Chalmers commits because ‘Kansas is best fit’

Kansas University’s men’s basketball fans don’t need to worry about who will replace point guard Aaron Miles after next season.

The Jayhawks filled an opening for the 2005-06 season Friday when they snared a nonbinding oral commitment from Mario Chalmers, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard from Bartlett High in Anchorage, Alaska.

Chalmers, the No. 1-rated point guard and No. 8-ranked recruit overall in the Class of 2005 by rivals.com, like predecessor Miles, is expected to earn McDonald’s All-America honors after next season.

“I think Kansas is the best fit for me,” said Chalmers, who announced he was opting for coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks over Arizona and Wake Forest during a news conference Friday afternoon at his high school.

Chalmers actually made up his mind Wednesday — his birthday — but delayed the announcement until Friday as he pondered the possibility of making an official visit to Wake.

“With Aaron Miles graduating, I have a chance to step right in and play the point guard position at one of the best schools in the country,” said Chalmers, who averaged 23.2 points, 6.0 assists and 5.8 rebounds a game his junior year for the state runner-up.

“Playing right away was a big part of it. I feel there’s no better offer out there for me unless it’s the NBA. If the (NBA) offer is right, I’d have to give it a consideration.”

Like many McDonald’s All-Americans, the 60-percent shooter and 90-percent free-throw shooter is thinking college — not the NBA — right now, though, Chalmers’ father, Ronnie, said.

“It’s every kid’s dream to play in the NBA. To be honest, if the opportunity presented itself, he’d entertain it,” said Ronnie Chalmers, head coach at Bartlett High, who along with Mario has won two state titles in the last three years.

“We are not making any plans to try to go there (NBA). Who knows what may happen in a year? Right now we can say it’s a fact he’s a Kansas Jayhawk and happy to be a Kansas Jayhawk.”

In fact …

“He has his eyes on starting his freshman year,” Chalmers said of his son. “He knows Aaron Miles will be gone and said to me today, ‘Dad, I want to get right on the weights.'”

Mario Chalmers visited KU last week with Micah Downs, a 6-8 junior shooting guard from Bothell, Wash., and C.J. Giles, a 6-10 senior from Seattle, Wash., who both also committed to KU.

“I like coach Self’s style,” Chalmers said. “He’s very emotional and a good motivator. I’ve known him since his days at Illinois. I liked all the players I met on the trip and enjoyed hanging around with C.J. Giles and Micah as well.”

Chalmers is believed to be KU’s first scholarship player to hail from the state of Alaska. He cannot sign his letter of intent until November.

“I feel I’ve matched up pretty well,” Chalmers said of players from the mainland. “Sometimes I feel I’m the best.”

He has been invited to try out for the U.S. Junior Olympic team and also has been invited to the NBA Players Camp in Richmond, Va., reserved for the top 100 players in the country.

Thanks in a large part to Chalmers, his Alaska Pump ‘N’ Run AAU team, also coached by his dad, won the Tournament of Champions tournament in North Carolina last spring.

“I’d say he’s a coach on the floor,” Ronnie Chalmers said of his son. “He is a floor general, always thinking ahead to the next play. He’s a good passer, a good shooter. Absolutely he can shoot the three.”

  • Alaska lovers: Ronnie Chalmers was born and raised in Cameron, N.C., then moved to Alaska where he worked for the Air Force for 22 years before becoming a prep coach four years ago.

“We love Alaska,” he said.

  • Setting the scene: Chalmers’ press conference took place at the Bartlett High library. His father introduced him.

“There was a very big crowd at the high school,” Ronnie Chalmers explained. “Many of his friends and classmates showed up. Even some competition showed up too.

“I opened up with a statement as coach and father and turned the mike over to him. The first thing is Mario is a Christian, so he thanked God and his parents and all his teammates and students at Bartlett and said it’s been a tough decision, and he struggled with it, but he was making a verbal commitment to the Kansas Jayhawks today.”

  • KU won’t play in tourney: Kansas will not compete in the Coaches V. Cancer Classic in November.

The reason? There still hasn’t been any legal ruling about whether schools can return to playing in an exempt event every year instead of two every four years. KU no longer could wait for a decision.

Barring relief on the 2-and-4 rule, KU couldn’t play in an exempt tourney until next season when the Jayhawks will play in the Maui Invitational.

“It was dragging out too long. They (courts) hadn’t made a decision yet, and it’s been two months now,” KU senior associate AD Larry Keating said. “We’ve got to get our schedule done. It’s important, especially this year with the point system going in place. We want our schedule to be good and done correctly. If it (court ruling) doesn’t work out, we’d be scrambling. We don’t want that to happen.”

Kentucky will replace the Jayhawks in the tourney.

KU, by the way, definitely will play Kentucky this season and next. The game is set for Jan. 9 in Lexington, Ky., with the date for the game in Allen Fieldhouse in 2005-06 to be determined.

KU still needs to fill two or three dates for the 2004-05 season.

