Kansas’ basketball program has 16 players listed on opening-night rosters of NBA teams as the 2017-18 season begins.
The Jayhawks are tied nationally with North Carolina for third most NBA players of any college team. Kentucky is first with 27 and Duke second with 20 in figures supplied by Kentucky’s athletic department. The NBA will put out its own list of players per college later this week.
Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison enters the 2017-18 season as KU’s longest-tenured pro. The 36-year-old power forward, who played on KU’s 2002 and ’03 Final Four teams, is beginning his 15th season, all with the Thunder organization.
The Jayhawks have a pair of rookies on rosters: Josh Jackson of the Phoenix Suns and Frank Mason of the Sacramento Kings.
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The Memphis Grizzlies employ three Jayhawks — Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore and Wayne Selden — most of any team. Minnesota (Andrew Wiggins, Cole Aldrich) and Washington (Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre) each have a pair of Jayhawks on the roster.
Others in the league: Darrell Arthur, Denver; Tarik Black, Houston; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia; Marcus Morris, Boston; Cheick Diallo, New Orleans; and Jeff Withey, Dallas.
The Milwaukee Bucks over the weekend cut Kansas City native Brandon Rush, who could still be acquired by another team. Minnesota and Indiana have been mentioned as possibilities for the 32-year-old wing. Rush appeared in 47 games (33 starts) for Minnesota last season. He averaged 4.2 points a game while hitting 38.6 percent of his threes. Rush has played for four teams in a nine-year NBA career.
Also, Cliff Alexander last weekend was cut by the New Orleans Pelicans and is also a free agent. Alexander, 22, played in eight games for Portland in 2015-16, mainly toiling in the NBA G-League in his first two years as a pro.
NBA, union may change rule
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike radio show Monday that the NBA and its union will discuss letting players turn pro out of high school in the wake of the FBI’s investigation into college recruitment of players that has led to the arrest of coaches, shoe company employees and agents.
Since 2005, a player has had to be at least 19 or one year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA Draft.
“These changes don’t have to wait until you finish a collective bargaining cycle,” Silver said on the show, indicating talks could be held this season between the league and players association. “It’s clear a change will come.”
According to Kentucky.com’s review of the Mike and Mike episode, there is the possibility of Silver and the union discussing what a “different framework” would look like, noting that 16 one-and-dones entered the 2017 Draft. There’s the possibility of the G-League paying players lucrative contracts as it becomes more of a true minor league for the NBA.
“I think it’s become common knowledge now that these so-called one-and-done players are, maybe understandably, almost entirely focused on where they’re going to go in the draft lottery (more than college),” Silver said on Mike and Mike as reported by Kentucky.com. “Not to say they don’t badly care about winning but the stakes are so high in terms of the amount of money they can make over a long NBA career as a star player, that’s sort of front and center what they’re focused on as college players.”