Monday, July 6, 2009

KU’s Self hitting recruiting trail

Kansas’ top needs: center, two guards

Kansas coach Bill Self cracks a joke as he recognizes members of his staff for their contributions in this 2009 file photo. Bill Self took time during his Elite camp for blue-chip high school prospects to meet with the Journal-World in support of Perkins.

Kansas coach Bill Self cracks a joke as he recognizes members of his staff for their contributions in this 2009 file photo. Bill Self took time during his Elite camp for blue-chip high school prospects to meet with the Journal-World in support of Perkins.


Bill Self will be looking to sign a few good men — up to four, actually — in the recruiting class of 2010.

“We know we have Sherron (Collins) to replace, Mario (Little) to replace, a great chance we’ll have to replace Cole (Aldrich) and maybe somebody else (Xavier Henry),” Self, KU’s seventh-year coach, said before hitting the road for today’s start of the July evaluation period.

Coaches can evaluate high school prospects nationwide today through July 15 and again July 22-31.

“We have multiple scholarships to give, and we need to get the best player at several spots. Knowing what we’re going to lose ... we probably need a big (center), a big guard and point guard. Those are areas we’re looking at,” Self said.

KU long ago filled one of its 2010 slots with Royce Woolridge, a 6-foot-3 senior combo guard from Phoenix. He announced for KU after his sophomore year at Sunnyslope High School.

“It’s still early. We have one commitment,” Self said, not allowed to talk about Woolridge until the November signing date in accordance with NCAA rules. “I think we’re in good shape, but in recruiting you never know. After July, we’ll have a better feel where we are.”

It’s no secret which players Self will be tracking during his trips to AAU events in Ohio, Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and various other spots.

Top prospects include: Harrison Barnes, 6-6, small forward, Ames, Iowa; Ray McCallum, 6-1, point guard, Detroit; Brandon Knight, 6-3, point guard, Coral Springs, Fla.; Luke Cothron, 6-8, power forward, Red Springs, N.C.; Cameron Clark, 6-6, small forward, Sherman, Texas; Joe Jackson, 5-11, point guard, Memphis; Cory Joseph, 6-3, point guard, Henderson, Nevada; Doron Lamb, 6-4, shooting guard, Mouth of Wilson, Va.; and Terrence Jones, 6-8, power forward, Portland.

At the top of the list in the Class of 2011 is Bradley Beal, a 6-3 junior from St. Louis. Perry Ellis, a 6-7 sophomore from Wichita Heights, is the prize of the Class of 2012.

“I’m looking forward to getting to see the guys we’ve been talking to and a lot of young kids I’ve not seen play,” Self said of players in the Classes of 2011, ’12 and ’13. “It’s a great chance for us to get out and evaluate.”

Self admits the month of July can be a grind.

“I do like summer recruiting,” he said. “I don’t think we need quite as many dates as they give us. I do think the level of play plateaus out big-time. I’m a proponent of summer recruiting. I just don’t know if it needs to be this long.”

Here are some questions and Self’s answers concerning recruiting:

Q: Is your goal to land commitments from players when they are sophomores and juniors, as opposed to seniors?

A: I’m not hung up on trying to get kids to commit as freshmen and sophomores. If he’s a can’t-miss, of course ... s big key in getting guys early is geography. In our location ... I’m not making excuses, it’s harder getting kids to us. We’re a plane ride away. Times are tough economically, as everybody knows. It’s a big advantage when kids are able to get in (on unofficial visits).

Q: Do you worry about getting a commitment from a sophomore and having the player change his mind down the line?

A: In basketball, you make a verbal commitment, chances are it sticks. In football ... I get a kick out of football recruits who say, ‘I commit to so and so and am looking forward to visiting another school that week.’

Q: Do you try to recruit a certain area more than others?

A: Our top nine last year (national title team) were from Brooklyn (Russell Robinson), Dallas (Darrell Arthur), Oklahoma City (Darnell Jackson), Minnesota (Aldrich), Chicago (Collins), Kansas City (Brandon Rush), Seattle (Rodrick Stewart), Anchorage (Mario Chalmers) and Siberia (Sasha Kaun). We’ve had players from all over. The best players who fit what you are trying to do is what we try to go after.

Q: Do you try to recruit close to home?

A: We do want to recruit the best players in our back yard. There’s good, young talent in the state. We are pursuing some of that talent. There’s something to be said about local flavor because it (playing for KU) means a lot to them. It’s important you get those guys close to home, and the flip side is not to let anybody come in and get your guys. There’s a turf there you don’t want anybody to think they can come in your area and recruit and be successful.

