Monday, March 2, 2009

Self named finalist for USBWA coach of the year


Kansas coach Bill Self is one of ten finalists for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Henry Iba Award, given annually to the association's choice for coach of the year.

Last week, KU guard Sherron Collins was named a finalist for the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy, which is presented to the association's player of the year.

Self is among three Big 12 coaches that were named finalists for the Iba Award, along with Oklahoma's Jeff Capel and Missouri's Mike Anderson. The other finalists are: John Calipari, Memphis; Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh; Mike Montgomery, California; Stew Morrill, Utah State; Matt Painter, Purdue; Oliver Purnell, Clemson; and Brad Stevens, Butler.

Both the Henry Iba and Oscar Robertson Awards will be presented on April 3 in Detroit.


chalmers2wright 10 years, 11 months ago

If Calipari wins it is a travesty. Jamie Dixon's squad has had some pretty good runs and we all know what Mike Anderson has done in the Big 12. However, if we continue on our way to a Big 12 title I can't see Self not taking it home.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Calipari!? How hard is it to win in the CUSA with McDonalds all-americans? I could coach them to that record.

whitechocolate 10 years, 11 months ago

Bill Self and Henry Iba mentioned in the same breath? Jaybate must have either salivated himself into dehydration or he's writing a blovel (blog novel) about the Okie basketball cosmos aligning....

rocchalk12 10 years, 11 months ago

Not to mention that Calipari is coaching those all americans in a terrible conference!

Ryan Sullivan 10 years, 11 months ago

This is a questionable list. Slef and Mike Anderson belong. Where's the guy from Marquette on this list?

patton6 10 years, 11 months ago

Trent Johnson at LSU is a pretty big oversight.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 11 months ago

Capel also definitely belongs on this list. What he's done at OU is awesome!

treidy 10 years, 11 months ago

How about Coach Self up for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award. Jim Phelan is one of the greatest coaches of all time that no one knows about because he coached at tiny Mount St. Mary's. The Mount is where I went my freshman year and played lacrosse before transferring to KU. Larry Keating is actually on the selection committee so maybe he can pull some strings?

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 10 years, 11 months ago

Not a fan of Anderson, but he certainly belongs on that list.

redlegger 10 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations to Head Coach Bill Self, along with the assistant coaches and players that have made this another exciting year of what is KU basketball!

It can't be said enough how fortunate we really are to have such a wonderful Coach, who appreciates and works hard to continue the proud basketball tradition that we have here at KU.

Thanks Coach!!! RCJH-KU!!!

easyfive 10 years, 11 months ago

Are you kidding? Coach Self should be the only one on the list! He just schooled M. Anderson yesterday all day on how to play the game. Roy W. is trying to learn D this year. After that A.whipping he took from Bill last year.
Bill Self is coaching at a hole new level than we have ever seen.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


Yes, I have just checked into the local hospital for IV hydration. Now if they can just get Eddie Sutton to give him the Iba award, the Okie Baller cosmos will be all aligned. :-)

Regarding the nominees,

John Calipari, Memphis--deserves consideration; he's a KU/LB man and he had to replace Rose and CDR and he did it and is rolling; but Conference USA remains a weakling mid major conference.

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh--deserves it; Pitt will still be the wrecking ball of this Madness; UConn, or no UConn.

Mike Montgomery, California--a complete joke; Mrs. Obama's brother, Craig Robinson at Oregon State is working a stinking miracle getting the moribund OSU program back to .500; nominate him, instead of Monty, who just kept Cal mediocre.

Stew Morrill, Utah State--mildly deserving; the guy can coach even though no one knows about him and the WAC is weak; only KU, Gonzaga and Utah State have won 23 plus games a year the last nine years. He's doing it again this year.

Matt Painter, Purdue--undeserving; Durpoo was supposed to own the B10 this year with returning starters and Durpoo is 11-5 in the conference and 22-7 over all; Painter blew his chance in the drivers seat; he has no business being nominated.

Oliver Purnell, Clemson--totally undeserving; 8-6 in ACC; 22-6 over all; team getting worse as season wears on; this nomination could only happen to an ACC coach;

Brad Stevens, Butler--doing a good job in a lousy conference; does this merit? No.