Chalmers commits because ‘Kansas is best fit’

Kansas University’s men’s basketball fans don’t need to worry about who will replace point guard Aaron Miles after next season.

The Jayhawks filled an opening for the 2005-06 season Friday when they snared a nonbinding oral commitment from Mario Chalmers, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard from Bartlett High in Anchorage, Alaska.

Chalmers, the No. 1-rated point guard and No. 8-ranked recruit overall in the Class of 2005 by rivals.com, like predecessor Miles, is expected to earn McDonald’s All-America honors after next season.

“I think Kansas is the best fit for me,” said Chalmers, who announced he was opting for coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks over Arizona and Wake Forest during a news conference Friday afternoon at his high school.

Chalmers actually made up his mind Wednesday — his birthday — but delayed the announcement until Friday as he pondered the possibility of making an official visit to Wake.

“With Aaron Miles graduating, I have a chance to step right in and play the point guard position at one of the best schools in the country,” said Chalmers, who averaged 23.2 points, 6.0 assists and 5.8 rebounds a game his junior year for the state runner-up.

“Playing right away was a big part of it. I feel there’s no better offer out there for me unless it’s the NBA. If the (NBA) offer is right, I’d have to give it a consideration.”

Like many McDonald’s All-Americans, the 60-percent shooter and 90-percent free-throw shooter is thinking college — not the NBA — right now, though, Chalmers’ father, Ronnie, said.

“It’s every kid’s dream to play in the NBA. To be honest, if the opportunity presented itself, he’d entertain it,” said Ronnie Chalmers, head coach at Bartlett High, who along with Mario has won two state titles in the last three years.

“We are not making any plans to try to go there (NBA). Who knows what may happen in a year? Right now we can say it’s a fact he’s a Kansas Jayhawk and happy to be a Kansas Jayhawk.”

In fact …

“He has his eyes on starting his freshman year,” Chalmers said of his son. “He knows Aaron Miles will be gone and said to me today, ‘Dad, I want to get right on the weights.'”

Mario Chalmers visited KU last week with Micah Downs, a 6-8 junior shooting guard from Bothell, Wash., and C.J. Giles, a 6-10 senior from Seattle, Wash., who both also committed to KU.

“I like coach Self’s style,” Chalmers said. “He’s very emotional and a good motivator. I’ve known him since his days at Illinois. I liked all the players I met on the trip and enjoyed hanging around with C.J. Giles and Micah as well.”

Chalmers is believed to be KU’s first scholarship player to hail from the state of Alaska. He cannot sign his letter of intent until November.

“I feel I’ve matched up pretty well,” Chalmers said of players from the mainland. “Sometimes I feel I’m the best.”

He has been invited to try out for the U.S. Junior Olympic team and also has been invited to the NBA Players Camp in Richmond, Va., reserved for the top 100 players in the country.

Thanks in a large part to Chalmers, his Alaska Pump ‘N’ Run AAU team, also coached by his dad, won the Tournament of Champions tournament in North Carolina last spring.

“I’d say he’s a coach on the floor,” Ronnie Chalmers said of his son. “He is a floor general, always thinking ahead to the next play. He’s a good passer, a good shooter. Absolutely he can shoot the three.”

  • Alaska lovers: Ronnie Chalmers was born and raised in Cameron, N.C., then moved to Alaska where he worked for the Air Force for 22 years before becoming a prep coach four years ago.

“We love Alaska,” he said.

  • Setting the scene: Chalmers’ press conference took place at the Bartlett High library. His father introduced him.

“There was a very big crowd at the high school,” Ronnie Chalmers explained. “Many of his friends and classmates showed up. Even some competition showed up too.

“I opened up with a statement as coach and father and turned the mike over to him. The first thing is Mario is a Christian, so he thanked God and his parents and all his teammates and students at Bartlett and said it’s been a tough decision, and he struggled with it, but he was making a verbal commitment to the Kansas Jayhawks today.”

  • KU won’t play in tourney: Kansas will not compete in the Coaches V. Cancer Classic in November.

The reason? There still hasn’t been any legal ruling about whether schools can return to playing in an exempt event every year instead of two every four years. KU no longer could wait for a decision.

Barring relief on the 2-and-4 rule, KU couldn’t play in an exempt tourney until next season when the Jayhawks will play in the Maui Invitational.

“It was dragging out too long. They (courts) hadn’t made a decision yet, and it’s been two months now,” KU senior associate AD Larry Keating said. “We’ve got to get our schedule done. It’s important, especially this year with the point system going in place. We want our schedule to be good and done correctly. If it (court ruling) doesn’t work out, we’d be scrambling. We don’t want that to happen.”

Kentucky will replace the Jayhawks in the tourney.

KU, by the way, definitely will play Kentucky this season and next. The game is set for Jan. 9 in Lexington, Ky., with the date for the game in Allen Fieldhouse in 2005-06 to be determined.

KU still needs to fill two or three dates for the 2004-05 season.