Q: Are you in favor of the early November signing period?

A: I think the early period in basketball is good. In basketball, kids are committing earlier and earlier. You could almost have a signing period their junior year. I know we won’t, but it’s about what it comes down to.

Q: Do you only want to sign McDonald’s All-Americans?

A: I like coaching the most talented guys, but look at our (title) team and the ones coach (Roy) Williams and (Larry) Brown had that were successful. The foundation of those teams were Darnells, Sashas, Russells. In ’88, coach Brown had Danny (Manning) and Kevin (Pritchard), but also had the (Jeff) Gueldners and (Chris) Pipers and (Milt) Newtons. Those were guys who came in, worked hard and got better. We’ve had headliners, but also solid guys who allowed the headliners to be headliners. You need a blend of guys who can get you 20 a night and those who understand their role and help you get 20.”


100 11 years, 8 months ago

Best of luck Coach Self -- I know Coach Calipari is attempting to get our Kansas hero, Perry Ellis. Looks like another enjoyable battle between you two.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 8 months ago

Circa 1:30a, Bill Self's first response in the Q&A section of the article resides in Typo City. Similar to Topeka but with less crime.

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago

Regarding recruiting, a college basketball coach must feel a little like he's caught inside the movie ground hog day.

Every day the alarm goes off, he looks over and the clock reads "6 a.m.: Time to Recruit."

I don't know how they do it.

Its like going shopping for the same five things every freaking Wednesday at the farmers' market for the rest of your life.

They have to have constitutions of titanium about recruiting.

Its like having to replace the same five light bulbs every day for the next fifty years.

There's no end to it.

5DecadeHawk 11 years, 8 months ago


It's a good thing you are not a coach. You clearly don't understand the most basic and most important aspects of the profession.

Viewing players as a commodity to be acquired, manipulated, and used is exactly the kind of attitude that LOSING coaches have. While you didn't use those words specifically, your post implied that is how you view recruits. Show me a coach that looks at the clock at 6am every day and dreads going out to do the same boring repetions day after day, and I'll show you a loser. I'll show you a coach who does the bare minimum to get his paycheck. I'll show you someone that doesn't care about the lives of the people he's coaching.

Great Coaches like Bill Self are not interested in recruiting basketball playing robots. They want to bring in talented young men that he can teach, mentor, and help grow into better players and better people. Coaching is about far more than X's and O's. It'a about far more than conditioning, strength, vertical jump, speed, quickness, and shooting accuracy.

Coaching is about teaching. Teaching can be incredibly rewarding. There is no better gratification in life than to find someone who you have the ability to help... and giving them the benefit of your experience and wisdom... then stepping back and watching them put it all to work. Great players take advantage of great teaching and coaching to improve who they are. Not only as basketball players, but as people. The best coaches love nothing more than for a player to exceed beyond expectations, not just on the court, but in life.

Bill Self does this extremely well, and from all appearances he LOVES DOING IT. He seems to have a bounce in his step where he can't wait to find the next young man that he can help learn and grow. He doesn't dread it. He looks forward to getting to know new recruits. It's an adventure. Every player is a different person. Each one has different skills, a different familiy, and a different outlook on life.

That's exactly what gets him out of the bed in the mornings.

Perhaps, Jaybate, you might turn off your alarm clock tomorrow morning and decide to go volunteer at a charity somewhere. Maybe you could help teach a young kid how to read? Maybe you could help build a house with Habitat for Humanity? Maybe you could help out at a soup kitchen?

When you find that special place that you are excited to jump out of bed and go help others, perhaps then you'll begin to understand what motivates great coaches at any level, whether it be Bill Self at Div1 NCAA, or an unknown inner city recreation league coach.

stravinsky 11 years, 8 months ago

As rewarding as it could be, I'd have to think it may still be a grind. I mean, these coaches work tirelessly to get kids that often will end up going somewhere else or may flipflop on their commitments (cough), whether that means being a late commitment to you or ending up somewhere else. I'm not turning this into a complain-about-X post. I'm thrilled we got the guy and his brother. But that must have been stressful for Self.

Out of curiosity, Self mentions the need to get another center, but none of the recruits mentioned in the article are centers. I think it lists two PFs, and somewhat small ones at that.


Robert Brock 11 years, 8 months ago

My guess is that Self will try harder to land a center named Adreian Payne. Skinny, athletic, 6'10 kid from Dayton, Ohio. Terric defender. Still a little raw on offense but improving fast.

K_Easthouse 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm guessing Self might not have any specific targets picked out for center just yet, or rather has a dozen or so. The next season will determine who we put the full-court press on for recruitment, so to speak.

