Kansas University basketball fans have a special attachment to Jayhawk players, and it’s fun to follow their lives and careers after they leave Mount Oread.
In a few cases, that means following their basketball careers in the NBA or abroad. A couple of former Jayhawks — Mario Chalmers for Miami and Nick Collison for Oklahoma City — are playing prominent roles in the current battle for the NBA championship. Cole Aldrich hasn’t seen any action in the current playoff series but is supporting his OKC teammates from the sideline.
For many other former players, however, their future success isn’t so closely tied to the basketball court.
One of the special pleasures of living in Lawrence is to have an opportunity to learn more about those players when they come back to visit their alma mater and relive some basketball memories. Some current and former professional players were on the rosters for last week’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic played at Free State High School, but there also was a cancer doctor (T.J. Pugh), a medical student in his last year of residency (Christian Moody), a physical therapy student (Tyrel Reed), an asset manager for Goldman Sachs (Ryan Robertson) and other former Jayhawks pursuing careers outside of basketball.
Some players on the alumni rosters played for a few years either in the NBA or abroad before moving on to other careers. Others never made it into the Jayhawks’ starting lineup (except maybe on Senior Night) but have achieved great professional success in other fields.
It’s great that these players left KU with special memories that make them want to come back and participate in events like the Roundball Classic, which raised funds for three local families dealing with cancer. It’s also great to see former student athletes excelling in their chosen fields — both on and off the court.