Bill Self--he wins this award unanimously on first ballot in a sane world; the world is not sane.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

Forgot abut Capel and Anderson. Both deserving.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

Forgot abut Capel and Anderson. Both deserving of runner up status.

Eric Schneider 10 years, 11 months ago

jaybate- you obviously haven't payed any attention to what goes on outside of the Big XII. Butler was picked to finish fifth in the Horizon. Three of their top four scorers are freshman. They got as high as number 8 in the country. Brad Stevens deserves to be on that list. It should come down to Stevens, Self, and as much as I hate to admit it, Anderson. Stevens doesn't have a realistic shot only because most voters won't vote for a mid-major coach no matter how deserving.

Calapari being on the list is a joke, however. They only have 2 wins against the RPI top 50, to go along with 3 losses. Their best win is Gonzaga.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 11 months ago

Self has to be close on a lot of these awards after what he's done with these young kids. Winning the Big 12 will clinch at least one of them.

Don't count out the Utah State coach, they have a great team. I guarantee they will upset someone in the tourney.

zissou 10 years, 11 months ago

It's been posted already, but the exclusion of Trent Johnson (LSU) is laughable. Mike Anderson probably took himself out of the running this weekend, because nobody's voting for the coach of a 3rd place team during a "weak" year for the conference. Almost the same could be said of Morrill after Utah State got blasted by a so-so Nevada team this weekend.

Looking at it broken down this way, I'd say Bill has a good shot at the award. I can't hate Calipari for being nominated. He's got McDonald's AA's, but who do we think brought them to Memphis in the first place? (Insert World Wide Wes joke here).

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, have to make a point here. Various posters are arguing about Calipari being undeserving because of his McD's AA kids. Cole and Sherronatron were both McD's AA kids. So, that argument doesn't hold much weight. Calipari shouldn't be considered because of the fact Memphis plays in an extremely weak conference and their only noteworthy win is against Gonzaga.

Ervin O'Neal 10 years, 11 months ago

Does any team in Conference USA (including Memphis) have a victory this year over a team currently ranked in the Top 25?

That conference should lost its automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney.

Ervin O'Neal 10 years, 11 months ago

"That conference should LOSE its automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney."

Man, I hate typos.

KGphoto 10 years, 11 months ago

Lot's of great coaches. But nobody has had to make such a jolting transition to their young team. Self has commanded and shaped and refined a scattered mess of raw talent, into a proper statue that defines itself. Now he's applying some polish, and that's why we shouldn't even be voting yet. Not until the conference tournaments are complete.

As we've seen, 30 or so games isn't much time to do what he's done. He needs this final handful of games to finish what he started.

KGphoto 10 years, 11 months ago

This parlays into a measure that is largely ignored. How far up the polls has a team climbed through the year? To me this should be a coaching statistic. Maybe something like RIP. (Rank Improvement Percentage) Divide the current ranking by the pre-season ranking.

An off the chart RIP would be something like the 1990 Hawks who went from about 140 to top ten in a single tournament. (remember that?). They would post an RIP of around .03. Whereas Texas started this year at #7 and is posting a COY killing 4.71 RIP.

Kansas would have a nice .375 RIP. Memphis .385 RIP. Anderson's Missouri squad was off the charts in the pre-season, but is posting better than a .254 RIP. I don't have the pre-season rankings beyond 59. Obviously this would only be another stat, which could be weighted and factored-in individually, by each fan/sportswriter/voter of COY. But it certainly has some merit.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


re Butler and Bad Brad...look at that conference. It makes Conference USA look like Conference NBA. Brad jumped into a program that has been solid and well coached for quite some time. Give him cudos for finding some replacements, but it was not the rebuilding job you hype,more of a reload.

re Calipari...he has won 30 plus games a couple years and last year lost in OT to KU. Before that he had a couple excellent teams at UMass with Camby. Now the guy goes 26-3, while replacing Rose and CDR? And he plays a decent nonconference schedule? And you say he doesn't deserve consideration, because he hasn't had enough impressive RPI wins? You need to get a grip. The guy can recruit and the guy can coach with the best. And until very recently this season, its been Memphis that struck more fear into the hearts of opponents than KU. I made him mildly deserving, because of the weakness of Conference USA, but he has proven that Conference USA grade competition is good enough to harden his talented teams in to top ten teams and into teams that can reach the Final Four. You have to include reality, when you are talking about this sort of thing, or you lack credibility.

