Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Tom Keegan: Bill Self by the numbers

KU coach celebrates 54th birthday today

Kansas head coach Bill Self slaps hands with fans after the Jayhawks' 89-71 win over Davidson, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at Sprint Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self slaps hands with fans after the Jayhawks' 89-71 win over Davidson, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at Sprint Center.


On the 27th day of December, 1962, Billy Eugene Self was born in Okmulgee, Okla., which means he celebrates his 54th birthday today.

Here’s a 1-through-54 look at how each number has a connection to Self, via this year’s teams and others he has coached:

1 — National title, achieved in 2008, the only Final Four featuring all No. 1 seeds.

2 — Final Four appearances (2008, 2012).

3 — Game-winning shots hit for Edmond High in the three-game Bishop McGuinness tournament his senior year.

4 — Available scholarship post players on roster: Carlton Bragg Jr., Dwight Coleby, Mitch Lightfoot, Landen Lucas.

5 — Available scholarship perimeter players on roster: Devonté Graham, Josh Jackson, Frank Mason III, Svi Mykhailiuk, Lagerald Vick.

6 — Times in the past 10 years that Kansas has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

7 —Active coaches rank ahead of Self on the all-time Div. I (or equivalent) victory list (victories, age): Mike Krzyzewski (1,055, 69), Jim Boeheim (990, 72), Roy Williams (794, 66), Rick Pitino (754, 64), Bob Huggins (730, 63), John Calipari (672, 57), Rick Barnes (626, 62).

8 — Elite Eight appearances, including one apiece at Tulsa and Illinois.

9 — Losses in Allen Fieldhouse in 13-plus seasons. In chronological order: Richmond, Iowa State, Nevada, Kansas State, Oral Roberts, Texas A&M;, Texas, Oklahoma State and San Diego State.

10 — Most losses in one season at Kansas, 2013-14.

11 — First-round draft choices he recruited to and coached at Kansas.

12 — Associated Press All-Americans he has coached at Kansas. First-team: Wayne Simien, Thomas Robinson; Second-team: Sherron Collins, Marcus Morris, Ben McLemore, Andrew Wiggins, Perry Ellis. Third-team: Simien, Collins, Cole Aldrich, Tyshawn Taylor, Jeff Withey.

13 — Number of consecutive Big 12 titles he hopes to have won by end of this season.

14 — Seasons as Kansas basketball coach.

15 — Total of 3-pointers hit by Kansas in 2008 Big 12 title game, an 84-74 victory.

16 — Times his teams at Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas finished first outright or tied for first in 22 completed seasons at the three schools. Oral Roberts was an independent.

17 — McDonald’s All-Americans who were both recruited to and play or played for him at KU.

18 — Losing streak at Oral Roberts, 15 coming at the end of his first season, three at the beginning of his second. He left the school with a winning record (55-54).

19 —Size of Missouri’s lead with 17 minutes remaining in regulation of most recent installment of the Border War (Feb. 25, 2012), a game Kansas went on to win in overtime, 87-86.

20 — Rebounds by Cole Aldrich on the day he recorded KU’s first official triple-double against Dayton.

21 — Date this month that Self was nominated for the Hall of Fame.

22 — Points by which Texas led 12 minutes into 2007 Big 12 title game won by Kansas, 88-84 in overtime.

23 — Victories needed to pass Roy Williams and settle into second place behind Phog Allen on the all-time KU list.

24 — Age when he became full-time assistant coach on Leonard Hamilton’s staff.

25 — Worn by fan favorites Brandon Rush and Tarik Black.

26 — Made 3-pointers by Frank Mason III in 52 attempts this season; not half bad.

27 — Thomas Robinson double-doubles, a single-season school record, in 2011-12. The record books for the stat don’t stretch back to the days of Wilt Chamberlain.

28 — Career Perry Ellis 20-point games, most by any player under Self.

29 — Free throws attempted by Udoka Azubuike, an average of 8.2 per 40 minutes, highest among scholarship players.

30 — Career-high point total for Mario Chalmers in the Big 12 tournament title game victory vs. Texas.

31 — Years Self has been recruiting Div. I basketball players, starting with seven seasons as assistant at Oklahoma State.

32 —Dartmouth point total in 51-point loss in Allen Fieldhouse during 2006-07 season.

33 — Size of KU’s lead with inside of three minutes remaining in the first half in Lincoln in 2007, by which time Nebraska had scored all of six points. A 27-0 run was largely responsible for the 39-6 lead.

34 — Victories for him at Kansas in home games vs. teams ranked in Associated Press top 25 with just four losses.

35 — Jersey number for Udoka Azubuike, lost for the season (wrist surgery) after attempting 35 field goals, making 22 (.629), and gathering 35 defensive rebounds.

36 — Self’s age when he coached first NCAA tournament game, a 62-53 victory against College of Charleston.

37 — Career-best victory total, accomplished in 2007-08 in 40 games.

