St. Louis Josh Childress came close to playing basketball for Kansas University.
If things go the way the Stanford freshman hopes tonight, he'll get to play against the Jayhawks on Saturday night.
Childress, a 6-foot-8 swingman from Lakewood, Calif., narrowed his college choices to Stanford and Kansas last winter before deciding to stay in his home state.
Kansas, the top seed in the Midwest Region, opens the NCAA Tournament tonight against No. 16 seed Holy Cross. If Kansas wins Â no No. 1 has ever lost to a 16 seed Â it would face the winner of the late game between No. 8 Stanford and No. 9 Western Kentucky in the second round.
"We watched the selection show Sunday," Childress said Wednesday after the Cardinal practiced at Edward Jones Dome. "When I saw us in the same bracket, I thought that would be really fun and exciting to play Kansas."
Childress remains on good terms with KU freshmen Aaron Miles and Wayne Simien. The three friends made official recruiting visits to Kansas during their senior year for Late Night With Roy Williams. All three attended Nike camp and were selected for the McDonald's All-America game.
"When I have a chance to watch them on TV, I do," Childress said. "I've been keeping in touch with Aaron and Wayne to see how their season is going."
The season has not gone as well for Stanford (19-9) as it has for KU (29-3). The Cardinal had won at least 26 games in each of the previous four seasons. Even if they run the table in the NCAAs, the Cardinal would finish 25-9.
Childress has had his ups and downs. He started the first six games of the season, scoring in double figures in the first four. After two five-point outings, the swingman lost his starting job to junior Julius Barnes.
The honorable mention all-PAC 10 selection still plays a pivotal role for the Cardinal. He enters today's game averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds an outing.
If Childress and his teammates play well against the Hilltoppers, they'll likely earn a date with the Jayhawks and Williams Â a coach Childress had a hard time saying no to.
"That was definitely a tough phone call with him being close to the family and such a good guy," said Childress, who made one official visit and one unofficial visit to KU. "It was hard. It came down to those two schools. It was very close. It was nothing I disliked about Kansas. Coach Williams is a classy guy who runs his program very well."
Â Sports writer David Mitchell can be reached at 832-6357.