L.J. Goolsby, the eighth-year coach of Kansas City Pump N Run, takes issue with anybody who says the youth basketball program funnels players to Kansas University.
“I’d say our track record is about 65 percent of our guys go (NCAA) Div. I,” Goolsby said. “Our guys are spread all over: Big 12, Pac-10, Missouri Valley, SEC, ACC, Southern Conference, Northeast Conference, Horizon League, Ohio Valley, Mid-Con, Mountain West.
“The Big 10 has yet to get one of our guys,” Goolsby added, laughing. “And none of our guys have gone to the Big East yet.”
The issue of Dana and David Pump-team-sponsored players playing for KU has been a popular talk-show topic the past few days, since a Yahoo! Sports story quoted Lawrence real estate developer David Freeman saying he, former KU director of ticket operations Rodney Jones and KU grad Roger Morningstar followed the instruction of the California-based Pump brothers when the five allegedly made money scalping tickets during the 2002 and ’03 NCAA Final Fours.
The story — which did not accuse KC Pump N Run (officially sponsored by adidas) of any impropriety in sending players to KU — did mention that Morningstar coached KC Pump N Run teams in the past. Also, it mentioned that, since 2002, Pump-sponsored teams have featured at least nine players who have played at KU, including Mario Chalmers, Elijah Johnson, David Padgett, Omar Wilkes, Jeff Withey and KC Pump N Run alums Tyrel Reed, Travis Releford and Brady Morningstar.
“We don’t funnel players anywhere to any team across the country. We just want to get kids an opportunity to go play anywhere in the country,” Goolsby said. “It is an insult to Kansas as well. Kansas is a great university to play basketball at. Anybody saying they need players funneled to them ... it is embarrassing to that great university.
“Talk like that is discouraging. We’ve had more guys attend Missouri than Kansas. Kids like Tyrel and Brady grew up loving the University of Kansas. They didn’t need anybody telling them to go to Kansas. Same with Conner (Teahan). He gave up opportunities to play on scholarship at other places to walk-on.”
As to how the KC Pump N Run program was tied to the Pumps, Goolsby explained: “We have our own contract with adidas, Roger and myself. KC is on its own. It doesn’t go through Dana and David. We are an officially sponsored adidas team. We talked about changing the name the last three years — we have ‘Kansas City (with no Pump N Run)’ on our jerseys — (but) it’s become sort of a brand name in the area. It’s what kids know us by.
“Some of the Pump N Run teams (nationally) are attached to David and Dana. Everything they get comes through them. They got us in initially, and we’ll always be grateful for that, but our association is distant at best.”
Goolsby said he has no opinion on the Yahoo! story — “I have no knowledge of any of that,” he said — but did want to support his friend, Morningstar.
“Having Roger’s name brought up without any concrete evidence at this point is frustrating,” Goolsby said. “Besides a statement (by Freeman, who is headed to prison June 27), there hasn’t been anything to suggest Roger is involved. To go off that statement, without having anything else to verify it, is wrong in my mind.”