If we have another Final Four season, expect us to make a strong push for the top guys. If we get shocked in the first or second round, we'll still try for the top dogs, but probably devote more resources to guys outside the Top 25.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 8 months ago

The recruiting circuit will be a little different this time around.

It'll be intersting to see what happens when coaches end up in the same gym, watching the same players now.

There will no doubt be a lot of head-turning to see if the scourge of the coaching world might be in the stands at the same time (Cal). Then again, a lot of coaches may want to shake his hand for allowing them to be seeing larger paychecks this year. If you do see him, listen for the sound of jingling car keys in his pockets. They may accidentally fall out in the vicinity of some of these high school ballers along with instructions on how to get better SAT scores (ie. phone numbers, etc.).

5DecadeHawk - You are the consumet "glass half full guy" as well as the "there are no problems, just opportunities guy". I'm sure Jaynate was referring to the routine of recruiting, not the philosophy and purpose. I'm sure you'll hear back from him soon, though!

I consider recruiting more like fishing a stocked pond. You know what's out there. You just have to use the most legal equipment and bait.

Reel in some big ones Bill!

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 8 months ago

Coach Self is a master at it's really not something to be concerned about.

i would be fairly stunned if we didn't get Barnes....he's been here a lot on various occasions. i can't imagine he's already played several pickup games with the fellas. it would be hilarous to nail down Joe Jackson....right in Calipari's backyard! (long shot i'm sure.)

Center and Power forward or more murky however. it doesn't even look like we've offered several of the top guys yet. so that means Self isn't quite sold on them....or he's waiting to swoop in at the end. we shall see.

I think Beal is a lock for 2011. he's really good. and a nice coup for Self in Moo's recruiting area.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 8 months ago

Joe Jackson is being rumored to be leaning toward Josh Pastner at Memphis. I doubt that Cal will get too many Memphis recruits now. Bill could make an appearance to see Jackson though and would be seeing a big fish at the 1 or 2. I would just like to see him show up in Memphis!

chicagoeddie 11 years, 8 months ago

it would be crazy if everyone came back next year except collins cause of graduation...

K_Easthouse 11 years, 8 months ago

Mario Little is also a senior, ChicagoEddie, so we'll be losing him as well, bare minimum.

Could everyone else come back? I wouldn't say it's impossible, although it's highly unlikely. Xavier will go to the league once his one year is up (unless he's either injured or his game has more holes in it than publicized), and I only see Cole sticking around if we leave the tourney early (not wanting to end on a sour note). Heck, even Taylor could jump if he has a breakout year.

So, with 2-4 scholarships for next year, and one already committed, I like the thought of having 1-3 to give to some good, developing talent some time to fall in love with Kansas basketball. The Morrises are there, and I think Robinson and Johnson this year could be those kind of players, but the more, the better.

keith horinek 11 years, 8 months ago

I think it's a little easier to recruit at schools like KU that have tradition. But it's still a grind and if you want to be good at it you have to put in a lot of work which HCBS does. I think he relates to the kids better that our former coach plus he has Danny who is an icon to the recruits, which helps a lot! I would not want to have to recruit at KSU, schools that don't have the tradition, that would seem like an uphill battle every day.

bg_duck1 11 years, 8 months ago

5decade you are right on. Its about bringing in players who are already good (obviously) but also ones who are ready to learn and grow as players and as men. That's what Self and his coaching staff do so well. jaybate is a joke

Matt Kenton 11 years, 8 months ago

Nice, 5Decade!

Jaybate, your Groundhog Day analogy sounds like it's all too familiar for you. Alarm goes off... time to post a comment on kusports. Maybe it's time for a vacation.

Joel Hood 11 years, 8 months ago

Anyone else see this story on SI. Baylor's Scott Drew is recruiting a 15 year old 8th grader.
I guess Scott believes he will still be at Baylor in 5 years.

route66 11 years, 8 months ago

Actually, he's probably thinking like Cal does.....just take them with you when you leave so the school will be left hanging.

HockHawk 11 years, 8 months ago

Self has proven he can get kids that not only have the desire to win, but also the heart that is required to actually go out there and win..... I have the upmost confidence in Self and know that who ever he brings to Kansas will be ready to work hard and get things done the KU way!

Can't wait until Late Night!

waywardJay 11 years, 8 months ago

A couple of Comments....

5 Decade, Self himself says it's tedious in the someone who loves doing it as much as Self does... even he admits after a couple time syou know what you have from the kid... but you always have to be there.... because you never know who you iwll lose if you don't show up..... that's what Jay was talking about.... Or did you not read the article before commenting......

