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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bill Self wants to watch NBA, not coach it

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins smiles with head coach Bill Self as the two wait for an interview with ESPN following the Jayhawks 92-81 win over on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins smiles with head coach Bill Self as the two wait for an interview with ESPN following the Jayhawks 92-81 win over on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Eleventh-year Kansas University coach Bill Self, who emphatically denied interest in filling any of the NBA’s coaching openings at Friday’s DeBruce Center dedication outside Allen Fieldhouse, did acknowledge being a follower of the pro game Friday on 610 radio.

“I am an NBA fan, no question. Of course, the playoffs take a whole different turn,” said Self, who enjoyed watching bits and pieces of five first-round series that went seven games — Oklahoma City over Memphis; Los Angeles Clippers over Golden State; Brooklyn over Toronto; Indiana over Atlanta; and San Antonio over Dallas.

“If you study it, there are no easy baskets in the fourth quarter,” Self added. “Guys may score and get rhythm in the first three (quarters). In the fourth quarter, it’s ridiculous how tough it is to score.

“It’s been fun for me,” Self added. “It’s unbelievable the best teams in the NBA are separated by such a razor-thin line from the teams that are not supposed to necessarily be the best teams.”

Of playoff strategy, Self noted: “I think it’s a lot about matchups. Everybody has a pro who can be the best player in the world that night. A best-of-seven usually eliminates that (upsets), and the best team usually wins. It’s the team that gets hot over a week-and-a-half.”

The OKC Thunder rallied to win the final two games of their series, coincidentally after the headline “Mr. Unreliable” appeared in the Daily Oklahoman. The tag was for superstar Kevin Durant, who was sensational in Games Six and Seven. The paper apologized for the headline being “overstated and unduly harsh.”

“I know Kevin a little bit. I would say it was very, very dumb,” Self told 610 radio. “Whoever wrote that, that was not bright from a perspective on the Oklahoman and the respect it will gather nationally. If I was the Grizzly brass, I would say, ‘Oh, gosh,’ as soon as that came out. That dude (Durant) is motivated already. I think he had a little more motivation after that. The team may have rallied around it. I don’t think it was a negative thing for the Thunder.”

As far as fans worrying about him taking an NBA job this offseason, Self said Friday: “There’s nothing about me and the NBA. Zero.”

Asked about leaving anytime soon, he told 610 radio: “No, I don’t think so. We’ve got so many good things going on right here. You add the DeBruce Center (for Naismith rules and training table) and add the living quarters (new apartment complex to be built) to go along with the way we’ll be fed, from a recruiting standpoint we’ve done pretty well. I think we can even take a step up.”

Jacque to stay: The Orlando Magic recently exercised a team option for coach Jacque Vaughn, meaning he’s under contract through the 2015-16 season. The former KU point guard is 43-121 in his first two years in Orlando while coaching a rebuilding team. Orlando went 23-59 this past season. The squad has two lottery picks in the June draft.

“Jacque has been unfailingly polite and outlandishly upbeat through all this misery,” writes the Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz. “I hope he has a clause in his contract that states that the Magic can’t start keeping track of his wins and losses until his fourth season.”

Vaughn recently told the Sentinel: “We do know this team is better than it was two years ago. The goal that we’ll establish is this time next year we’ll be better than the year before.”

Brown on radar: KU is recruiting Jaylen Brown, a 6-foot-7 junior small forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, Rivals.com reports.

Brown, who is ranked No. 11 in the recruiting Class of 2015, recently had in-home visits with KU, Florida, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Kentucky and Georgia.

“A big-time athlete who plays above the rim and with power, Brown is a beast on the glass and in transition,” writes Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi.

Zimmerman list: Stephen Zimmerman, a 7-foot, 215-pound junior center from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas who is ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2015, recently narrowed his list to eight: KU, UNLV, North Carolina, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, UCLA and Arizona.

Dad can dunk: Clifton Terry, the 40-year-old dad of KU signee Cliff Alexander was taped dunking the basketball at last weekend’s Ball Is Life all-star game in Long Beach, California. For a video of the dunks, go to http://ljw.bz/1hqFNcU

Comments

Robert Brock 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I watched Jaylen Brown play several games at the adidas Gauntlet tournament in Dallas a couple of weeks ago and I was stunned by how efficient and effective he played. Before he injured his non-shooting thumb, he showed outstanding, ambidextrous handles, an accurate outside jump shot, plenty of counter-moves (he has answers for everything) and when he took the ball in close he finished - usually with the kind of power that Cliff Alexander shows us. Whammo!

