in question.

The 600 fans who packed the Holiday Inn Holidome Convention Center for a chicken pasta meal will be happy to learn three of Robinson's teammates with uncertain futures also will be back on Mount Oread.

They are: Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers, who had been pondering a jump to the NBA, as well as Sherron Collins, who has been the subject of irresponsible Internet rumors that had him transferring to DePaul so he could be close to his newborn baby boy.

Those three players announced after the banquet they'd definitely be returning, while sophomore Brandon Rush reiterated what he told the Journal-World on Monday - that he was in no hurry to make a decision, but it "is still kind of open, though." He did indicate Tuesday if he does go pro, he would not hire an agent, thus keeping his options open of withdrawing by June 18.

First things first.

"One hundred percent I'll be back," sophomore combo guard Chalmers stated forcefully. "Me and coach did some looking into it. I think it'll be better for me to come back, have another great season and try to bring more to KU."

Chalmers added, "from what they were saying I'd have been first round (but) I really want to come back."

Arthur all season had been saying he'd "probably be back." On Tuesday the freshman pivot made it official.

"I'm coming back for sure," he said. "I wasn't really thinking about it. I was not thinking about going. My mind has been focused on school. I'll come in and work hard next year, have a good offseason, get in shape and try to do the best I can next year.

"With Julian (Wright) leaving, I guess I'll get some minutes at the 4-spot," he added. "'I'll do whatever I can to help the team."

"People (NBA officials) like 'Shady' a lot," KU coach Bill Self said. "But he's just a freshman. I can't say for sure where Mario would be picked. I don't know where he'd go exactly."

photo

KANSAS UNIVERSITY FORWARD JULIAN WRIGHT is met by a long line of well-wishing Jayhawks fans, including Overland Park resident Elizabeth Bosilevac, who stopped for an autograph. Wright and his teammates gathered at the Holidome on Tuesday for the team's annual basketball banquet.

Collins, meanwhile, had been the victim of ill-informed Internet message board posters who insisted he was transferring to DePaul in his hometown of Chicago.

"This is for everybody. I don't know where it came from, but Sherron Collins will not be leaving Kansas. I'll be staying at Kansas throughout my whole career," Collins stated. "I couldn't be with a better group of guys. We'll be great next year."

Collins said assistant Kurtis Townsend asked him about the rumors Tuesday.

"I let him know I don't know where it came from. I said, 'Are you serious?''' said Collins, who also indicated his knee is 90 percent recovered from a severe case of patellar tendinitis. "To have a year like I had with these guys, to leave them, you've got to be crazy."

Self said Collins told him he had 700 messages on his 'Facebook' page dealing with the DePaul rumors.

"People come up with stuff all the time that's not even remotely close to true," Self said, lamenting those who print gossip on the Web.

Rush, meanwhile, has until April 29 to decide whether to enter the draft.

"I'll wait to see who is coming out, get a feel for it," Rush said, indicating his brother Kareem, who is playing overseas, and Self are helping advise him.

"I've got until the 29th. I will take as much time as I possibly can."

He said he probably would turn pro if he's guaranteed top-20 status.

"It doesn't have to be 20, it has to be in that range," he said. "The deeper you go in the first round, the better the team is (that picks you) and you won't get to play."

Asked what he'd do if he had to decide today, Rush said: "I don't know. I haven't given it much thought."

Will Wright's decision to leave influence him? "No, not at all," he indicated. "Julian is his own person and I'll back him, but not at all. I'm relaxing right now, but it'll come to the point I have to make a decision."

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Kansas university basketball coach Bill Self, right, greets banquet attendees. The Jayhawks held their annual awards banquet Tuesday at the Holidome.

He was asked why he would come back.

"Just to go farther than we did last year. I think we have a great team whether I'll be back or not, but it'd be best for our whole team for us to be together."

Self had the attention of Rush and the crowd when he talked about next year.

