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Kansas coach Bill Self far from panicked about current recruiting challenges: 'Oh, we're going to get some guys'

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Kansas head coach Bill Self flashes a smile as the Jayhawks pull away during overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self flashes a smile as the Jayhawks pull away during overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

With just two players signed in the 2019 recruiting class and neither one ranked higher than 94th in the national rankings per Rivals.com, the outsider’s view of the current state of Kansas basketball recruiting is that things have hit a rough patch.

The man on the inside, however, sees things a little differently, and Tuesday night, after KU’s season-ending banquet, Bill Self talked in general terms about where things sat with KU’s current recruiting efforts.

“Oh, I think we’re going to get some guys,” Self said. “I think we’re going to better ourselves, without question.”

Although no definition of “some guys” was given, Self projected the image of a coach in complete control of the situation, one that even seemed to border on optimism for the immediate future.

Top targets Matt Hurt (No. 7 overall per Rivals.com) and Cassius Stanley (No. 33) will announce their decisions in the next five days. And Kansas remains in the running for both players, even if the Jayhawks currently look like they’re running second to Duke in both cases.

Even if KU strikes out on both Hurt, who will reveal his choice Friday and Stanley, who will announce his pick Monday, Self said he felt good about where things sat with his overall roster and emphasized that he and his staff would have a much clearer picture of its needs and challenges “in the next 10 days.”

—> 9:03 p.m. Update: Cassius Stanley on Wednesday night Teeeted that he now will announce his college choice next Monday (April 22), backing the big reveal up for a second time. <—

“You guys can look at it however you want, but you’ve got a chance to be better before the season even starts next year,” Self explained. “You’ve got a chance without adding any players. So I’m pretty optimistic that things will fall into place.”

What Self likely meant by that read has to do with the stay-or-go decisions facing players like Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Quentin Grimes and Silvio De Sousa.

Much like two years ago, when KU missed out on all of the top high school point guards it went after but landed a big victory when Devonte’ Graham elected to return for his senior season, KU’s outlook for the 2019-20 season would improve dramatically if even just Dotson and Azubuike decide to return.

Right now, KU has five scholarships open and could have two more to play with if Azubuike and De Sousa enter their names into the 2019 NBA Draft. That would push the number of open roster spots to seven and create a situation unlike any we’ve seen in recent memory.

“That’s if everybody leaves,” Self clarified. “But everybody’s not going to leave. But, yeah; I’d say if we need to sign seven this spring, that wouldn’t be the ideal situation.”

As for his thoughts on why a blue blood program like Kansas is in this situation in the first place, Self said there was “no question” that the uncertainty surrounding Kansas and the federal investigation into college basketball had hurt the program’s recruiting efforts, adding that recent reports that Self was leaving KU did not help either.

Self on Tuesday adamantly reiterated that he had no plans to leave KU any time soon and even said he was not upset by other programs using KU’s current struggles against them in recruiting battles from coast to coast.

“If somebody told me that there’s a report out there that someone’s going to take another job and we were going head to head with that other school, that article might find its way to the right eyes,” Self conceded. “That’s not being negative. That’s just how it is.”

There was, however, one thing Self said he would not do to bolster the look of his next team and that was to spend any amount of time trying to talk players into staying.

He never has done that in the past and is not about to start now.

“Some of you may think that the most important recruiting we could do is right here on campus,” he said. “But I’m not going to do it. If it’s best for them to go try (to enter the NBA draft), then go try. That will determine if they come back or not. I know I have strong feelings (about) what I think would be smart. But they can investigate it themselves, with their families, to determine what’s smart. And I think we’re going to be just fine moving forward.”

Comments

Andy Tweedy 1 month, 1 week ago

"...going to be just fine moving forward." Damn right we are...we're still Kansas!!!

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

I honestly dont think the FBI issue had the impact on recruiting that everyone thinks it did..Arizona and Louisville are way more implicated in the FBI drama than KU is and they had zero issues with convincing good players to sign with them..im glad Self is confident but as a fan I cant help but to be overly concerned..hell, even when UNC was going through its drama and Roy couldnt sign any 5 kids, he still got plenty of solid 4 kids to sign..even won a NC with them

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

We've got a couple solid 4 kids with more to come. Were there any 5*s in the last NC game?

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

Both TTU and Virginia has a full compliment of players plus they had tons of experience...this KU team will be very young...again..so there is no comparison...

