In the past, Mario Chalmers has either hit the ceremonial tee shot — or asked his dad, Ronnie, to do the honors — at the National Championship Golf Classic, which today marks its fifth anniversary at Alvamar.
After the first hole, it has been cart-driving and socializing duties only for Miami Heat combo guard Chalmers, who has yet to fully embrace golf as a hobby.
“I’ve been taking golf lessons here and there, trying to work on my game so I can play in my own tournament,” said Chalmers, starting combo guard on Kansas University’s 2008 national championship team. “It’s coming along. I want to play next year. I want to put a team in and play the whole time next year.”
Chalmers hopes a good time is had by all today at his tourney, which, like Sunday’s VIP mixer, benefits the Mario V. Chalmers Foundation, Mario’s Closet (which provides low-cost accessories for cancer patients located at Lawrence Memorial Hospital) and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Kansas, located in Topeka.
“We play golf, enjoy the weather, hang out,” Chalmers said. “All proceeds go to my foundation to help out breast cancer and youth initiatives. It’s a big weekend for me, a big event.”
Last week, Chalmers held a four-day camp for youths at Olathe East.
“Kids are the future. We are getting older each day,” said the 27-year-old Chalmers. “We’re not going to be here forever. We want to leave something for the kids, what they can remember us by, take from our lives as grown-ups and apply it to them.”
Russell doesn’t golf: Former KU guard Russell Robinson, who has returned to support Chalmers the past five summers, also won’t be golfing today.
“I’ve not picked that up yet. I’ll wait until I’m done playing basketball,” Robinson said with a laugh.
Recruiting: KU coaches were in the stands at the AAU Super Showcase on Friday in Orlando, Fla., watching prospects Kelly Oubre and Justise Winslow of Houston Hoops.
Winslow, 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior from Houston St. John’s, is ranked No. 16 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals.com. Oubre, 6-5, 200 senior, from Bush High in Richmond, Texas, is ranked No. 19.
“Oubre supplied the slashing offense that the Hoops needed, while Winslow did his best Ron Artest in his prime impression on four-star wing Devin Booker (of Alabama Challenge),” wrote Corey Albertson of Rivals.com. “Winslow face-guarded Booker on every possession, holding the high-scoring guard to just 14 points and making him work for every catch. On the other end, Oubre settled less for jumpers and attacked the rim more, playing with a more efficient pace in the halfcourt then he did in a televised game against Each-1-Teach-1 on Thursday night.”
Oubre and Winslow were also scouted by coaches from Florida, Kentucky, Duke, Stanford, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota and others.
Jeter to visit: Chase Jeter, a 6-9 junior from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High who is ranked No. 33 in the class of 2015, will make unofficial visits to KU, Indiana and Duke this fall, Rivals.com reports.
Okafor in Vegas: No. 1-ranked Jahlil Okafor, a 6-11, 280 senior from Chicago Whitney Young, played at a tourney in Las Vegas over the weekend.
“He doesn’t always put up huge scoring numbers, but the nation’s top player, Jahlil Okafor, is always solid around the rim and he’s always a beast on the glass,” wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “Making his last run with the Mac Irvin Fire, the 6-foot-11 center from Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young took over for stretches on Saturday afternoon. Despite being double- and triple-teamed and clubbed without getting any calls, he kept plugging away and converting at the rim and out to about 10 feet. For such a big and strong kid, he’s nimble and he has learned to use spins and changes of direction along the baseline. Add how comfortable he is finishing with either hand and he almost always finds a way to convert.”
Summer league: KU junior guard Naadir Tharpe scored 19 points with four rebounds, while sophomore forward Jamari Traylor had 14 points and 12 rebounds in Dream Team’s loss to Code Black on Saturday in a Nike Chicago League game in the Windy City. Tharpe had five threes in the first half. Stats were provided by highschoolcube.com, which broadcasts games on its website.