Originally published March 6, 2012 at 11:03a.m., updated March 7, 2012 at 12:00a.m.
For the second time in four seasons, Kansas University’s Bill Self has been named the Sporting News College Basketball Coach of the Year.
Self, who is in his ninth season at KU, also won the award in 2009, when the Jayhawks went 27-8, won the Big 12 and reached the NCAA Tourney Sweet 16, and in 2000, when he directed Tulsa to a 32-5 record and a spot in the Elite Eight.
“I think this team has been fun to coach. This team has been pretty easy to coach,” said Self. His 2011-12 Jayhawks finished the regular season 26-5 overall and 16-2 in the Big 12.
“We are not as deep as what we have been. Our bench got a little bit better through the course of the season. We’ve been consistent and lucky in — knock on wood — starting the same guys all season. I do believe this is a team operating as close to its ceiling consistently as just about any team we’ve had.”
Self likes the mental make-up of a KU team that opens Big 12 tournament play against either Oklahoma or Texas A&M at 2 p.m., Thursday, in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s a good thing when you believe that every time you step on the court you will find a way to figure it out,” Self said.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor said his coach was mighty deserving of the national honor.
“He didn’t give up on us. He was hard on us. He made us come to work every day,” Taylor told Sporting News. “Without saying, but in the back of our heads, we were unsure of what we could do,” he added.
Self and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg on Sunday were named co-Big 12 Coaches of the Year. On Monday, Missouri’s Frank Haith won the AP Coach of the Year award.
“I voted for Bill. To win the league by two games after all they lost (off last year’s Elite Eight team) .... hands down he’s coach of the year,” Kansas State’s Frank Martin said Monday on 610 radio.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis was named Sporting News’ player of the year. KU junior forward Thomas Robinson was named first-team All-American by the outlet. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor was third-team All-American.
Wooden list: KU’s Robinson is one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Tuesday. Others: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State; Jae Crowder, Marquette; Anthony Davis, Kentucky; Marcus Denmon, Missouri; Draymond Green, Michigan State; Kevin Jones, West Virginia; Kris Joseph, Syracuse; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky; Damian Lillard, Weber State; Scott Machado, Iona; Doug McDermott, Creighton; Austin Rivers, Duke; Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; Tyler Zeller, North Carolina.
District honors: KU’s Robinson on Tuesday was named District VI Player of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He joins teammate Taylor on the All-District Team. District VI consists of the states of Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
CBE field: KU will be joined by Saint Louis, Texas A&M and Washington State as participants in the 2012 CBE Classic, it was announced Tuesday. Pairings for the Nov. 19 semifinal match-ups in KC’s Sprint Center will be announced at a later date. The finals and consolation game will be Nov. 20. KU will also play two home games against small to mid-major type schools in the Classic.
In 2013-14, KU will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas. There’s talk that USC, Villanova, Maryland and Michigan also will be in the eight-team field. KU will have one home game in that tournament, then three in the Bahamas.
KU has not yet chosen a tourney for 2014-15. In 2015-16, KU will play in the Maui Invitational. KU also will play Michigan State next preseason in Atlanta as part of the Champions Classic. KU will play Duke in Chicago the following season, also in the Classic.
Lewis dies at age 68: Former KU player Delvy Lewis died on Monday after a nine-year battle with cancer. He was 68. Topeka native Lewis, who attended Washburn Rural High School, was a three-year starter at point guard at KU from 1964-66. During his senior season (1965-66) he directed KU to the Big Eight regular-season title. He was a starting guard on the team that lost to Texas Western in the 1966 NCAA Midwest Regional Final in Lubbock, Texas.
“Delvy was a great leader and a great competitor,” said former KU coach Ted Owens, “By sheer force of hard work he made himself an all-league player. His courage and his faith are what I’ll remember about him. I’m so glad he was able to come to our (1965-66 team) reunion at Allen Fieldhouse in December.”
Recruiting: Shabazz Muhammad, a 6-6 senior from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, visited Duke last weekend.
“Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) has invested three years recruiting me, and I feel extremely comfortable with him,” Muhammad told Rivals.com.
Muhammad will visit UCLA then make his college choice. He’s also considering KU, Kentucky and UNLV.
“I have one more visit and after that my family and I can figure this out and come to a decision within the next month,” he told Rivals.com.