Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bill Self gives update on recruiting during summer teleconference

KU coach: 'We could still add another piece or two ... '

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches with the bench as the Jayhawks make a run against Illinois during the second half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches with the bench as the Jayhawks make a run against Illinois during the second half on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.


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Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self said on Thursday’s Big 12 summertime coaches call that the Jayhawks may not yet be finished recruiting players in the Class of 2011.

KU, which has added Braeden Anderson, Ben McLemore, Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor to the 2011-12 roster, still has three scholarships to give after losing out on DeAndre Daniels earlier this week. The 6-foot-8 Daniels chose UConn over KU, Texas and others.

“We’ve recruited pretty well. We haven’t hit a home run from a scouting service perspective, but I think we’ve got guys that fit what we need,” Self said on the conference call. “We could still add another piece or two, but it is getting awfully late.”

He didn’t name names of any possible prospects in accordance with NCAA rules.

Earlier this week it was reported KU is on the list of schools of Andre Walker, a 6-7 senior forward, who has graduated from Vanderbilt and has decided to play elsewhere his final season. He is free to attend any school without sitting out a year.

No other prospects have yet publicly mentioned KU as far as joining the program next season.

Self told the media he is “excited about next year. I don’t think we’ll take a step backwards, I think we’ll take a step sideways and I think we’ll be a totally different looking team than what we were this past year (after losing seven players), but I am really excited.

“My batteries are probably about as charged as they’ve been, because it is going to be a challenge. I feel it’s like the year after we won the national championship. You lose six of your top seven or whatever it was and come back and have to figure out a way to win the league next year. That’s where we are at.”


DRsmith 11 years, 2 months ago

Self's batteries are charged because he hasn't had to use them to actually talk recruits into coming to KU. He has just been walking up to 3 star recruits who of course jump at the opportunity to play at KU.

karken1992 11 years, 2 months ago

Wow... Really??? Go back and remember how many years in a row he had a top 10 recruiting class (how many times a top 5 for that matter).

One year out of all the years he has been here he comes up with a good, but not great class, and you are jumping off the ship (assuming you are not a troll). Understand that a couple of the players jumping to the NBA were a little unexpected. Surely you can't blame Self for not having a stud recruit wrapped up for a position he didn't know he needed. We are sitting very pretty with next years class. Let's revisit after that.

lee3022 11 years, 2 months ago

It appears you have the wrong website. Those here generally are those who observe KU and its basketball program. You do not seem to be one of us. Since you lack perspective I suggest you read quietly this year and become familiar with the coach and the team. The good folks here will certainly provide that perspective for you.

waywardJay 11 years, 2 months ago

And the knowledge needed to properly contribute to top quality website.... that occasional posts stuff by morons like Tom Keegan

Chayse Patrick 11 years, 2 months ago

Are you serious? There's not a team (school) that wouldn't be tickled to death to sign a 5 star a 4 star and 2 3 star players to go along with TRob, TT EJ TR and the rest of the guys. For once maybe we'll be flying under the radar. I'm looking forward to next year already!!!! RCJH

Funhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Before they appear, let's drown them out. We love Bill!

Kevin Crook 11 years, 2 months ago

I'll take Coach Self 8 days a week and twice on Sundays. I love my Self!!!

LAJayhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

What about 13 months a year?

Damn Smarch weather....

LAJayhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Not sure I totally understand your post. I was making a reference to a "Tree House of Horror" episode of The Simpsons.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Wait, figured your post out... good ol' long division....

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

yeah - sorry about that - i heard a stupid reference to 31 somewhere ( 24+7) and figured I'd take the stupidity one more step. Sometimes I have way too much time on my hands during the day.

brooksmd 11 years, 2 months ago

Just out of curiosity, what coach would you rather KU have that you could develop a man crush on?

drum1984 11 years, 2 months ago

I think we are going to look back on this class as having been underrated by scout sites. I think Tharpe in particular is going to have an excellent career here. Another big man would be nice to get though.

Craig Lang 11 years, 2 months ago

I hope you're right, but I tend to think the opposite. I think this year's recruiting class at KU is actually overrated. With the possible exception of McLemore, I am not expecting much production this season from the new class. Self will have to rely on our veterans like Robinson, Taylor and Johnson.

