- Chris Broussard, NBA analyst
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March Madness heroes Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were thrown out of the NBA's rookie transition program on Wednesday morning after being caught in their hotel room with marijuana and women, according to several sources.
"The players were sent home for violating program rules," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. "They will be appropriately sanctioned and will have to repeat the program next year."
Sources said Chalmers and Arthur, who starred on the Kansas Jayhawks' 2008 NCAA championship team, were also fined $20,000 apiece and could start the regular season on the suspended list. But NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre would not confirm that.
"We're still looking into it," McIntyre said. "Once we have all the details, appropriate sanctions will be taken."
The players were caught by hotel security at the Doral Arrowwood resort in Rye Brook, N.Y., where 69 of the league's rookies arrived last night for the four-day seminar in which coaches, referees and former players speak about adapting to the league. Having visitors at the rookie transition program is not permitted.
Chalmers, who sank the game-tying, buzzer-beating 3-pointer that forced overtime in Kansas' 75-68 championship victory over Memphis, was drafted 34th by Minnesota. He was quickly traded to Miami, where he is expected to vie for the starting point guard position after playing well during summer league. Chalmers played three seasons for the Jayhawks.
Arthur, also an early-entry candidate who played two years at Kansas, was a sympathetic figure on draft night. Roundly believed to have lottery-type talent, Arthur sank to the 27th spot after erroneous rumors of a health problem circulated throughout the league.
Then, after being selected by New Orleans, the 6-foot-9 forward was traded to Portland, then Houston, before finally settling in Memphis.
"He will be sanctioned at a later date, and he will have to repeat the program next year," Grizzlies team spokesman Dustin Krugel said.
Kansas coach Bill Self stood by his former players.
"We really don't know all the facts yet, and I certainly would never comment publicly on any personal matter concerning any player I have ever coached," he said. "Beyond that, I can say that both Mario and Darrell were great to coach. They played a huge role in our success the past few years, in large part due to their unselfishness and the sacrifices they made for our program."
Chris Broussard is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.