Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bill Self happy to get holiday break

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and Naadir Tharpe celebrate a bucket against Ohio State late in the second half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and Naadir Tharpe celebrate a bucket against Ohio State late in the second half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self is in favor of taking his team to tournaments in Maui, Las Vegas and the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week.

The week of Christmas, however, is another story.

“I am against it. For the most part, promoters have gotten away from that,” Self, KU’s 10th-year coach, said of hosting Christmas-week extravaganzas.

“If you play the 28th or 29th (of December in a tournament), it’s hard to come back (from holiday break) and start practice the night of the 26th, like we do.

“What do you do? Let them go home the 21st to the 24th or 21st to 23rd? Bring the kids back Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? That’s bad. We’ve done it before. It makes for bad, bad harmony ... bad,” Self added. “Nobody wants to be away from their family at Christmas. I like not having a tournament around Christmas.”

Self’s Jayhawks, who defeated Ohio State, 74-66, on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, take a 10-1 record into a short Christmas break. KU’s out-of-state players flew out of Columbus to their respective hometowns Sunday and won’t return to KU until practice time on the night of the 26th, which is Wednesday.

The Jayhawks will hold their annual holiday clinic Thursday while continuing preparations for their next game — a 7 p.m. clash against American University on Saturday.

“I’ve played in tournaments the 27th and 28,” said Self, a former Oklahoma State guard. “To do it, you have to be with your team over Christmas. Because at the end of the day, in March (when selection committee makes NCAA Tournament picks), nobody cares if you played the 26th or played the 29th. Your team has to win the games, so you have to practice.”

As far as this year’s Christmas holiday, Self outlined his plans.

“I’ll hang out with my family,” he said. “It is good to get away from the guys. I’ll be honest with you, I’ll miss them just from being gone three days. I doubt they’ll miss me. It’ll be good for them to get away and get their batteries recharged a little bit and come back (refreshed). Then we’ve got about two weeks we can really focus on trying to get better. We only play two games in that span of time.

“Hopefully that’ll set us up for being prepared at least going into conference play.”

His Christmas wish list?

“Health, without question,” he said. “A little toughness maybe. Some perimeter shooting won’t hurt, either.”

KU will play Temple on Jan. 6.


mdalesh 1 year, 3 months ago

Actual Game Time ? Got tickets.


JHWKDW 1 year, 3 months ago

Get rested KU Basketball, then take it 1 game at a time guys. You are doing well.

Coach Self you got them going in the right direction! Way to go.


AsadZ 1 year, 3 months ago

Jamari's father is in prison

McLemore's brother is in prison

Just imagine the wrong path these two could have been on

So good to see them on path to normal life and hopefully road to great pro careers

I always admire Coach Self for turning lives around for kids growing up in challenging environments


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Happy Holidays to Jayhawk Nation...for every person who walked on campus, has a student number, put on a uniform, taught a class, posted a comment who wasn't a troll, paid tuition for a son or daughter, or performed a service to keep KU running....God Bless Us All.

PS Was it just me or did I see Justin Wesley's hand in a cast?? What Happened??


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

He has to say the world is not black and white and basketball is not black and white. It is both. It is defense and offense. It impact and glue. It is being good here and impacting there. it is delivering and helping others deliver. It is playing healthy and hurt as if both were just parts of the game.

Both hurts.

He knows he wouldn't like playing for himself much of the time.

He is asking persons to work hard long after they don't want to work hard anymore, to pay attention to details, and how-tos long after any of them want to keep paying attention.

And this is a gregarious person by nature, a guy who likes to be liked, likes to kid around, likes to put his arms around people and give the Okie smile.

And he has to go home actually missing these guys, while knowing they are probably relieved to get out from under his microscopic eye and laser ray criticism.

And he knows it.

This is what makes Self stand out so much from a lot of other taskmasters in the game.

He knows he's no fun at all, once he really starts pouring it on and trying to forge a team.

And because he apparently knows it, and because he apparently wants to be fun, it apparently keeps him from going off the deep end. From going down the dark path of Bob Knight. Or cracking up as Consonants once did. Or abusing the bottle as Eddie did.

No doubt Bill Self has demons. He is human. Every human does.

But he is doing a heroic job of keeping them in check.

And if he stumbles one day, as most do, it won't be for lack of trying to keep it all in perspective.

Go, Bill, go!!!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

One thing Self said jumped out at me in this story.

"I’ll be honest with you, I’ll miss them just from being gone three days. I doubt they’ll miss me."

--Bill Self on the players scattering for XMAS

This is part of what makes Bill Self extraordinary; not that he felt it, but that he said something like this. He loves his players not in a sappy way, but in the way of anyone that develops respect for the sacrifices made by those that one works with.

Self apparently knows how hard he is to be around, what a screech owl in practice he is, how hard he rides them, and how hard he pushes their buttons, and how much they can hate him for it in the heat of the season.

Think about it.

Self is tearing these guys new ones EFD.

He is confronting these guys with their short comings EFD.

