University of Kansas

KU coach Self assembles former Jayhawks in Vegas: ‘We’re all part of a special thing’

Bill Self: Muffed play in earlier game helped KU perfect play that saved 2008 championship

Mario Chalmers' shot in 2008 that sent the NCAA title game into overtime came on a play the Jayhawks botched earlier against Texas. Coach Bill Self attributes their success to the practice the team put into the play after the first failed attempt.
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Mario Chalmers' shot in 2008 that sent the NCAA title game into overtime came on a play the Jayhawks botched earlier against Texas. Coach Bill Self attributes their success to the practice the team put into the play after the first failed attempt.

Several former Kansas basketball players, coaches and staff members gathered Tuesday night at a Las Vegas restaurant for a dinner hosted by KU coach Bill Self.

It turned out to be the perfect time for a mini-Jayhawks hoops reunion, considering the attendees were all in Vegas for the league’s annual MGM Resorts NBA Summer League.

Coaches and staff in attendance at the dinner: Self, Larry Brown, R.C. Buford, Alvin Gentry, Ronnie Chalmers and Bill Pope. Players in attendance: Chase Buford, Jeremy Case, Eric Chenowith, Nick Collison, Drew Gooden, Devonté Graham, Dedric Lawson, Landen Lucas, Frank Mason, Aaron Miles, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman, Tyler Self, Jacque Vaughn, Kevin Young and Nakia Sanford of KU’s women’s program.

“Be proud of your school, be proud of what you guys have accomplished and be proud of what we’re getting ready to accomplish,” Self, KU’s 17th-year coach, said at the dinner as reported by KUathletics.com. “Because as good as we were when you were there, there’s potential for us to be a lot better, and I think we can really knock it out of the park.”’

Noted former KU guard Vaughn, an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets: “This is special. We’re all part of a special thing here. At the end of the day, just look after each other. There’s a common bond here that we have that no one can separate.”

Former KU center Chenowith told The Star: “It was amazing. Everybody there told jokes and stories until late in the night. I was walking out with coach Self ... he said he hadn’t laughed that hard in years. We aren’t able to get together that often. When we do we pick up where we left off, telling stories. It was really a lot of fun.”

Wednesday’s summer league games

Former KU wing Svi Mykhailiuk scored six points on 2-of-6 shooting with five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in Detroit’s 96-81 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday in NBA Summer League action in Las Vegas. He played 29 minutes. All of his shots were threes. … Former KU forward Dedric Lawson scored six points on 2-of-5 shooting with six rebounds and four assists in Golden State’s 73-69 win over Denver. ... Former KU guard Devonté Graham who has played in three of the Charlotte Hornets’ four summer games, scored 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting (4 of 8 from three) with seven rebounds, seven assists and four turnovers in Charlotte’s 75-72 loss to the Chicago Bulls. He played 29 minutes. … Former KU guard Malik Newman scored 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting (3 of 6 threes) with three assists and one turnover while playing 19 minutes in Cleveland’s 99-78 loss to New Orleans. … Former KU forward Thomas Robinson had seven points and seven rebounds while playing 13 minutes in San Antonio’s 79-78 loss to Phoenix.

Abdur-Rahim picks Virginia

Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a 6-6 senior-to-be small forward from Blair Academy in Short Hills, New Jersey, who is ranked No. 41 in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, on Wednesday orally committed to Virginia over runner-up Michigan. He attended the 2017 Late Night in the Phog as part of an unofficial visit to KU. He also considered UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame, Texas, Illinois, Georgia and Villanova.

Abdur-Rahim is the son of NBA G-League president and former NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

“I chose them because I felt most comfortable with the coaching staff and I felt they would best prepare me to win on the college level and achieve my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA,” Abdur-Rahim told ESPN.com.

Walker denies rumor he’s headed overseas

Former KU recruit R.J. Hampton recently announced he’d be playing pro basketball in Australia one season instead of competing in college during a one-and-done 2019-20 campaign.

According to reports, another Jayhawk prospect — Kyree Walker of the Class of 2020 — may be considering a similar path. Zagsblog.com reports Walker, a 6-foot-5 senior-to-be from Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, met with representatives of three Chinese professional teams last week and is on the verge of signing a $1 million, one-year deal with an option for a second season. He also reportedly has been offered a shoe deal.

Walker told Zagsblog.com he did not meet with any Chinese teams and is not considering playing there. He has a current list of Kansas, UCLA, Oregon, Arkansas, Michigan and others.

“I don’t know anything about me playing in China honestly,” he told Zagsblog. “Never crossed my mind.”

He also wrote on Twitter: “I haven’t thought about going overseas AT ALL!”

Walker, who is ranked No. 26 in the recruiting Class of 2020 by Rivals.com, averaged 30.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists last year at Hillcrest.

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