Kansas Men's Basketball
Mario Chalmers, who had his first of five workouts for NBA teams on Friday in Phoenix, told Suns beat writers he'll likely keep his name in the 2008 NBA Draft.
"I'm leaning toward staying in. I've been hearing a lot of good things, so I'll probably stay in," said the 6-foot-1 Chalmers, who just completed his junior year at Kansas University.
He has until June 16 to remove his name from the June 26 draft if he wishes to play a final season at KU.
It has been assumed by those close to the KU program that Chalmers, hero of the national title victory over Memphis, ultimately would remain in the draft.
"I'll probably make my final decision next week," Chalmers said in an interview that can be read on the Phoenix Suns' official Web site (www.nba.com/suns/).
"(If I'm) in that top first round, anywhere between 15 and 25, I'm going to stay in," he added.
Chalmers will work out for Denver on Sunday and Cleveland, Washington and New Orleans next week. He said he believed his draft position "improved a lot" by helping KU to the national title.
"I think my name was already out there, but I think it made an even bigger name, because people like winners. We proved that we were a winning team. We did that," Chalmers said.
He indicated it would not be difficult mentally to return to college one final season if he needed another year of seasoning.
"Because Lawrence is a great place and our fans are great, and the coaching staff is great, so it wouldn't be a hard decision to go back. But it's my dream to be in the NBA, and I am so close to it," he said.
Chalmers was interviewed in official Suns practice garb Friday. He said he enjoyed the NBA workout.
"I think I made a pretty good impression. I had a couple turnovers, but other than that I think I did pretty well," said Chalmers, who likely will play point guard in the NBA.
"It lived up to all my expectations ... It's a great opportunity for young guys like myself and D.J. (Augustin), Drew (Neitzel) and Rod (Beaubois) to come in here today and work out, and try to get to the next level."
Last week, KU coach Bill Self indicated chances were "great" Chalmers and Darrell Arthur would remain in the draft.
Arthur, who completed his sophomore season, since has confirmed he has played his final game at KU. Brandon Rush, who like Chalmers completed his junior year, signed with an agent shortly after KU's title victory.
ESPN's Jay Bilas believes Chalmers is a definite first-round pick. ESPN's Chad Ford believes Chalmers will be tapped by San Antonio at No. 26 in Round One. ESPN's Andy Katz also calls him a first-rounder. Draftexpress.com has Chalmers being tapped seventh in the second round by Milwaukee.