38 — Self’s age when he coached Illinois into the Elite Eight one year after doing the same at Tulsa.

39 — Losses in 13 Big 12 seasons.

40 — Points scored by KU in first 13:11 of 2008 national semifinal game vs. North Carolina when Jayhawks stormed to a 28-point lead.

41 — Points scored by Andrew Wiggins, highest output by a Kansas player under Self, in loss at West Virginia.

42 — NCAA tournament games Self has coached at Kansas, 30 of them victories, a .714 winning percentage.

43 — Points Dayton scored when Cole Aldrich blocked 10 shots on way to triple-double in second-round NCAA tournament game.

44 —Jersey number for freshman Mitch Lightfoot, more of a factor since Udoka Azubuike was lost for season.

45 — Worn by Cole Aldrich.

46 — Points scored by three different KU victims in 2005-06: Yale, Kentucky, Missouri.

47 — Points Jeremy Case scored for national-title team, nine coming in 12 minutes of memorable Senior Day.

48 — Udoka Azubuike rebounds in 142 minutes, which calculates to 13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes, ranking behind only Carlton Bragg Jr. (14.0 per 40).

49 — Longest-in-nation active home-court winning streak, including three games in Sprint Center.

50 — Team-high defensive rebound total for Josh Jackson, who also leads squad with 28 offensive boards.

51 — Points Texas Tech scored against KU national-title team in a 58-point loss, a regular-season finale.

52 — Free throws made this season by Frank Mason III, which is higher total than any two teammates combined.

53 — Total, times a million, of dollars Self has coming to him in his 10-year contract if he stays at Kansas through the 10th year (2021-22 season) of the deal.

54 — Candles on Self’s cake today.


Mike Riches 4 years, 9 months ago

This is just great stuff, very well done!

35 is weeeeird!

Andy Taylor 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

Interesting reading, thanks. Chuckle on 26. Happy B-Day Coach.

Andy Godwin 4 years, 9 months ago

Which player ranks behind Bragg per 40 minutes? "48 — Rebounds in 142 minutes, which calculates to 13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes, ranking behind only Carlton Bragg Jr. (14.0 per 40)."

John Boyle 4 years, 9 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. They left out a name. Sloppy editing Tom! Maybe a little slow getting going after the holiday (or maybe started the New Year's partying a little early)

Tom Keegan 4 years, 9 months ago

Udoka Azubuike. Thanks for pointing it out, Andy.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 9 months ago

Happy Birthday Coach! No other coach out there in college or pros that I would want representing Kansas. 39 blows me away. All of these are great, but that one shows dominance much like 13.

Adam Collins 4 years, 9 months ago

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Phog Allen had 590 wins at Kansas. Based on my poor math skills of Self winning an average of 30 games per year and finishing this season at about 415 wins at Kansas, he will be the winningest coach in KU basketball history in about six years after this season (2022-2023).

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 9 months ago

Often overlooked, but #18 is such a significant very early signal of his administrative, evaluation of talent, recruitment and coaching abilities to be at ORU 3 years, lose 18 in a row, and end up with a winning record before leaving. I live in Tulsa and am quite familiar with the depths the program had reached before he took over and what was accomplished in those 3 years.

Tom Keegan 4 years, 9 months ago

He actually was at Oral Roberts for four years, but that doesn't change your point. I've always thought evaluation of talent is the most overrated aspect of recruiting. For example, Kurtis Townsend did a great job of evaluating Frank Mason when few others saw beyond his size and ability to move from shooting guard to point guard. I've often wondered if Texas' problems in football in recent years has had something to do with not veering from prototypes. They figure why settle for a really good 5-11 quarterback when they can get a really good 6-4 one. Sometimes the 5-11 guy does so many things well that translate to playing under duress that a 6-4 prospect doesn't because he never has had to rely on anything but his rocket arm.

Len Shaffer 4 years, 9 months ago

I believe you mean underrated, not overrated ...

Barry Weiss 4 years, 9 months ago

The Texas situation in football baffles me. They have the pick of the litter in the state of Texas, or did, and all the money in the world for the best coaching, and yet they still struggle.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 9 months ago

What a lot of research and creativity that went into this article. Outstanding!

He's younger than all of those above him, so I suspect that he will pass several if he coaches to "normal" retirement age. Regardless, as several have said, Coach Self is a "gem", and I wish him the happiest of birthdays.

Kevin Whelan 4 years, 9 months ago

Great job on the stats, Tom! I'm thinking that you had to put in a lot of time on research, but I'll bet you probably enjoyed it. Thanks! I really enjoyed it!

Mike Auer 4 years, 9 months ago

Coach Self has been at Tulsa, Illinois, and Kansas for 19 completed seasons not 22, so he has actually won the conference 16 of 19 of those years which is actually much impressive than the still impressive yet incorrect 16 of 22 years that you wrote.

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