Monday, December 4, 2017

KU coach Bill Self indicates Billy Preston situation nearing resolution

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest.

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest.


In what has become fairly routine for the Kansas basketball program during the past month, KU coach Bill Self on Monday offered up the latest on the status of withheld freshman forward Billy Preston, and used the words “relatively near future” in doing so.

However, even with hints about a potential outcome coming from second-ranked KU's leader, Self said he did not expect to know anything before Wednesday's game against Washington at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

“This is something that our people have worked really hard on,” Self said Monday. “We think it'll come to a head soon and hopefully it'll come to a head in a way that we held him out for precautionary reasons. But we just don't know right now.

“The way the system is set up, and the way that we're attacking this — and, when I say attacking, I mean that in the literal sense; we are trying to resolve this as quickly as possible — it's just not going to be something that happens as quick as we want it to happen,” Self said. “We're very hopeful that we are nearing the conclusion, to the point where maybe we can find something out in the relatively near future. But I don't think that's going to happen by Wednesday.”

Preston, the 6-foot-10, 240-pound McDonald's All-American who was labeled by some as the key to KU's season before the 2017-18 campaign kicked off, continues to be held out of competition while KU sorts out a compliance issue involving a vehicle he was driving during a single-car, noninjury accident on Nov. 11.

Tuesday marks three weeks since KU first held Preston out because of the issue — he also missed the season opener on Nov. 10 after missing curfew and class — and the whole situation, though very different in its specifics, has a similar feel to KU's recent efforts to clear up situations that kept Cheick Diallo and Cliff Alexander out of competition and, going back farther, Darnell Jackson and Josh Selby before them.

“I don't think that I've ever had a situation where I've dealt with this like I have since we've been here,” Self said. “And it has nothing to do with Kansas. It has everything to do with the system.

“Twenty years ago, every athletic department had one compliance person and that one compliance person was responsible for everything going on in that athletic department. Now, you have five to seven and the mandate of the NCAA is, 'We want to monitor all these things,' so I don't know that it's a lot different (than it was 20 years ago), I just know there's more things that have become known now than what there was before, in large part because you have the manpower to look into them.”

While each of those previous instances led to a variety of outcomes — Diallo was eventually cleared academically after missing a few games; Selby and Jackson each missed about a semester's worth of games; and Alexander missed the final eight games his lone season — KU's athletic department put a lot of time, money and resources into each situation and also has done so with Preston.

The freshman forward continues to practice with the team and even works through pregame warmups on game nights. But the longer the situation has lingered, the more Self has seen it get to Preston, who missed last weekend's trip to Miami to spend time with his mother, who visited him in Lawrence.

“I don't think he's doing great,” Self said. “I think it would be surprising if anybody was doing great when you're in limbo like this.”


David Morrison 1 year, 3 months ago

This doesn't make sense to me. Either Preston is eligible to play for Kansas or he is not. Anything else is punishment for not handling his business correctly. My guess is that he will be back playing when league starts Dec. 29th at Texas. There, however, is no substitute for game experience. He will be behind and will have to catch up in a hurry.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year, 3 months ago

He hasn't been declared ineligible for what that's worth. I think Coach Self wants to be sure there aren't future repercussions for having played a player deemed to be ineligible, possibly forfeiting all the victories in which Preston played retroactively.

This article actually gives me a little hope that Preston will finally make it onto the court (basketball court).

If Silvio becomes eligible for the second semester Coach Self will have his hands full bringing three new players into the rotation. After watching the Syracuse game, where Clay Young logged just over nine minutes makes me believe that Sam Cunliffe will be able to average at least 5 – 7 minutes per game. I wonder how many Division I programs would be glad to have Clay Young on their roster?

As difficult as that will be, I think KU will be the team to beat. Right now, I have Puke just ahead of us. Marvin Bagley lll is a stud. Maybe the best player I've seen in the one and done era and then add Marquise Bolden, Wendell Carter, plus 3 other forwards is just too much to expect Udoka and Lightfoot to handle - though I'm sure Coach Self would find some way to help neutralize the disadvantaged.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

Very true but just imagine if we got those three additions - I'm sure Coach would be a vey happy camper to have o try and figure out how to manage rotation - would make our front court very nice. - -I myself feel right now we are just missing that one piece - -depth in the frontcourt, we get Billy - and or be lucky enough to get Billy AND De-Sousa I'll be ready to put us up with anybody - - -ANYBODY period

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

You are more optimistic than I am.

Bill Self's wording doesn't give me any warm-fuzzies... "'ll come to a head soon, hopefully in a way that we held him out for precautionary reasons. But we just don't know right now"

I feel like this situation is still up in the air. The fact that KU has held him out and continues to hold him out means that something isn't kosher about the financing of the car. To me the question is whether the NCAA ends up suspending him (and for how long...he's already missed 7 games) or determines based on information presented to them by KU that Preston is ineligible (which seems less likely). But just because Self expects it to be resolved soon doesn't mean that it will be. He could remain in limbo indefinitely, which is the worst case. This has the feel to me of a situation where even if he becomes available to KU, he will be set back such that he will struggle and continue to be a distraction and a burden the rest of the season. I hope that I'm wrong.

