Kansas basketball coach Bill Self says he’d love to be able to attend this week’s NBA Draft combine in support of the five Jayhawks who will be competing at the five-day event in Chicago.
“I can’t,” Self, KU’s 15th-year coach, said in an interview with The Star, explaining, “I have NCAA oversight committee meetings all day Thursday and Friday (in Indianapolis). Those are the only days they (NBA officials) allow people to go watch. We’ll send an assistant there,” Self added of one his coaching staff members heading to Quest Multisport in the Windy City.
The NCAA oversight committee — it includes two college coaches and several athletic directors — will be involved in the process of considering the recommendations of Condoleezza Rice’s independent commission on how to solve some of the issues facing college basketball. Self's term on the committee ends in June.
Former KU guards Devonté Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman, who at this time are considered likely second-round picks in the June 21 Draft, will attend the Wednesday-Sunday combine, as will forwards Billy Preston and Udoka Azubuike, who have not yet been listed in any mock drafts.
Preston — he left school during his freshman season amid eligibility concerns over a car he’d been driving on campus — played a couple games in a pro league in Bosnia last winter. Azubuike, who just completed his sophomore season at KU, has not signed with an agent, thus has until May 30 to withdraw his name from the draft if he wishes to return to college.
Self said recently his goal for his players at the combine is to “perform well, but the biggest thing is being able to perform well with a free mind.”
Two KU recruits to play in Lawrence
Wichita Sunrise Christian Academy senior-to-be Malik Hall and junior-to-be N'Faly Dante, who have been offered scholarships by Kansas and many other schools, will be competing in the showcase game of the KC Classic AAU tournament Saturday night in Lawrence.
Hall, a 6-7, 210-pound small forward, who is ranked No 49 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, and Dante, a 6-10 center who is ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2020, will play for MoKan Elite’s EYBL under-17 team against the Colorado Hawks in a 7:55 p.m. tip at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.
Hall has received offers from KU, Missouri, Villanova, Notre Dame, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and others. Hall — he averages 14.2 points a game during the spring Nike EYBL circuit — recently told The Star he plans on cutting his list of schools after the AAU season, then will make some visits in the fall.
Dante has been offered by KU, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Oregon, LSU and others. He’s averaging 15.0 points and 9.3 rebounds a game on the the EYBL circuit.
Dante, who has a 7-foot-5 wingspan, hails from Mali, home of former KU forward Cheick Diallo of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The KC Classic will be held Friday through Sunday at Sports Pavilion Lawrence at Rock Chalk Park. Details on the event can be viewed at hardwoodevents.com.
Roundball Classic plans underway
So far, 47 former Kansas basketball players and coaches have committed to participate in the 10th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, set for a 7 p.m. tip on Thursday, June 14 at Lawrence’s Free State High School.
Ticket information for the game designed to raise money for local children and their families battling cancer is available at rockchalkroundballclassic.com.
Game organizer Brian Hanni, the radio play-by-play voice of KU football and basketball (in conjunction with the Landen Lucas Foundation and Baby Jay’s Legacy of Hope) has added a celebrity golf tournament to the weekend festivities. It will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 16 at the Jayhawk Club. A celebrity golfer will join each of the 20 foursomes.
In addition, a VIP dinner will be held Friday, June 15 at Jayhawk Club. The dinner, to start at 7 p.m., will include a roundtable Q and A session with five of the top big men in KU history. Names will be provided on the event website at a later date.
Jayhawks who have supported the Classic in the past include current NBA players Cole Aldrich, Mario Chalmers, Wayne Selden and Ben McLemore as well as Perry Ellis, Tyshawn Taylor, Wayne Simien, Scot Pollard and many others.
Mann has KU in top three
Tre Mann, a 6-4 senior-to-be point guard from The Villages (Fla.) High School who is ranked No 37 nationally in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, did not commit to a school following official visits to Florida and Tennessee.
He now lists Kansas in his top three following a recent scholarship offer. LSU and Florida State also are in the running.
“They’ve had great players in the past and a great coaching staff. I haven’t been on a visit, so I don’t know the (KU) campus yet. But I want to see it,” Mann told Rivals.com. “I’m just going with the flow right now. I don’t have a set date for a commitment. If I feel like I’m confident about a certain school then it will be done. Right now I have three schools that are my top three, really."