Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Self ‘fired up,’ furry for Traditions Night

Sporting a new beard, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self watches Traditions Night festivities Monday at Memorial Stadium.

Sporting a new beard, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self watches Traditions Night festivities Monday at Memorial Stadium.


Bill Self insists he wasn’t trying to start a new tradition during Kansas University Traditions Night festivities Monday night at Memorial Stadium.

Self, Kansas University’s seventh-year basketball coach, showed up for his guest-speaker stint sporting a brand-new beard.

“It’s not going to stay. I lost a bet,” Self said. “My wife says she likes it a little bit. I said I’d grow it out for a little while.”

Self, who admits he was “fired up” in speaking to the first-year KU students “in front of the Campanile on a beautiful night,” remained on the stadium track for 15 minutes at the conclusion of the event.

He posed for pictures with students, who had been treated to speeches from Self, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and others.

“This will be my favorite KU class ever because my daughter is a part of it,” Self said of Lauren Self, who is a Free State High graduate/KU freshman.

“I’m excited for these kids. It should be a fun year. They should have a great career. As long as they take care of business and handle their stuff right, there’s no reason they can’t have a great experience here.”

That includes his five basketball freshmen — Xavier and C.J. Henry, Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey.

The Henry brothers, as expected, arrived on campus Monday from their hometown of Oklahoma City.

Xavier, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound freshman guard/forward, moved into his Jayhawker Towers apartment with roommate Chase Buford. C.J., a 6-4, 205-pound, 23-year-old freshman, will be living off campus in his own apartment.

“I think they look great. They both lost weight, leaned down,” Self said. “Xavier and C.J. are both very strong young men. It looks to me like the person who worked with them (personal trainer) did a great job making their program designed for a lean basketball athlete.

“C.J. has been totally cleared to play,” he added of the player who had a cracked bone in his foot last season, which kept him from playing his first and only campaign at Memphis. “They reported in as good a shape of anyone, I believe, with the exception of Tyrel (Reed). I don’t think anybody is ever in as good a shape as Tyrel.”

Self said it was business as usual on a day the Henrys arrived on campus.

“I know some fans were nervous about that occurring. It certainly wasn’t the case with us,” he said of the KU coaches, who were not concerned about summertime reports the Henrys had second thoughts about playing here.

“Today was not a special day because of that,” he added of them reporting. “It was more special when they committed. Of course we’ve had our little peaks and valleys after that, but that was kind of all blown out of proportion. I think it’ll be a lot more exciting when we see them out there running around the court than actually arriving.”

He noted that, “They are excited to be here. They were fired up today, both C.J. and Xavier. They were able to get their physicals and everything today. Tomorrow hopefully they can jump in and be part of this group 100 percent.”

Self said all the Jayhawks were scheduled to be in town by late Monday night, with the exception of Sherron Collins, who’ll be here Tuesday.

Can he believe he’s starting Year Seven on Mt. Oread?

“No I can’t,” Self said. “That’s unbelievable. The longest we were anywhere before was four (at Oral Roberts). It does seem fast. I hope the next six go as fast as the last six. If they do, it probably means we’ll have a lot of fun.”

Self was asked to pinpoint his favorite KU tradition.

“I don’t know them all like our student body does,” he said. “I’m not out there when they do the alma mater or Rock Chalk Chant at least before the basketball games. My favorite one is hearing the slow Rock Chalk Chant break out with about a minute left in a game because that means we’ve probably got it well under control.”

Self told the students above all else to go to class.

“I think this statistic is real and somewhat sad. Out of this very intelligent group of young people here tonight, there will be somebody who is not here next year, and it won’t be your decision. Why?” he told thousands of KU newcomers.

“Because somebody will get off track a little bit. I encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity and understand there is a direct correlation between making grades and attending class. There is no excuse for anybody to not attend class. Be proud to be a Jayhawk.”


David Black 10 years, 5 months ago

Bill Self..what a class act! I hope he retires with KU.

