Originally published April 26, 2013 at 12:17p.m., updated April 26, 2013 at 02:17p.m.

KU coach Bill Self says Hunter Mickelson ‘more of a perimeter player’ than Jeff Withey

Coach also addresses open assistant coaching spot, says he will hire from outside

Kentucky's Terrence Jones, right, puts up a shot under pressure from Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) and Marvell Waithe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.

Kentucky's Terrence Jones, right, puts up a shot under pressure from Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) and Marvell Waithe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.


Kansas coach Bill Self announced the addition of Arkansas 6-foot-10 transfer Hunter Mickelson on Friday morning.

Self was asked Friday afternoon if Mickelson had a similar skill-set to former KU center Jeff Withey.

"Not really. Not as tall, and he's more agile than Jeff, and he's probably more of a perimeter player than Jeff," Self said. "But from a shot-blocking standpoint, you can say he's a poor-man's Jeff. He's an excellent shot-blocker."

Mickelson will have two years of eligibility for KU after sitting out the 2013-14 season. He averaged 5.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in his two seasons at Arkansas.

“He's thin, but he's got a good body," Self said. "I think he needs to spend a lot of time with (strength) coach (Andrea) Hudy in the weight room. I think the biggest thing he's got to do is get comfortable with our system and really get his confidence back to where it was out of high school, because he was a very, very, very good player out of high school."

Self said the process moved quickly, as the coach called Mickelson the day after he sent his release.

"Hunter had other options, but I think his first option all along was Kansas," Self said. "I really believe that he thought we were a great fit for him coming out of high school, but he just wanted to stay closer to home."

KU has two scholarships still remaining, and as of now, Self said he would still consider both high school players and transfers.

When asked if he'd feel satisfied heading into next season with the players he has signed now, Self said: "Absolutely, but I think the current roster could add a piece or two to make it great. ... If we were able to steal one or two more, I think our recruiting class would be as good as we've ever had here."

More on filling assistant coaching position

Self said he was still early in the process of looking for a replacement for assistant Joe Dooley, who left to become Florida Gulf Coast's head coach last week.

"I'm not even to first base on what I'm going to do on that yet," Self said.

The coach did say he was going to hire someone from outside the program and that it wouldn't be an in-house promotion. That rules out former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, who was hired last season as KU's director of basketball operations and is still on the staff in that role.

"Doc and I have visited, and I do know this: that I really, really, really enjoyed having him around," Self said. "I don't know. He's probably got to do more than what he's done for us, to be honest with you. He was a big asset to us in that position, but he wants to coach, so we'll see how that plays out."

With the new assistant coach, Self said he was looking for "somebody that's very well-rounded, that will bring energy and enthusiasm, be a good on-the-floor coach, and then also be a guy with excellent contacts in areas in which we need contacts."

In a tweet sent Friday afternoon,'s Jason King listed Texas A&M; assistant and former KU staffer Kyle Keller and SMU assistant Jerrance Howard as potential candidates for KU's opening.


5 years, 1 month ago

Hunter will essentially be taking over Rio's scholarship - - this may be a good "trade." Looking forward to see how he develops.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

Or Zach Peters'. We missed the extra body this year, and maybe some PT next year, but the beat goes on.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 1 month ago

In other words, he will fill the role that was destined for Zach Peters...a presence in the lane on defense, an in-close option on offense and a guy who will get his money's worth on every guy he fouls...I love it!!!

Eric Mitchell 5 years, 1 month ago

Should have read when comments were posted.

Tim Orel 5 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully he's also someone in good physical shape so he can run at KU. I know Hudy will help, but if he was in Mike Anderson's speed-up program, I'm sure they worked on speed and stamina.

1983Hawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Mike Anderson's program is an abject disgrace, and his players have a fundamental inability to play half court defense. Mickelson will need to spend every waking minute that he's not in the weight room next year while he's sitting learning an entirely different set of skills (lateral movement, toughness) if he hopes to see the court in 2014-15.

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

“Hunter is a young man that we recruited out of high school, offered a scholarship and he chose to stay close to home,” Self said. “He decided after two years at Arkansas that a change would do him good, and we’re very excited about the change.

Great! Now, let's substitute the name "Hunter" for "Phil" and "Arkansas" for "Oklahoma State" and we'll have TWO great additions that should have come here in the first place instead of staying close to home.

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

I think he may surprise you, ralster. He logged quite a few quality minutes for a true freshman and is a hard nosed, tough kid. I will have to admit, I'm quite partial to him as we've been friends with his parents for 20+ years and I was very disappointed when he chose OSU. But I can tell you this - he (and his parents) both still have deep feelings for KU.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, you just can't have 30 kids on scholarship, and while it irritated me that he hit big shots against us, you have to like Forte and his game. I hope he does become a great player.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

ralster, Forte and Marcus Smart were a package deal. Had KU shown more interest in Phil Forte, Forte would've committed to KU and brought Marcus Smart with him. Yes KU offered Forte a scholarship, but they never recruited him very hard so OSU was able to land both of them.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

Smart and Forte were HS and AAU teammates and it was very widely known they wanted to play together in college. OSU presented them an opportunity to do that and so OSU was able to sign both of them. Not speculation at all.

lv_jhwk 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow...glad I read the other comments after your post, nuleaf. Here I thought you were referring to Phil Mickelson the golfer and thinking "Home was San Diego, and college was Arizona State...huh?".

