Originally published June 16, 2014 at 06:38p.m., updated June 17, 2014 at 07:51a.m.

Self: Jayhawks thrilled to represent U.S. at 2015 World University Games

USA 2015 Gwangju logo

USA 2015 Gwangju logo


Kansas University’s men’s basketball team is going global.

Representing the United States, the Jayhawks — as a unit — will compete in the 2015 World University Games on July 3-14 in Gwangju, Korea, the school confirmed Monday.

KU coach Bill Self, athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Craig Jonas, head of the U.S. delegation, will discuss the Jayhawks’ participation in the World University Games at a news conference this afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse. It is closed to the public.

This will mark just the second time a United States college team has been chosen to represent the U.S. at the international event. Northern Iowa represented the United States in the 2007 World University Games and placed ninth.

“It is obviously a thrill. I know our guys were really excited when I told them today,” Self told the Journal-World on Monday night. “It is a unique opportunity where a school will represent our country in the World Games as opposed to a select team.

“I can’t see anything but positives. We as an amateur basketball team could not get better competition. We will be allowed to practice. It will not count against our one in four (years) foreign trips in the summer.

“Our players are really excited about getting the opportunity to represent our country in games basically against professionals across the world.”

KU will be allowed to field a 12-man roster.

If KU loses underclassmen to the pros after the 2014-15 season and needs to fill out the roster, it can apparently add ex-Jayhawks who are between the ages of 17 and 24.

“This is a Kansas deal, not a mixed deal at all (with players or coaches from other teams),” said Self, who will be assisted by his current coaches and hold training camp in Lawrence before the team departs for Korea.

“We can have 24 people stay in the Olympic-type village (in Korea), and that is what we’ll do, take 24 — trainer, doctors, managers.”

Self said rules indicated KU freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of the Ukraine must compete for his own country and would not be able to play for KU. Any KU players that turn pro after next season also won’t be competing for KU.

“It’s a great opportunity for us. It happens at a perfect time of year,” Self said. “We can practice in June, play in July, and it still gives our guys plenty of time off before August. What a thrill.”

Also, all games will be televised, reportedly on ESPNU.

“We’ve sent select teams that have done well, select teams that have not finished high at all,” Self said. “The last team we sent finished ninth. The competition will be unbelievably fierce. We don’t know what players we’ll have available to us if anybody turns pro. ... The incoming players can compete, absolutely,” he added of prospects who sign with KU in the Class of 2015.

Going the college-team route might help as the U.S., which once was dominant in the event, slumped to a ninth-place finish in the summer of 2013 in Russia after placing fifth in 2011 in China and third in 2009 in Serbia.

The U.S. last won gold in 2005 in Turkey.

KU associate AD Jim Marchiony explained: “USA (Basketball) sent feelers out to several high-profile teams, and they picked us out of the ones that responded. It’s a huge honor anytime you can represent your country like this.”

The Jayhawks have had several individual players compete in the World University Games.

Gold medalists include Jerod Haase (1995), Adonis Jordan (1991) and Mark Randall (1989). Silver medal winners: Greg Dreiling (1985), Ron Kellogg (1985) and Dave Robisch (1970).

Richard Scott won bronze in 1993. Jo Jo White was on the fourth-place team in 1967. Roy Williams won gold as assistant coach in 1991.

The U.S., which was coached by Bob McKillop of Davidson (his assistants were Michigan’s John Beilein and South Carolina’s Frank Martin), went 6-2 and placed ninth at the 2013 Games.

Some of the top players: Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Baylor’s Cory Jefferson, Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie, Indiana’s Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, Iowa’s Aaron White, Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and Louisville’s Luke Hancock.

In 21 World University Games, the U.S. has captured 13 gold medals, three silvers and three bronze.

The U.S. won six of the first seven gold medals, including six straight from 1989 through 1999. In 2001, the USA lost to China, which featured half of its Olympics team, including Yao Ming, and earned third. Those Games were played in China.

The multi-sport Games, which are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every other year, have included U.S. representation since 1965.

Normally, invitations to attend training camp for essentially a college all-star team are issued to players by the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee. The roster is normally 12 players.

In 2013, USA training camp was seven days. The team held five practices at the site of the tourney in Russia before opening play. The U.S. had five preliminary round games, three in the medal rounds.

Obviously this will benefit KU in terms of additional practice time and eight games. It also could help recruiting with prospects enticed by the prospects of playing in such an elite event for the USA.

