Jayhawks Well Represented on NBA Rosters

Oct. 28, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan.As the 2008-09 NBA season gets set to tip off Tuesday night, 11 former Kansas Jayhawks have made opening-day rosters, including four members of the 2008 National Championship team.

Kansas leads all Big 12 teams with its 11 NBA players on final rosters, followed by Texas with eight and Oklahoma State with five.

Rookies Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson and Brandon Rush join fellow Jayhawk alums and NBA veterans Nick Collison, Drew Gooden, Kirk Hinrich, Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn and Julian Wright in the league.

In action Tuesday night will be Jackson, Gooden, Hinrich and Pierce.

Reigning NBA Finals MVP Pierce and his Boston Celtics begin their title defense at home against Jackson and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pierce averaged 10.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game of action in the preseason. Jackson played 14.3 minutes per game in the preseason, averaging 3.5 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Gooden, Hinrich and the Bulls open up at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. Gooden played 21.7 minutes a game in the preseason, averaging 9.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Hinrich averaged 25.6 minutes, scoring 10.3 points and dishing out 4.3 assists per game.

LaFrentz’s Portland Trailblazers wrap up opening night by traveling to Los Angeles to take on the defending Western Conference Champion Lakers, but the former KU star will not be in action. LaFrentz did not play in the preseason due to injury, and is expected to miss six to eight months.

The rest of the former Jayhawks will begin the 2008-09 season Wednesday night.

Arthur played in six preseason games for the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17.2 minutes of action per game. Chalmers finished up the preseason playing 24.3 minutes a game for the Miami Heat while averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 assists. Rush logged 28.6 minutes per game for the Indiana Pacers during the preseason, punching out with 10.1 points per game and 3.6 rebounds a contest.

Collison played in six preseason games for the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 8.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in 23 minutes of action per game.

Vaughn played 14.8 minutes per game in the preseason for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 4.3 points and 2.7 assists. Wright scored 4.8 points per game and average four rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game of action for the New Orleans Hornets this preseason.