I admit that I am keeping my expectations low this year. Hopefully Self and the team will prove me wrong.

John Randall 11 years, 2 months ago

"""With the possible exception of McLemore, I am not expecting much production this season from the new class."""

So, how much production do we usually get from first year players? Even the ones hyped out of sight?

What do you want to be when you grow up and have a more realistic, patient perspective?

I am expecting a good amount of production from the guys who have been putting in the time and effort to become producers, and I think we will be pleased as punch at that production.

brooksmd 11 years, 2 months ago

Somebody remind me how we did after the championship year when everybody left and HCBS had to rely on our two veterans Cole and Sherron? If you remember the twins their freshman year were about as inconsistent as you could get. So this year he will only have McLemore and three veterans, TRob, TT and EJ. Throw in Releford, and I think we have a pretty good nucleolus. How long til Late Night?

vd 11 years, 2 months ago

Fire him. We need a top notch recruiter like Barnes.

Scott Oswalt 11 years, 2 months ago

HAHAHA.... this is the funniest thing I've heard all day. LOL!!!

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, thanks for the laugh...I needed it.

Woody Cragg 11 years, 2 months ago

What a handle? Kinda like the guy with the statute for indecent liberties as a screen name! Don't fret, no one will touch it, that's for sure! Barnes can squander more talent than most any high profile coach in the country-you can have him, or Cal, or Calhoun or whomever. Just take him with you when you go. See ya!

John Randall 11 years, 2 months ago

Vicarious Domination – 'some do it, some watch'

Ventral Dorsitis – 'painful coming or going'

Victorium Demonstratum – 'don't tell me, show me'

I do hope you won't consider this a touching post.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

vd - i totally agree it's funny, and i don't want to sound like a party pooper - BUT, Barnes is really a pretty darn good recruiter. Has no clue what to do with them once he's got them, but the past few years he's had: (in no particular order) Tristan Thompson, Corey Joseph, Jordan Hamilton, Lamarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson, Chris Mihm, TJ Ford and Kevin Durant. Just so you know, I can't stand Texas and Rick Barnes means nothing to me, but I do think he is a good recruiter.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Zackly. You summed it up a whole lot quicker than I did!

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

yep! I knew I'd forget someone. Or lots of someones.

NebraskaJayhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Didn't they remove his red vest, slip a white one on him with velcro straps, and confine him to the bad boy room?

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Hold on now..Barnes may not be the x and o coach that Self is but he can recruit. He already has 5 Star Cameron Ridley in 2012. His 2011 class is #7 nationally Daniel Gibson and LaMarcus Aldridge in 2004 and #3 Nationally Kevin Durant in '07 (Possible best player ever in Big 12 BB) SG Avery Bradley (4), SF Jordan Hamilton (6) and #2 Nationally in '09 PG Cory Joseph (8), PF Tristan Thompson (17) #8 Nationally in '10 I only went back to through the Self era but he's had other great players i.e. TJ Ford prior to that.

I don't like the guy and only one Final 4 w/that talent is a crime but don't say he can't recruit.

Jeff Seymour 11 years, 2 months ago

Anyone should be able to recruit a UT, the state has 22 millon people, the college has mor money than most European countries, they have better facilities than many porfessional teams and they pay their players more. But the only time they have a sell out at bball game is when Kansas is the visiting team.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Arrangement?? Where did that come from? Argument!!

Martin Shupert 11 years, 2 months ago

Bill Self is not only a great recruiter. That isn't even his best asset. Come on guys. He's amassed the best coaching staff in college basketball. He also attracted the best strength coach. He's also the best teacher of the sport out there. Before blasting him, how about seeing how the Jayhawks do this year? I'm amazed again that there are people out there who talk about the best coach in the U.S. as if he's chicken liver. Incredible.

Viggo3003 11 years, 2 months ago

I love Bill Self but I hate you posters who call anyone who's opinion you don't like haters. So now you've made me a hater, damn you!

Jeremy Bolinger 11 years, 2 months ago

I feel the same. Dont "attack" a poster who some blind sheep will agree with, or the whole mass will turn against you and be out for you. Personally, I value the opinions of others, and I know I may come off as a bit of a smart#$% and a know it all. However, if you dont agree with people who have been posting since 2008, you are a Missouri or Kansas State troll. Apparently that's the only comeback they can think to use.

79ictjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Take a deep breath viggo! Hope your kidding here. Otherwise I hate you too! LOL

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

No kidding. I'm not putting on blinders and calling HCBS the best coach in America either...remember VCU? Just curious martyks, how do you know he is 'the best teacher of the sport out there'? He has not earned that title yet and not sure he ever will. Winning percentage and conference titles are not the determinate. He is a damn good coach who I think will win another NCAA title at KU. And I'm glad we have him.

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 2 months ago

George Goode (forward who graduated from Louisville) stated that was looking at KU and Mizzou.

DRsmith 11 years, 2 months ago

That would be awesome...jk. The guy that averaged 2.9 points and 3.5 boards? Yeah, he will save this class. Only good one coming in is Mclemore. Everyone else will just have to step up their game.

John Randall 11 years, 2 months ago

I guess I'm just too old to appreciate players convinced they already have their game over those who intend to keep stepping it up.

wtarush 11 years, 2 months ago

Missouri, Morehead State and K-State... not KU.

bhol 11 years, 2 months ago

Not every recruiting class is going to be out of this world. I'm reserving any criticims of Self's recruiting abilities (or disabilities) until after the 2012 class. No way KU can let Perry Ellis leave the state.

Craig Lang 11 years, 2 months ago

I tend to agree that this year was a "down" year for Self recruiting-wise. I don't blame him, though, as there were at least two key players (Markief and Selby -- I think he knew Marcus was leaving) that for most of the year he was not sure whether he would have to replace them. That can make it difficult to sell from a recruiting standpoint. I think 2012 will be different, and even if this upcoming year's team does not have the best rookie class, I expect to see Self rebound in the future.

lee3022 11 years, 2 months ago

After eight plus years of coach Self here it is evident that his view of prospective talent is far superior to that of any of the recruiting services as well as the fans. Coach has also shown that he recruits the pieces that fit together for any particular team. The records year after year speak completely and clearly.

I am intrigued by the 'sideways' comment. This team has some really gifted athletes that can run. I suspect we will play smaller much of the time and force other teams to adapt to us. It will be fun to watch and see what changes are made.

waywardJay 11 years, 2 months ago

there are some of these posters who cannot get over their own horrible eye sight...

They cannot see Tyshawn Playing meaningful minutes, although he has throughout his Kansas career.

They cannot see Withey as a potential weapon because he hasn't been healthy enough thus far...

They look at Traylor and Anderson and see only Rivals Numbers...

They wonder when Elijah will develop into a Point Guard capable of dethroning Tyshawn the Terrible.

They see Travis Releford as the same player he was before the injury and Immediately think that he can be the same AFTER injury.

In reality, there are only a few of us who actually know what these players can do with the roles given to them... And those few all have well paid,and high risk attached to their profession. none more so than Master Bill.

Considering the past history...4 of 5 seasons with 30+ wins..... I will trust him when he doesn't expect much of a drop off.

Marc Frey 11 years, 2 months ago

We can all post our thoughts, good or bad, about HCBS, but year after year, he reassembles a new team and we end up winning the Big 12, The Big 12 Tournament, and play in the Dance. His accomplishments speak for themselves. So until he fails, I think most of you Self haters, need to get a new hobby.

Charles Shirley 11 years, 2 months ago

To DRsmith: I'm sorry, but I would rather have a bunch of blue-collar, hard working players (such as Robinson and Releford) instead of over-hyped, underperforming recruits (such as Selby and X) any day. It seems that the guys that are hyped don't feel the need to work hard in practice or execute in games and the guys that have to work hard to get playing time execute in games because they know they only get a few chances to make a difference. Most of the ones with the hype do not pan out.

ku1otaku 11 years, 2 months ago

Can we please stop saying that Xavier Henry underperformed!? It just shows ignorance and that you are not speaking based on facts but rather emotion.

jayhawk_zeus 11 years, 2 months ago

Why would we stop saying that? Its true and he sucked....he still does. He rides the pine and averages 4.3 points per game for the griz.

meremy 11 years, 2 months ago

Okay, you've convinced me now. I'm officially dropping my long-held belief that over-hype is preferable to hard work.