Prediction: he ends up being a top five player in the class.

Tony Bandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I am modifying my thoughts on Bill's tenure at KU. With his love of the Kansas tradition, Allen, The Rules, the Phog and Doc cemetry plots, the Booth Center, the Debruce Center, the new housing, KU Nation, etc.....I am now setting the "over" for Bill's KU career at 20 years. Heck, Tyler makes it a guaranteed three right off the bat.

Also, I have a great idea for a new statue for the far future..have life size statues of Bill Self shaking hands with Phog Allen with Doc Naismith standing in the middle with a hand on each shoulder of these legendary coaches!!

Walter Bridges 6 months, 3 weeks ago

There are coaches i.e. Coach K, who are quite happy building and sustaining a top NCAA program that will continue to thrive long after their coaching days are over. I truly believe that Coach Self is one of those rare commodities who is content and secure with their legacy and don't feel the need to prove anything to anybody on any other coaching level.

There is no better representative of Kansas basketball than Coach Self. Yes there has been lows and highs, name a program that hasn't had to deal with teams that don't live up to their ability and also with teams who surpass all expectations.

Coach Self is Kansas basketball. There is no coach that I would want to replace him with although in the heat of the moment, I might stupidly say something different. But when thinking rationally, who would you rather see coach Kansas.

We've been extremely lucky to have gone through Coach Brown, Coach Williams and now Coach Self. These guys are certain Hall of Famers who have each made their mark but it's Coach Self who is going to be the first Kansas coach to win multiple NCAA championships.

Suzi Marshall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

LB's contribution to Kansas basketball can not be overstated. I consider the turnaround he did with the program in the wake of the last couple of years of the Owen era the best work of his great career. Landing Williams was another helping hand from the UNC ties.

When Williams left, I thought the program was in serious problems because there are natural cycles. Self's record speaks for itself. Taking the program to new all time highs from already peak levels is spectacular.

Jacob Pool 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Let him win about 2-4 more championships and he just might have a statue out front of a new arena

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Two more sounds right. A hat trick on national championships should get you bronzed or stoned :)

Greg Ledom 6 months, 3 weeks ago

And I'll never say never, but there won't be a new arena anytime in the foreseeable next 20 plus years. Short of capacity, there simply isn't a need. The old barn has never looked better.

Steve Hillyer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I actually think there could be a need, if you want to maximize your revenue suites and club seating is a must and currently that doesn't exist in AFH. I remember when they were thinking about doing the Gridiron Club at Memorial Stadium, I thought there is no way they can get those prices from people to watch football, if you want people to pay $100000 for a thirty year lease of a suite it has to be for basketball at KU., not football.

John Williams 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Could we all please stop seeing articles where Coach Self is not having to answer the NBA question. How many ways does he have to say it. I do have to admit that this is the first article I can remember reading that he is commenting on what he likes and watches strategy wise. That being said, BS is a college coach at heart and still has plenty of challenge ahead in winning a 2nd NC. Let's not even broach the NBA topic again until he wins a 2nd NC.

Len Shaffer 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Hear, hear!!! It's ridiculous how often he gets asked about the NBA; I commented on it last year, yet here we go again. I guess as long as he's successful (i.e., as long as he's at KU), we're going to have to deal with this stupidity.

Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

In the past Coach Self has always kinda left the door open a just a little for questions about coaching the NBA. He's said things like, "I'll never say never," and "who wouldn't want to coach the best players in the world and coach against the best coaches in the world."

So these comments are a slight departure from what he's said in the past. Perhaps he's starting to share a little more of how he really feels about it because as he's moved into the latter half of his coaching career and he's less worried about leverage and less worried about negotiations. Or perhaps he's just speaking for the here and now when he says that there's nothing about him and the NBA. Later, when asked if he could see himself leaving KU any time soon he said, "No, I don't think so." Which depending on the person could either mean "No" or "maybe" or "I am not going to tell you right now." Coach Self is the kind who says "I don't think so" and he means "No". If he were exploring other options I could imagine that he'd answer that question a little differently. Like, "I love it here. Now, I don't know if I'll coach here forever or not, but I don't know if there's a better job on any level than coaching at Kansas."

Joseph Leon 6 months, 2 weeks ago

That's a good analysis. Coach Self's candor really does seem sincere, and he wouldn't be coy about his current thinking. He sounds a little more resigned to having a building named after him at KU.

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