Jay Scott 1 month, 1 week ago

When TTU was picked 6th in the Big12 were you screaming that they were a National Title contender?

No, you weren't.

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

TTU had not only enough talent, but they had experience and were not short handed...this KU seems like they will be very short on experience and bodies unless something drastically changes in the next few weeks..if or when they miss out on 2 quality guys this weekend, you will see a mad scramble by KU to find anyone they can..there are some good grad guys, but it isnt like KU is the only one trying to sign them

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

No Comparison - except that at this time last year they didn't have the majority of their starting line-up, because they had not transferred in yet.

Would you like to change the target again?

You can also derisively characterize the actions of the staff as a "mad scramble", but the reality is they're recruiting all the time, and finding gems that are unknown to others.

Shannon Gustafson 1 month, 1 week ago

Go look at their recruiting classes from the year the news broke on them and get back to me...it wasn't pretty.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 1 week ago

Softball City. So much for investigative journalism.

Next article: Coach Self thinks Everything is Fine in the World.

Man I miss Tom Keegan. And real journalists.

Matt Tait 1 month, 1 week ago

Appreciate the feedback.

Some find these updates and comments like them from Self to be interesting and informative. Some don’t. To each his own.

Back to parking garage meetings under the cover of darkness with someone named “Deep Throat” now. Gotta run!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

Good response.

It's probably too much to think/hope that Brett would join TK.

Chris Bailey 1 month, 1 week ago

BOOOOM! Matt brings down the thunder! Love it!

Jay Scott 1 month, 1 week ago

Brett...

here are many fine mental health providers in Lawrence that could help you overcome this deep anger that manages your life.

https://www.yellowpages.com/lawrence-ks/mental-health-services

Len Shaffer 1 month, 1 week ago

The fact that there are 15 likes for Matt and zero for Brett says it all ...

Dirk Medema 1 month ago

Up to 20-0.

Is there a mercy rule, like in little league, where the disparity gets so great that the ignorant post just gets eliminated?

Layne Pierce 1 month, 1 week ago

Don't worry, we will have a team, and we will know very soon what it is going to be like. People who really want to play for KU and will play hard is what we are really looking for.

What hurts us in recruiting in a weird way is that KU is a hard place to just leave after one year. At least it was in the past. Dotson is coming back 90% and that is good. Grimes I still think is 50/50 as much because of sharing the ball with Dotson, more than he would like, Doke likely gone, Silvio likely gone. (a damn shame). And then Ochai, Marcus, BDave , have got to really improve.

McBride and Braun are not dog-meat, they can play. Our biggest problem is a second big-man, and a compliment to Mitch. Mitch struggles against really big post-men, so we need some beef. One or two 6-8 bullies would do the trick. It is true that recruiting alone did not determine the final 4 this year.

RCJH

Brad Avery 1 month, 1 week ago

Shucks, if we're "going to get some guys" I guess that means KU fans have to cease their annual freakout about recruiting. It was fun for a while to wonder what the team would be like with six scholarship players who had minimal or no aspirations to play in the NBA and Self coaching them.

Steve Quatrocky 1 month, 1 week ago

If I were a recruit, deciding between KU and Duke, I wouldnt forget that the Nike-Zion-Duke trial is coming up next, Zion's "Asks" were already revealed in the Adidas trial and are currently being further publicized by Avenetti's involvement. At least the Adidas trial is over and the big payoff was to a guy we initiated the investigation about and therefore never played a game, DeSouza's totally unjust penalty has already been handed down, and at the conclusion of the FBI/Adidas trial, they still said the schools were defrauded, thus not part of a conspiracy. Those are all still question marks for Duke with the primary protection being, they'd never to that to their darling Coach K/Duke.

David Howell 1 month, 1 week ago

With Duke, Kensucky, N. Carolina and Michigan State running the NCAA, I have no doubt the NIKE issue will be pushed under the rug. Only a mass withdrawal by teams from the NCAA to another governing body or a lawsuit will get the giant machine to take heed.

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

i hope the NCAA finds a lot of NIKE school involved..the more schools they find the less likely we see any santions

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

Unfortunately, the NCAA isn't finding anything. That's why they're scrambling so hard to get the FBI info. They've got none of their own.

Steve Quatrocky 1 month, 1 week ago

And I think back to all the times Franchilla and the other announcers said "nobody from this squad will be leaving early", I guess we will see come draft day, but I dont think we need to be too concerned about losing all of them. All the "testers" give recruits the allusion there are lots of minutes available, while reality could turn out just the opposite. Relax and believe in Bill, he's got this no matter who suits up in a KU jersey next year.

