A foot and a half off the ground, and still only slightly taller than the big man. Those were the boys.
On Thursday night, two of Jayhawk fans' all-time favorite boys and a we-barely-knew-thee legacy will make the leap from the college ranks, where they each had successful amateur careers in their time at Kansas, and into the basketball business world that is the NBA. We don't need to go into the specifics of their outstanding careers in Lawrence, as we've done so ad nauseam the last couple years here at Rock Chalk Talk. So, instead we now turn our focus to how their games will transition to the pro league.
The general consensus among NBA Mock Draft sites is that 6'11" center Cole Aldrich will go somewhere between eight and fifteen, the freshman swingman Xavier Henry will fall into line somewhere just a few places below Aldrich and that the all-time winningest player in Kansas basketball history, Sherron Collins, will just be hoping to be taken in the second round.
Sidenote: Isn't it just further proof that the college game is greater than the pro game when an undersized kid like Collins can become such a legacy in college, yet will likely be fighting for an NBA roster spot? No feel-good stories when it comes to money, money, money.
What the "Insiders" are saying...
NBADraft.net - Aldrich: Utah - #9, Henry: Milwaukee - #15, Collins: Oklahoma City - #51
Yahoo! - Aldrich: Utah - #9, Henry: Houston - #14, Collins: second round not listed
MyNBADraft.net - Aldrich: Houston - #14, Henry: Milwaukee - #15, Collins: Pheonix - #46
Earlier this week, Sherron had this to say of a workout with a team on his Twitter page (@SHERRONCOLLINS4):
I had one if my best workouts for Portland today went great now on my way back to Vegas got Milwaukee on Tuesday then back to the chi
Obviously, we all hope that this is the case and that some team takes the chance on him and he makes the most of it.
Jayhawk History in the Draft
Complete Career Stats of Kansas Players in the NBA (Basketball-Reference)
You may notice the omittance of NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain from that list, but that's because he was what was considered a "territorial pick" of the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959, due to the guidlines of having to have completed three years out of high school before playing in the NBA.
Since we all have opinions, I'll go ahead and throw my predictions of sorts out there and you can do the same in the comments. 15 RCT points (which are good for nothing) for each correct call regarding a Kansas player. Personally, I think the popular choice of Cole to Utah makes for a sound fit. He's a defense first kind of post player and we all know Jerry Sloan used to love him some former Jayhawk great(?) Greg Ostertag, who was most definitely first and foremost a defensive presence. And, doesn't Cole's laid back personality kind of fit Salt Lake City - quiet and not\thing going on. That would be a nice fit for him.
I don't see Xavier going to Houston. Not after they just paid out a big contract last offseason to a similar type player in Trevor Ariza. Since he's not a great three point shooter, he'll need someone on the floor with him that can stretch the defense to the perimeter and must be accounted for to allow him to be more of a dribble penetration type player. A player like a healthy Michael Redd in Milwaukee would seem to fit the bill. Current Buck John Salmons actually seems like the kind of player than Henry could potentially become in the league. Pencil me down for Xavier in Milwaukee.
As far as Sherron goes, the second round of the NBA Draft is the biggest crapshoot in the entire world. (Not that the first round isn't, too.) So, I won't even begin to speculate on which team could use a backup point guard, because they all could. So, instead, I'll pick the player that won Big 12 championships in every year of his college career and a national championship also to go to the team winning all the championships in the NBA - the Los Angeles Lakers. Why not? I like them. So what?
Also, remember all the drama and anxiety over last spring's recruiting saga over Henry and eventual Cincinnati standout Lance Stephenson? Well, he also declared for this draft (surprise, surprise) and opinions on him are even more varying than our Kansas boys. I've seen as high as the end of the lottery all the way to the very end of the second round. Henry got himself in and, whether you think he earned it or not, put himself in a far better position to be drafted than Stephenson. Anyone still wish that we'd have taken Lance instead? (Not that there were people calling for that or anything...)
- Favorite Jayhawk(s) in the NBA?
- Jayhawk with the best NBA career?
- Predictions where this year's crop of Jayhawks will go?
- How glad you are to see me posting again?
- Which Jayhawk in this year's crop will have the best career?