The Jayhawks will play under FIBA rules. The games will consist of four 10-minute quarters. The three-point line is 22-13⁄4 instead of the NCAA’s 20-9. The shot clock is 24 seconds instead of 35. Backcourt violations are eight seconds instead of 10. Players can touch the ball on or above the cylinder.

Self attends Finals: Self attended the San Antonio Spurs’ Game Five victory over Miami on Sunday night. He sat next to buddy R.C. Buford, who is general manager of the Spurs.

“It was terrific,” Self said of the game and experience. “It (franchise’s fifth title) was a great moment for R.C. and a lot of people in that organization.”


John Fitzgerald 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how many people read this and thought, "basketball is back in July!!" And then realized it says 2015 .... Because that was me. Only heartbreak explains this misunderstanding ...

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

What a huge get this is for Kansas Basketball. I bet there will be barrels of whine coming out of Lexington! Assuming we lose two or even three (Selden, Alexander, Perry or Oubre) players to the draft, the Hawks should still be taking a strong team to the games and could be the coming out party for Mykhailiuk. Hopefully the holes from early departure will be filled by some top flight recruits.

Congratulations to Coach Self who will be welcoming in the Rules of Basketball display with tremendous international exposure.

Luca Rossi 7 years, 3 months ago

It says Svee cannot play with the team and must play for Ukraine if he was to participate.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

The article was updated after I made the above post. It's not clear if he can play for Kansas if he becomes a duel citizen or holding a green card.

Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

Kansas may be going with a power-depleted team. Oubre, Alexander, and Selden may all decide to go pro. If they hire agents they would be ineligible to compete.

Eric Dawson 7 years, 3 months ago

Not sure if going pro would make them ineligible for an event sponsored by USA Basketball? I can see the teams that draft them possibly having reservations about them competing, but unless this is an NCAA sanctioned event (and it may be, I don't know), I'm not sure it will matter to the NCAA. Also have to consider the NCAA might like what would amount to its and the US' representative being at full strength and ready to rumble during what normally serves as the off season.

Dick Murdock 7 years, 3 months ago

The article states that any player going pro after next season won't be eligible.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

not specific if that's a Bill Self rule or a Team USA rule, but they likely wouldn't be able to participate anyway with the NBA draft in June as well as NBA Summer Leagues in July.

If it is a Bill Self rule, I applaud it. Use the event to build your team for next season, and to entice players on the fence to return to represent their country and their school. Interesting concept as a recruiting tool for high profile recruits this year, too. Only question is, how many scholarships do we have available? Anywhere from zero to 4?

Ron Prichard 7 years, 3 months ago

Actually the comment was made during the interview that NBA players could play as long as they were taking classes at KU. So it is possible McLemore, the Morrii, TRobb, etc. could play. You do have to be American born, so Svee, Wiggins or Embiid would not be eligible to play for KU/USA.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

This seems amazingly appropriate. Maybe someone can post the facts but it seems to me that back in the day the majority of the Olympic teams in the 30's and 40's were made up of KU players. Gives me goose bumps!

Ian Emerson 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry but you can't fret about the team we put out because this is damn near historic! Great for our program! Suzi is right no matter who we put it that team will compete!

Eric Bernauer 7 years, 3 months ago

This is not just an honor for the 2015 team. This is an honor for the basketball program, past,present, and future.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 3 months ago

Talk about amazing recognition for men's basketball. This will be exciting. Rock Chalk!

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, this is amazing. I did think it was this summer initially though.

It's a longshot but maybe, just maybe, this would actually entice one of the guys who is on the fence about going pro to hang around for one more year.

Rich Hetherington 7 years, 3 months ago

Or even a recruit for the 2015-16 season, knowing he'll be able to go and play in this. What an opportunity!

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm... 15 million dollars or a trip to Korea... just. can't. decide... ;)

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 3 months ago

15 million dollars now or a trip to Korea to represent USA, enjoy another year in Lawrence, and 15 million dollars next year ;)

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

anybody who is going to command a $15 million contract shouldn't be "on the fence" about returning to KU.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 3 months ago

Possibly, though it seemed Embiid was on the fence.

Chad Lee 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how the negative Nancys will spin this one. ESPN better hold up on there end. Rock Chalk in July! WOW

Scott Yessen 7 years, 3 months ago

Very very cool. The KU brand just keeps getting stronger and more well known. Im extremely proud to be a fan.

Ken Sedgwick 7 years, 3 months ago

Cool news! I unfortunately don't see KU being medal contenders, especially without an experienced big man and Svee.