I would love to see barnes in hawk colors..... following 2nd best recruit ever brought in by self..... to have the New top..... Harrison Barnes is number 1 in his class right now.... and with no Sherron.... we will have Taylor, Johnson and CJ ( if he isn't ready to dazzle )

I would surmise also that Self isn't completely sold on the need for an IMpact big guy if Withey is making improvements..... Jeff while be junior anchor, with morri coming along ( unless they split and one goes pro ) and Robinson will still be here.... the big would be the 4th ( or 5th ) in line.... It would be nice to have another impact kid... but i really think right now self is looking at impact guards and physical defensive forwards with upside......

Jayhawker, I would be surprised if Baylor isn't top flight because of Drew in 5 years..... he's a good coach.... real good.

Finally, If we had sportswriters who could make historical references, mix music and basketball, and that generaly wrote at a high caliber ..... we wouldn't need Jaybate.... My Solution..... HIRE HIM LJW..... he's got chops your hacks don't and He has a following.... people will read him...... and post about him.,.... positive or negative..... Instead of skipping the article straight to the posters to knock those who have a gift.

Joel Hood 11 years, 8 months ago

waywardJay - That was my point. Why would Drew stay that long at BU? 5 years is an eternity for a coach there and for almost any HS kid.

bg_duck1 11 years, 8 months ago

i don't read that joker i skip right over him and his bloated diatribe

Keith Kienzle 11 years, 8 months ago

I enjoy Jaybate and look forward to his comments, especially in the dog days of summer when KUSports is often trying to conjure news out of very little actually going on... In that respect, Jaybate is very good. KUsports definately could use a regular installment of Jaybate postulations in the long summer months.

jayhawkliz 11 years, 8 months ago


Justin Daniel 11 years, 8 months ago

Coach Self has done a great job of stockpiling talent everywhere he has been year after year, and Kansas is certainly no exception. With the Morris's, T-Rob and Withey Kansas will have a terrific 4 man rotation down low. Any college would be lucky to have guards like Reed, Morningstar, EJ, Woolridge, and CJ (hopefully he will stay). With that line-up, even if no other recruits come in, Kansas will be set to compete for championships in 2010!

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago


Do you own on the Planet Naive, or just rent there? :-)

Have you ever performed at a high level in your career in your life, or do you just dream of it?

Man, you just betrayed yourself as a choir boy to anyone who's ever really had to play in the big leagues and strap it up every morning!


I don't even know where to start with someone like you.

I've got it.

Get a copy of North Dallas Forty. Read it. At least then you'll only be about 30 years behind the freaking curve.

Tell me you're pimping me and you didn't really mean that post.

Please, say you didn't mean it.

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago


Knowing someone like you ignores me, that made my day! Thank you.

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago


Right you are, I need a break bad. I am going to be good to myself. I am going to stop reading your posts! :-)

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago

jaybate newservice

the jaybate interview: wilt chamberlain's ghost

j: Thanks for channelling with me through this crimson and blue, zirconium silicate crystal, big guy.

w: Nice to talk to some one with their feet on the ground, so to speak. (rim shot)

j: Playin' the skins for his holiness, are we?

w: Yeah, always wanted to play with miles and coltrane and monk, but never had the time, man. Too busy with the ladies, you dig? (rim shot)

j: About the crumpet, would you do it differently, if you had it to do over again?

w: Yeah, man, I would be even more generous this time around, you dig? (rim shot)

j: What convinced you to come to Lawrence? Allen? The Legacy? The combination of great track and great basketball?

w: The combination.

j: Do you keep up with KU from the big field house in the sky?

w: Definitely. I've got time for everything now. Oerter and I do the decathlon all the time. I can beat him in everything but the discus. The man has technique even on this side of the divide.

j: our chances in hoops this coming season.

w: 40-0...ring...5 draft choices...greatest team of all time.

j: Any weak spots at all?

w: Only at center. (rim shot)

j: Aldrich looks pretty good to me.

w: He is good. He's just not a god. (thunder in the background) Uh, Scratch that. He's just not as good as me. (more thunder) Alright, alright, the kids plenty good. He's got that knack that Russell had of reading where the rebound is going as soon as it leaves the shooters hand. Born with it. It took me quite a few years to learn it. But when I did I was the baddest glass man ever.

j: Do you see the game getting too rough?

w: Not really. It is what it is. But if I could have played the way they let that Shaq-Child play, the record book would read Wilt Chamberlain 200 points in a game and Wilt Chamberlain 100 reebs in a game, you dig?

