This one was wild. It was quite a night for the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big Apple. Buckle up if you didn’t see it. We’ll take you through it step-by-step.
Brandon Rush hit the lottery and was the first KU player to be taken by
the Portland Trailblazers at 13 proving Rush’s stock had
risen during the last month. But in an attention-grabbing proposed
trade, Rush’s rights were said to be going to the Indiana Pacers. Now here’s where it gets interesting. The Pacers are
where brother Kareem resides and plays the same position. A few mock
drafts showed the Pacers were interested in Rush at 11, but the Pacers
drafted Arizona point guard Jerryd Bayless. Pending NBA approval Rush
will in fact be part of Larry Bird’s organization. Bird
cannot comment on the proposed trade and called it “purely
speculation”. Ok, ok. You can pretend you don’t
know but WE know Rush will likely be in Indiana.
That was just the beginning for a topsy-turvy night for a crop of
Darrell Arthur, once assumed a lottery pick, became the last man in the
green room. It’s a dreaded spot to be in…cameras
on you as frustration grows - and you could see it on Shady’s
face - he became a focal point for analysts to discuss. It’s
a nightmare position to be in. After the lottery concluded you thought
maybe Washington (the last team he worked out for) at the 18th pick,
but no. How could someone as talented as Arthur slide this far? This it
the point when you’re in the 20’s that you know
something is terribly wrong. Then ESPN’s Ric Bucher brought
up a test that revealed some kind of mysterious kidney issue.
Ahhhh….now we’re getting down to it.
Finally, the New Orleans Hornets, the same team that drafted Julian Wright, took KU’s talented sophomore with the 27th pick of
the draft. Whew!! A collective sigh of relief went up but the health
rumors clearly hurt Arthur’s wallet.
Later it was revealed that Arthur had another blood test that ended up
normal in Washington. But somehow word did not reach other teams that
had Arthur on their draft boards. Something Bill Self was extremely
disappointed in after the draft.
“Word did not get down to other teams that the test was
normal and they were still going on a previous test,” Self
continued. If that’s the case, then somebody clearly dropped
the ball which would be very disappointing because that cost him a lot
“I thought the teams throughout the night they’d
love to take him but they can’t because of this health issue
and they couldn’t confirm that he was ok yet.”
This was just the beginning of a crazy night for the Dallas native.
Now, after waiting what seemed like an eternity, Arthur’s
rights were said to be traded to Portland. But on a conference call
later, it was revealed by Self that Arthur might in fact be going to
Portland but better not unpack his bags. He was trailblazing alright,
but the final word was that there could possibly be a trade that would
send Shady to Houston. Nothing is confirmed but Self shared a rumor he
received via text message that said that Portland may not be last stop.
Standby as this story continues to develop over the next few days.
Self did mention regardless of what happens playing in Houston with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady could be a great fit for Shady and that whoever
gets him as the 27th pick is getting a top ten talent.
Then came Mario Chalmers saga. KU’s national championship
hero opted to keep his name in the draft when first round fame seemed a
sure thing. After being projected as high as the lottery in recent days
in mock drafts, the first round came and went. When the last pick of
round one featured a former KU player (J.R. Giddens) and not a current
one, the mood in the Chalmers camp was not good.
“When that 30th pick came there’s no doubt I was
hoping it would be Mario,” Self added and did mention that he
was happy for Giddens. “because when it came down to the end
I was really hurting for him knowing that he was told he would be
drafted in a certain area and it just didn’t work out that
Mario was was forced to wait until the 34th pick of the draft (4th pick
of round two), and was chosen by the Timberwolves.
“I am surprised based on the feedback that Ronnie (Chalmers),
Mario, and his agent gave us of where he would go,” Self
admitted. “It is very disappointing that a guy with
eligibility left would fall to the second round. I’m sure
But there is no time for second-guessing and when Self was asked about
Mario’s decision he refused to question it. In the end Self
feels like the Timberwolves are a good fit. Oh wait, did I say
T-Wolves? I meant the Miami Heat. Yes, that’s right
Mario’s rights are said to be going to South Beach.
“I think he went to a great team, a team he can make and have
an impact. Although very disappointing tonight, it think in the long
run it can turn out ok for him,” said Self.
Next it was Darnell Jackson, who thought he might be an early second
round pick but Jackson was taken 52nd in the second round by the Miami
Heat. At the end of the night, he was the easiest KU player to track,
and it appears he and Mario will reunite in South Florida.
Sasha Kaun just signed a contract to play in Russia and will make more
than any KU player for the next two seasons in all likelihood. Sasha
will be overseas in his homeland for at least two years but his rights
on draft night went to Seattle four picks after his teammate Jackson.
Ahh…but on a conference call after the draft Sasha informed
a bunch of surprised writers that his rights will in fact go to the
Cleveland Cavaliers. The Russian’s reaction…
“It’s awesome”, said Kaun
enthusiastically. “I worked out for them and had a lot of fun
and it’s a good opportunity for me.”
Kaun said he will definitely play in Russia at least two years and then
will definitely consider coming back to the states. Sasha will leave
for his home country on Sunday with his focus on making the Olympic
So after a whirlwind night a record-tying five Kansas Jayhawks were
taken, but four of them were traded, which has to be some of other type
of record. It was so confusing that on a conference call after several
of us had to ask for clarification of who was in fact on what team.
Self watched the draft at home with the players and family and spoke
about mixed emotions after.
“I’m happy for our guys,” Self told
reporters after. “I was a little disappointed that a couple
of them fell past where they were told they would go and
that’s always disappointing.”
A notable member of KU’s national championship squad
who’s name was not called on Thursday night, New
York’s own Russell Robinson. Robinson avoided the whirlwind
his teammates went through and will have to make an NBA roster via a
In fact, Robinson may be better off being undrafted and having the
flexibility and ability to tryout for several different NBA teams
rather than be locked into one franchise.
The NBDL and playing overseas will also be options for Robinson if he
doesn’t make an NBA roster.
Wild Draft Night For Jayhawks
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