Josh Galler 7 years, 3 months ago

so lets say that Urbre goes pro and svi can not play b/c not a us citizen , from what I see in the article that ex Jayhawks 17 to 24 can join the team that means we can add wigs and Bmac? or does it mean we have to add players who does not play pros

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 3 months ago

I would assume players that aren't pro because players that announce for the draft can't play. But that's a good question. Who would we add if we couldn't add pro players and still needed a few people to fill the roster? Also, aren't most of the over seas players in this tournament on local pro teams? Would that mean we could add KU players playing overseas? Should be interesting how the roster pans out, but I could see some top recruits coming here because of that opportunity.

Yancy Richards 7 years, 3 months ago

in response to Brian Wilson - prior to the 80s our Olympic basketball teams were whoever was the most recent NCAA champion. that is why there are only 6 players who have ever won an NCAA title, NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in their careers. the most recents being MJ and Magic. Carmelo is close, though.

Mick Allen 7 years, 3 months ago

You are correct Sir. The year was 1952 and Phog was the assistant coach of a team comprised of 6 Jayhawks and 6 members of an AAU team, the Peoria Caterpillars.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

This is especially cool for KU's international branding. First we have Kaun, a native Russian, and Langford who are forces in major European basketball. Then we add Embiid and Wiggins, who will both represent their countries while playing likely long all-star type careers in the NBA. Throw in Mykhailiuk, the coveted Ukrainian phenomenon who has been dominating European junior national teams for multiple years now. And then just send the entire program to Korea to play against the world's best young talent televised by the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports". Kansas is getting a lot more appealing to talented basketball players all around the world.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Well since Svee can see Russia from his house now, and did not know Self coached Kaun not sure about the whole international branding thing. It is a nice honor.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

yeah you're right, this does nothing to further the KU brand.

All it may do is it hopefully help us to not flame out against a double digit seed in the tourney the following year.

Sarcasm intended.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Understand, you just know nothing about marketing a brand internationally.

Fact intended

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps you know what I do, perhaps you don't.

I am not a marketing professional. But I know that you don't market a product by doing nothing. Now certainly KU isn't going to Korea with the sole intent of marketing the KU brand. It's obvious that this is about USA basketball, and the team will wear Team USA gear and USA will be on their jersey's.

But international marketing for KU Basketball will happen as a side benefit every time the TV talking heads say that Team USA Coach Bill Self is the head coach at Kansas and that the team representing Team USA are students from the University of Kansas.

By the way. You should try a more tactful delivery. People might like you better. I am not a marketing professional, and perhaps you know that because I have advertised that I am "just an engineer". However you don't know what my role has been in the jobs that I've had with my employer. I'm not a marketer, but I've met with international customers to give facility tours, and I know that every interaction that I have with a customer has some marketing power. I've worked in conjuction with our business and marketing groups to develop products that our customers want and I could without stretching my imagination see myself in a technical sales role as many of my peers have done.

I have never assumed to know what you do or what you know. You seem fairly savvy on historical events, current events, architecture, and things of the like. Perhaps you should train your skills on interpersonal relationships as well.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Am not concerned about fitting in here so that everybody likes me better, I think that is obvious. Marketing, one of my majors, is the process of communicating the value of something. We are showing up as Team USA at this event, as our country . I doubt that we will be allowed to represent ourselves as KU there, or to showcase our brand (value as a college or a sports team). Passively sure by association but that is a very weak and difficult to measure tactic. Your interaction with customers on facility tours are the ultimate marketing experience. It is direct interaction with a customer, while you are showing your value and you get to judge your customers reactions to your solutions first hand. My guess is that when we step off that plane in Korea the only brand that anyone will see will be Team USA. Which is what they should see. My guess is that they will reference us as a top USA college team. Any reference to a Jayhawk would probably just confuse them. This is why I said I "doubt" it will have much impact on our brand. It is not KU visiting there it is Team USA. It is a very nice honor, and I am proud of our team and coach. As a marketing exec, I would not be counting on much being added directly here, except some nice items to the display case at AFH.

