Eight former Kansas University basketball players will open the regular season Tuesday on rosters of NBA teams.
Kansas' pros are: Nick Collison, Seattle; Drew Gooden, Cleveland; Kirk Hinrich, Chicago; Raef LaFrentz, Portland; Paul Pierce, Boston; Scot Pollard, Cleveland; Wayne Simien, Miami; and Jacque Vaughn, San Antonio.
LaFrentz played for Boston last season, Pollard for Indiana and Vaughn for New Jersey.
Ten former KU players dotted NBA rosters during the 2005-06 campaign.
Veteran center Greg Ostertag, who was with the Utah Jazz a year ago, did not reconsider his decision to retire. Billy Thomas, who played for the Washington Wizards, is now with Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade.
Pierce missed the Celts' final two exhibition games because of an infected left middle finger.
"I just had it drained Tuesday due to the infection," he told the Boston Globe. "Doctors are taking extra precautions until they find out about the infection a little bit more."
Pierce, who suffered a strained left hip a couple of weeks ago, had surgery on his left elbow in August.
"The finger was sort of weird," Pierce said. "When stuff like that happens, I'm glad it happens in the preseason. If it was the regular season, this is the stuff I usually play through."
¢ New number: LaFrentz will wear jersey No. 9, instead of his usual No. 45, with the Trail Blazers. The Blazers retired guard Geoff Petrie's No. 45 several years ago, leaving LaFrentz's dad's former number unavailable.
LaFrentz told the Portland Tribune, "Four plus five equals nine, and I play the 4 and 5 positions."
¢ No offense: The San Antonio Express News commented on new backup point guard Vauhnn, saying he "plays hard and defends, but can't shoot."
¢ No progress in Hinrich talks: Unless the Chicago Bulls and Kirk Hinrich's agent can reach an agreement before Tuesday's season opener, negotiations on a contract extension must be put on hold until next summer, when Hinrich becomes a restricted free agent.
"If it happens, great, because I want to stay here. If not, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing," Hinrich told the Chicago Sun Times.
In restricted free agency, the Bulls would retain the right to match any offer another team makes to Hinrich.
¢ Collison to play more: Collison and the Sonics are postponing contract extension talks until after the season. Collison, the Post-Intelligencer reports, "has been impressive in the preseason and may end up playing a lot of center in the fourth quarter as young centers Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene develop." Center Robert Swift is out for the season because of a knee injury.
¢ More bumps: The Cavs' Gooden was slowed by a quad strain in the preseason.
¢ Missing teeth: Players who refuse to wear mouthguards might consider the plight of Sonics' veteran Earl Watson.
The former UCLA and Kansas City Washington High point guard lost both front teeth whild being fouled midway through the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against Sacramento. One tooth lodged in his throat, sending him to the hospital.
Watson had surgery to have permanent replacements installed Friday after practice. In the past, he has refused to wear a mouthpiece despite having his teeth knocked out numerous times.
"He kind of indicated this morning that he's going to get fitted for a mouthpiece, though," Sonics' coach Bob Hill told the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
¢ Rose recruitment: Derrick Rose, a 6-foot-4 senior from Chicago's Simeon High, heard chants of "We want Derrick" and "Stay in state" from fans at the University of Illinois on Friday night at the Illini's annual Orange and Blue scrimmage.
Rose, who at one time had KU on his list, will choose either Memphis, Indiana or Illinois at an invitation-only news conference on Nov. 4, four days before the start of the week-long early signing period.
"The decision that he's going to make, it's not like he's going to a candy machine and just picking up some type of candy. It's a life decision," Rose's brother, Reggie, told the Sun Times.
¢ Craig to miss season: Texas Tech's Rogdrick Craig will miss the season as doctors monitor the player's heart condition. Craig, the son of former NFL player Roger Craig, is a 6-6 forward out of San Jose (Calif.) Community College.