Friday, November 10, 2006

Mayer: Self tries to play savior


Why did Kansas basketball coach Bill Self diddle around so long before he dropped the errant C.J. Giles? Or J.R. Giddens? Or put up with some of the shenanigans by the likes of Jeff Graves, whom he tolerated for one season?

It has nothing to do with the fact all have talent and, with their heads on straight, could have done far better as Jayhawks. A lot of coaches have numerous loopholes for miscreants who can help them win games. That's not Self's bag.

Sometimes he gets so caught up in saving souls he reminds me of the late Dick Harp. As a KU assistant and head coach, Dick was always in the business of social reclamation, with guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Wayne Hightower, to cite one notable pair. Chancellor Franklin Murphy once exclaimed: "Lord, Dick, leave something for the rest of us to do!"

But Self has Harp's Disease. He outlined why he's that way in December of 2004 while serving on a panel regarding collegiate ethics, an event moderated by noted ethicist Michael Josephson. Josephson asked Self to discuss his pitch to recruits and his philosophy once he gets guys here.

Self said he visited with kids and families and emphasized that, while productive jockery is important, his goal is for the youngster to leave better-educated than when he came, whether here one or five years. Self added that, along with whatever book-learning and cultural enhancement an athlete gains, he hoped to help guide him along a path to become a better husband, parent, friend and citizen via the osmosis of membership in the Jayhawk Nation.

"Meanwhile," Self added, "as a coach I have to keep asking myself if I'm the best citizen and role model I can be."

But even a crusader such as Self has to admit to a few failures, and Giles certainly merits a scarlet "F" on his T-shirt.

Things were dicey when C.J. was involved with the infamous leg-slashing incident with party-lover Giddens in that Moon Bar brawl in May of '05. Giles was one of the punchers of Jeremiah Creswell of Olathe, whose knife navigated its way to Gidden's leg from ground level. C.J. got off cheaply as Self tried to reconstruct Giddens' status, then left J.R. more dignity than he deserved before transferring to New Mexico.

Along came some questionable Giles deportment involving scholastics, and we learned about his disgusting deadbeat dad status for a child he had via a local girl. At last reports, he was more than $4,200 and a ton of responsibility bereft. Yet Samaritan Self gave him still another chance, banned him from games until later but let him practice as a member of the team.

Next was that fiasco involving a grab-and-drag with a female in his Jayhawker Towers digs and an alleged less-than-friendly clunk by a fist to the side of her head. That's it, even for a dedicated savior of youth: "We have standards that we hold all student-athletes to. C.J. did not meet those standards. ... I don't want to talk about C.J. Giles after tonight. He's no longer a part of us." Dee-lightful!

Sometimes even a Harp or Self has to make it clear: Be good or be gone! Truth is, the squad again has been blessed with addition by subtraction. Now Self can focus his altruism on kids with class to want to do the right thing and are willing to pay the price to be decent, responsible student athletes."

For those, present or future, who doubt what is expected, C.J. Giles is a classic example that even somebody with Self's eagerness to "educate" reaches the point of no return.


jhawkdpt 13 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Coach Self's philosophy, but wonder if the University and Athletics department should have some sort of mentoring/sponsorship role in 'cultural' and 'educational' development.

TrueBlue92 13 years, 2 months ago

Looks like the last of "Roy's Boys" who couldn't buy into Coach Self's philosophy is gone. So be it!

Thanks for setting the bar HIGHER, coach Self! It's just yet another thing that KU has over KSU, where Huggy bear will certainly take the low road if given enough time.

Swamphawk 13 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Case is the last of Roy's boys. Giles was recruited by Self after Roy left. He had originally commited to Miami and then asked for a release from his letter of intent when the Miami coach was fired. I think Townsend had something to do with the recruitment. That being said, I'm glad he's gone. We didn't need that kind of distraction regardless of the potential he had.

RockChalk83Grad 13 years, 2 months ago

We expect a lot of our student athletes, and there should be better safeguards in place to guide these kids to decisions that will enhance their lives, not screw them up. Having said that, there is usually no stopping someone who is bent on self-destruction (no pun intended!) and it's sad that the coaching staff and CJ's teammates didn't work harder to keep this from happening. I don't mind at all that Coach Self has "Harp's Disease" - it's just too bad that there isn't a team-comprehensive treatment plan in place.

Donkeypunch 13 years, 2 months ago

There is no treatment plan for stupid besides that swift kick to the behind on your way out.

dlkrm 13 years, 2 months ago

"'s sad that the coaching staff and CJ's teammates didn't work harder to keep this from happening."

CJ is an adult. He is responsible for his own actions. Coach Self and others are in a difficult situation, taking kids under their wings who simply have not been prepared for life by their upbringing. I hope CJ turns his life around.

RockChalk83Grad 13 years, 2 months ago

So, dlkrm, which is it - that CJ's an adult or that he's a kid taken under the coaches' wings who's not prepared for life? Seems more like he's neither. Athletes who have been coddled because of their talent don't have a normal perspective on responsibility and will screw up as much as they're allowed. Given his involvement in the Giddens situation and his child support issues, he should have been on a tighter leash by the athletics department.

Kyle Crenshaw 13 years, 2 months ago

wow, this was an amzing story! really shows how self cares about his players as more than just his players but also doesnt put up with any crap when they basically slap him in the face.

cobweb 13 years, 2 months ago

He'll be working in WalMart not the NBA if he can pass the background check.

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