Gerry Butler 7 years, 3 months ago

Guys, what a time to be a KANSAS UNIVERSITY fan, as the article says this is a landmark event . never before NEVER. do not see any way like coach self says where there is any way any negatives can come from this. what an honor this has to be for these players, an honor for the university. gives us the opportunity to practice, extra practice a unit, a chance to go against some of the best players abroad. I would think it would help us in the recruiting to what extent not sure but sure can't hurt like the article says a player who may be wavering this might be what it would take the exposure, the opportunity. yes I agree 100% we will lose players to the draft this upcoming season who knows, who all will declare. alexander has said he is not necessarily a 1 and done. but IF he does leave, and obure, maybe Sheldon whoever, I still believe we will be ok. those spots will be filled by other really good players, the future recruits. its to bad the foreign player, NOT EVEN going to try and type his name but a shame he will not be able to play for us, article saying he will have to play for his country. chances are we will get our BUTTS BEAT in some of the games, but I know they will work their ass off trying to compete. I like others about jumped out of my chair when I read this thinking it was THIS year, gonna really drag until that time lol bottom line again the postives definitely out weigh the negatives. just a HUGE moment for the university, and for OUR BOYS. myself like some others they say we could fill the roster spots with ex jayhawks. can we use ex jayhawks from NBA roster? T ROB. THE MORRIS TWINS, MARIO? probably not no matter its gonna be fun

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 3 months ago

I'd work on getting Selden right before I worked on Mykhailiuk if I were you.

Justin Lindsley 7 years, 3 months ago

Does this get Coach Self's foot in the door to coach Olympic teams when Coach K retires?

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Not really, he is taking his team over there, not a team of all stars. The Olympics would be mostly pro players, a whole different mind set to coach too. Also the current assistants who have been with Coach K through the previous Olympic have more experience. Keep in mind Coach K has been involved with the National team for a long time, some of the assistants too. He also has the respect of the pro players and that is not easy to earn. This is a nice honor no doubt about it, but Olympics that's a stretch.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

It gives him a relationship with Team USA Basketball.

He'd be more likely to join the US Men's National Team as an assistant coach initally than a head coach, and it's his relationship with the organization of Team USA Basketball that will help him get that opportunity more so than his relationship with Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

So no marketing background and you do not understand how Team USA bb works. Got it. N. Iowa went in 07 this is nice but it is not a foot in the door, geeze.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

Duke has been to 1 Final Four since Coach K started coaching the Olympic Team and Duke has generally not been as good as they were before Coach K took over. It's a significant time invest that appears to have made Duke a less competitive team overall so I would rather not see Self coach the Olympic team and KU at the same time.

Steve Corder 7 years, 3 months ago

The Spurs, huh? Get ready Jayhawk fans.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

Just info -- Northern Iowa represented the USA at the 2007 world university games:

Personally, I think that the best part about it will be the extra practice and game experience.

But even more, Self experiencing a faster pasted game, 24 second clock, 8 second half court violation, etc. Maybe he'll enjoy the faster pace and incorporate some of the offensive necessities from such a game into our normal schemes. You don't have a lot of time to rotate the ball and look for post entry passes.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Agree its the additional practice time and the faster paced game that is appealing here. Nice honor and all but will be interesting what kind of team we will actually have at that time.

Scott MacWilliams 7 years, 3 months ago

This is FANTASTIC!! What a great honor!!
The Jayhawks will be on the world stage next summer, and LOTS of young players will be watching, along with all of Jayhawk Nation. I am more than a bit worried as to how the staff will be able to prepare for a 24-second clock, 3-point line of 22'1 3⁄4" instead of 20'9" , etc., along with bringing in a few new faces with only two or three (??) weeks of practice. I don't see how they can be competitive given that whole new can of worms to sort out. Still, this is great news for letting the wider world see what KU hoops is all about. Rock Chalk, International Hawks!!

Wait, what is the time difference?? Are these going to be 3 am local time?? Order the coffee NOW!!

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 3 months ago

I am right with you! Order that coffee bc I will be watching either way! Lol

Tony Bandle 7 years, 3 months ago


1] I am most curious how Kansas was actually selected over UK, Duke, North Carolina, etc. I good friend of mine who works in the NCAA offices in Indy told me that Bill Self is truly the NCAA's "Golden Boy" and rightly so I may add, because he represents what they expect a coach to be.

2] I guess any pro whether NBA or foreign is ineligible to play. I wonder how Danny's knees are? :)

3] With the inevitable loss of Wayne, Kelly, Cliff and Svee for this 2015 international event, even if we get three or four 5- stars to replace them, the inexperience factor will probably be too hard of an obstacle to overcome...but, so what...what a great opportunity.

4] Damn it, why couldn't Bill have had a crappy time in San Antonio...well, we've still got Tyler for three years so we've still got Bill for at least three more years!!

5] The USA's last gold metal was almost a decade ago..seems hard to believe but basketball is starting to approach soccer as the #1 world wide doesn't count!!!