I'll also add that there's a strong case to be made for delicious food over foul, disgusting food.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Self recruited Selby and Henry. Hard. I would have thought that with 'his view of prospective talent that is far superior to that of any of the recruiting services as well as the fans' he might have passed. Maybe Micah Downs as well. Just saying..

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Robinson was a 5 star, Releford a strong 4.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 2 months ago

Whether you hit a 450'-0" home run or two consecutive ground rule doubles it still counts the same..... one run!!

Reasons to be optimistic:

1] Guard play wins championships. Guard is our strongest position. 2] Not every team has a beast like Thomas Robinson. 3] Not every team has a legit seven footer like Jeff Withey. 4] No one has a snakepit like Allen Fieldhouse. 5] No one has else has Danny Manning, Joe Dooley or Curtis Townsend. 6] When Kansas is projected to have a down year, it always seems that we are the most dangerous.

Oh yeah...I almost forgot...we have a guy named Self!!

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

very good post. the only thing i would change about point #1is Guard play and defense. And if you want to throw in free throws, i'm ok with that too.

Mike Kendall 11 years, 2 months ago

Dang, Oakville----I love your posts that have lists. Very simple and simple to read. Keep 'em coming!

jgkojak 11 years, 2 months ago

I think this team is exciting.

I almost feel like HCBS was a little taken with Brady Morningstar, Xavier and Selby, and he probably didn't play some guys that needed to be playing through mistakes early to help us win late.

He has no such luxury next year. I really think the Tyshawn/Elijah guard combo is pretty deadly (who has the speed to match us there). And as was said, Robinson will be a beast. Withey will get 10 PPG and 5 RB just standing there - they'll double t-rob and he can hand Withey the ball to tap in.

We'll probably lose 4-5, be a 2 or 3 seed, but we could be pretty deadly.

mandomax 11 years, 2 months ago

could big men in the 2011 class have been scared off by 2012's Zach Peters' commitment to KU, coupled with Kaleb Tarczewski's reported interested in the program?

DRsmith 11 years, 2 months ago

If they are scared off my Peters then they can't be very good.

RockChalk1225 11 years, 2 months ago

I would like to agree with the posters who believe an underrated class can be just as good as the much hyped classes. I am just as happy getting talented kids here who want to be here because it is Kansas. Not because it is a spring board to the NBA. Look at what has been beating KU, it is kids who are hungry and motivated. They have made our so called stud recruits look silly. Give me the blue collar group! I cant wait for next year!

waywardJay 11 years, 2 months ago

Just look at the type of Big Men Tom Izzo always seems to find. HE doesn't particularly care much for the Preening, 5 star vareity. Give him a tank with alot of wear on it's tires and really sharp elbows....

Not that's i'm a big fan of Izzzo's....

Tallhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

I am a Bill Self fan, non of you have the credentials to say anything negative about Bill or the KU program. Trust me when I say, those MU fans would love to have Bill and his recruiting ways. Go KU !!!!

Mike Kendall 11 years, 2 months ago

It is always a mystery, when the KU basketball season begins. Usually, at Late Night, we Jayhawk fans see what's coming for the season. This class adds to the mystery. A lot of posters said this above---- I trust Bill Self and his staff (along with Hudy) to get the maximum out of his team. Not worried at all---just anxious, as always. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

kelman 11 years, 2 months ago

As many of you lovers and haters of KU basketball may have noticed over the past few years, recruiting will only get you so far. Selby was a 5 star talent with little desire to play college ball. Isn't it better to get "3 and 4" star players who want to be part of the history that is KU. The last time I checked Butler hasn't had a top 10 class in quite awhile while Kentucky has had several. I say bring home the team and leave the divas on the curb.

djhawk75 11 years, 2 months ago

That's a very good point. KU may actually be fortunate not to have a diva coming in this year. We currently have plenty of guys who played meaningful minutes last year, and this team will begin the year with good chemistry. But I think that success will depend in large part on Tyshawn Taylor, who now has an opportunity to be the unquestioned leader of the team. If he makes good on the opportunity this team could be great.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 2 months ago

As much as I enjoy Tyshawn and am greatful for his contributions, I hope he isn't considered the "team leader". He's not Sherron, Chalmers, Hinrich or even Robertson. As a guard, it takes a special player to distribute the ball and not to seek personal glory first. Sherron was guilty of this at times. But, he also knew how to find the wings and feed the post. Tyshawn, unless he has a change of style, is a slasher and rarely gives the ball up inside the arc. I hope there is a leader. Let's see who emerges as that guy.

NebraskaJayhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Very good point about Butler. With the coaching staff at Kansas...especially Self and Manning...3-4 star players are exactly what we need to be recruiting instead of one and dones. By the time they are seniors they'll be 5-6 star players that have been through the trenches. I don't know if Self feels he needs to have a top recruiting class because of rediculous expectations or what. He's the best coach in the NCAA and has proven that with the talent he has developed since he's arrived.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Haven't met many 6 star players and do not remember any 3 star players in the rotation in 2008. Chalmers 5 star Rush 5 star Collins 5 star Arther 5 star Robinson 5 star Sasha high 4 star Rodrick Stewart 5 star Darnell Jackson high 4 star Cole high 4 star Seems the ratings were well done...Of course having a majority of players who stayed 3-4 years didn't hurt. Butler is the exception not the rule. We could model our program like theirs but don't think most would like the results.

jayhawktalk 11 years, 2 months ago

Call me crazy, but if TRob isn't an all american after next season, I will be shocked.

I don't think that belief comes from bias, but I will readily admit that I am biased when it comes to TRob. After his personnal tragedies, I've never wished success and accolades for a player more than I do for TRob next year.

Said it on a different post, but going to throw it out there, again... Where's the article on Tarczewski's visit!?!

Ted Hume 11 years, 2 months ago

ok, ok, I'll do it: You're crazy! Yes TRob is a beast, and he will be a stud next year. But let's not get carried away. Reality is he still hasn't shown a versatile scoring game, or great touch, at all (thinking of players like Marcus, or even Collison here). Great as he will be, it's very unlikely he could ever have an All-America season with his limited skill set; he's just not an all-around scorer with range or versatility, even if he will be a monster on the block. I'm just being realistic, and I do love the kid!

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 2 months ago

His sideways commet was made to show fans he is demanding you to lower your expectations as he knows now he failed in the "home run" desire and at best came up with a double.

I saw the guys Wed. playing scrimmage ball at his camp and it is a very depleted looking team. The two big guys were not in attendance but to expect anything from anybody won't cut it.

Gary Wirsig 11 years, 2 months ago

" expect anything from anybody won't cut it." Please explain...

Tony Bandle 11 years, 2 months ago

Your total evaluartion is based on watching one pick-up scrimmage without the full roster or any coaches??

I sure hope you're not a doctor or a car mechanic.

Dirk Andrews 11 years, 2 months ago

For all the haters on here, get a new hobby. Go hang out and cry somewhere else. Are you even real KU fans? You guys are freaking out over a recruiting class. Which I might add is a very solid class that I can't wait to see on the court. Are you freaking out so much because the media (ESPN, recruiting sites, etc...) tells you that if a team doesn't land big names they're nothing? Where have you guys been for the past two years? Do the names Selby and Henry mean anything to you? We don't need guys who come in thinking they're the ish already, and who think they don't need to develop. That isn't KU basketball, never has been, never will be. "We haven’t hit a home run from a scouting service perspective, but I think we’ve got guys that fit what we need,”

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 2 months ago

Always a good read slayr..though I disagree with your choice of Mexican beers.. I don't always drink beer but when I do...I choose Dos Equius.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

"A Garden of Basketball Eden and a Garden of Sand East of It"

The difference between Self and a lot of thread rats here is that Self really does thrive on challenges.

Great players, great coaches, and great men and great women do.

Events don't always permit them to beat the odds, but more often than not they do.

There are only a few of these kinds of persons at any given time.

Most of us are just trying to keep our heads above water, dodging the exploiters, and hoping that the usually tunnel-visioned folks at the top don't make moves that ripple out and wreck what little the rest of us have saved, as they pursue more to keep living the lives their inheritances, or their great successes, or most often some of both, have accustomed them to.

But a few are shot through with the life force and literally get more pumped up the bigger the challenge becomes.

The most successful of these types of great person combine a love of challenge with a near genius IQ for seeing what I call "feasible opportunity" where others fall victim of either wishful thinking, or wait till next year.