He is asking them to get outside their inner worlds, to not only confront their uncomfortable zones, but live in them for long periods until they can get comfortable.

He threatens players with going in different directions. He makes veiled threats about how many scholarships are going to be available next year. He tells players they aren't as good as last year's guys and that they ought to be. He tells guys that think they are going as hard as they can that they aren't going hard enough. He tells guys that think they are now tough enough that they aren't tough enough. He tells players that have always been stars that they play like "little babies."

He is walking around a practice floor seeing and correcting everything they know they are doing wrong and everything they don't know they are doing wrong. How many could take this from their boss in an office, or a factory, even for a day, and these players take it from October to April. Year after year, some of them.

He is trying to develop them in time for game after game after game. He plays to win. They think they do, but he has to show the huge gap between what they think is playing to win and what is really playing to win.

He is expecting not just understanding but performance, not just I get it coach, but I just did it coach. Talk and understanding are easy. Doing is hard. Doing takes reps. Doing takes encountering confidence shaking failure and excoriating correction from a coach.

He has to maintain a level of intensity in himself that is no fun for them. He has to pay attention to more details than any of them even understand exist.


Steve Brown 1 year, 3 months ago

JB normally agree with you, however for me, one is the ideal number of statues at AFH. and on a side note, we have too many jerseys retired on the south wall.


Robert Murphy 1 year, 3 months ago

Merry Christmas to all the many fans who take the time to write and share their insights. Through hard work this site is improving just like the basketball team. We always learn more not less.


PistolPete 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey Rio, Merry Christmas to you also! Keep working hard and enjoy the ride/being a contributing part of a great KU team in the making.


mikehawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Great story. Reminds us all at Christmas it is more than wins and losses. For some it is about survival. KU basketball has such a family feel starting with the coaches and radiating outward to the current players and beyond to past ones. No wonder Ben and Jamari are so close. It was more than just being caught together as partial qualifiers. A subplot to the KU family is the coaches having their kids on the team. How many places in big time athletics do you see that? On first glance it looks like it could be awkward, but there is no visable hint of any of that. Interesting to see if Evan stays with this family or joins his dad next year. I really think he could start or at least get quality minutes here in Tulsa at TU.

Speaking of Coach Manning. In case you hadn't heard, TU came from 17 down Saturday to beat my undergraduate alma mater ORU on ORU's home court. If anyone wondered if Danny's skills as a coach translated to being the head guy, ask the TU faithful that question. They love him here. TU has to be the only school in D-1 whose coach is taller than every single player on the team. It looks a bit funny in their huddle. Once he can recruit a bit and gets some players in TU will be back in the hunt for post-season, once again. The loss to TU is a temporary large size (they both recruit hard against it other for local players) set back to ORU's program coached by Eddie Sutton's son Scott who has done a great job building on what Bill Self resurrected quite a few years ago. The intertwined plots are interesting with Coach Self having coached at both places. TU people are in awe of Coach Self. Danny's team will have to play Larry Brown's team twice this year as they are in the same conference. If you watched Danny's TU team play defense to get back in it Saturday against ORU, you would have seen defensive intensity all KU faithful would recognize.


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm glad Bill still has his priorities in order. Our society could care less about Christmas and family traditions. That's one reason he such a great coach. He knows what's important.


AsadZ 1 year, 3 months ago

Great story on JamTray. I hope he can have a great career at KU like Jakson and Kaun had as an example, and he does really well for himself and his family making great coin.


jayhawkinATL 1 year, 3 months ago

Seems the article overlooks that we play American on the 29th.


ccarp 1 year, 3 months ago

Merry Christmas to all! So many reasons to be thankful!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago


Jamari Traylor has shown that when one believes when there seems to be no reason to believe and seizes opportunity doggedly and keeps getting better that though the path to salvation is hard, and beauty walketh a razor's edge, that like Bob Dylan sang, "Some day I'm gonna make it mine."

Perry Ellis has struggled quietly and doggedly through a big piece of humble pie on the way to unleashing the inner warrior that will make his great talent bloom beyond his greatest expectations for each player ahead of him in minutes has been through even greater slices of humble pie and transcended as he most certainly will, too.

Andrew White has struggled quietly and doggedly through freshman ups and downs and has proven he belongs, if he too has faith and patience enough to strengthen the weaknesses and overcome the obstacles that all those ahead of him have had to overcome also.

Justin Wesley has struggled quietly and doggedly through finding his game and now a broken finger and stands always ready for that big moment that awaits him a surely as morning follows night, when he is going to come up big and win a game down the stretch.

Christian Garrett has struggled quietly and doggedly through the life of a walk on striving for bigger things down the road in life through love of game.

Niko Roberts and Tyler Self have struggled quietly and doggedly through being coached by their fathers--maybe the biggest hurdles anyone on this team faces.

And Zach Peters, who is on this team no matter what and who has struggled quietly and doggedly through 4 concussions and a torn rotator cuff and the temporary end of a dream, and who is going home for Christmas and not coming back and who needs a break right now as much as any of these young men have needed a break ahead of him.