Ryan2845 10 years, 5 months ago

How come both the roster and LJworld now refer to C.J. Henry as a freshman? It was reported here earlier that he would be a sophomore? Or has something changed?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's play "What If"! What If KU wins the NCAA Championship in 2010? How long before you think Bill Self will start entertaining his network of friends in the NBA arenas? Gregg Poppy from San Antonio is starting to get up there in years. What happens if OKC has another bad year? I was just trying to think how long Bill Self really wants to stay at KU. I think he has a really good chance to get KU 3 championships during his tenure, but just think if he would leave Allen Fieldhouse with 4 championships hanging from the rafters. Legendary for sure. Wishful thinking, but I sure hope we're half way there after this 2010 season.

Joel Hood 10 years, 5 months ago

Ryan, IMO, it's lazy reporting. It appears Gary Bedore (and others) are calling CJ a freshman because explaining his sophomore status would be awkward for the story.

Jason Musick 10 years, 5 months ago


I am down with the What if's:

Here is mine, What are the chances that both of the Henry Boys are in the starting lineup this fall.

I think that Xavier can beat out Morningstar

Who will CJ have to beat out to be the legit starter? Will Coach Self allow a walk on to be a starter?

I think the starting 5 will be

Tyshawn Cole Sherron Marcus Morris Xavier

e93bigd 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't know why there is a concern for coach Self to jump to the NBA. That just isn't happening anymore after all of the failures over the past decade (Pitino, Floyd, Montgomery, etc.). I think he makes plenty of money here and sees a chance to be regarded as one of the best ever. I think he's at KU for the long haul and we're very fortunate to have him.

Joe Ross 10 years, 5 months ago

My favorite tradition is the singing of the Alma Mater.

" the chorus ever onward, Crimson and the Blue. Hail to thee, our alma mater, HAIL TO OLD KAAY YOUUU!!!"

Michael Auchard 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you jross... that one gets me every time.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 5 months ago

Why on earth would anybody want to leave the best coaching job in the country? Bill Self for President.

Joe Baker 10 years, 5 months ago

kushaw- I agree with e93bigd. I think Self wants to end his career by leading KU to become the most winning NC (banners) program in Div 1 b-ball. I think it will be huge for him to snag another NC 09-10 and then continue with 1-2 more over the next 3-4 yrs. He seems focused and knows the formula to get KU to that program goal.

I think with his winning record, he'll punch his ticket at any time to the NBA coaching ranks. Why didn't Dean Smith go? Why not Coach K? Why not Bob Knight? They love collegiate b-ball. Why doesn't Hurley jump ship at the high school level to the college coaching level? They find fulfillment and besides, KU is home!!

I_Bleed_Jayhawk_Blue 10 years, 5 months ago

KU has the right guy in place to be here.....FOREVER! Self is not an NBA guy. He loves coaching the kids too much. He has the perfect job, and appears to be completely content with it.

KUFan90 10 years, 5 months ago

e93 - I agree. Plus with his daughter attending KU...I don't see them moving away for at least the next 4 years. Nor after that to be honest for the reasons you say.

truehawk - I would love for you to be right but I think you need to temper your expectations a little. 1-2 more championships in the next 3-4 years (after winning one in 09-10)? Wow...that's a tough bar to jump.

Most winning NC banners program? We have a LONG way to go for that one.

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

Tuesday in the Mornings with jaybate:

} “I encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity and understand there is a direct correlation between making grades and attending class. There is no excuse for anybody to not attend class. Be proud to be a Jayhawk.”--Bill Self

Geez, I wish Coach Owens had been allowed to talk to my freshman class and say what Coach Self said. All you have to do to make the cut that first year is go every day. Tell every kid, the school just wants your money, as an undergraduate. You're a revenue stream to them. They set it up so you can stay in...if you'll just wake up and go. You may not be a 4 point, but anyone can hang in, again, if they will just get up and go, do the reading assignments, type the papers, and take the tests! And in addition, a legend (as Self already is) with designer frames and three days growth is going to persuade quite a few frosh that commitment to excellence is a path to having the political clout in mid life to let your hair down and live your life significantly on your terms. (Note: perhaps Coach Owens did give such a speech and I was at Louise's.)

