2008 NCAA Tournament
2007-08 March 19 KU NCAA Day 1
- Brandon Rush talks about facing Portland State Thursday to open the Big Dance
- Brandon Rush talks even further about facing Portland State
- Darrell Arthur talks about playing Thursday a bit earlier than normal
- KU grad assistant Mike Lee, a Portland native, talks about what he knows about some of the Vikings
- PSU's Dupree Lucas, a Wichita native, talks about facing KU
- PSU's J.R. Moore, who grew up around Aaron Miles and Mike Lee, talks about facing KU
- Russell Robinson discusses how he prepares differently for the NCAA Tournament as a senior compared to as a freshman
- Sasha Kaun talks about preparing for his final NCAA Tournament run
Dunk you very much
Darrell Arthur lobbed the basketball toward the goal, clutched it after one high bounce, passed it from one hand to another between his legs, then rammed a vicious one-handed dunk, thrilling about 2,000 fans Wednesday afternoon at Qwest Center.
The Kansas University sophomore's slam concluded the Jayhawks' 32-minute shootaround, which followed an hour-and-10-minute morning practice at Omaha Central High.
"It's always great to at least shoot where you are going to play," KU coach Bill Self said. "We have a 7 a.m. wake-up call tomorrow. I doubt we are going to come here and shoot (before 11:25 a.m. tipoff against Portland State). It's good to get in here and get the feel of the place."
The Jayhawks shot a batch of jumpers Wednesday before taking part in a quickie dunk drill. Jeremy Case put down a spinning 360, while guard Tyrel Reed and red-shirt Brady Morningstar also may have surprised some with their leaping ability on a pair of acrobatic jams.
Bahe's team brilliant
KU seniors Case and Russell Robinson watched ex-Jayhawk Nick Bahe's Creighton basketball team rally from a 17-point deficit to defeat Rhode Island, 74-73, on Tuesday night at Qwest Center.
"It was fun. It's the first time I got to see a game (from stands) in four years," Robinson said. "Nick did a great job moving the ball. His team had a great comeback. I didn't get to see him (after game). He was busy celebrating."
Robinson added: "It was good to get out, relax and see the court. It reminds me a little bit of watching games back in high school."
Bahe came by KU's team hotel at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night and visited with the Jayhawks.
Lee knows Portland State
KU graduate student manager Michael Lee is a native of Portland. He has worked out many times at Portland State's gym.
"Coach (Ken) Bone has opened the gym for us many times," Lee said. "It's one of the better places in Portland to get some decent runs (pick-up games)."
Lee has worked out with Portland State junior guard Jeremiah Dominguez many times.
"He called me after we won our (postseason) tournament," Dominguez said of Lee.
How did Lee get his cell-phone number?
"Portland connection," Dominguez said with a smile.
Lee said: "I know Jeremiah pretty well. It's Portland ... one big family. I called him after we came back from the Big 12 tournament. I said, 'We'll see you in Omaha.'''
Rush praises guard
Brandon Rush played against Dominguez on the AAU circuit. "He's good," Rush said. "I remember we beat them because I played on the Atlanta Celtics with a lot of NBA guys on my team."
No big KU fan
Portland State senior Brian Curtis grew up a Wichita State fan. His dad, Charlie, was an assistant on coach Scott Thompson's Shocker staff.
He's never been a KU fan, though he did attend Roy Williams' camp three times and Self's once.
"Drew Gooden made me work on my game," Curtis said. "Danny Manning talked, but I don't remember too much about that.
"The thing about Kansas ... they don't recruit players in Kansas. The let the best players in Kansas go elsewhere. I never understood that," Curtis added.
"He was player of the year, and they didn't recruit him. Wichita State did, but KU didn't," he added, pointing to senior Dupree Lucas, a former all-stater out of Wichita Southeast.
NU did KU a favor
Robinson does not think the Jayhawks will have an off day, today.
"Nebraska was definitely our wake-up call," Robinson said of KU's 64-54 first-round Big 12 tournament victory over the Huskers, a game in which KU trailed by nine early.
"That game set the tone for the rest of our postseason."
Collins raring to go
Sherron Collins said he feels close to 100 percent physically and believes he's stronger mentally than last postseason.
"Last year helped me get rid of the butterflies," Collins said of his first NCAA experience. "I think now I'm ready to play."
K-State has big game, too
Rush gave his take on today's Kansas State-USC game.
"It's good to see another Big 12 team here," Rush said. "Definitely K-State has a better freshman (Michael Beasley) than USC (O.J. Mayo). USC is tough. They play good defense and have O.J., who is good. USC has more players than K-State," he added, indicating the Trojans would likely win.
Self said, "It'll be a great game. USC's offense is catching up to their defense. USC is more a complete team now. It doesn't matter how good your defense is. I don't know how you guard Beasley. You can play unbelievable defense on him and he can get 30. We guarded him well and held him to 39. I think it'll be very unique (game)."
Darnell Jackson on Vikings
"Their guards are great on the offensive glass. If you watch them play on defense, it's like they pressure you so hard where you can't get into your offense. Our main focus is to keep the intensity at the same level that they are playing with and just see what we can come out with.
"Their whole starting five stands out. Huff (Deonte, 6-4 senior) and Dominguez are great with the ball. Their post players can shoot from outside the three-point line."
Miami, KU discuss series
KU and the University of Miami have discussed playing a home-and-home series, coach Frank Heath told the Miami Herald. KU senior associate AD Larry Keating says discussions were brief. KU indicated any return game would have to be contested in American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, instead of Miami's 7,000-seat campus building. Miami said no, effectively ending all talks.
Former KU guard Keith Langford, who left the Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League a few weeks ago, has surfaced with Angelico, a pro team in Italy. The information comes courtesy of proexposure.com, an international scouting service which keeps track of all former college players overseas.