702Hawk 5 years, 1 month ago

According to Jason King's (@JasonKingESPN) twitter feed KU has stopped chasing Lacey and will not be replacing Dooley with Doc.

hugedell 5 years, 1 month ago

replace dooley with andrew wiggins' dad.

VaJay 5 years, 1 month ago

Oh I had a good laugh on that one!

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm certainly not laughing. That idea popped up right away on the boards when Dooley's departure was announced.

Michael Johnson 5 years, 1 month ago

I believe ncaa rules forbid such hirings now.

GortHawker 5 years, 1 month ago

It worked for Larry Brown and Danny Manning

Jabez Harlan 5 years, 1 month ago

I am available! I am a great on-the-floor coach, and I am also incredibly enthusiastic. The only thing I am lacking is the contacts. Crap!

clevelandjayhawker 5 years, 1 month ago

espn's dave telep has a good article out there on "the entitlement culture of elite hs hoops"

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

Dave Telep's current employer is the biggest reason for the current state of HS hoops. Their coverage of LeBron in HS is what started it and it's only gotten worse as they expand their coverage of HS sports every year.

Chris Baker 5 years, 1 month ago

Is it just me, or does it seem like Bill Self is kind of calling out Doc Sadler for not doing enough this past year to warrant consideration for the Assistant Coach position? Further, the way he worded it, he referred to Sadler only in the past tense. To say, "We really really really enjoyed having him around." makes it sound like he is already or soon will be gone, doesn't it?

Ted Hume 5 years, 1 month ago

yes, it certainly sounds like Doc is moving on- just doesn't know where yet. I'm surprised no mention of it by Jesse.

Cody Riedy 5 years, 1 month ago

Self's comment about Doc sounded funny to me to at first, but I think what he means is that Doc has, in the past, played a bigger role in running a program than what he gets to do at KU as Director of Operations, and that Doc wants to return to that kind of role, i.e. head coach somewhere. I sort of always assumed that Doc's job at KU was just a cushion until he got another head coaching gig.

Ron Franklin 5 years, 1 month ago

That is how I read it too, but I don't think Bill would say that. So, what I believe he is saying is Doc isn't interested in assisting or doing basketball operations...he's looking for a head coaching job elsewhere, and Self knows he'll get one.

BainDread 5 years, 1 month ago

I think you are reading too much into it Chris. I think Self will be looking for a younger coach who will be more likely to be around at least five years and grow with the program. Doc likely wants to be a head coach again somewhere, even if it is at a lower-profile program. Plus, I'm not sure Doc has the recruiting contacts Self is looking for. I doubt Self was disappointed with what Doc contributed to the program last year.

Jarod DeLozier 5 years, 1 month ago

Sounds interesting to me too though. Maybe Wiggins' dad will be considered for Doc's position after-all, but not because Doc is getting promoted.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

Doc wants to coach somewhere and he can't do that as director of basketball operations.

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

" I think the biggest thing he's got to do is get comfortable with our system and really get his confidence back to where it was out of high school, because he was a very, very, very good player out of high school."

Translation - he was a great high school player, but two years at Arkansas is enough to jack up anybody.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 1 month ago

LOL....exactly as I read that. Love it!!

Joseph Bullock 5 years, 1 month ago

I think the problem was that he could not press full court all the time, like Anderson wants everyone to do. sometimes, you simply have to adjust to the talent you have, and not try to fit a square peg inside of a round hole!

Alex Wishart 5 years, 1 month ago

I think it sounds like Doc was an asset while at the end of the bench but that he would rather be a head coach of his own program rather than taking he assistant coaching job at KU. I don't think HCBS was calling him out.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 1 month ago

Watching Self operate (i.e. coaching, recruiting, etc) is like watching "The Wizzard of Oz." The guy works hard, uses everything including smoke and mirrors, to produce magic...year after year. LOVE the guy.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

"Hunter reminds me of Cole." ??

In that it took Cole a year to get up to speed on BB at KU? Hunter is even less Cole from a positional perspective than he is a "poor man's Withey". Did Cole ever do anything outside of 10'? That's not intended as a knock on Cole in anyway. He was our anchor in the middle, and was fabulous doing it. Hunter seems even less similar to Cole than he does to Withey, though they both have the "frequency" you mention.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

Norm Roberts also has many ties around NYC and the east coast from his St. John's days along with some Florida ties from being on Billy Donovan's staff. Kurtis Townsend has west coast ties from his days as an assistant at Cal and USC. What Self needs is someone with Texas ties so I would be good if Self hired either one of the names Jason King threw out there.