} Bill has finally found the right frames for the inner, scroungy Bill. With the look above, Bill could easily get a positive spin job done on him in Vanity Fair, and I mean that as a compliment coach. What good is job security, if you don't occassionally express yourself in sartorial splendor?

} Can anyone tell from the pic above, if that is a rug? I can't tell. It looks real to me.

DocBean 10 years, 5 months ago

Ok, that's it. I'm growing my beard out as of today! I don't care what my wife says.

Also, what brand are those glasses Bill's wearing? I'm changing my contacts out too.

Keith Kienzle 10 years, 5 months ago

First the beard... then the gray hair... then maybe some pock marks... :)

Tony Bandle 10 years, 5 months ago

Oh Ma God....Coach Self looks like Kevin Costner from the movie " The Postman"!!!

Unfortunately, since only Mr. Costner's immediate family and myself actually saw this movie, none of you probably have a clue to what I am referring to!!!!!

HCBS hair piece looks FANTASTIC with the beard. Shades of P.J. Carlesimo!!

Joel Hood 10 years, 5 months ago

Re the toupee:

Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but I think I can detect a line of separation that starts just below the part-line, goes downward just above the ear, and then ends just above his collar (not that I stare at pictures of HCBS with a secret man-crush goin’ on, or anything like that – I’m just sayin’…)

suttonku 10 years, 5 months ago

Self has said several times that he loves the college game more than the NBA game...I dont think he will ever leave the college game...traditionally coaches who go from college to NBA dont have much success for instance Rick Pitino...I think Self will be at KU for a very very long time.

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 5 months ago

My girlfriend (a stylist) says that HCBS definitely rocks the hair piece...

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

you know what..... if it's a piece.... let it go, Bill.... you still look young and hip without ..... He looks like he can coach. Some people need hair to make them look like they can coach.... Bill's not one of them. He's got coaching in spades.

Im noticing a growth ( pun intended ) of facial hair in there area recently..... several of my co-workers are supporting various beards and moustaches..... perhaps it's playoff beard season already for basketball..... Im all for it....

Two great things about Hockey that can translate to other sports. Playoff Beards and Lord Stanley's cup.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 5 months ago

First Sarah Palin's glasses become a hot topic. Now, Bill is going to get some buzz about his if he wears them during games.

I'm surprised that nobody has speculated about what the bet was that he lost and had to grow the facial hair. Best answer: Winner, winner - chicken dinner!

nobodylikesmizzou 10 years, 5 months ago


"Will Coach Self allow a walk on to be a starter? "

Paging Christian Moody

waywardJay 10 years, 5 months ago

Im stoked about the glasses and the beard.... it gives him a more intellectual look.... like he just walked out of a Beatnik Coffee Shop..... Of course, it will be gone by fall.... one has to keep up appearances, unless they are Popovich....

John Randall 10 years, 5 months ago

""How come both the roster and LJworld now refer to C.J. Henry as a freshman? It was reported here earlier that he would be a sophomore? Or has something changed?""

I suppose it depends on which word you emphasize when you say "student-athlete." He has completed a (freshman) year of college. He has not exhausted a year of eligibility, not playing because of injury. "Red-Shirt Freshman" is probably accurate.

KU1992 10 years, 5 months ago

How would coach self ever pass wooden for NC's?

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 5 months ago

Just watched the video from the Traditions Night.

HCBS was in the video. Now, I never bought into the real vs.rug debate until now. My theory, after watching the video, is that since he was outside in the wind, his new glasses helped hold down the "piece" It just didn't look right.

DoubleDD 10 years, 5 months ago

Nice real Nice I like it!!!!!!!! CJ the X looking in shape ready to go. Collins, Cole ready to go. This is going to be a special year. I hope UK falls somewhere in our path to the Championship. I thought Memphis fans were a==ssholes and Tarholes were the worst but UK fans just plain suck.

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