Friday, January 24, 2020

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self vows team will learn and grow from ugly brawl with Kansas State

Kansas head coach Bill Self holds back Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) and Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) and Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) are held back by a member of the Kansas State coaching staff during a brawl following the Jayhawks' win against Kansas State, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self holds back Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) and Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) and Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) are held back by a member of the Kansas State coaching staff during a brawl following the Jayhawks' win against Kansas State, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Days after two of his players were suspended for their roles in a brawl, Kansas coach Bill Self vowed that his team would learn from the incident.

More specifically, Self said suspended Jayhawks, Silvio De Sousa (12 games) and David McCormack (2 games), would be “perfect” from here on out.

“We take responsibility for the role in which we played and what transpired on Tuesday,” Self said Friday while speaking with the media outside of the Kansas locker room. “We’re not going to hide from it or make excuses. … It seemed like everything that could possibly go wrong in a five- to seven-second window went wrong to cause that to escalate. But there’s still no excuse for it.”

After Tuesday’s game, Self said he was embarrassed by the incident that began with De Sousa having the ball stolen from him and escalated into a bench-clearing brawl. Self expressed similar sentiments on Friday.

“My stance has not changed whatsoever,” he said. “I’m embarrassed, I think it’s bad for our sport; I think there’s so many things that are negative with it. … This happened under my watch. That’s disappointing and hard to deal with, but you also catch your breath and you deal with it.”

Videos of the brawl shared on social media show De Sousa throwing punches at K-State players and hoisting a stool above his head as if preparing to swing it at one of them.

Self said De Sousa and McCormack were “crushed” after the experience, but he also said the punishments levied against them were fair.

Two K-State players were also suspended after the incident. James Love III was suspended for eight games, and guard Antonio Gordon received a three-game suspension.

Self said he and the KU administration had been cooperative with conference officials as they reviewed the incident and settled on penalties. Self also said he talked at length with his team about what happened.

“Being a coach isn’t just about peaks,” Self said Friday. “It’s about valleys, too. And certainly that was a low point. I accept that, and we’ll grow from it.”

Self reiterated that he supported the way the Big 12 Conference handled the penalties.

“I think that they reacted in a way that was 100% in accordance with the way that they should,” he said.

He also called the incident and its aftermath “a learning experience” for everyone involved.

“I think it will be a lasting image for our program and for (De Sousa) for a long time,” Self noted. “And I know that it’s not anything that we’re proud of, but all we can do is try to be the best we can moving forward, and that’s what we’re going to attempt to be. And he will certainly lead the way in us being that.”

Self likened the situation to parenting.

“If my son or daughter makes a bad, bad emotional decision and mistake, I’m not going to quit loving them,” he said. “And he’s ours. And I’m proud that he is.”

Asked how he and his players would go about moving past the incident, Self said he thought time would play an important role.

“We’re not going to make it less negative today or tomorrow,” he said. “But there’s a way (to do that), through involvement with others and talking to others and how you represent our place, because it’ll be more magnified now than ever.”

In the last year, Self and his program have been in the national spotlight for their role in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting and for bringing a risque Snoop Dogg concert — featuring pole dancers and a money gun — to Allen Fieldhouse for the annual Late Night in the Phog season tipoff event.

Self said that the players on the KU roster weren’t responsible for those incidents, but that the brawl was a different matter.

“Our players had something to do with this,” Self said of this week’s fight. “And we have to own it. … What happened the other night, we accept responsibility for the role we played and we have to be better for it.”

Because of the suspensions, third-ranked Kansas will be down to just seven available scholarship players for Saturday’s game with Tennessee and Monday’s game at Oklahoma State. But Self said he was not concerned about that on Friday.

“How we play for two games, that doesn’t even register with me right now,” he said. “Our team will be short-handed, but this is bigger than your team being short-handed for two games. This is how are you going to react to somehow make a negative situation at least less negative? Because I’m not sure you can make it positive.”

Self said he talked with one woman who sat in the section where the fight took place to make sure she was OK afterward.

He also said team video coordinator Jeremy Case, who could be seen on the video attempting to break up the fight, broke his right arm in the brawl and will wear a sling for four weeks while he recovers.

“He broke his right arm in trying to break it up,” Self said. “(He) lunged and lost his balance, and when he did he kind of flipped over an individual and landed awkwardly.”


Dane Pratt 1 year, 7 months ago

My position on who is at fault has not changed but this hurts us way more than it hurts K-State. They were the ones who rushed the court and got physical. But the bottom line is, we are Kansas and this is beneath us. And for this to happen in AFH of all places is really beneath us. I get it. We were in our victory formation and the opposing team tried to sack our QB. BFD! We just destroyed our in state rival, humiliated them on national TV. What do we have to gain by contesting a meaningless basket. The KU players should have just stood in their places, smiled and watched him make an ass of himself. And the fans should have responded with laughter to show him how futile and insignificant his efforts were. That would have been way more punishing than any fisticuffs ever could have been.

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year, 7 months ago

You probably didn't play sports at a high level. The KSU punk stealing the ball is like stealing a personal possession and you do what you can to rectify. Ideally, Silvio stands over him for a half-second and then walks away.

Brian Skelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Im not ready for Self to go, but the amount of public issues that have happened the last 3-4 seasons is pretty good example of "lack of institutional control."

I laughed when the NCAA threw that one at the program. But it's hard to argue against it at this point.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Dane, in a perfect, non-competitive world where you aren’t driven everyday by your coach, your “mentors”, the fans, the broadcasters and everyone on the planet to compete, then you might get that type of reaction. It’s so easy to armchair. Why? Because it’s just easy to take a couple of days and dream up your perfect scenario.

