Some of Kansas University's most distinguished alumni basketball players have made appearances at coach Bill Self's summer camps the past two years.
NBA players Kirk Hinrich, Greg Ostertag and Scot Pollard competed in the campers' game the past two Wednesdays at Horejsi Center, as well as Billy Thomas, Nick Bradford and Eric Chenowith, who all have played for pay since leaving KU.
Drew Gooden and Nick Collison of the NBA scrimmaged against the current Jayhawks in the summer of 2003, as did overseas veterans Lester Earl and Steve Woodberry.
"What makes this so special is having these guys come back," Self said.
"These are guys who have given their heart and soul to the university -- ones who bleed when we bleed, rejoice when we rejoice. The old-timers, you might call them, make so much money, but come back to play in front of the kids every summer. They credit the University of Kansas for their success and like to come back when they can.
"The great thing is you will see these cats (current Jayhawks) back here five years from now playing, too."
KU has an open-door policy, letting former players use all the hoops facilities.
"I enjoy coming back in the summer," said Utah Jazz center Ostertag, whose son, Cody, has attended hoops camps of Self and former coach Roy Williams the past four summers. "I think sometimes it's a shock when they (current Jayhawks) see somebody as big as me. I outweigh everybody by 40 pounds. The same with Scot."
Chenowith improving: Indiana Pacers veteran pivot Pollard believes a bulked-up Chenowith has NBA potential.
Chenowith, a 7-foot-2, 295-pounder, was cut by the Los Angeles Lakers on the last day of the 2003-04 preseason camp.
"He looked great. He got every rebound," Pollard said of Chenowith, who had 12 points and at least as many rebounds in Wednesday's campers game. "He's definitely put on some weight.
"I hope so," Pollard said of Chenowith getting an invitation to an NBA camp. "For us guys who don't have all the skills in the world, all the athleticism in the world, it's all about hard work and timing."
Schedule talk: KU still is looking for a pair of opponents to complete next season's nonconference schedule. Some marquee dates on the slate have been set, however, including a New Year's Day home game against Georgia Tech. KU will play St. Joseph's on Nov. 23 at Allen Fieldhouse and play at Kentucky on Jan. 9 in Lexington, Ky., and Villanova Jan. 22 in Philadelphia. The home exhibition opener will be against Emporia State on Nov. 7.
Festival update: Future KU point guard Mario Chalmers exploded for 39 points off 14-of-22 shooting -- including six of 11 threes -- in the West's 158-125 loss to the South Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo. He had five rebounds, four assists and a turnover in 30 minutes. Future KU shooting guard Micah Downs had seven points off 3-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Chalmers had 15 points off 6-of-14 shooting in the West's 116-102 loss to the East Friday morning. Downs had two points off 1-of-6 shooting with six boards.
Graves out: Former KU center Jeff Graves won't be participating in this weekend's NBDL tournament in Salina.
According to the Salina Journal, Graves was suspended after missing the team's shootaround Thursday. He had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the same time, but also failed to show for it, the paper reported.
Graves, who has tendinitis in one knee, had missed the Cagerz' last four games because of an ankle injury, but practiced with the team Tuesday and Wednesday.
Trade discussed: Ex-Jayhawks Hinrich and Collison were nearly reunited Thursday. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Bulls at one point Thursday were trying to trade one of their lottery picks to Seattle for either Collison or Vladimir Radmanovich. Hinrich was the Bulls' player of the year last year.