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Archive for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cavs wowed by Jackson

June 29, 2008

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Darnell Jackson impressed Cleveland Cavaliers officials with his skill-set and hustle - as well as his personality - during a pair of pre-draft workouts with the NBA team this past month in Ohio.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound former Kansas University power forward made a lasting impression during a post-practice huddle with all the college hopefuls who had survived a series of drills and scrimmage situations.

"At the end of the workouts, we always bring all the guys together, and everybody puts their hands in there," Cavaliers' general manager Danny Ferry said. "There's silence. We want to see who is going to say something, who is going to initiate.

"Everybody was standing there, and Darnell goes, 'OK, everybody, '1-2-3, national championship.' Everybody else looked at him like, 'I ain't saying that, man,''' Ferry added with a laugh.

Jackson made enough of an impression for the Cavs to trade two future draft picks to Miami for the rights to the Midwest City, Okla., native, who was selected No. 52 overall by the Heat.

"The biggest thing for us with all the workouts is the person," Cavs assistant general manager Chris Grant told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We get to see them play and measure how tall they are. But the No. 1 thing is the person. Can they laugh at themselves? Are they professional? For us, that's the biggest thing - with both of them (including first-round pick J.J. Hickson). We liked a lot of kids. But with both these kids, we walked out and say, 'Man, what a great kid.'''

¢ Miles with Mavs: Former Kansas University point guard Aaron Miles, who played in Spain last season, has been invited to play for the Dallas Mavericks' summer-league team in mid July in Las Vegas.

¢ KU vs UCLA?: Adam Zagoria of zagsblog.net writes that KU will begin a home-and-home series with UCLA in 2009-10.

KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating, who is charge of the Jayhawks' scheduling, said if that series happens, it'd be part of the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Challenge series.

"We'd like to play them," Keating said of the Bruins. "We've talked in general about it with them in the past. We play Arizona this year (in the challenge) and will get a new opponent the following year (in Challenge). The schools talk, the leagues talk, and TV is involved (in making attractive matchups)."

¢ What kidney problem?: Darrell Arthur's high school coach, who watched Thursday NBA Draft on TV at his home in Dallas, was as shocked as anybody to hear that NBA teams backed off the former KU forward because of an alleged kidney problem.

"It's the first time I heard anything like that," said South Oak Cliff's James Mays. "The kid never missed a game (in high school) and never missed a game at Kansas. All of us were in the dark on that one - media, family, friends."

Despite Arthur's freefall well past the lottery, Mays said he never lost hope Arthur would be selected in Round One. New Orleans finally tapped Arthur at No. 27, trading him to Portland. The Trail Blazers shipped Arthur to Houston. He finally landed in Memphis.

¢ Mario looking good: Reports out of Miami continue to point to Mario Chalmers as a lock to make the Heat roster.

The Palm Beach Post reports Miami "desperately needs help at point guard. Oft-injured Jason Williams is expected to leave, and Chris Quinn and Marcus Banks have not proven themselves as starters."

Team president Pat Riley said he was impressed with more than Chalmers' making the biggest shot in KU history - the one that sent the national title victory over Memphis into overtime.

"It was his overall fearless approach in that game to compete and to win," Riley told the Post. "He makes big shots. He makes big plays. When you're the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four, you've accomplished something on a bigger stage."

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