Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Keegan: Self knows how to close deals


Darrell Arthur said Tuesday that if he went ahead with a scheduled Monday afternoon news conference at a YMCA near his home, he would have announced he was going to Baylor University.

Unlike the past two basketball seasons, Kansas University's prolonged recruitment of Arthur didn't end too soon. One extra day proved the difference.

Arthur needed one more night to sleep on his decision to attend Baylor. When he changed his mind and chose Kansas, and then said why, it revealed why he could develop into one special player in what figures to be a short (two years?) stay in Lawrence.

He said he wanted to play for a coach known for pushing his players hard. Good sign.

If Arthur had joined Scott Drew's impressive resurrection of a Baylor basketball program left in ruins by Dave Bliss, it shouldn't have shocked anybody. Drew already has recruited talent nobody thought he had a shot at. Arthur would have been the best, but not the first, prep All-American to say yes to Drew.

Yet, if Drew is to college basketball recruiters at closing deals what a healthy Mike MacDougal is to baseball closers, then Bill Self is Mariano Rivera.

As a closer, Self is second to none.

You get the feeling that if Self's trade were selling automobiles instead of coaching basketball, he'd break a sales record every month. Not that he doesn't have a lot to sell at Kansas. If he didn't, he wouldn't have left one of the most prestigious college basketball programs in the Midwest to come here.

He can sell Allen Fieldhouse, the most exciting atmosphere in college basketball. He can sell tradition and the national TV exposure the Jayhawks regularly get.

He can't sell guaranteed playing time. He can't sell that he runs easy practices and lets mistakes slide. He can't sell a rivalry that can compare to the likes of Duke-North Carolina, at least not until Bob Huggins elevates the Kansas State program, which figures to be sooner than later the way recruiting is shaping up for the Wildcats.

The point is, whatever Self sells, and more significantly, the way Self sells it, results in the top basketball talent in the nation buying into him.

Brandon Rush, KU's leading scorer and rebounder last season, came out of a prep school, so he wasn't a McDonald's All-American. Even so, Self has recruited five McDonald's All-Americans in the past two seasons: Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs, Julian Wright, Sherron Collins and Arthur.

Self's salesmanship skills can't be given much credit for the Chalmers recruitment, considering his father was hired as director of basketball operations. Still, a haul of four other McDonald's All-Americans, plus Rush, in a two-year span is noteworthy.

Too much talent at his position and too little toughness in his belly led Downs to transfer. Arthur surely was reminded of that by recruiters from other schools. It didn't scare him. Another good sign.

Baylor-bound on Monday, Arthur said he saw himself in a KU uniform during a middle-of-the-night dream. He called Self on Tuesday morning and told him he had questions. Self had all the right answers, no doubt without hesitation. Closers are nothing if not great in the clutch.


Ted Toulouse 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't know if I would call the U. of Illinois a "prestigious " program. Usually need a little more longevity for that. And let's just hope the "closing skills" don't involve improper gestures. we gotta be wary of everyone these days, even our own.

cobweb 12 years, 1 month ago

Self took a lot of crap the last couple of years and didn't complain because he's tough. Now you're seeing the results.

cafranci 12 years, 1 month ago

Keegan writes: "Self's salesmanship skills can't be given much credit for the Chalmers recruitment, considering his father was hired as director of basketball operations."

That's an irresponsible comment, particularly since Mario signed with Kansas long before his dad was hired to be on Self's staff.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

Signing talent is no easy task ... but now let's see how Self develops team chemistry and individual skills.

