Bill Self meets with President in Osawatomie

KU hoops coach learns that Barack Obama is 'huge basketball fan'

Originally published December 6, 2011 at 4:12 p.m., updated December 7, 2011 at 2:44 a.m.

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self met with President Barack Obama at a meet-and-greet session before the President's speech on Tuesday at Osawatomie High School.

"Great day. Just met President Obama. So down-to-earth, loves ball. Heading back to Allen to get to work. Game-Day. See you guys at 8," Self wrote on Twitter.

Self during his pre-game KU-Long Beach State radio interview said he received an e-mail on Monday inviting him to meet with the President.

“I said, ‘I can’t make it. It’s Game-Day. I’ve got shoot-around,’” Self said. “They (Obama staff members) e-mailed back and said, ‘He understands. Just come and meet him.’ I drove to Osawatomie and we visited a while.

“The talk of him being a huge basketball fan is not just talk,” Self added. “He asked me about our team. I told him, ‘I like our guys. They try awfully hard, but we need to play at a higher level.’’’

The two shared a light moment.

“I said, ‘With all due respect, Mr. President, don’t pick us again (in his pre-NCAA Tournament bracket).’ He picked us to win it all the last two years. He said, ‘You cost me money,’’’ Self added with a laugh. “I said, ‘Not as much as you cost me.’’’

Self said he was appreciative of the time with the President.

“It’s amazing what the president goes through in daily life. Every second of the day is allotted,” Self said. “He gave me six minutes, and I think we were allotted five. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

“As an American you have so much respect for that office,” Self said. “For me it was a no-brainer to go.”

Self has now met three Presidents: Obama; President George W. Bush in the White House after KU won the title in 2008 and President Bill Clinton at KU when Clinton visited campus with Bob Dole.