KU coach Bill Self says college basketball in better shape than it might appear

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches over practice on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Sprint Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches over practice on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Sprint Center.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Kansas City, Mo. — As college basketball heads into its postseason, where a champion will be crowned and uncertainty will follow, Kansas coach Bill Self said Wednesday that the state of the game was strong.

“I think the health of the game is far better than what the appearance is,” Self said. “I do.”

Self also addressed KU’s position in the ongoing investigation into corruption in college basketball, which came out in federal court and ultimately led to the two-season suspension of sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa, whose guardian, Fenny Falmagne, allegedly took money from former Adidas executive T.J. Gassnola to steer De Sousa to KU.

KU is appealing De Sousa’s suspension and Self said Wednesday there was no timetable for a ruling on the appeal.

“Speaking candidly, because it’s obvious, we’ve been involved, even though I still believe it’s from a distance compared to maybe what some of the other programs that have been implicated,” Self said Wednesday. “But still, though, we’re going to have to explain ourselves out, too, and we look forward to doing that.”

On the court, the college basketball product has been the same as ever, with blue bloods winning at a high level, upsets making national news and players and coaches guiding their team to triumphs and failures, all in the name of building an NCAA Tournament bracket that will separate the contenders from the pretenders in the weeks to come.

Off the court, the game has been in peril, with investigations into recruiting practices, federal trials involving shoe company executives and high-profile coaches and programs being mentioned routinely in association with corruption in the game.

“I don’t think that what’s going on is near as rampant (throughout college basketball) as what the appearance is right now,” Self said. “I really don’t, but, certainly, it’s been a black eye for our sport. And, you know, it crushes me because, obviously, we’re a part of that because of me being (a former) president of NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) and on the (NCAA) oversight committee, those sorts of things, is something we take great pride in trying to help the sport grow and certainly not take from it. Yeah, it’s been difficult for everybody involved and our sport has taken a hit, but we’ll survive it. We’ll get through it.”

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