I know you are listening, Santa.


REHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

HawksWin, thanks bundles for the Austin Weeks piece. Rarely do Jayhawk fans receive the opportunity to glimpse so closely the lifecourses and/or travails of their young hoops stars. Jamari's story helps to humanize everyone connected with the sport of basketball at Kansas. I will follow his academic and athletic pursuits with much more understanding, intensity, and hopes for good fortune. We will probably view more Jamari posters in the stands after the publication of this fine biographical sketch. Many thanks to the world of sports...and those who serve as parent figures, working nobly to channel, guide and uplift young people, many of whom might fall astray but for such webs of stabilizing opportunity. Merry Christmas, Jamari and family, teammates and coaches. Here's wishing for you and all of us a very healthfilled, safe and rewarding New Year. RCJHKU!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Amazing Things about this Team"


Here is why each KU player should get some toys.

Jeff Withey has quietly and doggedly shown a new way way to make a centers presence felt all over the court, despite the XTReme Muscle of his era.

Elijah Johnson has quietly and doggedly shown a new way to play the point that involves keeping the team moving in front of him and pitching forward both in half court and in transition.

Travis Releford has quietly and doggedly shown that when one achieves balance in everything on wood that the grand, profound heroic, courageous tradition of Catholic sainthood can be revived in a basketball monastery on the eastern shores of the sea of grass.

Kevin Young has happily, boldly, gratefully, and doggedly transitioned schools to pursue his best interests and become a great fit with the second team in a row and begun to show that he is a rebounding, defending, constant talking fearless natural.

Ben McLemore has happily and cheerfully and doggegly shown when one is true to oneself and holds fast to one's goal of being a Jayhawk, and helps one's mother work through her feelings, and stands by one's brother proudly, and makes the best of road blocks like delays in eligibility that great natural talent and love of game can transcend and move within a team the next step toward greatness.

Naadir Tharpe has quietly and doggedly improved his strengths on offense and strengthened his weaknesses on defense and learned the deep truth that just because you can get inside does not mean you should shoot inside, nor that just because Self is tearing you to shreds about defense that he does not think you have the right stuff.



wrwlumpy 1 year, 3 months ago

Merry Christmas Jaybate. Merry Christmas Jabari.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Jam Tray,

You belong in a KU classroom.

You belong in a KU uniform.

You belong among the heroes of life.


Among the doers and the givers.

Among the sweet.

Among the strong.

Your story has already helped me.

It will help others too.

To compete with everything you have for a worthwhile goal within the rules written and unwritten.

To win and lose within the rules.

To work to change the unjust rules.

To preserve the just rules.

And then to help others do the same.

To save.

To get ahead.

To travel.

To correct your errors.

To be humble and confident.

To build a home to be your center.

To help those you can.

To give.

To teach.

To give knowledge and pay for work.

To get better.

To model getting better for others.

To notice as you go about your day ten moments of the beauty that is around you.

For even amidst the worst times the beauty is there to nourish our souls.

To savor it.

To master your duties here.

To Impact beyond yourself there.

To love what you do.

To love another.

To make a friend.

To breath deeply.

To exhale.

To hear yourself.

To hear the quiet.

To help.

Merry Christmas.

You will make it.


David Black 1 year, 3 months ago

What a great story about Jamari Traylor. Stay with us and we will support you all the way back to a great life.You are a Jayhawk now and we will cheer for you at the top of our lungs. Rock Chalk and Merry Christmas!


Jack Jones 1 year, 3 months ago

And a special shout-out to Austin Weeks of the Capital-Journal for a wonderful piece of writing in bringing the Jamari Traylor story to our attention.


Jack Jones 1 year, 3 months ago

HawksWin, Thanks for this terrific link to the Jamari Traylor article. It is understandable that a young man, given his life's circumstances, would be hesitant to even think about his past, let alone discuss it. Once again, we are reminded of how fortunate we are in having Bill Self as our coach. His on the court coaching ability needs no further evidence. His off the court interest in the lives of all his players, past and present, as demonstrated by the impact he has had on this player, may carry even greater significance for the future lives of those players fortunate enough to call him Coach Self.


up4par2000 1 year, 3 months ago

Anrio.....Seahawks thrashed the 49ers Baby!!! I know you were watching, safe travels as you come back home for the holidays.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago


Thanks for that link!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

As long as I live, I will remember Russ Robb's last year, when he stayed in Lawrence alone for the holidays. The team scattered. That LJW story did more to humanize these guys than any other. Fans offered to have him over. It was beautiful. Merry Christmas, Russ Rob, where ever you are.


HawksWin 1 year, 3 months ago

A heart warming story on Jamari. Hope his has a very Merry Christmas.

Cold nights help KU's Traylor find true warmth (Redshirt freshman's path to Lawrence started on streets of Chicago following father's incarceration)


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Health, without question. A little toughness maybe. Some perimeter shooting won’t hurt, either.” --Bill Self's Christmas Wish List

Another great quote for the field house walls.


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