Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lee added to Kansas basketball staff

Key reserve on 2 Final Four teams joins Jayhawks as graduate student manager

August 16, 2007

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Michael Lee, who has traveled all over the United States and to several foreign countries since graduating from Kansas University in 2005, has decided to unpack his bags in Lawrence.

Former KU shooting guard Lee - he competed for the Harlem Globetrotters in 2005-06 and played professionally in France and Canada last season - on Wednesday was named graduate student manager by Jayhawks coach Bill Self.

Lee will work in the KU basketball office as he pursues a master's degree in sports management and continues on a path to become a college or high school coach.

"Honestly, I really do feel good to be back," Lee said. "It's funny because when I left I said I never would come back to school, but the longer I was away, I realized Kansas is a part of me. I was in love with Kansas from day one. I'll be part of Kansas until the day I die.

"I have a good feeling right now, a real good feeling, a humbling feeling, too."

As does Self, who coached Lee for two of his four college campaigns.

"I'm excited to have a player back in the program, not in a playing way, but as an ambassador for Kansas basketball," Self said. "As a player, Mike was an extremely hard worker on the court and in the classroom. His interest in becoming a coach and pursuing a graduate degree has brought him back to KU."

Former Jayhawk Michael Lee is back with the team, agreeing Wednesday to become the squad's graduate student manager.

Former Jayhawk Michael Lee is back with the team, agreeing Wednesday to become the squad's graduate student manager.

Lee - who recently learned his injured right shoulder that cut a stint with the Kansas Cagerz short last spring will not need surgery - will be able to work out at practice if the Jayhawks, who have a 17-man roster, ever fall short of bodies.

"I'll do things like check curfew on the players, that type of thing," Lee said. "I'll be in the office all day soaking up information, be in every meeting I can be in. I don't know completely all I'll do yet.

"This will give me a chance to get my foot in the door and see how things really work on the other side of it."

Lee said he's glad he gave pro basketball a try. It's now completely out of his system unlike ex-Jayhawk Aaron Miles, who will play this year in Spain. Miles and Lee are lifelong buddies from Portland.

"At this point in my life I don't want to play anymore, not professionally," Lee said. "I've always wanted to be a coach. I didn't think I'd be doing it this quick, but things happen. Opportunities come and that's why I'm here. Aaron is ready. He's worked so hard. We'll be OK apart. We've been apart before."

Lee is thankful for the past two years full of opportunities.

"The Globetrotters was a lot of fun for me," he said. "I got to travel to a lot of places, meet a lot of people. It's a unique situation. Our job was to make people smile. If we made people laugh we did our job at the end of the day.

"In that regard it wasn't a lot of pressure to perform. The Globetrotters really didn't satisfy my heart as a competitive basketball player because it was entertainment.

"France was a different experience. The hardest thing about France was getting adapted to a whole new way of life, from the language to the food, to stuff they did I wasn't accustomed to."

Lee, who played in two Final Fours, believes his first year on the KU staff could be something special.

"I don't believe in luck," Lee said. "Luck is whoever is the best prepared. I don't think about things like being a good luck charm."

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Everybody's back: All of KU's 17 players - 12 scholarship and five walk ons - reported to campus Wednesday for the start of class today.

Individual workouts will begin Monday with all players except Brandon Rush (recovering from ACL surgery) to participate.

Sophomore Darrell Arthur (stress fracture left leg) has received clearance to begin workouts.

"We will limit him the first week to see how he feels," Self said of Arthur. "He'll be back Monday in a limited capacity as he works back into it."

Rush should be able to begin jogging a week from Friday.

Self went out of his way to praise non-scholarship players Matt Kleinmann, Brad Witherspoon, Brennan Bechard, Conner Teahan and Chase Buford.

"Those kids paying their way to school have busted their butt," Self lauded.

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Aldrich lighter: KU freshman Cole Aldrich told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press he's lost 15 pounds since his senior year at Bloomington, Minn.'s Jefferson High. He enters the fall semester at 6-foot-11, 240 pounds.

"I just started eating better. Expectations are a lot higher than in high school," said Aldrich, who passed seven hours of classwork during the summer.

Comments

cylus 7 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Mike! Best decision you'll ever make.

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