Tim Orel 1 year, 3 months ago

I think one of these days the NCAA will be sued by some player and their family for loss of wages (not NCAA wages, but the ability to play leading a one-and-done to the NBA and much, much bigger contracts) simply over their seemingly arbitrary and lengthy rule process.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

Kind of strange David. -With the wording of this, and this is strictly off other things I've read and heard from others - so not rally sure how much stock to put into it but, - with the way the wording is kind of coincides with what I've been hearing so who knows. - What I've read from others is that quite possibly a nine game suspension comes or came out of this and then quite possibly having to pay back any money if there was involved in this whole situation, with the games Billy has sit out counting towards the nine game suspension. - - Well now they are talking about hopefully/possibly relatively soon? - but probably not by Wednsday - -well Billy is coming into his 8th game now and if he were to miss one more after this? - Maybe these people knew more then what I thought. - -Who knows for sure? - all kinds of wild BS - but could be, I'm just ready as I knw Billy is to get this over with and get the kid back and playing, we could sure use him for sure.

John Brazelton 1 year, 3 months ago

Either a booster or sports agent owned the car he was driving. Look for him to not play this semester.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

The LJW reported that the car was registered to Preston and the admin staff had been notified of the car prior to the accident.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

I heard the issue is really not so much about Billy owning the car BUT how he got it fixed for free

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 3 months ago

That makes no sense considering the vehicle was spotted by the LJW in the dorm parking lot with 2 flat tires and damaged wheels AFTER it was reported they were looking into things.

[''] 1 year, 3 months ago

Word in the wire is that the car may have once been owned by one of his former AAU coaches. Trying to determine if it was "sold" to Preston or given to him.

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 3 months ago

The Journal-World only has one photograph of Billy Preston.

Matt Tait 1 year, 3 months ago

We actually have several — even some of him actually playing — but only a few of him sitting out. Not sure we've used the one above since mid-November...

Thomas Green 1 year, 3 months ago

John Brazelron, if that is in fact the case, do you know what would follow? In terms of punishment or eligibility?

Thomas Green 1 year, 3 months ago

Oops, sorry misspelled your last name John, my apologies.

Len Shaffer 1 year, 3 months ago

You have to feel for the kid. What a terrible way to have to start your college life.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 3 months ago

Preston has been the player I’ve been excited to see play the most. Hopefully this gets resolved soon.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 3 months ago

Why do you all think his mom came to Lawrence? To spend time with Billy? or to spend time with the investigator? It looks like she holds the key to the resolution. Whatever it is, I'm hopeful that Billy will see play time on the court and yes, I'm with you JohnF. I was so excited when Preston chose KU. He's got so much potential, but we haven't enjoy a bit yet.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 3 months ago

But we're still winning in spite of his absence. In fact, with Preston out, the chemistry with this team has been almost damn near perfect. No one-and-dones in the lineup - haven't had that since 2011-12, which happens to be the last time we went to the Final Four. Coincidence? I think not.

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

Bryce..that 2011-2012 had TWO quality big men, not one. Azibuike and Lightfoot are NOT Withey and TROB...and how do you know if Preston would have been a OAD??? if Miles Bridges can shock us and stay 2 years then why wouldnt Preston? And yes KU is winning, but what happens when the 3 ball isnt working and Azibuike gets in foul I really need to remind you of the loss in elite 8 last year when the 3 ball wasnt falling and KU lacked an inside game? not quite the outcome we all wanted..having OAD has NOTHING to do with why KU hasnt been to a FF since 2012

RJ King 1 year, 3 months ago

I kinda of agree, but we are only one injury, one suspension, or one Jordan Bell performance away from defeat vs anyone in Big XII or past 1st round ncaa.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 3 months ago

My daughter is away at college and even plays sports. We go visit her all the time.

Tim Orel 1 year, 3 months ago

She came when KU was scheduled to be playing in Miami, which means she must have known he was not going to be with the team and that would have only been recent knowledge (not a trip planned since the beginning of the semester).

Bill Kackley 1 year, 3 months ago

Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. You guys make me laugh.

1 year, 3 months ago

matt: not to ‘speculate’ but, if it was a booster or agents car, wtf would the penalty be?! have u talked to any ncaa lawyers or just regurgitate this same ‘we dont know anything yet’ article a dozen times?! cmon-insight!! jfc

Matt Tait 1 year, 3 months ago

We're working on trying to find out some of that info as best we can. Contrary to what you might think, those kinds of people aren't exactly lining up with big signs that say, 'Will talk about Billy Preston situation.'

Thanks for reading and for the comment. Thought this update was far more substantial than most of the others so maybe we're getting somewhere.