re Anderson: he's a good, but overrated coach right now. I like that he wants to press. I like that he seems a decent person. But he had quite a bit of talent last year and squandered it. And this year, he has gotten some Ws out of it, but when you think about it: he barely lucked out against KU, when he had all the cards and then waltzes into Lawrence with a head of steam and gets out coached every way possible. The jury is out on Anderson still. I was trying to be kind to a B12 coach by ranking him deserving.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

The fact is: outside of Self, the most deserving guy is Capel, even though I can't stand him. He coaches them well. He gets a lot out of the little Griffin, as well as Blake. He knows his team needs a Willie Warren and he gets one. He's turned a program riddled with Kelvin Sampson Korruption quickly into a respectable program at what tends to be a football first school. Capel is the guy who should replace Coach K at Duke. Again, I don't like the guy's willingness to hurt people when he's 10-15 down, but he can coach. Calhoun and the guy at Pitt also deserve consideration. It is tough winning big even with great talent, because there are so many head cases and injuries. FWIW, Self deserved the award last year. What he did without Brandon Rush and with the headcase that was Darrell Arthur was nothing short of virtuoso. But because people tend to think as you do; that winning with green players is the true test of good coaching, then Self was not seriously considered last year. Even this year, I am less impressed by Self winning with green players (Wooden won 2-3 NCs with green players), than I am impressed with the way Self has found a scheme that fits his talent. Most coaches can find the basic scheme. But few coaches are persistently creative and dogged enough to keep finding beneficial roles for more and more players. Good lord, he even kept exploring Conner Teahan into the middle of this season in hopes of finding a small role for Conner's gun. Almost no coaches would have done that after Teahan played himself into oblivion. And Self is also a genius at junking his most certain plans when they don't work. Little was going to be the savior, but after three games Self said, nope, I had that wrong. The team needs something different. But then when all looks lost for Little, Self redefines his role into something Little can handle--a ten minute man giving short spurts of intensity--and lo and behold Little makes some key contributions to beating MU.

But on this much we agree: Bill Self is the best coach and he has done the best job this year.

yates33333 10 years, 11 months ago

Points, or however the ranking is determined for the Iba Award, should be as follows:

Self, Capel, Calipari, and Anderson. As usual Jaybate is close to being on the money.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


I rarely disagree with you. In fact I am not absolutely sure I disagree with you on this issue--Calipari--either.

Basically, if I were to judge Calipari according to your criteria--give the award to the guy that coaches--I would have to accept your judgement as unimpeachable.

But my standard for coaching excellence is: does he produce teams that play well and to their abilities and get a lot out of his material.

IMHO, Calipari does this, but in the unconventional way that you note. He has different things that he thinks can be coached and that cannot be, than is conventional. But when one watches his Princeton on Steroids offense, there is no mistaking that this guy is doing a ton of coaching. They don't play that offense on the play ground, or in most highschools. They are learning that from Calipari. To me Calipari on FT shooting being unteachable, is unconventional, but not starkly illogical. I don't agree, but then he has proven that he can win 30 games a season for a couple seasons not teaching FT shooting. Perhaps there is something to be learned from this pisano.

Is Calipari slippery? Seems so. Has he had significant infractions where ever he has gone? Yes, just as his mentor Larry Brown had. Does he base his system on landing superstars by telling them that they are so good they are going to play? Yes. Does that build character? Probably not. But on the other hand, he gets his players to perform pretty darned well. Therefore, we have to infer that Calipari knows how to coach pretty well, at least in an unconventional way.

To understand my defense of Calipari, a guy whom I do not really like a whole lot, you would have to understand that I grew up in a time when African Americans were steadily integrating into the game, but there were still unwritten quotas about how many could play, and questions (often rather racist in origin) about whether the street ball flash and jumping abilities that many (but hardly all) African Americans brought to the game should be integrated as well.