Ron Prichard 7 years, 3 months ago

I wondered about #1, too. I also wonder which schools actually wanted to play. I am guessing most would jump at the opportunity if only for the extra practice time, but I think it is interesting they didn't mention any names. How did Northern Iowa get selected in 2007? Kind of a strange pick.

Rich Hetherington 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah really, you saw the players that participated in 2013... you could almost call that an elite group of college players and they went 6-2, finishing 9th. I guess we'll see how Frankamp, Greene, Lucas, Mason, Mickelson and co. do, but with them and some new recruits, it's going to be a very tough trip. I love the exposure though, and that the games will be televised, and who knows, maybe they'll surprise us and bring home a medal.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

I did not see anything about those other programs throwing their name in the hat for consideration. So... who knows who we beat out. Also about Self going pro in San Antonio, you never want to be the guy who replaces a legend, you want to be the 2nd guy. Also quickest way to lose a friend work for him, see Jimmie Johnson. Are you watching the World Cup??? Basketball, really no other sport has that kind of appeal WW. Is basketball up there with any other sport other than soccer? You bet, it is easy to play, and a lot of people do world wide. Soccer (Football) and especially the World Cup have no peer world wide. When is the last time have you see 1-2 billion watch a basketball game? Sex is not a sport unless you are doing it wrong. Even if it was I am pretty sure you do not win if you finish first or the fastest.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

I think that Bill Self Senior would have some words of wisdom for his son if Bill were afraid to go to San Antonio and replace a legend.

When people were telling Bill not to come to KU because everybody loved Roy Williams and Roy had won so many games, his father told him to not choose not to go to Kansas because you're afraid you can't live up to what the guy before you did.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Thought you were a KU fan Johnny, sorry my mistake. Huge difference, first Roy did not win any National Championships here, he would be following someone with 5 NBA rings. Secondly Roy was extremely well liked but people were ticked off at him when he left for NC, for years afterwards. He was not following a legend. A fan of KU might have read Self's book too where he alluded to having to take one of the elite jobs when offered and that the decision was easy to come to KU. He actually felt bad for his guys at IL more, than anything else. Strike 3 so far, I think your out???

Steve Kubler 7 years, 3 months ago

Theory time, lets assume they come up 2 players short and need to add in former players not in the pros and that are 24 and under the summer of 2015. Reed is too old, darn it, so is Teahan, who else is available and who would get your pick?

For the life of me I can't think of a player that would be under 24 that isn't playing pro ball somewhere or currently is on the team or signed. That is other than perhaps Josh Selby who if memory serves will be 24 next summer and I am unsure if he's playing currently

Dustin Engelken 7 years, 3 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young, perhaps Tarik Black?

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 3 months ago

Depends on if the rule is not currently a pro or never went pro in any country. If it's the latter, it is a lot harder to find players since most KU guys at least play pro overseas for a few years if they don't get drafted.

Ron Prichard 7 years, 3 months ago

If the press conference is accurate, NBA players can play as long as they are attending class at KU. So, if McLemore needs a few more hours....

If I heard everything correctly, they have to be American born, attending class, and under 25 years old. So, TRob, Morrii, McLemore, Chalmers (?), etc., would be options along with TT and others. Wiggins, Embiid and Svee would be out.

Sarah Carr 7 years, 3 months ago

What an honor for our program! And a great recruiting tool! RCJH!!!

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 3 months ago

ESPN article (via the AP) about it is up, no spin on it yet (I'm sure there are more articles to follow). There are already comments about it being unfair from a practice time standpoint and people saying they won't cheer for the Jayhawks because they have some other team affiliation:

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

The explanation given means all the guys that could turn pro next year (Ellis, Selden, Alexander, Oubre and even Green) will be eligible. Additionally, guys like TRob and BMac could add to the team. The Morri will be over the age limit.

Assuming we lose 4 players to the draft and sign 5 (we are one short now) that means we will have the 10 current players (11-minus Mykailiuk).+ 5 new signees + 2 current pros (BMac and TRob). You have got to believe the team will need the experience pros. That makes 17 to make the 12 man roster. That probably means only 10 of the 15 current team/recruits will make the team.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder about the wording in NBA contracts in reference to a tournament like this vs the World Championships or the Olympics. This is not at the same level as those two, I would think they would limit the ability to play in it? Don't know?

As far anyone thinking this is unfair etc..., who cares. Sounds like the NCAA is on board, Team USA, and that anyone could have shown interest in playing in it. I don't see any issues here. Should be fun, a great experience, I hope we do well.

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