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Archive for Saturday, April 20, 2002

KU Basketball Notebook

April 20, 2002

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Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams asked Drew Gooden to inform him of his decision whether to leave for the NBA or return for his senior year at KU via telephone.

"That'd way it'd be easier for him to tell me if he was leaving," KU coach Williams explained.

Gooden tried but simply couldn't comply with the request, informing KU's coach of his NBA dreams in person on Monday afternoon.

"I felt that when he came in my house on my recruiting trip it was a face-to-face deal that I was coming to KU," said Gooden. "I felt the only way it'd be right to tell him I was leaving was face-to-face. I didn't want to do it over the phone. The emotional bond is not really there over the phone.

"I don't think I'd be able to sleep at night knowing I had told him that I was leaving over the phone."

Gooden returned to Williams' office for another face-to-face chat on Tuesday, catching KU's coach before he left on a recruiting trip.

"He came back in and said, 'Coach I had another thought that's worrying me. Do you think I'm ready?' I thought that was cool," Williams said.

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Jersey to be hung: Williams says Gooden will return to have his jersey hung in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse.

"I've been here 14 years. Four guys have been All-Americans  Jacque (Vaughn), Paul (Pierce), Raef (LaFrentz) and now Drew," Williams said. "Drew is the only player in 14 years who was selected as a national player of the year (one of the criteria for retiring jerseys). He was co-national player of the year of the NABC, the coaches association. I think they know a little bit about basketball.

"It's a tremendous honor. Drew Gooden will be remembered as one of the great players in Kansas basketball. I don't agree with some things that have been written about hanging his jersey up there," he added, referring to a Journal-World column suggesting other players deserve to have their jerseys hung before Gooden.

"One of these days we'll put that jersey up there. Drew will be back that night to see that jersey put up. I'll be a little emotional. There will be a big smile on my face. He'll be the same way. In my 14 years he's the best offensive rebounder I've been around.

"Wayne (Simien) and Nick (Collison) Â I want you guys to erase that (statement) next year."

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The other juniors: Williams is compiling information from NBA officials regarding the possible draft status of juniors Collison and Kirk Hinrich.

Any immediate announcement on their futures forthcoming?

"No, because we're in no hurry," Williams said. "I mean if people leave you alone to make a decision, you have until May 12. There's been so much badgering (of Gooden) we had to come up with something quicker."

Gooden was the 17th college underclassman to declare for the draft this postseason.

It's believed Collison and Hinrich will remain on board for their senior seasons.

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Recruit: Kris Humphries, a 6-8 junior forward from Minnetonka, Minn., attended the Gooden press conference. He's considering KU, Duke, Minnesota and others.

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