Put more succinctly, they used to question whether it was wise to let the game go vertical, to encourage a lot of aerial stuff, alley-oops, dunking, and one on one shot creation, that certain African Americans could bring to the game that had not much existed in the game prior to their integration into it.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

Both unprejudiced basketball conservatives, and unprincipled racists who wanted to limit opportunities to African Americans by any means, questioned whether the game would be harmed by these modifications of the game.

To many young persons, it was so obvious that the game could only be enriched by increasing the dimensions in which play could occur that it seemed a ridiculous issue even to consider. But because basketball conservatives tried to protect the game, and unprincipled racists, tried to exploit the game to preserve self interest, it took a heck of a lot longer for the game to develop in the magnificient direction that it has developed in than it should have. And a great many African Americans who played the game in a then unconventional way were denied their due, simply because too many people could not accept that the game had many, many dimensions to it and many, many ways to to play it, other than the then status quo way.

Because we are all prisoners of our own experience, and because that was my experience, I am always predisposed to defend the guys who try it a different way, if that way makes sound logical sense, whether or not it conflicts with the tradition. Often these innovators, or birds of a different feather, fail in changing the way the game is played and coached. But often they succeed.

As I look at the game today, I am constantly reminded of how many things there are that are done routinely and considered as part of sound fundamental basketball that were once considered unacceptable.

The dunk was at first considered show boating. Now, we jump on Cole and The Morris Twins for not finishing strong with a dunk, when they are in the butcher zone and could minimize risks of a block by doing so.

Hank Luisetti of Stanford, under the tutelage of Allen Disciple and KU man, Coach John Bunn, was scorned for shooting the first jump shot regularly. Can you imagine that? Now, it is unthinkable not to shoot a J, unless you are laying it up, or dunking.

No one remembers, but there was, according to my father, a time early in the game, when the hook shot was considered bad, bad, bad. But then guys showed it could be done.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

Everyone said, and many still say, that full court pressing was literally impossible to do, and then later when it was done, that it was poor strategy. But John Wooden won ten national championships recognizing that the game has a full court dimension that is largely ignored.

Early fast breaking teams were considered to have poor fundamentals and to be playing in ways that could not be productive over the course of a season. But Rupp showed it was a great way to win a lot of rings.

When I was young, dribbling behind your back, or through the legs, was considered a sure sign of useless French pastry, even after Bob Cousy, of all people, had proven how efficient such things could be.

Magic Johnson had to have heard a million times that he could not possibly play PG at 6'9" tall, but he did. And he had to have heard that it was pointless for him to learn to set shoot from the trey stripe, when everyone knew that this was the age of the jump shot. But Magic proved them wrong and became an excellent set shooter right in the middle of the age of the jump shot.

Don Haskins was told you couldn't start five African Americans and win a ring. Wrong.

Abe Lemmons was told you couldn't let players play helter skelter and win. He proved them half wrong. He won quite a bit, but he never got a chance to prove his helter skelter offense with top players.

Paul Westhead tested a style of play wherein you use defense not to stop people but to get them to shoot more and turn play into an up and down game while at Loyola in Los Angeles. With Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers, he took that concept a long way and won a lot of games with it. It proved to have some flaws and not be widely adopted. But the fact was it had a sound basic logic and it worked pretty well, though the traditionalists howled. They tarred and feathered Westhead, not based on the stupidity of the scheme (it wasn't stupid), but because it was too unconventional for their rigid minds to think about.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

African American players have so developed the vertical dimension of the game that now when African American and Caucasian American, and every other flavor of American and foreigner who tries to play the game, cannot jump, the neotraditionalists cannot conceive that the game can be played horizontally, too.

It is so hard to be good at what is conventional, that most persons go on sensory overload if you ask them to try to be good at something unconventional. This is true in all walks of life.

