Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chalmers diving in

Miracle’ worker puts name in draft pool

Kansas University junior guard Mario Chalmers declares his intention to enter the NBA draft during a news conference Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Hadl Auditorium at Kansas University.

Kansas University junior guard Mario Chalmers declares his intention to enter the NBA draft during a news conference Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Hadl Auditorium at Kansas University.

April 24, 2008

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mario Chalmers announces his entry into NBA Draft

KU junior guard Mario Chalmers on Wednesday announced his intention to enter the 2008 NBA Draft without an agent, leaving open the possibility for a return to Kansas for his senior season.

Kansas University junior Mario Chalmers - who 21â2 weeks ago hit the biggest shot in KU basketball history - may have hoisted his last jumper in college.

Chalmers, whose clutch three-pointer sent KU's 75-68 NCAA championship victory over Memphis into overtime, on Wednesday announced he's entering the 2008 NBA Draft without an agent.

The 6-foot-1 guard from Anchorage, Alaska, indicated he'd return for his senior season only if he's not guaranteed a spot in the first round.

"It played in my choice a little bit," Chalmers said of the fact it might be tough to top his personal one shining moment. "I mean, that shot is a one-in-a-million chance. I'll probably never have that chance again to shoot a shot on that big a stage. It was a good shot. It brought us a national championship. I think it's just time to move on from that."

He has become a household name after winning most-outstanding-performer honors at the '08 Final Four.

"I think it helped my stock a lot, just going through the tournament," Chalmers said. "The biggest thing was my team winning. It's what a lot of (NBA) coaches look at. Winning weighs heavily on guards."

There are a lot of guards - seniors, underclassmen and foreigners -entering the June 26 draft, which is why Chalmers is keeping his option open of returning to KU.

He plans to attend the NBA pre-draft camp May 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., then hold workouts with several NBA teams. He has until June 16 to withdraw his name from the draft if he wants to play again in college.

"If everything works out positively, then I'm going to stay in the draft. If not, I'm going to come back next year and lead KU to another national championship," Chalmers said.

"Right now, I'm hearing I'm between 25 and 35 (picks overall). That's what coach (Bill) Self told me. I'll work out and see if I can move up. If I hear anything that's not in the first round, I'm just going to come back."

Only the 30 first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts.

"I think Mario is a first-round player," Self said. "I (also) think it's a deep draft. I think it's guard-heavy.

"The bottom line is, I believe in him. He's as good as anybody out there. I think next year's draft probably won't be as strong on paper. It's something he should consider, but he's earned the right to investigate. We support him in that and know he'll handle it appropriately."

Self - who last week learned junior Brandon Rush would enter the draft with an agent and sophomore Darrell Arthur without an agent - was not surprised Chalmers decided to put his name in the hat.

"This is a day I saw coming as soon as we won the national championship. He makes a play and is on the cover of everyone's magazine : I thought, 'You know, there could be a chance he may test the waters,''' Self said with a smile.

"I don't think this is anything that should surprise anybody. Mario has been deliberate in the process, which is smart. He's slept on it many nights."

Self said he simply wants Chalmers to make an informed decision.

"Mario knows I feel this way ... I would be very disappointed if he'd risk it because I do believe he has a career at some point in time playing in the league. I don't think it's worth a great risk," Self said of Chalmers staying in the draft if he's informed his first-round chances are slim. "I think he will know (after workouts) if it is (risk) or not."

Chalmers said his coach needn't worry. His decision will be well informed.

"I looked at the pros and cons, and I don't think hiring an agent right now would be the best fit for me right now personally just because I'm not projected that high in the draft," Chalmers said.

NBAdraft.net says Chalmers will be the No. 27 pick of the first round (by New Orleans). Draftexpress.com does not have Chalmers listed in its latest first and second-round projections.

"It's just great that I have the opportunity to come back if I can and the opportunity to go if I can. I think it's a win-win situation," Chalmers said.

Chalmers, who has not yet watched a replay of the title game - "I'm waiting for the right time," he stated - has seen his picture plastered on the cover of Sports Illustrated all over town.

"(Asking) whether he can top it or not ... it didn't keep Michael (Jordan) from trying to win two, three, four, five, six (titles with Bulls)," Self said. "The more you win, the more you want. I want more. I guarantee you if Mario is back he will be hungrier than ever. Did (Green Bay quarterback Brett) Favre quit after he won an MVP? It's not the way athletes are wired. It's not the way Mario is wired.

"Coaching Mario after he's made the shot I don't think will be any more difficult than coaching Mario before he made the shot. I think (if he returns) it would be a great opportunity to lead a bunch of young guys who don't know any better, help mold the team the way he wants it molded," he added of the 2008-09 Jayhawks with Chalmers at the helm.

