KU coach Bill Self talks to reporters on Dec. 1, 2009, one day before his team's game against Alcorn State.
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self cracked a smile Tuesday when asked if top high school basketball recruits take notice when his Jayhawks are ranked No. 1.
“Well, obviously not recently,” Self said.
While not going into specifics, he obviously was referring to losing St. Louis Chaminade High junior guard Bradley Beal, who on Monday orally committed to Florida over runner-up KU.
“I think they do. I hope they do. I’ve always said it makes for great recruiting mailouts, but apparently ours are pretty stale,” Self joked.
KU, which takes a 5-0 record into today’s 7 p.m. home battle against 0-9 Alcorn State, has been a solid No. 1 this young season.
“The No. 1 ranking ... I did notice it yesterday because I was at my Hawk Talk show, and it came on TV,” Self said. “I mean, I hadn’t even looked at it. We maybe talked about it a couple of times before the season started, but I guarantee you, since the season started, I’ve never talked once about being ranked No. 1. I’ve told them I hope we play to that ranking eventually, but I really don’t put much stock in that.”
He noted that the 2008 national title team never looked at rankings.
“I guarantee you it didn’t mean much to them,” he said of a squad that was ranked as high as No. 2 that season. “I think what meant more to them was the fact they wanted to win every game. I don't think they were ever hung up on the ranking.”
KU, which played last Friday, took Saturday off, practiced Sunday, then took Monday off.
“Monday we didn't feel very well. We had a couple of guys that were nicked up and couldn’t go. The whole team was kind of run down, so we gave them yesterday off, too,” Self said Tuesday. Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins have been a bit under the weather, while Tyshawn Taylor has been slowed by a toe injury. All are expected to be able to play tonight.
“I feel good. I’m just excited. I want to keep it up,” said Taylor, who busted a slump by scoring 18 points off 7-of-9 shooting on Friday against Tennessee Tech.
Alcorn State has yet to play a home game. ... The Braves are coached by former NBA standout Larry Smith. ... Junior center JaMarkus Holt leads the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.0).
Clinic at end of month
KU’s annual holiday hoops clinic for boys and girls second to sixth grade will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 27, in Allen Fieldhouse. For information log onto billselfbasketballcamp.com.
Xavier Henry faring well
Self said he’s not worried about freshman Xavier Henry carrying too much of a load.
“You don’t want to put a guy in a situation where he’s never been through pressure and now if he doesn’t perform well, he’s a primary reason in most people’s eyes why the team is not successful,” Self said. “There are exceptions. I don’t think it bothered Carmelo (Anthony) much or Pervis Ellison or a lot of great ones. I think Xavier is definitely in that class. I think he is ready to shoulder as much as any freshman we’ve had. Still it’s better to have other guys that have been through it. You point to our team, you don’t point to one person as the reason we are successful or not.”