"We're going to be good," Self said of the 2007-08 Jayhawks. "We've got another player (Rush) who has to make a decision. Whatever he does I'll be cool with. If you come back," he said to Rush, "I'll line up and play anybody, anywhere, 'cause we're going to be good."

Self said that was not meant to be a plea to Rush. He merely wanted to express optimism about next year, with his wife telling the coach she sensed fans being depressed about Wright's decision to leave.

"There's no full-court press (to keep Rush)," Self said. "If he does come back, we'll be as good as anybody."

¢Walk-on update: Self said he was not sure if sophomore walk-on Brad Witherspoon would return next season. "We have Conner Teahan, Matt (Kleinmann) and Brennan (Bechard)," he said of three walk-ons. "A lot depends (on roster size). I like him a lot, though."

¢Awards: The only award presented this year was the Mr. Jayhawk Award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a Jayhawk.

"I think individual awards are overrated. It's a team that all year long nobody cared who got the credit," Self said. "I didn't see why we should honor guys when everybody was so close in the categories."

Robinson would have been the runaway winner of the assists award, but several players were close in most categories. In fact, the academic award would have been a tie with Sasha Kaun and Matt Kleinmann both set to graduate next December with 3.2 grade point averages.

¢Recruiting update: A new name has emerged in the recruiting Class of 2007. Self last Sunday made a trip to Twin Falls, Idaho, to visit Brad Garrett, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound freshman guard from College of Southern Idaho.

Garrett, who averaged a team-leading 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for 30-7 Southern Idaho last season, visited Brigham Young last week. The St. George, Utah, native is headed to Oklahoma State this weekend and may make a trip to KU the following weekend. He's also considering Oregon and Southern California.

"Kansas is just one of the schools making a strong push," CSI coach Barrett Peery told rivals.com. "Brad is a bigger kid that can shoot the ball. He is a tremendous shooter. Actually, I would say Brad is a great shooter."

Comments

Lars Larson 15 years, 1 month ago

Sherron better be paying his child support.....

84Hawk 15 years, 1 month ago

Can anyone tell from this article who got the Mr Jayhawk award?

craigers 15 years, 1 month ago

I'm very excited to see everybody so pumped for next year. Rush should come back, but his comments show that he understands that he won't play much if a team takes him later in the draft. Come back and tear up the competition next year Rush. Is it Fall yet?!!

hawkitup 15 years, 1 month ago

Question: This Garrett kid...if he transferred to KU would he have to sit out a year? Am I missing something? If he is sitting out a year then what's the point if Rush leaves because you still don't have anybody to fill that spot.

fansincewilt 15 years, 1 month ago

I wonder what kind of defense this Garrett plays. He sounds like a backup for Rush-maybe a just-in-case Rush goes pro. If Rush stays, I wouldn't think this guy would have much interest in Kansas. In Rush, we may have a guy who would contend for the Wooden Award. I expect Rush to the best player in college basketball next year. I think he'll come back. I hope he does, anyway. I doubt that there is a replacement out there for him. He really showed up in the NCAA tournament.

Jayhawker35 15 years, 1 month ago

I believe Southern Idaho is a Junior College, so Garrett would not have to sit out a year.

Craig Lang 15 years, 1 month ago

I think Garrett is in junior college, so there is no requirement for him to sit out a year if he transfers to a Division I school.

FatTony 15 years, 1 month ago

Juco players don't have to sit a year, its not considered a transfer.

Chicago_JHawk 15 years, 1 month ago

Arron Afflalo declared for the draft, so that shoves Rush down another spot. A few more like him and it may convince BR to stay...

rockchalkAZ 15 years, 1 month ago

That's good news to hear... Hopefully Rush decides to come back

super_jayhawk 15 years, 1 month ago

To quote the article, "Collins, meanwhile, had been the victim of ill-informed Internet message board posters who insisted he was transferring to DePaul in his hometown of Chicago." Gee, I wonder WHICH message board(s) we could be referring to, eh?

