Year after year, Washburn University coaching legend Bob Chipman stocks his popular summer camps with counselors from Kansas University's basketball team.
"They do such a great job. They are such great ambassadors for KU, it's scary," said Chipman, who annually holds sessions in Ulysses, Garden Plain and Kansas City, Kan.
"Every young person who attends our camp looks forward to the summer. They (Jayhawks) never disappoint. They do a great job teaching the kids," Chipman added. "I'm not only a friend, but a huge fan of every KU player. Those guys are wonderful."
Chipman will be reunited with his summertime employees today when his 30th Ichabod team takes on KU in a 7 p.m. exhibition in Allen Fieldhouse.
"I've been working coach Chipman's camps since my freshman year. He's a good guy. I look up to him," KU junior guard Sherron Collins said. "We stay out there two or three days, get to know him and bond with him. He's a great guy to be around."
Chipman - he played guard for Kansas State coach Jack Hartman in the 1970s and also annually hires KSU players as camp counselors - remembers some highly competitive pick-up games at his camps when he was still lacing up the Nikes.
"The last year I played, I had (Nick) Collison and (Kirk) Hinrich on my team. All I did was throw it in (bounds), and they dunked it on the other end," Chipman said. "That's when we'd coach the girls in the morning, boys in the afternoon and high school kids at night - 21â2 hours for each session."
Chipman, who has a 646-215 record at the Topeka school (he won a national title in 1986-87), says he's more energized entering season No. 30 than ever before.
"I didn't know as you get older you'd appreciate it even more," Chipman, 57, said. "I'm more excited this year than I ever was in my first 10 years. Practices seem more fun. You look forward to it every day.
"It seems like it (coaching) is kind of my hobby along with my love. I don't do anything else."
Playing KU helps him attract top talent to the NCAA Div. II school. The Jayhawks will pay Washburn $20,000 guarantee money for tonight's appearance. Those types of paydays in the past have helped fund trips to China, France and Yugoslavia.
"Playing them helps us so much," Chipman said. "It gives us confidence, even if we get our brains beat out. The notoriety of stepping on the court, the environment, the money, all help us a great deal."
His Ichabods, picked to finish sixth in the 11-team Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, return three starters and seven letterwinners off last year's 18-11 squad, which went 9-9 in league play. He has brought in 10 newcomers to go against a KU team with seven new players.
"It's KU. They will play extremely hard and extremely well together," Chipman said. "They play the game the right way. Starting out, they probably won't be as good as last year. They will end up with a great team. They always do."
Washburn will play Sunday at Kansas State and then November 11 at UNLV to finish preseason play.
"It'll be a humbling experience, not real smart by me," Chipman said with a laugh.
He has brought in two reinforcements for this season in former Arkansas-Little Rock players Lekheythan Malone and DeAndre Eggins. Malone, a 6-foot-6 senior out of Dallas, averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 boards last season. Eggins, a 5-6 senior, averaged 7.8 points and 3.8 boards. UALR went 20-11 a year ago.