"Feasible opportunity" is a path to achievement that could actually be accomplished, if you focus all of your energy and all of your smarts and orchestrate all of your assets and informational advantages and pick the right battle field, and shape it correctly, and campaign strategically and tactically with honesty of vision, competitive greatness and the courage to fail sometimes in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Most persons, even hugely talented ones, even many of the hardest working ones, struggle with distinguishing between "feasible opportunity" and wishful thinking.

Self could fail big time this coming season in terms of his W&L statement, because all competitive endeavor is utterly unforgiving, if one lacks in any one category of recognition and pursuit of feasible opportunity.

But Self could have failed big time last season, too. Only he clearly saw and acted on the feasible opportunity last season and negotiated the critical path to a 35 win season.

Dick Vitale foresaw a 5th place finish in the Big 12.

That's why Dick is in a booth sucking a microphone and not coaching.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Self could have failed big time in the '09 season following the championship. Only he foresaw the feasible opportunity with Sherron and Cole anchoring and Brady gluing, and a rookie kid named Tyshawn, breaking baseline from the 2 spot.

Self could have failed huge in the '08 Madness. Only he saw the feasible opportunity and negotiated the critical path through the Madness. Only he and his players saw that his team could come back in regulation against Memphis' bunch of ineligible chokers.

And even after he and his players beat Memphis, Knight, and Vitale, and most of the other talking heads that didn't get it sat talking about what had not happened--about Memphis not doing this and not doing that--instead of about what Kansas had done. They played near flawless basketball and made big play after big play. This lack of insight of these talking brain cases regarding feasible opportunity is why all them are up in the booth sucking microphones, and each other, and no longer coaching.

Knight once had one of the keenest senses of feasible opportunity ever, but he squandered it over the years by becoming too full of himself.

Vitale obviously never had it, as a coach, and knew it, and got out of the coaching business before he squandered more Spenser Haywoods, and into broadcasting, where he could recognize some feasible opportunity with the modest level of talent that he possessed and become a pleicostomas with a microphone.

I believe Bill Self has not yet gotten too full of himself. I could be wrong. But that's what I believe.

You can hear it in his voice.

He knows he missed the home run.

He ain't lying and wishful thinkin'.

He's coming out fighting. He's coming out like Nimitz after Pearl Harbor. Yeah, we took some big hits. We lost some battle ships and cruisers to the NBA draft. Everyone is panicing and saying we ought to pull back to the mainland and pray. But by god, boys, I've got four carriers with planes that can get up and deliver a knock out blow, and these four carriers are off the radar screen right now. Oh, and by the way, I can read the Rising Sun's mail and they don't know it.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Like Nimitz, Self knows he has a lot of pieces of a winning puzzle, if he can just get some luck and if he can just position the pieces correctly.

Heck, Self has pieces that he never dreamed of having in his ORU days, when he saw the feasible opportunity to build a 20 game winner at a school that was stuck in the cellar.

Self knows he has a lot of pieces of the puzzle...more and better pieces than he had at Tulsa, when he made a run to the Elite Eight.

Self knows he has a lot of pieces of the puzzle...more pieces than he had when he lead Illinois over KU in the Madness.

Self knows he has a lot pieces of the puzzle...more pieces than he had when he went to the Elite Eight with Simien's team.

He knows he has a lot of pieces of the puzzle...more proven pieces than he had in '09 when all he had to start with were just one--Sherron--and two maybes--Cole and Tyshawn.

Self knows he is starting the '11 season with 6'3" Tyshawn Taylor, a guy who is faster than anyone he faces, a guy who proved he can get to the paint and the rim against anyone last season, a guy who has finally gained strength to go with his lightening speed, some concentration to go with is bounce, a guy who shot 38% from 3 with a hand injury (and so should shoot 39-40% with a good hand this season) and a guy who is probably going to be the best point guard defender in D1. MUA 9 out of 10 games this season at the point.

