Boschee reflects on journeyman Gooden’s new deal

Former Kansas basketball guard has fond memories of ex-teammate, who signed with ninth NBA team

If anybody can handle playing for nine teams in nine NBA seasons, it’s Drew Gooden.

So says one of Gooden’s former Kansas University teammates — combo guard Jeff Boschee — who remembers Gooden as competitive on the court and a laid-back Californian off the hardwood.

“Drew is Drew — charismatic. He has a good time with anything he does. I never saw him in a bad mood,” Boschee said of the 28-year-old Gooden, who on Thursday agreed to a five-year, $32 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“He was never a problem at all. I always got along with him. I don’t know why he’s been traded so much and with so many teams. It’s just the nature of the business, I guess,” added Boschee, who in mid-May accepted an assistant coaching job at Missouri Southern State University after working as head coach at The Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo., the past three years.

“Drew has a young body, is athletic and has a lot of talent. Some people in Milwaukee obviously believe in him in giving him a good contract. Hopefully he’s found a home there,” Boschee added.

Boschee was a senior while Gooden was the leading scorer as a junior on a 33-4 KU team that lost to Maryland in the Final Four semifinals in Atlanta.

“I think the one game that stands out when I think of Drew — one that made me think he was really going to have a great career — was my junior year at K-State,” Boschee said. “He was coming back from an injury and played really well in that game.”

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Gooden scored 17 points off 6-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of a 77-65 victory over KSU at Bramlage Coliseum.

Gooden — he left college after his junior season and was tapped No. 4 overall by Memphis in the 2002 NBA Draft — has played for the Grizzlies, plus Orlando, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s played for five teams in the past two seasons.

Boschee, 30, spent the past three years recording an impressive 64-14 coaching record at The Barstow School.

“It’s a new challenge, something I’ll enjoy hopefully the rest of my life,” Boschee said of coaching college basketball.

Missouri Southern is an NCAA Div. II school in Joplin, Mo.

“The recruiting part of it, which I recently started, is something I enjoy. I really enjoy watching players develop. I don’t really have a set plan,” he added of when he wants to run his own program. “I’m going with the opportunity given to me. I learned a lot from coach (Roy) Williams. My knowledge of the game will grow even more working here for coach (Robert) Corn. He knows a lot about the game. This is a great starting point.”

Boschee, a prep sensation out of Valley City, N.D., was a four-year starter at KU who holds the school record for most threes in a career (338). After graduating with a bachelors degree in sports management, Boschee played in the USBL, ABA and Europe. He’s founder, trainer and coach of the Jeff Boschee Basketball Academy in Kansas City.

He and wife, Jamie, have a six-week-old daughter, Mary Rose Boschee.

Barstow Head of School Shane A. Foster recently had this to say about Boschee: “Coaching is mission-critical at Barstow. The head coach must have depth of character and the ability to not only coach but be a role model to our young athletes, and that is exactly what Jeff brought to our program three years ago. We thank Jeff for his hard work and dedication to our student athletes. Missouri Southern State University will gain a tremendous coach, and I think this is a fantastic start for the next chapter in Jeff’s career.”

Cavs eye Kaun

The Cleveland Cavaliers are thinking about signing former KU center Sasha Kaun, the News-Herald of Northern Ohio reports.

The 6-11 Kaun averaged 9.1 points off 71 percent shooting and 11.5 rebounds last season for CSKA Moscow. The 25-year-old Tomsk native has one year left on a deal that nets him about $1 million per year. The Cavaliers reportedly are allowed to pay only $350,000 toward buyout of the contract, meaning Kaun would have to pay the rest.

So he’d likely need a huge guaranteed deal to agree to the move.

“Two years ago our scouts were saying, ‘Sasha Kahn, Sasha Kahn,'” Cavaliers’ general manager Chris Grant told the News-Herald. “I’m like, ‘Are you sure?’ I’m watching him, and he can’t really do some things.’ Now, he’s one of the best centers in Europe.”

Kaun, who was married to former KU soccer player Taylor Blue on June 18, will not play for the Cavaliers’ summer-league team. Instead, he’ll be with the Russian National Team this summer.

Kaun was drafted 56th overall by Seattle in 2008. The Sonics, who have since moved to Oklahoma City, traded his rights to Cleveland on draft day. The Cavs were all for Kaun signing to play in Russia to gain some experience before joining the NBA team two or three years down the road.