Hall of Famer Bob Knight, the winningest coach in college basketball history, angered some Kansas University fans Monday when he said senior Sherron Collins ought to be benched to start the second half of the KU-Texas A&M; game.
Jayhawk coach Bill Self kept his cool when asked about Knight’s ESPN color commentary on Tuesday’s Hawk Talk radio show.
“Well, I think coach Knight is very, very wise obviously in winning games and having a great mind,” Self said. “To be honest, we were not trying to just win the game. We’re trying to win over time.
“I don’t believe in showing guys you don’t have faith in them when things are not going well when they’ve delivered over and over for you. I’d never do that. That wouldn’t be good for our team at all.”
Collins had three points off 0-of-3 shooting and 3-of-4 free throwing with three turnovers and no assists while playing 16 minutes in the first half of KU’s 59-54 victory over the Aggies.
He finished with seven points off 2-of-9 shooting with five turnovers and one assist in 35 minutes.
“If a player has done something from an effort standpoint or playing selfishly standpoint, that’s totally different than benching a guy because he’s not making plays that particular game,” Self said, noting that wasn’t the case with Collins, who is known for giving all-out effort at all times.
“If you know you are going to play him the last five minutes, why wouldn’t you want him out there before then?” Self asked.
Collins in the past eight games has hit 32-of-99 shots for 32.3 percent. He’s made 10-of-42 threes for 24 percent. Junior Brady Morningstar in the past five games has hit six of 22 shots for 27.3 percent, including three of 10 threes for 30 percent.
“I believe it’s going in when it leaves his (Morningstar’s) hand, same with Sherron,” Self said. “Those two haven’t been able to make shots consistently of late. It’ll open up the offense when they are able to do that.”
Sherron Collins indicated on his Facebook page that he’s proud papa of baby daughter, Sharee’ Collins, who was born earlier this week in Chicago. Collins on Tuesday received permission from KU coach Bill Self to return to the Windy City to visit the newest member of his family. Collins also has a son, Sherr’mari, who turns 3 in April.
The Jayhawks, who were rewarded a day off after returning to Lawrence about 3 a.m., Tuesday, were to return to practice today.
A week ago, Self gave the team two days off after a Big Monday victory over Texas. He thought the two-day layoff had something to do with the Jayhawks being stale in Saturday’s win over Iowa State.
KU will meet Colorado at 3 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.
Collins, who has a career record of 122-16, on Saturday can tie Raef LaFrentz, Billy Thomas and C.B. McGrath (1995-98) as the player with the best four-year record in KU history (123 victories). Brady Morningstar has also played for KU in this historic four-year span, red-shirting in 2007-08.
Upon further review
Self said KU played well in outlasting A&M; in a low-scoring, physical Big 12 slugfest.
“Watching the game going on live, I thought we were playing so poorly,” Self said. “I watched the tape ... we didn’t play that badly. We missed shots (while hitting just 43.5 percent overall, 1-of-10 from three; to A&M;’s 34.9 percent, 5-of-21 from three). The thing we did poorly was rebound. We took care of the basketball, got it where we wanted it to go for the most part, got to the line. We just didn’t rebound. The last five minutes, we really controlled the game.”
KU was outrebounded, 41-33, but committed just 11 turnovers to A&M;’s 13. KU hit 18-of-26 free throws to the Aggies’ 5-of-11.
Garth’s a good guy
Self said on Hawk Talk that upon returning from Texas A&M;, he finally had a chance to read Garth Brooks’ surprise tribute to Self that appeared in Saturday’s Journal-World.
Country music sensation Brooks lived with Self at the Iba Hall athletic dorm during their college days at Oklahoma State University. Brooks, who was on partial track scholarship, graduated in 1984; Self in ’85.
“He’s a class guy, always has been,” Self said of Brooks. “In college, we based everything on Wednesday night when we’d all gather and go listen to him (at Willie’s Saloon). A buddy of ours printed our own T-shirts. As a joke we wore ‘Garth Brooks World Tour’ T-shirts. He was so loyal to that group. When he made it, that company was the one he signed with to do his T-shirts. He really is a nice guy. And he was a pretty good athlete.”
Would Brooks ever perform the national anthem at a KU game?
“I don’t think we can pull that one off. Maybe if the price was right, he’d do it,” Self joked.