Archive for Sunday, April 5, 1998

POST-KU, HAASE REBOUNDS IN BUSINESS

April 5, 1998

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Jerod Haase is fast breaking to a successful business career based on his basketball background.

Playing basketball for coach Roy Williams is paying off for Jerod Haase.

The former Kansas University shooting guard, academic poster boy and full-body fieldhouse floor broom now works as a self-employed book publisher, basketball camp counselor and budding workout-video producer out of his Lawrence apartment.

The 24-year-old businessman can relate virtually all of his recent success to the game he played for three years in Allen Fieldhouse, back when he went unpaid while the basketball office raked in $16.6 million.

``People always blame the universities and athletic departments about how they're using student-athletes, but I disagree,'' Haase said. ``I've kind of taken it as they use you and you use them. It's part of the deal.''

Call it deferred compensation.

Sales of Haase's self-published book, ``Floor Burns,'' recently passed the $500,000 mark. His inside account of the 1996-97 season, co-written with Mark Horvath, has gone through five printings and is headed for a second edition.

Last year's inaugural Jerod Haase Basketball Camps drew more than 1,000 students and at least $40,000 in revenues. Another 32 camps are scheduled for this June alone.

And now an instructional video, ``Jerod Haase's 30-Minute Basketball Workout,'' is headed for production by summer. He hopes to sell up to 3,000 videos in the first run, at $20 a pop.

Haase didn't need to be a business major (he was) to know his ventures were as risky as biting on a Michael Jordan pump fake. But he took his shot anyway, putting up $10,000 saved from playing pro ball in Macedonia last year to finance the book deal.

Swish.

``I've made enough money to make it worth my while, but not enough to retire yet,'' he said, grinning.

One day last week, Haase had delivered video clips to a production company in Kansas City, and was preparing for a meeting with the designer for the video's logo.

Only a thick three-ring binder on the coffee table indicated that Haase had work to do, although he does handle all of his own accounting and only this year hired a ``tax man.'' Two basketballs rest in a corner, blocked by stacks of books he hopes to sell in the coming weeks.

``I'm living the easiest life in the world right now,'' Haase said. ``I don't put in nearly as much time in now as I did when I was playing basketball. I love the fact that when I want to sleep in in the morning, I can. I make my own schedule. I do what I want.

``It's funny. I'm having a great time with this. It's almost like a puzzle -- you just try to stay one step ahead, and figure out what people want.''

Rich Konzem, an associate athletics director at KU, said he knew Haase would be a success. He smiles when he walks into bookstores and sees Haase's work beside other KU basketball books, such as ``The Kansas Century'' and ``Max and the Jayhawks.''

Konzem doesn't see that kind of literature in other basketball towns, and it's not for a lack of looking.

``Sports, and your particular affiliation with a team -- whether you went there, or just happened to live in the area, or you just happen to like that team for some reason -- it becomes an emotional thing,'' Konzem said.

He didn't mention that a teenage girl hyperventilated upon meeting Haase during a book-signing in Emporia, or that the book once outsold Princess Di merchandise at a Borders in Overland Park.

``Everything that's associated with Kansas basketball, people want to get a part of,'' Konzem said.

Haase is looking forward to even more Kansas basketball success, and not just for sentimental reasons. It's good business.

A national championship, after all, could mean national distribution for ``Floor Burns,'' the book named for his signature sacrifice-the-body jumps for loose balls. He's already looking a few years down the road, when he might parlay his success into a larger basketball camp operation, one that could set up camps for other recent college players in their own areas of the country.

Haase, a two-time Academic All-American with a business administration degree, is looking forward to his former classmates' continued success.

``The more Jacque Vaughn is successful, the more Raef LaFrentz is successful, the more Kenny Gregory is successful, the better things are going to be,'' Haase said. ``I've helped them out a lot, and now they're helping me out.''

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is fagan@ljworld.com.

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