Silvio. He’s the one I am most proud of. A real Jayhawk for sure.

And you know how to know he did the right thing? Because it drove the kitty bench so crazy they came off and started a fight. Silvio is 100% blameless.

Our coward of a coach? Just the opposite.

If I ever hear him ever, ever, ever again talk about his team not being tough, I’m going to drive to Lawrence and make him put down that dozen donuts that he is apparently now eating for breakfast everyday. My best guess is he’s hoping to get the lead role in the Rick Majerus biopic on Hallmark. He’ll need that money because I think he spent all of his on chili cheese fries.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm glad Silvio still has a competitive fire but like all players he needs to have the presence of mind to know what the circumstances are when he's in the game. Mopping up the floor in garbage time does not require the same degree of competition that the previous 38 minutes required. I don't know if that's Bill's fault or Silvio's but I'm pretty sure Bill will address this issue to his players for future reference.

Mike Greer 1 year, 7 months ago

Brian, you're absolutely right, they should have the players teathered to the bench except for when they're subed in and they should be locked in their dorm except for when they're escorted to class or practice. Line them up like first graders, that's institutional control. You're talking about independent young men, not first graders, if you don't think they've been told to stay out of trouble a thousand times, you're kidding yourself. If you don't think the players and their families are reminded of NCAA rules over and over, you're delusional. Just because these young men have been told, they are expected to follow those rules, they don't always do what they're told.

Not a week goes buy during football season some guy doesn't get penalized for standing over a player the just sacked, or knocked down while trying to receive a pass. It's not as common in basketball, but not like Silvio was the first player to ever do this. This just wouldn't have been a big deal, or a deal at all if the K State players hadn't emptied the bench and come out swinging. As Dane stated, there was a plethora of better options for Silvio, but his competitive instincts took over and he raced to block the shot, at that point, there was no deal at all, the institution was under control.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

Mike has a real-world view and I applaud that.

RJ King 1 year, 7 months ago

True Mike. And like every kid knows, it's usually not the instigator who gets in the most trouble, it's the second kid who reacts. And like Dane said, this hurts KU way more than it hurts K-State. We have so much more to lose.

So sorry for Jeremy Case. Sounds like the whole team needs some healing.

Whatever Silvio knew or didn't know about Adidas was a huge burden either way. And if he actually knew nothing, then the past couple years have been soul crushing. Until proven guilty, I'll reserve some empathy.

Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

There is no need to make excuses. There was a series of events that occurred and it escalated quickly. Yes, it started with Gordon stealing the all and trying to get a cheap basket. That was the first event. Silvio blocked it, but the second event that led to the brawl was the taunting of Gordon. So, neither one of those two things happen, no brawl.

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree but there is so much 20/20 with this thing. Let Long, Self, and other pundits come up with new ground rules and move on with class. Rock Chalk!

Bryce Landon 1 year, 7 months ago

I love how the chick in the black Kansas sweater is smiling and giving a thumbs-up like it was a proud moment for her to be there to see this sorry spectacle. Nice photobomb, young lady. And oh by the way, there's nothing about this fight between KU and KSU to be proud of at all.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 7 months ago

Looks like she's not the only fan enjoying the moment.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 7 months ago

Also, I hope Jeremy Case's broken arm heals up soon! He ought to sue KSU for his medical bills from this!

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

I would suggest that this did not start with Gordon stealing the ball, nor was it a victory formation with the QB taking the ball for a kneeldown. Our QB didn’t have the ball. Our center was trying to dribble out the clock against their guard and got punked. As Coach said though, all that plus the layup and block are part of the game. (Elijah is somewhere nodding and ISU fans are fuming all the more.)

The game was left behind with the taunting (regardless of whether others do it or not) and escalated dramatically with the bumrush. I wonder what Coach has in mind when he says that Silvio will lead the recovery (? To toughness?) Suicides? Slides? ???

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

The look on Coaches face as he grabs a fist full of Garrett’s jersey say a lot more than “You’re not thinking what I’m thinking right now young man.” He didn’t get suspended but my guess is that as a team leader, he gets a big chunk of Coach’s correction.

RJ King 1 year, 7 months ago

True. Although Coach and Marcus are generally on the same wavelength, there IS a rather large age difference between their minds.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm not going to say this steal by Gordon was a "hustle play". I call BS on that. When Brannon Green went for his dunk after that game was over, coach called it a dick move, which it was. Same with these punks this year that go for their 20 seconds of fame stealing the ball while our players are doing the right thing. They surveyed a number of college coach's this week on the deal and they ALL put the blame for this thing on the "dick move" by the K-state player stealing the ball. You take that one move out of this and nothing happens.

Robert G Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

I think Matt Tait is wrong in his assessment. It looks like he is trying to put the whole blame on Silvio and by now, looking at tapes and hearing from so many, that mistake should not be made. I think Dane Pratt had more objective things to say. Yah Silvio made a few swings and picked up a chair, after he was pushed to the floor and had three staters coming at him. That is instinctual.

Silvio errored in standing over a player. Where were the refs blowing whistles and calling a T? The lack of paying attention at the end of a game between these two schools is a real lapse of consciousness. Several K state players were the aggressors in this situation and their actions led to K state players leaving the bench. Of course then the KU players would have to do the same to protect their players. I think the whole team of K State should have consequences, especially Love, Sloan, and the two Gordons. Love was already injured, so his eight games should start when he is off the injured list. Antonio Gordon and Love were the most aggressive and their names are not even mentioned. Come on !! Sure the coach has to say that he and his players are responsible. That is the responsible thing to say, but it all began with the cheap shot of Gordon's steal with only a few seconds left. That is how I see it.

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