Comments

Rickyonealku 6 years, 11 months ago

Mario I wish you the best of luck if you go PRO of if you remain a Kansas college basketball player by June 16th.Best of luck and by the way GREAT SHOT MARIO...Rock Chalk Jayhawks....KU..KU..KU..

justinryman 6 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone have any inside info or rumors. here in Nebraska we don't have anything until, well its on here.

unelectable 6 years, 11 months ago

Say it ain't so Mario! Say it ain't so!

iplaysupernintendo 6 years, 11 months ago

SUPER MARIO!I want the best for him... but I also want him to stay! Hah!

newsreader 6 years, 11 months ago

He'll do the same Arthur is doing, declare but not sign... if he's projected to be top 15 or top 20 he'll go, if not he'll come back and go next year. Can't blame him, can always go back to school but he won't have many chances to make that kind fo money.

Linda Aikins 6 years, 11 months ago

I am thinking he will be staying, only because I hope his father is giving him good advice about sticking around and graduating. Plus, I am guessing if Mario leaves, his father may be done here too. I hope I'm right that he is staying. And I don't believe they would push Ronnie Chalmers away, regardless of what Mario does.

Greg Woolen 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree with newsreader. He will put his name in but not sign with an agent. Being a Junior, it would be unwise for him to pass up this opportunity to find out from scouts and predraft camps what he needs to work on. This information would come directly from the source. Mario is smart to see where he is, what he needs to work on, and make the best decision for him. If he is a for sure 1st rounder, GO!!! If not, come back for another year, work on your game, and go to a draft where the freshman aren't the hot commodity.

Joel Hood 6 years, 11 months ago

When Ronnie Chalmers was asked about his own future at KU (if/when Mario leaves), his reaction was that he definately wanted to stay right here.

RiverCityConservative 6 years, 11 months ago

Whatever he decides to do, he will be cherished by the Jayhawk community forever. I liked Grant Wahl's article in the commemorative Sports Illustrated, which started like this: "The ball floated through the air, its pebbled surface spinning softly, as serene and peaceful as a space capsule in a low-earth orbit."Thanks, Mario, for everything else and, of course,for that beautiful shot.

GIHAWK 6 years, 11 months ago

I get the sense that he likes the college life...I say he stays

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 11 months ago

I'll have to disagree with several points made by logicsound. First, I don't see the Gordon comparison. Gordon's taller and longer, although similarly short for a prototypical NBA 2. But their skill sets are somewhat different (not a knock on Chalmers; I'd rather have Chalmers' skill set, myself.) But there's no way any NBA team's drafting him as anything but the point. The biggest problem is that players with his size and general skill set are a dime a dozen (some combo of passing, defense, ballhandling, outside shooting.) Now we're lucky to see him on a game in and game out basis. We know that he's an above average passer, ball handler, superb outside shooter, extremely gifted defender. But scouts don't follow nearly as closely. As a result, there are few ways he can differentiate himself from the pack. One is to go to pre-draft camps/workouts, etc. But if some other 6'1" guard has a lights out shooting day for that particular workout, or has a lucky day and schools Chalmers one on one, Chalmers loses by comparison. The best way for him to differentiate himself is through his college accomplishments--specifically, the one time when scouts watched every one of his possessions for 6 straight games. And right now, it's fresh in their heads that he's clearly not just a run-of-the-mill guard, but an extremely gifted player, head of the pack, takes (and makes) the tough shot, etc. But memories are short. If, next season, his stats dip at all, or the team doesn't go as far in the tournament, he's right back in the middle of that pack, stuck with having to distinguish himself through workouts, with the added disadvantage that he's a senior, the asinine but all too prevalent attitude among NBA teams being that if he stuck around all four years, there must be something wrong with him. So this, I believe, is the source of the "his stock is never higher" comments.All things being equal, he's like any other player. If he's guaranteed a first round spot, he's a fool to stay. If not, he's a fool to go.

granny 6 years, 11 months ago

I am so proud of Mario and I too wish him the best of luck! I want him to stay but it is his choice. I know that no matter what he choice maybe - he has left KU a moment in history that will never be forgotten................best wishes Mario for the future!

