After his first individual workout with NBA teams, Mario Chalmers told Phoenix Suns reporters he'd be keeping his name in the 2008 NBA Draft.
He had no change of heart after his fifth workout - Saturday's session in New Orleans - and on Sunday announced he'd definitely played his last game at KU.
"In my past five workouts, I have impressed the scouts and general managers, showing them my capabilities to have success at the next level," said Chalmers, who like teammate Darrell Arthur declared for the draft shortly after KU's national-title victory over Memphis but did not sign with an agent.
He and Arthur - who also is remaining in the June 26 draft - had until today to withdraw from the draft if they wished to play again in college.
KU's Brandon Rush declared for the draft in April and signed with an agent, eliminating early any chance of returning for a final season.
"Being at Kansas has made me a better player and better person," said Chalmers, who also worked out for Denver, Cleveland and Washington. "I want to thank all the fans, the coaches and players who have helped me in my three years at KU. I will always be a Jayhawk and will come back and visit every chance I get."
KU director of basketball operations Ronnie Chalmers approved of his son's decision.
"This has been part of Mario's dream, to play at the next level," Ronnie Chalmers said. "He has accomplished his goals at Kansas. He wanted to come here and win a national championship, and he did. His mother (Almarie) and I are happy to be able to see him live this dream."
KU coach Bill Self was not surprised by Chalmers' decision. Self told the Journal-World on June 11, "he's staying in the draft."
"Even though this was official (Sunday), we anticipated this back in April when he declared without an agent," Self said. "We are excited for Mario's draft prospects. From what we have gathered his stock has climbed. We wish Mario the very best, and we will anxiously be waiting to see where all of our guys will be drafted."
Draftexpress.com predicts Chalmers will be tapped No. 26 in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. The Web site has Rush being tapped No. 15 by Phoenix and Arthur 18th by Washington.
ESPN's Chad Ford has Arthur being tapped No. 14 by Golden State, Rush 15th by Phoenix and Chalmers 22nd by Orlando.
¢ Rebuilding/reloading job ahead: KU will return just four scholarship players off last year's national-title team. They are Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed.
The Jayhawks have added juco players Tyrone Appleton and Mario Little, prep schoolers Marcus and Markieff Morris and high schoolers Travis Releford, Tyshawn Taylor and Quintrell Thomas in recruiting. Also back are walkons Matt Kleinmann, Brennan Bechard, Chase Buford and Conner Teahan.
"Even with all the losses," Self said, "we've got one of the best guards and big men in the conference coming back, in my eyes at least. We have some stuff to build around, just not numbers to build around. Some of those other guys (on KU roster) are going to be pretty good."
Had Chalmers returned, "we'd have been Top 10 (rated). We (now) might be pretty good by the end of the year."
Self remains enthusiastic about the 2008-09 Jayhawk team, despite losing his eight scholarship players.
"With the number of guys we're losing, we've got to get the young guys to step up and play like men maybe a little before they are ready to," Self said. "It'll be fun. It'll be challenging."
¢ Robinson in Charlotte: KU's Russell Robinson today will hold his first individual workout for an NBA team, with the Charlotte Bobcats.
"We'll see how that goes," Robinson said. "A couple other teams are interested. I'll play hard, and good things will happen. All it takes is one (team) to love you," Robinson added. "There's always summer league (if he doesn't get drafted). My agent is confident. I'm confident for sure. We'll go out there and see what we can do."