LaFrentz’s NBA career likely coming to an end
Former Kansas University basketball standout Raef LaFrentz’s NBA career appears to be over.
The 33-year-old LaFrentz — who had surgery on his right shoulder 13 months ago as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers and missed the entire 2008-09 season — is currently a free agent living in Des Moines, Iowa.
“He was debating on whether to stay (in Iowa) or go play ball,” said LaFrentz’s dad, Ron, who lives with wife Ellen in Monona, Iowa.
“I told him, ‘You’ve still got some knees left. If you stay in it much longer, those knees are not going to be any good. By 45, 50 you’ll have to have a knee replacement.’
“I’m not too much in favor of him going back and playing any more. His personality is such he likes the competition and all that, (but) he’ll get over it,” Ron LaFrentz added of his son, who has had surgery on both knees to go with the shoulder operation.
Raef LaFrentz, who made $12.7 million with the Blazers a year ago, has bought land throughout the Midwest.
Raef and his wife, Joie, have one child — 2-year-old son Cael.
“As for what he’s going to do when he gets bored … like Ted Williams said, ‘You can only fish so much.’ He’s staying busy,” Ron said.
As far as hoops … Raef might consider a return if an NBA team made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Because of his injury history, that doesn’t figure to happen.
“His competitiveness has not died down too much. He said it’d be awfully difficult to get into (playing) shape,” Ron said.
Raef averaged 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game in an 11-year career that included stints in Denver, Dallas, Boston and Portland.
“He probably would consider a one-year contract or so. His skills don’t seem to have deteriorated too much. But the healing process gets slower when you get to be 33, 34. He’s very content with what he’s doing now.”
The 6-foot-11 LaFrentz, a two-time consensus All-American who is KU’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer, had his KU jersey No. 45 retired during the 2002-03 season. He’s not been able to get back to a game since.
“He loves that place,” Ron said, noting Raef has Kansas City Chiefs season tickets. “There’s no other place in the NCAA where the atmosphere is such as in Allen Fieldhouse.”
Late Night visitors
Josh Selby, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Lake Clifton High in Baltimore, is scheduled to attend Friday’s Late Night in the Phog.
Selby’s mom, Maeshon Witherspoon, told Rivals.com on Monday her son will be in Lawrence as part of an unofficial recruiting visit. Rivals.com’s No. 4-rated prospect is considering KU, Baylor, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami and Syracuse.
Other members of the Class of 2010 who will attend Late Night: No. 2-rated Harrison Barnes, a 6-7 forward from Ames (Iowa) High, who is considering KU, Duke, North Carolina, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State; No. 21-rated Doron Lamb, a 6-4 shooting guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who is considering KU, Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma; and Royce Woolridge, 6-3 combo guard from Sunnyslope High in Phoenix. Woolridge, Rivals.com’s No. 117-rated player, has orally committed to KU.
High school juniors to attend: Brad Beal, 6-3 shooting guard from Chaminade High in St. Louis and Josiah Turner, 6-3 shooting guard from Sacramento (Calif.) High.
J.P. Tokoto, a 6-5 sophomore from Menomonee Falls (Wis.) High, also will attend.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., Friday, for the 25th annual Late Night. Festivities will run from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Admission is free with seating first come, first served.
Wright’s in Wichita
Former KU forward Julian Wright’s New Orleans Hornets will meet the Orlando Magic in an NBA exhibition game at 7 tonight in Koch Arena in Wichita.
The Hornets will meet former KU guard Mario Chalmers’ Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Third-year pro Wright — who has made two of 17 shots in the Hornets’ last two exhibition games — hit five of eight shots and scored 13 points in the preseason opener.
Wright has been named a starter in his third year in the NBA, after playing a reserve role his first two seasons.
“I’m going to stick with it this whole preseason and we’ll see how it looks after that,” coach Byron Scott told the New Orleans Times Picayune. “But my intentions are to stick with it when the season starts. Now if it gets to a point in the season where I think it’s just not working, then I’ll make the change. But right now, No. 1, I just want him to get comfortable in that role.”