j: Would today's weight training have helped you?

w: This Hudy is one fine professional at what she does for the guys. I would have filled in while I was still in Lawrence with her. And no one would have ever had to tell me to get to the weight room. Not with a fine lady in it. (rim shot)

j: I'm not sure your candor about your love of the ladies is always in your best interest.

w: Yeah, the G-Man made a point of fillin' me in on the problems I had with that. But when I said, "C'mon, big guy, you put'em here. You made them so beautiful and delightful that I had to get to know them over a bubbly glass of Dom. Don't give me a hard time about THAT!!!" And you know what? He said, "You and Yankee Doodle."

j: That's it?

w: Ehhh, not exactly. He hit me with about 30,000 volts of lightening for about a week or two. I felt it was just, though, ya know. And alls well that ends well.

j: Any advice to people about heaven?

w: It beats Hell. (rim shot)

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago


Ain't it strange that they read what they hate? :-)

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago

jaybate news service

the jaybate interview: BoulderHawk

j: thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule of nipping at my heels to do this interview.

B: I hate you.

j: umm, er, uh, well, how do you think KU is going to do this year?

B: I hate you. You're a superstar in your own mind. I resent you. And I don't like you either.

j: What about Bill Self? Can this guy coach, or what?

B: Well he could coach a lot better if he didn't hate you so much. You think you're as good as he is. You think you're so smart. You make all these posts, like they matter or something. I hate you. Well, I don't hate you. I think you're pathetic. Well, I don't think you're pathetic. I despise you. Well...

j: Boulderhawk, I wonder if we could move on?

B: Sure, why not? I can hate you as we move along, too.

j: I was wondering: do you suffer from piles?

B: I hate you when you ask questions like that.

j: I thought maybe you had some kind of altitude-related chronic pain that caused you to be a sour, doubting, unpleasant pustule of a poster here at

B: I hate it when you try to make me look foolish. I even hate you for making me hate you.

j: How do you really feel?

B: I feel more full of hate than TexasHawk44, well, not that much. Nobody can have that much hate. But even he doesn't hate you enough. I hate that you talk about his idiosyncracies--about him sitting nude in his darkened Metroplex studio bathed in monitor light looking longingly at his composite of Heath Ledger and Rick Barnes. I hate you for that. I hate you for not hating that I hate you. Don't you see? I want my hate to matter. I want someone to notice me for how much I hate. I want attention, dammit, don't you see?

j: Uh,wow, I had no idea we were lancing such a deep psychic boil here.

B: I hate it when you psycho-medicalize things here. I just want to hate you. Can't you let me hate you? Please? I want to be noticed for hating you.

j: Well, uh, okay, if it really works for you, okay, I notice you for hating me, Boulderhawk. You do a really fine job of hating. You're one of the best haters I know. I envy you your hate. Not quite as much as I envy TexasHawk.22ShortRifle his hate. But you're a noteworthy hater in your own right.

B: Thank you, jay, thank you. Thank you for letting me hate you. Hate is good. Hate makes great. Hate can't wait. Hate is fate. Right jaybate?

j: I don't know if I'd go quite that far. (Long pause.) Are you sure you don't have piles?



jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago

“We have multiple scholarships to give, and we need to get the best player at several spots. Knowing what we’re going to lose ... we probably need a big (center), a big guard and point guard. Those are areas we’re looking at,” Self said.

C'mon, Coach, you're going 40-0 this season. You're going to win your second ring in three years. You're going to lose seven guys this season: Sherron, Mario, Tyshawn, Xavier, CJ, Marcus, and Cole. They are all either graduating or jumping.

Go for it. Screw the Fab Five stuff. Super Seven it is.

Go, Bill, go.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 8 months ago

Gee, I kind of thought we were all on the same side here........I guess I was wrong.

jaybate 11 years, 8 months ago


We're just going through summer boot camp here on the site. Building up some muscle mass for when the lurkers come back this coming season. Practice, practice, practice. :-)

Martin Shupert 11 years, 8 months ago

But Jaybate, replacing the same 5 light bulbs??? That's just so amazing. You seriously believe that these guys are all interchangeable? It's much more like poker. The worth of every player depends on how he fits in with the other "cards". Teams are different. Personalities are different. Every position adds or subtracts needs based on the skills of everyone else. You could make Michael Angelo sound like a guy who wakes up every day to throw the same colored paints on a ceiling. You lack knowledge, or imagination here. Bill Self's job couldn't be more interesting. A team is a work of art when an artful worker has the brush. Let me guess... you're a bean counter, yes?

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