Joe Baker 5 years, 1 month ago

"Absolutely, but I think the current roster could add a piece or two to make it great. ... If we were able to steal one or two more, I think our recruiting class would be as good as we've ever had here."


Jack Wilson 5 years, 1 month ago

Self said at the Shiver that Mickelson's redshirt year will give him the opportunity to develop where he can "be a serious impact player for us the following year."

That one is not cryptic.

WETSUhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

I would like to see HCBS bring in an assistant from overseas to open up future recruiting there. International players are rapidly catching up to the US in talent. Two years in a row their best beat our best high school. Being the first in a market is a competitive advantage. If KU picks up International marketing for Jayhawk items will help the university, Lawrence, and Kansas. College sports are a business.

Isn't life great, KU basketball conversation 365 days a year, no dormant period like schools who need football.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 1 month ago

Landing an assistant in NY, Chicago, Dallas, or LA seems the most logical step to take. I would agree about international players, but they're literally all over the world, so it might be better to have a major US city covered.

The funny thing in all of this is the way that college basketball has changed in the past 35 years, since I graduated from college. The business end of what we now call "programs" instead of "teams" is revealed in every program picture--this year there is a 1:1 ratio of employees to players in the program. That seems funny when you teach 150 kids a day by yourself.

WETSUhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Agree with you about the cities, but what city. I played pick-up ball in almost every major city in the U.S. and talent is everywhere. I'm in my fifties now and retired, however I went back to school and graduated in December. I worked at being seen as a peer with fellow students, so I can try to see things from their perspective. Everything is going world now, and with most of Europe thinking more collectively than as separate countries as well as Africa or South America seen as a collective group, a coach from Italy would help recruiting from Greece, Spain, France, Germany, and the Slavic nations possibly. Just like a coach from California helps recruiting from all west coast or a New York helps with Jersey and Philly.

Friendly discussion, not arguing.

WETSUhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the 1:1 ratio number, I didn't know that. Where can I find more of this info, I'm overwhelmed by that knowledge.

Lash 5 years, 1 month ago

Roy had Nick Proud which was lost to injuries and Pekka to homesickness.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

The international team also included Wiggins, who we are already recruiting as well as Embiid. What other players on the international team are coming to the NCAA next year that the existing staff didn't recruit?

WETSUhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Shot blocking is a terrible stat. Too much emphasis on bigs are contributed to blocks. KU was spoiled with blocks from Jeff, because he was probably the best college shot blocker of all time. A very large number of Jeff's blocks should of been counted as steals. When he blocked a shot he would direct the ball to a team mate.

I watched a lot of non-KU games this year, and on average five to six blocks resulted in the the other team still scoring. And half of those were three point shots. So to count a block of a two point shot that results in the opposing team scoring three points, is not a logical stat for efficiency.

I agree that a high percentage shot blocker changes more shots than he blocks therefore contributing to better defensive effectiveness, but altered shots are not counted.

A block should not be considered a stat, if the team finishes the possession with a score, and a negative stat if they score three rather than a two if the block was on a two point attempt. Only when no points are scored should they be rewarded with a blocked shot, or better yet if the blocker or teammate acquires the ball, it is a steal.

Just my way of thinking, luckily we had Jeff.

Alex Peekeaton 5 years, 1 month ago

"Probably the best shot blocker of all time"??? I can name two players in the last two years who were better - Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel. Noel was the best shot blocker I've ever seen until the unfortunate injury that ended his season.

jhox 5 years, 1 month ago

KU fans should get out and watch the Jayhawk invitational this weekend. Show these potential recruits how KU fans support basketball.

GabrielMichael 5 years, 1 month ago

Another great move by HCBS! A talented big man that he has more than a year to train, shape and mold... Hunter will be breathing fire when he gets out there after sitting a watching a whole season!

Welcome Hunter! We've got good hunting and fishing too!

Alex Wishart 5 years, 1 month ago

Ben Howland? He most certainly does not have the west coast after the last couple years he put in at UCLA. That guys reputation is shot in LA.

Joseph Bullock 5 years, 1 month ago

those who think Wiggins dad can't end up at K.U. are mistaken. I think it is going to happen, in some capacity. probably as Director of Basketball Operations! Thus, no more Doc Sadler!

Max Ledom 5 years, 1 month ago


Joseph Bullock 5 years, 1 month ago

Furthermore, on Wiggins ending up at K.U., what better way for his parents to see both boys on a regular basis, without having to make trips to two different parts of the Country. and the boys can visit each other a lot more often, in Andrew is in Lawrence.

notjustbread 5 years ago

I believe NCAA considers it a violation now to hire a relative (dad) in DBO position. I think you have to hire a relative as a full on assistant coach.

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