Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich are walking advertisements for staying in school.
So says former Kansas University basketball coach Roy Williams, convinced the two ex-Jayhawks significantly improved both their NBA draft stock and financial portfolios by remaining at KU for their senior seasons.
Hinrich was tapped seventh by Chicago and Collison 12th by Seattle during the 2003 NBA draft Thursday in New York.
They emerged as lottery picks a year after new North Carolina coach Williams was told by a draft committee that Hinrich would be tapped "anywhere from 18-29 in the draft" and Collison "between 20 and 29."
"I am ecstatic and every college coach in America should be ecstatic because these are two kids who were expected to be taken in the second half of the first round after their junior seasons," Williams said Thursday from North Carolina where he watched the draft on TV.
"Kirk and Nick decided to stay around and enjoy themselves, play college basketball another year, be kids another year, and they ended up having great years and moving way up. Those kids' stories are great stories to tell," said Williams, who has admitted being dismayed by the rash of some unwise early entries the past several seasons.
First-year KU coach Bill Self was equally elated for not only Hinrich and Collison, but another player who remained his senior season -- Brian Cook of the University of Illinois.
Cook, the son of ex-Jayhawk Norm Cook, was coached by Self the past three seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers picked Cook with their first-round choice at No. 24.
"I would say obviously I am very happy for all three of them," Self said Thursday. "Even though I didn't coach Nick and Kirk, I've had the opportunity to get to know them well. They are very deserving of where they were picked and are going to great places. They obviously could have been drafted last year. Both helped themselves. Brian wouldn't have been taken in the first round last year, so he helped himself by staying, also.
"You hear the horror stories of seniors not working out because they prove to the NBA what they can't do. Young guys (high schoolers, Europeans) haven't proven to the scouts what they can't do, because they haven't been seen as much," Self said.
Self said he liked the destinations of all three.
"Chicago has a need for Kirk with what's happened with Jay Williams. Seattle has had its eye on Nick a long time," Self said. "As far as Brian, I'm happy he'll get to play with guys like Shaq and Kobe, some great players and coaches, too, who can help his adjustment to the NBA."
Dooley's the man: Self is getting very close to naming the third and final full-time assistant on his men's basketball staff. In fact, Joe Dooley, a 37-year-old University of Wyoming assistant, is expected to join forces with KU aides Norm Roberts and Tim Jankovich. An announcement could come as soon as today.
Self said Thursday he could "neither confirm nor deny" Internet and Wyoming media reports that Dooley would be hired at KU.
Self reiterated his statement earlier this week that an announcement on his third full-time assistant would come very soon.
Dooley, a former George Washington University standout, served as associate head coach at New Mexico for three years prior to joining Steve McClain's University of Wyoming staff.
He was head coach at East Carolina from 1995 to 1999, compiling a 57-52 mark. He also was an assistant at ECU for four seasons. His first college job was at South Carolina, where he worked as an assistant for three years.
Wyoming sources confirmed Thursday that Dooley had interviewed with KU coach Self for the job. In Dooley, KU will be getting a coach known as a strong recruiter with both East and West coast ties.
Former KU guard Rex Walters, who coached at Blue Valley Northwest last year, said he was not a candidate for the third assistant job, but for a grad assistant post.
"I have had some good conversations with coach Self about the graduate-assistant position," Walters said.
Former Jayhawk Danny Manning and former Williams aide Ben Miller also have been mentioned as a possibility for an administrative-assistant post.
Miller, who has considered staying on Self's staff, continued his stance of having no comment about his job status Thursday.=