Tony Bandle 1 month, 1 week ago

My, how the world would change if Devon and Dok come back and Silvio is released from NCAA prison!!! Not very likely but still fun to dream!

Jay Scott 1 month, 1 week ago

Chicken Littles - "Bill Self is an idiot!! We don't have enough 5 star McD AA recruits signed"

Chicken Littles - "Bill Self is an idiot!! These 5 star McD AA players don't help us win"

Chicken Littles - "Mason and Graham are mid major guards. We need a new 5 star PG"

Chicken Littles - "Why can't we recruit more players like Mason and Graham?"

Chicken Littles.... always crazy.

Bill Kackley 1 month, 1 week ago

Thank you Matt! Never liked all of Tom Keagan's sarcastic bs, glad he is gone.

Jay Scott 1 month, 1 week ago

Choosing to make shorter moronic statements is a bold strategy.

We'll see if it works.

Bryce Landon 1 month, 1 week ago

"I think we're going to get some guys."

I certainly hope so, because the guys we have/had didn't improve a whole lot this past season. Now quit talking about how you think you're going to get some guys and go get them.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

David McCormick is raising an eyebrow in your direction.

The rest of the world is in total agreement, because everyone knew that Ochai was going to go off as soon as he got a chance.

No improvement at all.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

And by all means keep B&B informed about all recruiting activities because if we don't know then it is not happening and you are a lazy moron resting on your laurels.

Brian Skelly 1 month, 1 week ago

We'll be fine. Of course fine might be a repeat of this past season. Which ISNT fine to a rabid fan base, but in the scheme of things should work out.

I think Dotson will come back. Less sure about Dok. He's been in college awhile, he's injury prone, and the modern game isn't great for his game. That said, he might want to make some coin before he breaks again. I'd love him back, but im not holding my breath.

Self will find guys. Remember, we went to the Final Four two years ago with a team that was put together by spit and duct tape -- and two great veteran guards. I'd rather Grimes stayed. But he under performed all year.

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

I wouldnt call the 2018 team a "held together by duct tape" team..they were just short handed..but they at least had experience and an identity..they were full of shooters..we dont know what this team will be..not enough front court guys to be a power team and not enough shooters to be a perimeter team.....the pressure is on Abaji and McCormack because we will need both to have monster years

DaNeille Dani Davis 1 month, 1 week ago

I'm okay with us getting 3 or 4 star guys! We are a much better team when we have those guys for 3 or 4 years! I hope they abolish the one and done rule. Year after year, Kansas reloads. Next year may be a little reloading along with some rebuilding and I'm okay with that! If not next year, the following year we will be Championship material!

Craig Carson 1 month, 1 week ago

repealing the OAD wont stop kids from leaving after 1 season..sure it gets the surefire NBA guys like Zion out of college, but what will stop those 4 star kids from leaving after having a solid freshmen season?..a lot of it is about modern culture..kids are in a rush to get paid

Joe Baker 1 month ago

Agree 100%. It will be same rinse and repeat with the next tiered player.

1-25 will be guaranteed money, D-League with money.

30-50 will test the waters and about half of those will likely go to the D-league.

50- and above will be your next crop of players the cheaters will continue to harvest.

Joe Baker 1 month ago

Here's a few million dollar questions for all the doubters who are crucifying Bill Self for the Adidas allegations.

If Bill Self was cheating, why didn't he get every single top 25 recruit he recruited?

He recruited a normal group of top recruits that wasn't too alarming. Even some KU fans want to question Self's recruiting integrity and label him as a HOF coach that cheated to get recruits.

Now, answer me this...how is it that Duke has the unusual success in recruiting the recruits and getting the top recruiting classes 5 times in the last 6 years? How is it that Zona gets most if not all KU's recruits in the last 15 years? Apparently Miller is getting off the hook to testify. Yet Self was subpoened? Doesn't anyone else find this development as a fantastic coincidence?

Lastly, how is it that Zion Williamson is named in the Grand Jury as naming his price to pay for play and goes to Duke?

These are million dollar questions I'd like to answer. How is it that KU has gone from a top recruiting program to virtually losing every single top recruit in the last 2-3 years?

Inquiring minds want to know. Oh well, screw it. This is why college bball is a joke.

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