I just have to say.. after wading through all the bickering and backbiting that went on in the last two days after Julian's decision to leave early. What you guys have to say here really does have an impact on the team, and even if they don't bother to read these websites, they doubtless get asked about such feedback by the media. After all, this website is operated by the closest newspaper to the Fieldhouse. And for many of us that don't live in Lawrence any more, it's the main way we get our news about our 'Hawks.

For those KU players that have seen all the screaming accusations against Julian, I hope that it won't give you second thoughts about doing your best for KU next year.

Now, for those of you fellow fans that haven't figured it out, any NCAA basketball player is free to leave the league at any time, for another job, whether it be working at the Hy-Vee or starting in the NBA. That goes for any of them, and they know full and well if they make the plunge, they can't come back. Hatred towards those that decide to do something else is just wrong. And for those of you screaming such hate, how many of you played on KU's B-Ball team to be able to throw such stones?

And yeah, I know that Julian said he'd stay, and then he bailed. But you can't deny that he's free to do that, despite the broken hearts. He broke no legal contract, and no law. And while I personally think he could have benefited from another year in the Fieldhouse, that was his decision and I respect it. Others should too.

And I have to say, for all of you that say that KU Basketball is over now that JuJu has left.. Come on, people! KU has had a proud tradition for 108 years now!

You think a player leaving the team is going to change any of that? That's like saying the program is over becasue Wilt or Pierce left. KU Basketball will go on, as long as there's a Jayhawk and as long as there's those of us willing to believe and cheer for the Jayhawks!

Come on, we INVENTED the whole sport! Gut check, fellow 'Hawks!

filmhawk 15 years, 1 month ago

hey super jayhawk - as proud as i am to be a jayhawk, it is embarassing when fans say that we INVENTED the game. it is simply not true. we didn't invent the game, we were not involved in the first organized basketball games (which had been played for years before it came to the hill), and that statement only adds fuel to the fire of jayhawk haters by showing our ignorance. try this next time you want to issue a "gut check" - whatever that means: we PERFECTED the game.

KU 15 years, 1 month ago

Chicago......Good point about Afflalo declaring. Notice that BEFORE, Rush was stating he had to be a Lottery Pick to go League. NOW, he's waffling and saying "it doesn't have to be 20 (meaning top 20 in the draft), it has to be in that range."

I think he's inclined to go pro and it would take a major bump to bring him back. I hope I'm wrong!

Let's hope for several more underclassmen and foreign players to declare in the next week.

Anybody know anything about the Garrett kid? His coach says he considers him a great shooter. Regardless of whether Rush goes, we could use a 6'5" kid that's a great shooter for the next 3 yrs.

Chris Shaw 15 years, 1 month ago

You know, I can't understand why there are so many people concentrating on Julian's "100 percent I'll be back for my Junior Year" comment. Our media across the country has gotten out of control. It's a shame that we focus to the fullest extent on what every athlete, politician or high profile name says and because they change their statement they are ridiculed to the fullest extent. Probably the only reason Julian said what he said was to keep the pressure and the focus off himself and focus all that attention on his team. That's the only way the media would have kept off his back this entire season about Julian's NBA possibilities. The more correct statement would have been "I'm not going to comment at all about the NBA until after the season", but I don't necessarily know if the media would have cut him any slack on that statement. Most athletes, politicians, and high profiles motives and intentions is not to deceive us as fans or viewers, but it's to keep the damn media off their ass and to prevent media from getting a quick blurb that could potentially diminish them as an individual. For Julian to go back on his word does not faze me one bit. I understand the circumstances which he is under and he changed his mind for himself. In this world, you gotta look out for yourself first and as long as you do that who cares what everyone else says. Most people don't like Jason Whitlock of the KCSTAR, but he's one of the few great media people out there that set the record straight. If you get a chance to read his column today about IMUS and the Rutgers basketball team it is right on and I agree with every word in that column.

