It was a very busy Thursday night for Chris Thiesen, the Kansas Jayhawks assistant athletic director for media relations, as he was trying to get in touch with players selected in the 2008 National Basketball Association draft.
It was a very busy Thursday night for Chris Thiesen, the Kansas Jayhawks assistant athletic director for media relations, as he was trying to get in touch with players selected in the 2008 National Basketball Association draft.Of course, when you’re trying to find five different players after 11 p.m. for reporters on deadline, you could understand if he was a little tired of hitting cell phone numbers and automatically getting recordings to leave messages.Two Jayhawks were taken in the first round, while three more were taken in the second -- the most ever from the school for one draft. Shooting guard Brandon Rush and power forward Darrell Arthur were taken in the first round; point guard Mario Chalmers, power forward Darnell Jackson and center Sasha Kaun all were chosen in the second round.“I thought we’d get five drafted,” said Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self. “I was happy for our guys, but I was a little disappointed that a couple of them fell past what they were told they would go, and that’s disappointing to me.“Those pre-draft things, all they are, are rumors. The whole deal is that you have to talk to people who are calling the shots, and you have to get accurate information. We cheered when Brandon went at (No.) 13, and held our breaths when the other guys didn’t go as high as we thought they would.”Kansas State’s top two scorers from last year — freshmen Michael Beasley and Bill Walker — also were taken in the draft.As expected, Kansas State power forward Beasley went second in the draft to the Miami Heat after the Chicago Bulls selected point guard Derrick Rose of Memphis with the first pick. Although Beasley was thought of to be the No. 1 pick for most of the collegiate season, Rose was able to persuade the Bulls to take a chance on the hometown player.“I knew anything could happen,” Beasley said on ESPN after being drafted. “I am just glad it’s over with. Miami is getting a great player who is going to work hard, (be) a good rebounder and just an all-around fun-loving guy. I think every team needs one of those.”Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds a game in his only season for the Wildcats. The freshman from Washington, D.C., also led the team in blocked shots (54) and steals (42). He is the first K-State player to be picked in the first round since Mitch Richmond in 1988 and the last Wildcat to be drafted since Steve Henson in 1990.He was named as one of 10 on the John Wooden All-American team and also was named first team to the National Basketball Coaches Association and Associated Press All-American squads. Beasley also received player of the year awards from CBSSportsline.com and rivals.com; and freshman of the year honors from five organizations.“I’m ecstatic,” said K-State head coach Frank Martin on the Wildcats’ Web site. “I’m ecstatic for Mike. I’m ecstatic for the Heat. They went through a troubled year last season, but they have good personnel. They are all about working and competing, and that’s what Mike is about. I think it’s a perfect marriage.”The Portland Trailblazers took Rush with the 13th pick, and then traded him to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that included Arizona’s Jerryd Bayless, the 11th pick in the draft. The trade will give Rush a chance to play with his brother Kareem, who played with the Pacers last year. Rush had declared for the draft as a sophomore but returned for his junior season after surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament. He declared again after a couple of weeks after Kansas beat Memphis in the national championship game.Rush, from Kansas City, Mo., was a two-time Wooden All-American member and a three-time Big 12 player first-team selection during his time with the national champions. He led the Jayhawks with 13.3 points a game last season, and also averaged 5.1 rebounds a game.Arthur was drafted at No. 27 by the New Orleans Hornets, who immediately traded the pick to Portland for cash. He was traded again to the Memphis Grizzlies for Syracuse’s Donte Greene, the 28th pick in the draft.Arthur left the Jayhawks after his sophomore season and was predicted to be picked near the middle of the round but fell to the Hornets before the trade, partially on rumors of a possible kidney ailment. Arthur, from Dallas, averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for Kansas last season. He led the Jayhawks in blocks with 53 and was a Big 12 first team member.“Darrell told me (the) Washington (Wizards) did some blood work on him and that it came back normal,” Self said. “The appearance that I got was that word did not get down to other teams; that they were going on a previous test that was done. If that’s the case, then somebody dropped the ball and that will cost him a lot of money.”Chalmers was the first college player from the Sunflower State taken in the second round with the fourth pick of the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was later traded to the Miami Heat for two future second-round picks and cash. Chalmers, a junior from Anchorage, Alaska, averaged 12.8 points — including 46.8 percent shooting from three-point range — and led the team in assists (4.3 a game) and steals (97).“I am surprised considering the feedback Mario gave us,” Self said. “I talked to numerous teams, and they said he was on their board. It’s very disappointing that a player with eligibility left would fall to the second round. I think he went to a great team where he can make an immediate impact. In the long run, it could turn out to be OK for him.”Walker was taken by the Washington Wizards with the 47th overall pick, then traded to the NBA champion Boston Celtics for cash. Walker, who came to the Wildcats from Cincinnati, averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for Kansas State this season. He was a third-team All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.Jackson went to the Heat with the 52nd overall choice. He averaged 11.2 points and led the team in rebounding with a 6.7 average. The senior from Oklahoma City was a member of the Big 12’s all-improved team and a third-team All-Big 12 selection this past season.Center Sasha Kaun was the final player with Kansas ties picked at No. 56 by the Seattle Supersonics, then was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.Kaun, who announced earlier this week he signed a three-year contract to play for current EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow and was born in Russia before attending high school in Florida, averaged 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in his senior season for the Jayhawks.“I thought Darnell and Sasha would go mid-second (round),” Self said. “I wasn’t surprised that Sasha went low because he already signed that contract to go to Russia, but a team that drafted him would still hold his rights. I could see him going there for a couple of years and maybe come back.”A former Kansas Jayhawk was taken with the last pick of the first round as J.R. Giddens was the choice of the Celtics.D.J. Augustin of Texas was the only other Big 12 player taken in the first round (ninth pick with the Charlotte Hornets). DeAndre Jordan of Texas A-M was picked 35th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, while Iowa State’s Mike Taylor was picked 55th overall by the Trailblazers.