Calipari's ways have produced sufficiently favorable results over a sufficient length of time that I have decided there is a least a sound thinker working the controls of his game. He is not conventional in certain thinking. Maybe he is wrong about FT shooting. His ways may prove unfeasible to spread across the game. But then again, I heard that you couldn't start five African Americans and win a ring from relatively intelligent persons. I heard that shake and bake could never be integrated into offenses in a strategically rational way. I heard you couldn't full court press and win a ring.

homewood 10 years, 11 months ago

Wow, who would have thought so much could be said about this? I don't think anybody else is reading this anymore. You two are bonkers.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


Stick around here and you'll learn something from these two. They get directly to the point. Me, you can take or leave, as I like to do a lot of shake and bake getting there. :-)

Eric Schneider 10 years, 11 months ago

I'm not knocking Calipari as a coach. I'm knocking everyone's opinion of this Memphis team. They brought a lot more back than Kansas did. Their non-conference schedule, now that the season has played out, was weak. The only team they have played that is currently ranked, Xavier, beat them. I'm not saying they're not a good team. I'm just saying they are, at best, no better than they were on paper in November. I want to know how people can praise Calipari's coaching job while blasting Stevens for being in the Horizon when it will get at least the same number of teams in as Conference USA and ranks only two places and .012 points behind in the RPI. Stevens is completely reliant on those three freshman while Calipari brought back four players with significant Final Four experience.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


A good argument. I choose to be influenced by it.

KWufan 10 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate, first off, good evidence to back your ideas. However, here is my disagreement with you on Calipari. He does not coach the dribble drive, he asked a JUCO coach from California to show him how it works and he ran with it, so no respect as far as coaching goes there. NBA he was flat out terrible where you have to have an ability to coach, or your arse is back in college. Dude is a car salesman, how else do you get great talent to play in CUSA. You want to talk about zero exposure. Yes, he's won 30 games a year, but, once again, I reference CUSA. That needs to be division 2 CUSA. Love the fact he's a LB disciple but I'm sorry, until he can go to a man's conference and win like he has at Memphis, there is very little to say about his ability to coach. Great RECRUITER, yes, coach, not so good.

KWufan 10 years, 11 months ago

I have to say Trent Johnson from LSU. I can't remember what their record was last yr, but I know it wasnt' near as good as this yr's. I know, the SEC is a playing like CUSA this yr overall, but it's still impressive what they have done. Losing out on J'mison Morgan could have been a huge letdown for them this yr, but they did not let that affect them at all. Big game tommorrow night, darn game is in Lubbock and you know how those games go, down the wire, Daryl Dorra for 3!!

kupark 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't want to be personal, but jaybate I've got to ask: What sort of job/career to do you have? You seem to have awful lot of time on your hands.

Anyhow, Coach Self is not winning this thing. A midwest coach first winning a championship and then the coach of the year award? Do you take our journalists to be some sort of saints? The East/West Coast bias will not allow them to vote for Self. Who would want to run the risk of Self being mentioned before Roy, K, etc?

The best conference, the best team, the best coach, the best player, the best court all have to be on the East Coast. This is what the founding fathers wanted and put it in the constitution.

actorman 10 years, 11 months ago

"Mike Montgomery, California--a complete joke; Mrs. Obama's brother, Craig Robinson at Oregon State is working a stinking miracle getting the moribund OSU program back to .500; nominate him, instead of Monty, who just kept Cal mediocre."

Jaybate, I normally give you a lot of credit (too much?) for knowing what you're talking about, but you're completely off base about Montgomery, and I can't believe that no one has called you on it.

Last year Cal was 17-16, and went 6-10 in the Pac-10 (ninth place, ahead of only pitiful OSU). This year Cal is 21-8 and 10-6 in the conference, tied for third, only 2 1/2 games out of first. Although 21-8 and 10-6 might be considered somewhat mediocre by KU standards, it is certainly NOT mediocre by most standards. And how can you act like going from 1 game over .500 to 13 games over .500 is not a huge improvement??? Also keep in mind that Montgomery is doing this in his first year with the program, meaning he's had to teach a new system to the players.

I agree that Robinson has done a great job at OSU, and he should be on the list as well. But it's ridiculous to say that Montgomery doesn't deserve to be on there. All that being said, of course, Self should win it walking away.

actorman 10 years, 11 months ago

Whoops, I obviously meant they were 6-12 in the conference last year, not 6-10. This year they still have two games left.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


Perhaps I didn't give Monty quite enough credit, but still there's something about winning four more games than Ben Braun that does not compel me to awe.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago


You are a credit to the game.

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