Bill Self addresses KU recruiting challenges brought on by NCAA allegations
One of the most noticeable and immediate potential pitfalls from the NCAA’s case against the Kansas men’s basketball program figures to come on the recruiting trail.
With the stage set for a hefty battle between Kansas and the NCAA in the coming months following the delivery of Monday’s Notice of Allegations to Lawrence, KU coach Bill Self on Thursday shared his thoughts on the status of KU’s recruiting efforts.
“To be honest with you, I’ve been concerned about recruiting challenges the last 27 years I’ve been a head coach,” Self said. “I mean every place has its own challenges. Now, this gives us some unique challenges that also we can somehow look at as opportunities, too. But, sure, sure; that’s always going to be an issue.”
Although he did not go into detail about what, if anything, might have to change, those opportunities Self spoke of may lie in the program turning some of its attention to the under-the-radar prospects instead of the five-star, Top 10 types that typically draw the attention of other blue blood programs in the sport on an annual basis.
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham and Ochai Agbaji, to name just a few, all were a bit overlooked during their recruitments and all three wound up doing big things at Kansas. KU’s history has other players cut from that same mold as do programs around the country.
“In the past, when you’ve gone against Kentucky and Carolina and Duke and Michigan State or UCLA or whoever to get the players that we recruited, they’re all challenges,” Self said.
With KU’s Late Night in the Phog now just a week away and the prospect visit list packed full yet again, the Journal-World on Tuesday night briefly caught up with class of 2022 forward Tre White (6-6, 200, San Antonio’s Cornerstone High), the lone player currently committed in any of KU’s future classes.
White, who will attend Late Night on an unofficial visit, said he has faith in the Kansas coaching staff to find its way through the current situation and the Top 10 prospect, per 247 Sports, did not seem worried about the NCAA’s case impacting his decision to become a Jayhawk.
But there’s little doubt that the rest of the college basketball world will do everything it can to use the Jayhawks’ current troubles against them in recruiting battles for some of the top talent in 2020, 2021 and beyond.
“The reality is that being brought up in the trial has already been a thorn in the side of Kansas recruiting,” wrote Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi earlier this week. “And it stands to reason that the news of an actual investigation will only make recruiting, which had already become tougher during the FBI investigation, even more difficult for the Jayhawks.”
Bossi pointed out that there’s more to KU’s recruiting concerns than rival coaches encouraging prospects to think twice about signing with the Jayhawks.
“The other difficult issue for Kansas is how long investigations like this can take to reach a conclusion,” Bossi wrote. “It’s very possible that any decisions about innocence or guilt or possible penalties could take at least a year or even longer. If that happens, does it spill into recruiting for 2021 and beyond?”
Even while taking an honest look at the realities and challenges suddenly facing his program, Self remained upbeat about the chances of his staff continuing to land quality basketball players well into the future.
“Certainly we’ve got our hands full with this,” he said. “But we’ll end up, I think, having a very good recruiting class.”
Although KU’s 2020 class does not currently include any commitments, decision day for some of the top prospects and targets is nearing and the Nov. 13-20 early signing period is now just six weeks away.