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Archive for Wednesday, May 26, 1999

ROY WILLIAMS PRESS CONF/NOTES

May 26, 1999

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Roy Williams believes the glut of early entries into the NBA has worsened the level of play at the professional level.

Duke, Maryland, Connecticut and other college basketball programs have been shaken by early defections to the NBA.

Yet the so-called epidemic -- 39 underclassman players have declared for the 1999 June NBA draft -- is hurting more than the country's campuses.

"I don't think we are getting hurt nearly as much as the NBA," Kansas coach Roy Williams said Tuesday. "Their game is getting so bad. There are so many bad players in the league who are not ready (to play) and not ready to handle so much money and so much free time.

"There are 39 guys who declared for the draft. I saw the list of names and I've never heard of some of them ... the chances of them making it are not very good."

How can the game remedy the problem? One suggestion is to limit when players can move on -- college baseball, for instance, requires that a player remain for three full years once he steps on campus.

"I think that is unreasonable (in basketball) only because I don't think it would stand up in court," Williams said. "Everybody has to have the right to work, to do what they want to do. This is America."

The NBA Players Assn. has discussed making loans available to college prospects deemed as can't-miss pro prospects.

"I think the NBA would much rather have kids play a couple years at the college level," Williams said. "We were their free farm system. Now we are still there, but they are getting players who are not ready."

Early defections -- such as Duke's Corey Maggette, who is leaving college after just one year -- have made Williams reevaluate his recruiting philosophy.

"If I felt a kid was going to play one year -- if I thought he is not serious about staying in the college game, that he just wants to be seen -- I would not recruit him at all. I don't care how good the kid is," Williams said.

"If I thought there's a chance of two years, I perhaps would not be as comfortable with it but I'd probably still recruit him because that's still what you get with a junior college kid."

As far as high schoolers who make the jump: "We may need to see a couple more guys crying on draft day because they didn't get picked. All of a sudden some kids may decide differently," Williams said.

Houston prep Rashard Lewis was left sobbing a year ago after being tabbed in the second round.

Another problem has been the rash of transfers in college hoops.

Kentucky recently lost a pair of players in Michael Bradley and Ryan Hogan. Adam Harrington, Maurice Evans, Luke Recker and Ryan Humphrey have also decided to move on from their respective schools.

"I think we're going to see more of it," Williams said. "There are so many people on the periphery who talk to the kids that aren't very realistic.

"They paint a picture that kids should not be pleased if it's not instant gratification. They get advice to run and find that instant gratification."

Kentucky athletics director C.M. Newton has called for stricter guidelines -- perhaps a player sitting out two years instead of one -- if they transfer.

"I don't think we should put more restraints on kids. They are paying a price when they sit out," Williams said. "I'd never be in favor to make it more difficult. Until they get coaches to fulfill their contracts I won't say I'm in favor of making it more difficult for players to go."

Some players leave for "the right reasons," Williams noted.

"Jerod Haase (ex-Jayhawk) left California. Anybody who said that youngster didn't have the right to do that is an idiot," Williams said. "He played one year for a coach who was fired in a very unfair situation. He was replaced by a coach who did things opposite of the way Jerod felt they should be done."

Jayhawk summer plans: "We'll have everybody here at one point or another," Williams said, noting virtually all his players would enroll in summer classes.

Lester Earl is the only player not currently playing pickup basketball.

"Lester is rehabbing a lot," Williams said of Earl, who had knee woes all last season. "He hasn't been playing any."

Recruiting: Williams will spend the month of July evaluating high school players. KU wil have three scholarships to offer during the 1999-2000 school year.

"Athleticism and perimeter players," Williams responded when asked what he'll look for in evaluations of players at summer camps. "We need more perimeter players now than post players, anyway."

Some players who have indicated early interest in KU:

DeShawn Stevenson, 6-foot-6, Fresno, Calif.; Lou Wright, 6-6, Los Angeles; Travon Bryant, 6-9, Long Beach, Calif.; Andre Brown, 6-9, Chicago; Terrence Crawford, 6-6, Oklahoma City; Matt Lottich, 6-4, Chicago; Jonathan Sanders, 6-6, Westminster, Colo.; Brandon Mouton, 6-5, Lafayette, La.; Abou Diame, 6-9, Mouth of Wilson, Va.; Desmon Farmer, 6-5, Flint, Mich.; Nick Booker, 6-6, LaJolla, Calif.; Teyo Johnson, 6-7, Lynwood, Wash.; Brian Boddicker, 6-10, Duncanville, Texas; Darius Miles, 6-10, East St. Louis, Ill.

  • Chenowith honored: KU's Eric Chenowith is one of 11 players who have been invited to Chicago for Playboy's Preseason All-America team.

  • Signees update: Incoming KU freshmen Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich will compete at the USA Basketball junior world championship team trials starting Thursday in Colorado Springs. The team will play in the junior world championships in July in Portugal.

  • Woodard retiring: Former Kansas women's basketball All-American Lynette Woodard will hold a press conference at KU today to announce her retirement from professional basketball. Woodard recently was released by the WNBA's Detroit Shock. She worked with the KU program in the offseason last year.

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is gbedore@ljworld.com

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