1 year, 3 months ago

fantastic! but, my point was not even specifically about BP: it was a general hypothetical 'what if' a student-athlete has been given improper benefits, then what would the penalty(ies) be? suspended 1 semester? out the whole year and totally ineligble? there must be some kind of precedent set for this. As long as we essentially know nothing currently, speculating on possibilities might be more informative..? thanks for all you do! rcjh

Marius Rowlanski 1 year, 3 months ago

If you ask a hypothetical question, don't be angry with a hypothetical answer. Every situation is different. There is no NCAA rulebook containing specific penalties for specific violations. What if there was 2 people in the car? Improper benefits? The range of possible penalties is as wide as the number of possible violations.

It's impossible to set precedents which is why it takes so long for these matters to be cleared. Let's say the president for receiving cash was to sit out a semester regardless of the amounts then go for the Lamborghini and not the Dodge.

Harlan Hobbs 1 year, 3 months ago

Love your post, Marius. Well researched and insightful. I certainly agree with your take on our prospects against Duke, if it were to come down to that.

LJ Gee 1 year, 3 months ago

The NCAAis such a sham - and i know this isnt technically with the NCAA right now but you can tell from Self's comments that their influence is all over this. Its absurd that these kids have to be treated like theyre guilty until proven innocent. Heck, its beyond even that - he hasnt even been 'charged' with anything and he's being punished. I know this isnt a first by any means, but its always ridiculous. The system is beyond broken

Dee Shaw 1 year, 3 months ago

Who cares! A bunch of wasted time and energy on someone who won't have much impact on this team. Cheick Diallo Part 2. "Free Diallo".

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

except Preston actually played in the preseason and showed A LOT more potential that Diallo..keep in mind, Diallo hadnt played a lot of basketball in his life, it was still a new game to him..that isnt the case with Preston..When he is made eligible, he WONT be Diallo 2.0..he might not play a ton of minutes right away, but he will be much more productive that Diallo ever would have been

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Knowing the NCAA as I have seen them in the past, I feel we either get Billy back for the second semester or Silvio gets to come early for the second semester but I am convinced we not going to get both!!

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

the fact that the NCAA hasnt gotten involved and its more of an internal issue is good news for KU..I think the Adidas scandal has made them overtly cautious....I think we will see Preston play this season and I think he will prove to be the missing piece.Imagine the matchup nightmares it would cause other teams with Azibuike AND Preston on the court at the same time..KU will need him if they are to break through the elite 8 ceiling they keep hitting their head on

Gerry Butler 1 year, 3 months ago

Who are you going to replace in the starting lineup that we have RIGHT NOW if you wanna play Preston and Doke at the same time? - -Vick? - - I don't think so. - -SVI the way he is shooting the 3 and his better D - -probably not - -so who does that leave? - and don't tell me Preston was playing better D then SVI

RJ King 1 year, 3 months ago

I think it would be more situational. Like if our guards had failed to shoot their way out of the Syracuse zone (and taller team), Self might've tried a bigger lineup. Fortunately we didn't need to. But somewhere down the road, we're going to get stymied by an opponent's height. It would be great to not have to count on Az and Mitch not being foul trouble. Plus, there's always injuries . . .

Craig Carson 1 year, 3 months ago

with the way Newman is playing right now, Id replace him...not saying Self SHOULD make it permanent but going stretches of a 5 minutes or so of having Azibuike and Preston in at the same time would add a crinkle to KU's offense and defense and it wouldnt hurt the team..ultimately,even with Preston, KU will be a 4 guard lineup, BUT having Preston gives Self options he simply doesnt have right now..

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

The way Newman is playing right now - is A LOT better on the defensive end. He provides plenty of value even with his streaky scoring.

Mike Greer 1 year, 3 months ago

Given the number of games Preston has already missed, I doubt he replaces anyone in the starting lineup, at least not right away. It's really more how does Coach split up the off the bench time.

I can't help but wonder if the lack of depth in the backcourt hasn't effected Dok's play, he's worked pretty hard to stay out of foul trouble. Once he gets two he seems to go out of his way to avoid further fouls, which effects his rebounding and short selection. This is where I think Preston could really help, take some pressure off the big guy. Mitch just doesn't have the size to be the replacement on the post.

Chris Kovac 1 year, 3 months ago

If Billy ends up playing this year, he obviously won't get drafted. If he returns next year, we'll have a monster lineup (assuming Vick stays). Potentially best lineup in Self era in 2018-19?

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

I was looking at this situation, and if we keep Billy and Malik and lose Udoka and Vick and add Langford to the recruiting class we will be stacked with talent like we haven't seen before. You potentially have players like Moore, Cunliffe and the Lawson brothers who sat and waiting as transfers who would be almost nothing more than mop up duty players. It's hard to imagine having all of that talent, I would expect some roster surprises... not sure if either of the Lawsons or anyone else might be eligible for a grad transfer but it would seem like it might make sense for someone.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

Udoka and Vick will be in Jayhawk uniforms next year. Neither one is generating much NBA enthusiasm as 1st round picks.

Robert Brock 1 year, 3 months ago

Preston will not return under any circumstance.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 3 months ago

If he does come back, he will probably cut into Lightfoot's minutes.

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