Oh by the way, I'm going to be a member of the media board or an ill-advised poster for about 20 seconds. I just heard that Rush has decided to leave KU for the NBA. Did everyone hear that? Rush has decided to leave KU for the NBA.

NO, NO, NO the above statements are false, but members of the media or some posters will probably take my last sentence and start posting that all-over the web. Good one whomever decided to report that Depaul rumor about Collins. Hmmmmm, I wonder what will be reported next or who will chastize someone's next quote?

KUFan90 15 years, 1 month ago

84 -

"Russell Robinson, who was named the repeat winner of Kansas University's coveted "Mr. Jayhawk" Award at Tuesday's annual basketball banquet,"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess it was Robinson...

Chris Shaw 15 years, 1 month ago

I don't know, but this mock draft doesn't look good for Rush. It's not good b/c it would mean he would be drafted in the second round, but the good thing is it would be to Boston where he could possibly produce right away and have a good mentor in Paul Pierce at Boston.

http://www.nbadraft.net/

This Draft has him going 21st, but to the Heat. I don't know how much I would want to play for the heat since their are so many veterans. I know their getting really old, but I wouldn't want to play along side Dwayne Wade.

http://www.draftexpress.com/mymock.php?page=official&year=2007

It's hard to put any value into these mock drafts, but the two above are the few that have been completely updated recently. I would say that Rush is 20th and could slip all the way down to the second round. I guess he could be a Gilbert Arenas by being drafted in the second round, but that requires a lot of luck, but who would honestly want to be a like Gilbert Arenas? I mean, he got beat out by Hinrich for the Olympic team. Brandon's older brother was drafted in the second round and that didn't work out for him and Kareem was drafted late first round and that hasn't worked out much for him either. Kareem at least got paid.

Joel Teply 15 years, 1 month ago

Rush will come back. He is going to be the star of this team, and won't have to share that as much as he did this year. In terms of attention, there is no better way than being the "best" player on possibly the best team in the country. And then there's that NCAA Final Four thing. Both he and Wright wanted to stay, but it was best for Wright to move on. That isn't true for Rush, especially with Julian leaving.

beebe1 15 years, 1 month ago

kushaw is right. I hate to see the vitriolic expressions on this website. Being disappointed is one thing, being vitriolic is another. This is a Jayhawk board; appreciate what you've got. And there isn't anything any of us can do to make things better! Be disappointed, but be a Jayhawk!

Joe Ross 15 years, 1 month ago

kushaw...

My passion is tempered "somewhat" by objectivity. I lack pride (of my own, though I maintain it in the Hawks) and the history and tradition of this school is my prejudice. In these posts I am inspired to agree and disagree even with those whom I consider "friends". You and I have borne the brunt of each others' heated retorts; nevertheless, you should not be surprised when and if I post in favor of your position as was done recently. My bias, if I have one, is toward the Crimson and Blue alone.

pbenso 15 years, 1 month ago

"Brad is a bigger kid that can shoot the ball. He is a tremendous shooter. Actually, I would say Brad is a great shooter."

No no, he's a sensational shooter. Wait, he's an awesome shooter. Actually I would say that I don't think I have ever seen him miss. He is literally the best shooter who has ever lived.

Chicago_JHawk 15 years, 1 month ago

pbenso -

I would say that you are someone who can really make a post. You are an excellent poster. Actually, you are a great poster. Hmmmm...what a great post!

Tad Shurtz 15 years, 1 month ago

kushaw said: "but who would honestly want to be a like Gilbert Arenas?"


