KU was expected to get to the 2017 Final Four. The team was confident they could do it. They had an amazing season and displayed, Grit, Toughness, and an incredible Will to Win! But even with all of that, we lost in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament this year.
As a parent, watching my son overcome with sadness and disappointment at the end of the game and in his press conference, I couldn’t help but feel his pain and want to comfort him. After the game, in the press conference with Landen and Frank Mason, Coach self said, “They’ve been unbelievable. The paths that these two took to get to this point and to be such a big part of our program is pretty amazing and remarkable. Landen has had an unbelievable last two and a half years playing for us, unbelievable. He does so many things that don’t get recognized, but he’s a great, great teammate and ‘glue guy’. And then Frank had the best year of anybody I’ve ever coached and he’s tough as anybody I’ve ever coached, and he loves this place as much as anybody I’ve ever coached. And you know I hurt for them, but they’ve left their legacy and certainly should be very proud of their accomplishments”.
After the game, on the way back to Lawrence, Landen tweeted – I’m sorry y’all…. I really am sorry – which broke my heart, but I knew he would need some time before wanting to talk to anyone, so I gave him a couple days. The first night, I dreamt that I was having a bad dream that KU had lost but then (in my dream) I woke up relieved because we had actually won! Unfortunately, when I really did wake up from that dream, I realized my son’s college basketball career was over. No more watching him play in Allen Field House. He would not wear that Kansas jersey in a KU game ever again. It sank in and I began to understand how hard this transition would be.
We all had to shake our sorrow, be thankful for what was, and move on to what is to come. Two days after the loss, Landen posted the picture of him smiling at the press conference the day before the Elite Eight game and he wrote this on his instagram: Thank you Jayhawk nation for an amazing 5 years. This place will always mean so much to me. I’m extremely disappointed with my performance and the ending to this season, and while this might be one of the most painful times in my life, I also realize how blessed I am and understand that things could be much worse. I’m thankful for everything I have and for those who have stuck with me on this journey through the good and the bad. Still have more to the story. Love you guys! #RockChalk
I knew he was going to be ok. He has learned to overcome adversity and he knows to be thankful and look forward to what’s ahead. So…. now it’s on to the next chapter in his life story. After a week of rest, he now has some decisions to make regarding his future. Landen is not being looked at as a first round draft pick, but he is a two year starting center, with great stats, on one of the best teams in the country. Many agents have contacted him regarding representing him in the NBA and internationally. Landen’s father and I have been interviewing some, but now is the time for Landen to do the interviews, see their presentations, and decide who he wants to represent him in his quest for a career in professional basketball. We helped him by narrowing the list of agents to four, and we will sit in on the interviews, but ultimately we will let Landen decide which agent he wants to represent him.
Some important questions parents should ask agents when interviewing them:
- How many times have you watched my son play this year?
- How would you describe his talents and weaknesses?
- What do you think are his greatest assets to a professional team?
- What professional player would you say he is most like him?
- Without telling me what you think we want to hear, what do you believe will happen with the draft, summer league, contract offers, etc.?
- Where will he do his pre-draft training and with whom?
- What international teams do you have existing relationships?
- What do you offer for further development during the offseason?
- What are the terms of your player-agent contract?
As soon as Landen decides on an agent, he will go to their training facility and begin preparing for individual workouts with teams and summer league. Usually around 60 players get invited to the NBA Draft Combine during the middle of May. Some players are not invited if they were on college teams where most of the NBA scouts have already evaluated them and know a lot about them already. From about May 18th – June 20th, players (with the help of their agents) are invited to NBA team individual workouts. The player attends individual workouts in hopes of getting drafted or an invite to play on a summer league team. The 2017 NBA draft is June 22nd. There are two rounds in the draft and each round has 30 picks. This year begins a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement requiring each team to carry 15 players instead of 13. This will certainly open up opportunities for new players in the league. After the draft, If a player goes un-drafted, he will entertain contract offers from international teams while continuing try outs with NBA teams. Some players who go un-drafted are offered NBA guaranteed contracts soon after the draft. If this happens, then the player prepares to compete on their summer league team. Others who are un-drafted, wait for an invite to play with an NBA summer league team. NBA summer league teams play in Orlando and Utah from July 1-8th, then in Las Vegas from July 8-19th. If the player makes an NBA team, then he attends that team’s training camp the end of September. If the player accepts an international team contract, then he typically leaves in August or September (accept for Australia, which has a different season).
Most Division 1 players on the top 10 teams in the country, aspire to play in the NBA. Many players, who don’t get a good contract with an NBA team, go overseas to play. Landen will take all the steps needed to have the best possible career playing professional basketball. Then, when he decides he’s had enough, he will have opportunities to coach, do broadcast, or enter the business world.
So, the next chapter of this story begins. Life keeps moving forward.
As a family, we will all miss being part of the Kansas Jayhawks, but the experience will remain in our hearts and minds forever! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!