Eight Jayhawks Advance to NBA Playoffs

Paul Pierce has played in 158 playoff games entering this weekend.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Eight of 19 Jayhawks currently playing in the NBA have advanced to the postseason playoffs, which begin Saturday. Kansas is tied for fourth with Kentucky for the most former college players represented on NBA playoff active rosters.

Included in the eight Jayhawks competing in the playoffs are a pair who play for the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences. Brandon Rush ’08 helped lead the Golden State Warriors to a league-record 73 wins in the regular season, while Sasha Kaun ’08 made his NBA debut with the Eastern Conference’s first-place Cleveland Cavaliers this season.

Rush appeared in 72 games (25 starts) during Golden State’s record-setting season, averaging 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.6 minutes. The Kansas City native scored 20-plus once and reached double figures 10 times. Rush became the 11th Jayhawk to win an NBA title as a member of the Warriors’ 2015 team that won the NBA Finals. Rush is in his eighth season in the NBA.

Kaunplayed in 25 games,averaging 3.8 minutes per game, in his NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers after six seasons of playing professionally in Russia. Kaun signed with Cleveland as a free agent on Sept. 9, 2015. Cleveland is looking to return to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season.

Paul Pierce ’98 is making his 13th playoff appearance with the Los Angeles Clippers. Ten of his appearances came with the Boston Celtics and one each with the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Clippers. The 18-year NBA veteran has played in 158 playoff games entering this weekend. Pierce appeared in 68 games (38 starts), and averaged 6.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 18.1 minutes this season. The 2008 NBA Finals MVP is one of two active players (Kevin Garnett) with 25,000+ career points, 7,000+ rebounds and 4,500+ assists.

There will be two first-round matchups featuring Jayhawks on both sides of the ball. Cole Aldrich ’08 and Pierce’s L.A. Clippers face Cliff Alexander ’15 and the Portland Trailblazers starting Sunday. In the Eastern Conference, Marcus Morris ’11 and the Detroit Pistons face Kaun’s and Cavaliers on Sunday.

Kirk Hinrich ’03 will make his playoff debut with the Atlanta Hawks after a mid-season trade from the Chicago Bulls. Hinrich played 46 games (seven starts) with Atlanta and Chicago this season, averaging 3.0 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 13.7 minutes. He saw action in 11 games for Atlanta, with the Hawks going 8-3 in those contests.

Nick Collison ’03 and the Oklahoma City Thunder begin the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference after posting a 55-27 record. The Thunder face the Dallas Mavericks starting Saturday. Collison appeared in 59 games (four starts) and averaged 2.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11.8 minutes for the Thunder this season.

Mario Chalmers ’08 would have been on the Memphis Grizzlies’ playoff roster, but after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in March the Grizzlies subsequently waived Chalmers. Chalmers won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

A total of 11 Jayhawks have won 17 NBA titles, including three Jayhawks earning NBA Finals MVP honors (Pierce, Jo Jo White, Wilt Chamberlain).


Cole Aldrich ’10
Los Angeles Clippers (4th West, 53-29)
First Round vs. Portland Trailblazers

Cliff Alexander ’15
Portland Trailblazers (5th West, 44-38)
First Round vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Nick Collison ’03
Oklahoma City Thunder (3rd West, 55-27)
First Round vs. Dallas Mavericks

Kirk Hinrich ’03
Atlanta Hawks (4th East, 48-34)
First Round vs. Miami Heat

Sasha Kaun ’08
Cleveland Cavaliers (1st East, 57-25)
First Round vs. Detroit Pistons

Marcus Morris ’11
Detroit Pistons (8th East, 44-38)
First Round vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Paul Pierce ’98
Los Angeles Clippers (4th West, 53-29)
First Round vs. Portland Trailblazers

Brandon Rush ’08
Golden State Warriors (1st West, 73-9)
First Round vs. Houston Rockets

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