Please tell me you're kidding. Agent Zero is one of the best guards in the NBA, as in, an All Star.

emeryhawk 15 years, 1 month ago

Whatever Rush decides this team is going to be really good with Arthur, Chalmers, Sherron and all the seniors. I agree that Rush could challenge for the Wooden award if he comes back having improved his handle and aggressiveness. But watch out for Arthur too. If he can stay out of foul trouble (big "if"), he can be a force. His early season performances gave some idea of what he's capable of. This guy could be a monster for us next year! That child support statement is messed up. No one's business but Sherron's. Afflalo could actually go lower than Rush, despite outplaying him in San Jose, so I don't think that's going to affect his decision. Returning would be an easy choice for Rush if he wasn't a year old for his class. That's one of the things that's keeping him from being a sure top-20 pick right now. Hard to say what another year will do for him from an NBA perspective, but I like our chances of having him back.

scottku1 15 years, 1 month ago

Any clues on what Julian has etched into his head?? Looks weird in the pictures and I cannot really tell.

palewhale 15 years, 1 month ago

pbenso and chicago_jhawk

you guys are funny. I think both posts were GRRRRREAT!

Chris Shaw 15 years, 1 month ago

Hey Honkytonk Man: I wonder if someone is going to chastize me for calling you honkytonk. Maybe they'll suspend me from posting on KUSPORTS for two weeks.

kushaw said: "but who would honestly want to be a like Gilbert Arenas?"


Please tell me you're kidding. Agent Zero is one of the best guards in the NBA, as in, an All Star.

No Honkytonk Man, I am not kidding you. Gilbert Arenas is not one of the best guards in the NBA. He is what's wrong with the NBA. The only reason he's good is b/c the so called NBA who tries to isolate indviduality allows him to be good. We all saw what happened in his World championships leading up to him finally being cut. He couldn't work within a system and when it was time to actually have ball movement and move without the basketball he was as lost as those damn people stuck on that stupid island in the TV show "Lost". His coach even said so himself that he'll never be great until he gets off his self-absorbed attitude. Anytime you start calling out people associated with the "Duke" program b/c Coach K cut you from World Championships is just sad. Yeah, Agent Selfish is good, but anytime you get 30 shots and have isolation plays set up for you, you can't, but be at least somewhat decent. Gilbert Arenas is the reason people don't like the NBA.

super_jayhawk 15 years, 1 month ago

filmhawk,

Ok, I should rephrase that.

Our first coach invented the game.

And of course perfected it from there, starting the "Coaching Tree" that continues to this day through all three of the winningest basketball programs in the country.

(And we named a street after him too).

KU 15 years, 1 month ago

Afflalo might go below Rush?! I don't think so. I don't think I'm letting his performance against KU influence my opinion TOO much. He's bigger than Rush. He's more physical than Rush. He's definitely more fearless than Rush. His perimeter shot is just as good as Rush's. He can be just as good a defender as Rush (remember, he played for a coach who turned the whole UCLA mentality from offense to defense in 1 year after his arrival). I personally think Afflalo would go ahead of Rush in the draft by at least 2 or 3 picks.

bangaranggerg 15 years, 1 month ago

I hope we land Brad Garret he was great in Everybody loves Raymond and he's real tall

Katie Van Blaricum 15 years, 1 month ago

I've seen Julian's head, and I believe it says "JuJu" in cursive letters. Collins has something shaved in too, but it just looked like a snake or worm to me.

Tom Keegan 15 years, 1 month ago

I would pick Rush before Afflalo. Rush has a better outside shot and is way quicker. Afflalo's a better ballhandler and has a thicker build. Rush blocked two of his shots early in the game. As soon as Rush went to the bench, Afflalo posted up Collins and hit a three. I'm not saying Rush will get picked before Afflalo, but I'd take him before Afflalo.

Craig Lang 15 years, 1 month ago

I was thinking the same thing, bang.

I have seen the online rumors that Oden is staying put. I don't believe it, but I think that might convince others who are on the fence to go pro.

I don't know if it is smart for Rush to declare for the draft without an agent. If he gets drafted in the second round, he is not guaranteed a contract, which means he could still be cut without playing a day in the NBA and his college eligibility is gone. An agent would probably help "sell" Brandon as a first-rounder. I would hope Brandon takes heed after seeing what his brother Jaron went through (left UCLA early and didn't get drafted).

