On Friday morning, a story in the Seattle Times indicating that Micah Downs would enter the NBA Draft following his senior year of high school at Juanita (WA) High sent shockwaves through Kansas basketball circles.
On Sunday evening, Downs' father Steve spent some time with Phog.net and made it clear that his son is certainly interested in making it to the NBA. However, the 6-8 WF will attend the University of Kansas first and still has plenty of developing to do.
“Micah’s ultimate goal is to play in the league but we’re not trying to rush anything,” Downs told Phog.net. “He’s got a lot of work to do, he’s got to get stronger and mature and he’s not ready for the NBA. Micah’s plan is to go to Kansas and that is what me and his mother want him to do.”
While Downs' father is open that the NBA is something that weighs heavily on the minds of Micah and the entire Downs family, they aren’t putting the cart before the horse. Mr. Downs was also apologetic to Kansas coach Bill Self and his staff for any stress that talk of Downs skipping college may have caused them during the holidays.
“I feel bad that coach’s phone was probably going crazy when he was trying to spend time with his family and I know that ours hasn’t stopped ringing all weekend long,” said Downs. “Coach Self is a good man, a good Christian, and he deserves better than what happened. We love the guy and if anybody can help prepare Micah for what he needs to do, he’s the guy.”
According to Mr. Downs, neither he nor Micah intended to give the impression that Micah was looking to skip college and some of what Micah had to say may have been misunderstood. Their intent when speaking about the NBA was only to point out that it was Micah’s ultimate goal, and that if it were possible for him to be a high pick out of high school they would have to look into it.
“Coach Self has a lot of experience with the NBA and we want to make sure Micah leans on him, that’s what he’s there for. He’s got his best interests at heart and if he didn’t Micah wouldn’t have committed to Kansas,” said Downs about talk concerning the NBA. “The only thing that we wanted to accomplish by talking about the NBA was to let everybody know that it’s his goal to make it (NBA).”
The Downs family is fully aware that the report caught Kansas fans by surprise and they understand why some fans may have been upset.
“Other people’s opinions are important, including the fans, and we can’t lose focus,” said Downs. “The fans are very important, they buy the tickets and support the team and without them there is no game. We don’t believe in just blowing people off and fans have very valid opinions.”
Another subject that Mr. Downs addressed was his son’s recent two-game suspension from the Juanita basketball team. According to Mr. Downs, it was his decision to have Micah attend an individual workout rather than a team function and it was Juanita’s athletic director who suspended him after Downs drew a technical foul during an emotional game with his former school, Bothell (WA) High.
“I didn’t see an obscene gesture when he got the technical and I thought he handled himself pretty well,” said Downs. “Micah has nothing but love and admiration for his coach. Zeke (Juanita coach Ezechial Bambolo) understands where he’s come from and where he’s going and he’s doing everything he can do to help Micah get there.”
Perhaps most importantly, Downs wants to make sure that his son isn’t labeled as a malcontent or a bad kid.
“Some people have been pointing the finger at Micah because of all of these high schools but that is because of me and my work situation,” said Downs. “Everywhere he’s been, he’s been successful and we’re talking about a good kid who doesn’t smoke weed and isn’t out drinking. He’s just a good 18 year old young man.”
Finally, the entire Downs family is looking forward to putting the last week behind them when Micah returns to the court against Chief Sealth on December 30th. They are also looking forward to his career at the University of Kansas.
“Micah’s honored that Kansas wanted him, that’s the best program in the world right there,” finished Downs. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nobody holds a candle to Kansas, nobody.”