Aaron Miles, who played pro basketball in Greece last season, leaves Lawrence today for what he hopes is an even greater adventure — one in the NBA.
The 27-year-old former Kansas University point guard will board a flight for the San Francisco Bay Area, where Miles will report to training camp of the Golden State Warriors.
Yes, Miles is back where his pro career started. He made the Warriors’ roster as an undrafted rookie free agent during the 2005-06 season. He was released in January 2006 before his contract became guaranteed.
“I think I definitely have a chance if there is a spot available,” said Miles, a Portland native who makes Lawrence his offseason home. He was speaking Saturday following the KU Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony in Allen Fieldhouse, during which he was inducted with fellow members of the 2003-04 Jayhawk team.
The Warriors, Miles said, have 14 players under contract and can keep a maximum of 15.
He said he wasn’t sure where he’d play in 2010-11 if it doesn’t work out with the Warriors.
He was one of several members of the 2003-04 Elite Eight team to attend Saturday. Others: Jeff Hawkins, Michael Lee, Christian Moody, Moulaye Niang, Brett Olson, Stephen Vinson and Wayne Simien, who also was inducted as an individual.
“It was a great team, great times,” Miles said. “Great friendships developed that are still intact. We’ve all grown and matured. A lot of us have families now. It’s a close-knit team.”
A manager on that ’03-04 KU team, Justin Bauman flew in from San Francisco with fellow University of San Francisco assistant Lee. KU grad Rex Walters is head coach of the Dons.
“That team ... so many memories,” Bauman said. “I was talking to coach (Bill) Self about when the managers forgot the warmups for Big Monday at Baylor. He gave us a hard time (that night in the winter of ’04), but he obviously turned his cheek, and we were fine. We actually ended up winning that game. It’s great seeing the guys, great to be back at Kansas. It’s such a special place.”
Noted Lee: “We had a few laughs today about coach Self. That was the Boot Camp era as I like to call it,” Lee noted. “Danny (Manning, assistant) was practicing then. Danny would kick our butts on the court every day. Moulaye never wanted to practice; Wayne and Aaron never had to practice.
“I thank coach Walters for giving me a day off to fly out here. It’s special to me. Any time I get a chance to come back to Kansas, I come back. I don’t hesitate.”
Also inducted Saturday: Olympic distance runner Charlie Gruber and football/basketball/baseball standout Harold Patterson.
They said it
• Former KU football All-American John Hadl on Patterson: “I grew up in Lawrence and saw all the KU games, and Harold Patterson was a super all-around athlete. He was fast, had great hands, was tough, played defense and is a wonderful guy.”
• KU coach Bill Self: “I have never coached a bigger stud than Wayne Simien. He is the best collegiate player that I have had the honor to work with. You could throw the ball to him on the left block, and it was money.”
• Gruber: “I want to thank coach Stanley Redwine and his whole staff for everything they did for me. His dedication and commitment to me has been inspirational. I also want to thank my high school coach, John Hancock, who got me into this sport and really showed me a winning tradition. I want to recognize my family for supporting me as well as KU. KU has really supported me throughout the years and supported me through my professional career.”