Jaminrawk 15 years, 1 month ago

Rush would probably get drafted in the first round, but I'm afraid that he will just become another mediocre NBA guy. Unless you are either outstanding or tall, you don't have a very good chance of starting or making much of an immediate impact (example: DeShawn Stephenson, finally coming on after years of bench relegation). If he raises his stock next year, he will get drafted higher and any team that picks him would feel obligated to play him. Anyway it shakes out, I'll root for him and Wright like I do every Jayhawk.

emeryhawk 15 years, 1 month ago

KU - I'm not saying I think Afflalo should go below Rush, just that draft projections I've seen have him going lower than Rush. tkeegan is right that Rush is faster and also a better perimeter defender. The guy has a knack for blocking threes, which is hard to do, especially against a tall guy like Afflalo.

Martin Shupert 15 years, 1 month ago

I hope Robinson shoots about 500 three pointers a day until next season. He can shoot and it will be important. Rush probably leaves so players need to step up. That's all it means. KU didn't invent basketball? I learn something every day.

Joe Ross 15 years, 1 month ago

Okay, I realize I rant too often on this message board (though I try to not speak unless there's something worth saying). They say the first step in the 12-step program is to recognize the problem. For those of you who are interested, the SECOND STEP is to acknowledge God's ability to bring about deliverance.

"God, if you're listening, they say you gave us one mouth and two ears so we could listen twice as much as we speak."

So instead of offering my own perspective, I'm regurgitating snippits of posts I find agreement with:

super_hawk:

"And while I personally think he could have benefited from another year in the Fieldhouse, that was his decision and I respect it. Others should too."

bangarranggerg:

"I hope we land Brad Garret he was great in Everybody loves Raymond and he's real tall."

beebe1:

"I hate to see the vitriolic expressions on this website. Being disappointed is one thing, being vitriolic is another. This is a Jayhawk board; appreciate what you've got. And there isn't anything any of us can do to make things better! Be disappointed, but be a Jayhawk!"

kushaw:

"It's a shame that we focus to the fullest extent on what every athlete, politician or high profile name says and because they change their statement they are ridiculed to the fullest extent."

lalawguy:

"I have seen the online rumors that Oden is staying put. I don't believe it..."

aquakej:

"I've seen Julian's head"

rockchalkAZ 15 years, 1 month ago

If Rush enters the draft, it doesn't matter if he hires an agent- he can't come back. He already 'tested the waters' coming out of high school 2 years ago, and you're only allowed to enter and withdraw 1 time. So unless that rule has changed in the last year, if he declares he is gone.

Chris Shaw 15 years, 1 month ago

JRoss: This is one of the few times I agree with your posts. Great post, but you forgot one little thing in Beebe 1's post. There was one more sentence that started off that entire blurb. Do you know what that was? Here is the sentence. "kushaw is right." Ha! I'm just kidding. I just wanted to rib you a little. Great post though.

beebe1:

"I hate to see the vitriolic expressions on this website. Being disappointed is one thing, being vitriolic is another. This is a Jayhawk board; appreciate what you've got. And there isn't anything any of us can do to make things better! Be disappointed, but be a Jayhawk!"

Tom Keegan 15 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Rush would be allowed to test the waters because the first time he did it he was a high school player. The rule is you can only do it once as a college player.

JayCeph 15 years, 1 month ago

Lenny Bias? Is he playing again? Weird... must be rough.

rockchalk66 15 years, 1 month ago

Congrats to RR on the repeat, Is this the BR and Julian article? I don't think so, So stick to the article.

Chris McIlvain 15 years, 1 month ago

Why are you people even talking about next year? It will be like last year, and the year before, etc. etc. We will be great in the regular season and flame out in the post-season when it counts most!

Joe Ross 15 years, 1 month ago

"Why are you people even talking about next year?"

Uh, because that's the one that's NEXT? I'm just guessing here...

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