Former Jayhawks latch on
Chenowith, Miles invited to NBA training camps
Former Kansas University basketball players Eric Chenowith and Aaron Miles have accepted invitations to preseason training camps of NBA teams.
Miles, a 6-foot-1 point guard who opened last season with the Golden State Warriors and finished with the NBADL’s Fort Worth Flyers, will attend camp with his hometown Portland Trail Blazers.
Chenowith, a 7-foot center who played for the Idaho Stampede of the CBA a year ago after being cut in the preseason by the Denver Nuggets, is headed to camp with the Chicago Bulls.
That means Chenowith, as well as ex-Jayhawks Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, will play in the Bulls-Seattle SuperSonics NBA exhibition game Oct. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse.
“It would be a dream come true,” Chenowith said of making the Bulls’ roster. “My dad is from Chicago. Chicago sports have always been a part of my life, watching Cubs games, Bulls games and Bears games. If I could play for the Bulls, it’d be cool because of that.”
And “cool” to play in the fieldhouse again.
“After I saw I was going to Chicago, I got butterflies. I saw online that they were going to play in Allen Fieldhouse,” said Chenowith, who played at KU from 1997-2001.
“I’ll always be a Jayhawk. I still watch games on TV and miss it a lot. It will be really nice to get out there again one more time. Very few people have the opportunity to play at Allen Fieldhouse ever, as an opponent or a Jayhawk. It would be a blessing to be able to play there again. I am excited to play in front of the best fans in the world again.”
The Bulls are believed to have one open roster spot. Their centers are Martynas Andriuskevicius, P.J. Brown and Ben Wallace.
For Miles, it can’t get much better than returning home to Portland, where he was a high school star at Jefferson High.
“Aaron really is excited about it. That team … what they are trying to do is change the culture. They want people willing to bust their butt, willing to play defense,” Miles’ agent, Chris Emens, said.
“They realize Aaron is a positive influence, comes from a winning tradition at Kansas and will bust his butt doing whatever the coaches want.”
The Blazers, who have had several players run afoul of the law the past few years, are sure to welcome the positive publicity of inviting a hometown hero to camp.
There are no guarantees Miles, who played at KU from 2001-05, will make the final roster. He will have to beat out one of three players – point guards Jarrett Jack, Dan Dickau and 19-year-old Sergio Rodriguez – for the final roster spot.
Jack has been penciled in as the starter.
“I believe Aaron’s biggest challenge is to play well and consistent enough he remains on the roster for the whole season,” said Emens, confident Miles would make the grade.
A year ago, Miles scored 16 points with 24 assists in 19 games with the Golden State Warriors. The rookie was cut Jan. 3 – a day before the Warriors would have had to guarantee his contract for the entire season.
“We think his chances are good, otherwise he wouldn’t be there,” Emens said, indicating Miles chose the Blazers over invitations from the Bulls and SuperSonics.
“Even though Aaron is relatively inexperienced at the NBA level, I don’t think they see him as inexperienced. He played four years at Kansas, was in the NBA and in the D-League last year and in the (NBA) summer league the last two years,” Emens noted.
The Blazers have two other KU connections. Forward Raef LaFrentz was acquired in a trade this off-season by ex-KU guard Kevin Pritchard, the Blazers’ player personnel director.
Late Night visitor: Anthony Crater, a 6-1 junior point guard from Southwestern Academy in Flint, Mich., will attend the Oct. 13 Late Night in the Phog as part of an unofficial visit to KU. Crater, rivals.com’s No. 2-rated point guard in the class of 2008, has made unofficial trips to Illinois, Arizona and Ohio State. He’s also considering Florida, Duke, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and others.
Other juniors who have said they would be at Late Night are Travis Releford, a 6-3 guard from Roeland Park Miege and Jeff Withey, a 6-11 center from San Diego.
KU will entertain three seniors at Late Night: Cole Aldrich, Kyle Singler and Anthony Randolph. Aldrich, a 6-10 center from Bloomington, Minn., has verbally committed to KU. Singler, a 6-8 forward from South Medford, Ore., is considering KU, Duke, UCLA and Arizona. Randolph, a 6-10 forward from Dallas, is considering KU, LSU, Texas and Georgetown.