Until then, he deserves the criticism that accompanies consecutive first round exits.

ms3865 12 years, 1 month ago

ttoulouse - Don't quote me on this, but I believe that Illinois is top 10 for all-time wins. So even though they are not exactly Kansas, they are not exactly Missouri, either.

kufan1986 12 years, 1 month ago

Keegan, this article is terrible. In fact it's al,ost as bad as your last article where you said KU had no chance at Arthur and it was down to Baylorand LSU. You're a tool shed, buddy.

kranny 12 years, 1 month ago

An Elite 8, conference (co)champs 2 years in a row and big 12 tourney champs with 2 teams that had stars that were injured, underachieved, and didn't buy into the system and 1 team made up of mainly freshman. Two first round NCAA loses or not-Lighten up

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

Top ten wins: (adjusted for this season) Kentucky - 1,926 North Carolina - 1,883 Kansas - 1,873 Duke - 1,796 St. John's (N.Y.) - 1,689 Syracuse - 1,680 Temple - 1.656 Penn - 1,612 Indiana - 1,589 Utah - 1,584

Illinois is 14th @ 1,546

Mike Bratisax 12 years, 1 month ago

They obviously can develop chemistry. This was proved during conference play and the Big 12 Championship. What they need is consistency, not chemistry. Brandon Rush, Julian Wright, Chalmers and the rest all proved that they could play well together and unselfishly. Next year will not be a first round exit.

Drew Bender 12 years, 1 month ago

Im not a K State fan at all and I would strangle anybody that ever called me one, but I am really looking forward to K State getting some good players and turning this rivalry (or lack of) into one such as the North Carolina/ Duke... But in all reality they will probably be punished by the NCAA and fall apart...HUGS, THUGS, & DRUGS...haha

ms3865 12 years, 1 month ago

sevenyear - I guess I was a bit off on my estimation. I didn't want to take the time to look it up while here at work. Thanks for the information.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

You're welcome!

I'm kinda the info storehouse for my circle of friends and coworkers. I've actually got a spreadsheet with the top 25 all-time wins/losses. My source material is the NCAA guide.

I too am excited about the prospects of KSU and Mizzou being better, it would defintely draw more national exposure.

As for consistency. I know that this year the Hawks ran into a good squad in Bradley (incidentally, KU/Bradley plays in baseball on Friday at the Hog) but look how the year started in Maui.

I wasn't a fan of Coach Self or his style from the start, nor do I expect to be even if he wins multiple titles ...

bach 12 years, 1 month ago

Well give him credit the man can sell the system. Now can he lead? Bucknell & Bradley each loss a disgrace but whup'n the Horns in Texas wow that's set'n the pace. Hear that? It's my inner Hawk scream'n, "Bach these guys will break your high-plains heart" but man the ride's sure as Hell gonna be worth the price of a ticket. / High Plains Hawk

WrightStuff 12 years, 1 month ago

I believe Keegan stole a quote from the ongoing recruiting posts with the "Self knows how to close the deal" headline. I'm not saying I want credit (though i absolutely said it), but I will admit this process has given me that much more respect for the power of "KU" across the jersey and I love the response Bill had to Padgett leaving. He said something to the affect that he should/would never feel the need to beg someone to play for KU. I have no idea what the details of recruiting in top schools is (i know that they push/cross the line and work the system as much as they can Duke, UNC, UConn, UCLA, etc.) though i acknowledge as a fan i want the best recruits we can get. I am also fairly certain that rumors that Roy would not recruit against UNC has some truth to it just based on the level of talent Self has got in the last two years alone (only comparible classes atheletically were his last two w/Hinrich/Gooden/Collison/Langford/Miles) I am positive that working hard in practice pays off in the games and we saw Selfs ability to develop talent all last year. I hope he continues to go after the top talent and challenges them as hard as has in every practice. I love the new NBA age restrictions b/c it garuntees us a chance to see some of the best at least in the NCAA's for at least a year, and i think we are finally directly benefitting thanks to Self willingness to take chances on top talent hopefully he can help us "close the deal" on the court too in the next couple years!!! I think with each year Self is here he is creating a coach K mentality, players know what to expect from his system and they want to pushed and taught by the best and compete along side the best. As far as criticisms to Self's gametime decisions i would just remind everyone only one team can win the game and hindsight is 20/20 (much easier to criticize)

phag 12 years, 1 month ago

Will BS use the "double Mizzou's score" tactic or the "leave Mizzou completely scoreless" tactic in next season's game? Time will tell.

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