Boeing 6 years, 11 months ago

Why would he hold a conference to say he's staying? I just don't see it. As mentioned, an agent is doubtful but...he's declaring...simple as that. I loved the college life too, but if somebody offered me millions to skip my senior year...not going to lie, I would have. There are other ways to get a degree, too, if that's a concern.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 11 months ago

I suppose we're nitpicking here, but Gordon was alternately listed in college as 6'4" or 6'5", and in the pros as 6'3", at least on the official NBA player page. I don't have wingspan numbers; I'm just eyeballing that. But Gordon's game, even the pros, reminds me (offensively) more of Rush's game than Chalmers (though admittedly, I don't think I've seen Gordon play since last season). I do realize that good players will adapt, though -- the Boston Celtics Paul Pierce (leading the league in steals, jacking up 5-8 threes a game, great pullup) came as a surprise to me in comparison to the Jayhawks Paul Pierce (only somewhat committed defensively, liked to try to jump over people, inconsistent midrange jumper, would take the 3 but Roy didn't particularly encourage it). I'm just rambling now.

Kevin Sontag 6 years, 11 months ago

Not necessarily gone yet... Sounds to me if it looks like he won't be drafted in the first round, he'll come back for his senior year

Linda Aikins 6 years, 11 months ago

TOB, what are the rules here? He can sit through the draft and can either sign an agent or come back home? Or does he have to withdraw before the draft? Is it sometime in June?

gccs14r 6 years, 11 months ago

If the NBA wouldn't sign anyone younger than 25 and only paid $30k a year, that would put the Student back in Student-Athlete.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 11 months ago

"If the NBA wouldn't sign anyone younger than 25 and only paid $30k a year, that would put the Student back in Student-Athlete."This is probably literally true, but ...? Huh?

storm 6 years, 11 months ago

Always best to make alot of money whilst you can then finish the formal education later. Best of luck.

Dan Thalmann 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't care if it is the right thing for him to do at this point in his career. I think it stinks! I want them all back! And I wouldn't mind Julian Wright coming back for another year either. On a more realistic note, are there any stores in Lawrence selling posters of the Mario's Miracle shot? I need to plaster that shot into my son's room, and maybe my office.

aha 6 years, 11 months ago

Sucks for us fans, but I can't blame the kid for goin' while the gettin's good.Good luck Mario!

monkeyspunk 6 years, 11 months ago

He has until 10 days before the June NBA draft to say whether he is in or out.

PapaB 6 years, 11 months ago

Mario Chalmer's stock will never be higher than right now. It's all very simple. They know he's a great defender, clutch shooter, team player, has great quickness, etc.Also, when your team wins a national championship, the NBA is more forgiving on personal accolades, but they will demand he gets them next year as the star of the team in order to maintain his current draft status. Even so, with KU losing 7 players (8 with Mario), there is a slight possibility that KU could be the 3rd or 4th best Big 12 team - dropping his status further. At best, Mario could maintain his current draft position, so why not go now.

asauder 6 years, 11 months ago

Damn, hate to hear it but best of luck to ya Mario.Would be a sweet Christmas if he were to get selected by my home town Spurs though...

Boeing 6 years, 11 months ago

This is important because...this is Lawrence KS and he is one of our star basketball players...

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 11 months ago

don't bother with it, Boeing... he's a troll...

Hilary Morton 6 years, 11 months ago

I'll be sad to see him go, and I'll miss singing some choice songs from the Mario video games whenever Chalmers did something incredible.

TriSigmaKS 6 years, 11 months ago

NO Chalmy! PLEASE don't leave yet. I'm from Alaska too and you're my only other Alaska connection. Stay stay stay! Bought your number shirt btw, just to represent!

penguin 6 years, 11 months ago

I say hold out hope that he is back. He hit one of greatest shots in Kansas history and was clutch all year. All that said, most draft experts do not have him in the first round. He will need to have some amazing workouts to ensure a spot in the first round. I would say come June 16 that he pulls out. This draft has attracted a lot of underclassmen because the NCAA made a rule change regarding workouts. It is now allowable for teams to pay for travel and other expenses related to workouts...which they could not do before. As a result, this draft is going to be stacked with people testing the waters to guess how well they need to do next year to raise their stock. I am just glad that both Mario and Darrell know that anything less than what they want is unacceptable. In NBA terms a second round selection is about as good as going undrafted, but at least undrafted status allows you to negotiate with multiple teams. However, for underclassmen there is no reason to stay in if you are not at least a 1st round pick.

blakus 6 years, 11 months ago

While I agree that Mario's stock couldn't be higher you still have to remember that this year's draft class is the deepest and most talented in a long time. If you look at some of the super-talented guards entering the draft you have to wonder where Mario might go. I think he will be back. (Oh, and Texas' Augustin just declared as well)

jayhawks71 6 years, 11 months ago

I am no fan of this "no agent" wait-and-see-game. The schools need to be able to move on knowing whether or not a guy is going to be playing for the team next year. My solution is to simply get rid of the "no agent" loophole. You declare, you don't come back. If you want to play ball with men, then be a man. Mario, I love ya man; every game I saw I wanted the ball in your hands taking the shot with the game on the line; your game-tying shot against Memphis will never leave my mind, but this isn't about Mario, this is about what is best for college basketball (and KU) and I don't think that "maybe I will maybe I won't" is good for college basketball in the long run.

Boeing 6 years, 11 months ago

Shatt,If you don't like it, don't read/comment on it. This is a basketball town, and after just winning a national championship, largely because of this guys effort, it's going to be big news around town. Unless you're about 150 years old, basketball was here before you, and you chose to come and/or stay. Deal with it.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 11 months ago

Don't feed the troll, boeing. It's like porn to him. Literally. Eww.

penguin 6 years, 11 months ago

So if you declare and then get hurt what? Under that scenario you are just SOL and that is not fair. The ability to test the draft waters seems fair. Also what if the advice you get is just bad? I think there are too many scenarios that can hurt a young player in the process if there is no safety net of returning. Also the rules only allow them to test the waters once before they have to commit. So I think that is plenty of protection for teams. In Baseball, the players are allowed to actually be drafted and if they do not like their position they can go to college. I say the NBA should be the same way. I say run the draft and if the guy does not like his slot then he should be able to opt out one time...like in Baseball. I know the MLB draft has about a billion rounds and is different. I think it could still be workable in Basketball. I feel its only fair given that in the two round NBA draft, only first round draft picks have truly guaranteed contracts. I do not think that having to wait really hurts any team because they always offer more scholarships than they have available. I mean just think about this year. We did not have the scholarship for Appleton until after at least one of the guys decided to be early entry. In addition, with players getting out of LOI once a coach leaves and other surprise players....there will always be extra recruits this time of year to take the space of an early NBA entry guy.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

No matter how this turns out, best of luck next year Mario!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

"Fact is Chalmers had the second most on the team (Robinson most)."Point guards often have the most turnovers on a team, since they touch the ball more often than anyone else. The more telling stat would be assists to turnover ratio, along with against scoring ability.

Kaw Pickinton 6 years, 11 months ago

Fine.. Leave, what have YOU ever done for KU?Oh wait! DON'T GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

So many players declaring for the draft this year. Augustin, Abrahms, the entire Memphis starting lineup, Beasley, Walker, our boys, Kevin Love, Stanford twins, etc. Many of them have not hired agents, so if they are not drafted high, they can come back. Some teams will get lucky as their players will come back, as they won't be drafted high enough, with so many declaring for the draft, and the class of seniors. Wonder how lucky KU will get.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

I too hope he comes back but don't blame him if he doesn't. I still think he could stand out more with one more yr. Or benefit from a thinner draft next yr. But something I would like to say is-Thank You Ronnie and Mrs. Chalmers for giving Mario a loving two parent family who have raised a good citizen first. The picture of him hugging his teary eyed Mom right after the game really speaks volumes, and touched my heart. I hope what I have heard about his parents liking it here and staying is true. They are good additions to the program. Ronnie has won several H.S. Championships in Alaska.. He can stay on his own merits. Mario can have ten to fifteen yrs in the league. Then come back and work as an assistant for Danny or his Dad. And of course, donate lots of $ to the program.

RonBurgandy 6 years, 11 months ago

I disagree with the statement that his stock will never be higher. It may never be higher in the eyes of Jayhawk Nation, but I do think that if he had a great year, he could improve his draft status. Saying that, I would do exactly what he is doing if I was him. There is no harm in trying and seeing. I think he will be back because this is such a deep draft. It is hard to look away from millions of dollars though. I think that Arthur is gone, so that sucks for us. Best of luck to all three of you guys wherever you end up.Rock Chalk.

Brian Conrad 6 years, 11 months ago

Mario is great! If Positive first round ... great , take it. if not he will be next draft. with Agustine, Abrams,Rose,Rush and soooooo many other great guards going into this years draft and he returns next year he will be first team big 12 and possibly all american. position in next year would be for sure first round. Also with Cole, Sherron and Mario along with many others coming in and those leaving other big 12 schools , KU would still have very good chance for another big 12 title and 1 to 4 seed in NCAA where all focus from media would be on him througout season. Remember many writers across country really did not know Mario.... the Miracle shot? KU fans know Mario was no miracle, he has hit shots in crunch time his whole career and his stats will be way up his senior year. Without as much National focus on Rose and Ucla , USC , Texas guards Mario could be mid to higher first round next year.Whatever he decides all for Mario!

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