Self knows he has an amazing talent in Elijah Johnson, a 6'4" combo capable of playing PG, 2 and 3 soundly, a 40% trey shooter, a orbital escape velocity leaper, and a defender on the order of Taylor. MUA 9 out of 10 games this season, if Elijah plays up to his potential.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Self knows he has a big in Thomas Robinson, who is waaaay farther along in development than Cole, Marcus, or Kieff were when he began starting them...way farther along than when Cole, and Kieff were dominant their first starting seasons. He knows Thomas has the kind of talent, at his size, that comes along once in a decade in every way but fouling and FT shooting. He knows if he can find a way to keep TRob in the game 30-35 minutes, KU can dominate the 4 spot at both ends of the floor. MUA 9 out of 10 games this season.

Self knows he has Travis Releford, a crazy talented and stronger and bouncier than most combo that can also play 4 when the opponent goes small there. He knows most teams would kill to have Travis Releford on their team and he knows he's got him. He knows that if Travis stays healthy, and has matured enough to play the game with high seriousness, that Travis promises MUA 7, maybe 8 out of 10 games tis season.

So: Self knows he starts the season with 4 pieces better than any pieces he had on the Tulsa Elite Eight team, and almost as good as any but one piece he had at Illinois, and maybe by seasons end nearly as good as the two pieces he had entering the '09 season with Sherron and Cole.

And he's got this one huge question mark in Jeff Withey, but more about that later.

And he knows he has Ben Mac coming in, who by early February, could give him all the depth he needs at the 2 and 3.

And he has Nadiir coming in, who again by early February, could give him all the depth he needs at the 1 and 2.

And he's got Jordan Juenemann and Conner Teahan for situational trifectionists, if any of the starters, or top reserves, get fouled-up, or injured, or just aren't hitting.

And he's got Justin Wesley to play chase the post man against the teams that have bigs that play outside.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Self has to be looking at this team and saying, "Well, heck, no, we don't have the kind of talent we had in '08, or the kind of depth we had last season, or the kind of proven down the middle players we had in Sherron's and Cole's second seasons together, but, man, I got more pieces going in this coming season than I ever had at Tulsa, or Illinois, or four of my eight years at Kansas years (i.e., all but '07, '08, '10, and '11."

Self has to be saying, "If I can just find a way to get 20 mpg out of a footer, which I've basically never had, anywhere, cause Jeff's been injured or sick since he's been here, well, if I can just get 20 mpg from Jeff, and we avoid the injury bug that has plagued us the last two seasons, well, we have a flippin' feasible opportunity to win conference and get hot in the Madness and get to the 16, or 8. And if you get that far, anything can happen in a two game series if your shooters are hot. Man, what is the deal with all of these hand wringin', nervous nellie Kansas fans? Don't they know that this year I've probably got as much, or more talent than Eddie ever had? Do they still not get what Oklahoma hard scrabble basketball is all about? It is about makin' do with and makin' the most out of whatever you got to work with--thick or thin?"

And so he speed dials Eddie down at Grand Lake of the Cherokees and he says, "Coach, am I gettin' too fulluh myself, like Knight, or somethin'? Am I foolin' myself? Have I lost all perspective about what I have to work with this coming season? What's goin' on here, Coach? I need some mentorin' here. Cin's out doin' some good in the community and so I can't run this by her right now."

And ol' Eddie with his feet up on the bow and his pole out to the side, and with Sean trollin' him around for lunkers, well, ol Eddie guffaws into the cell phone, and says, "Billy boy, I tole you not to take that Kansas job! I tole you all those Kansas fans were impossible to please. Its the Father of All Basketball Programs with the most hand wringing, most lacking-in-self-confidence fans of any Maybach program in the country."


"Don't but me, Billy Boy, you called for some mentorin' and that's what you're gonna get," ol' Eddie says, realizin' his most prized coaching progeny is suffering a real bout of existential Okie Baller angst up in the Wakarusa River Valley.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

"Now listen to me," Eddie continues, "I'm plain talkin' loud and clear here, Billy Boy. You have done so well up there--83% W&L statement--an '08 ring for those ingrates up there for the first time in 20 stinking years of Roy crying every spring--number one seeds in the Madness like its no big deal--number one poll rankings more often than Carter's got pills--landin' X Henry and Josh Selby when Bob Knight hisself woulda given his right you know what to come outta retirement to coach them--and you got 4 solid pieces of a 5 piece puzzle, plus a buncha young bulls comin' in, and some uh these Kansas fans are hand wringin'? You gotta be kiddin' me Billy Boy. Play your cards right, like I learned you to do, you know, guard like you're keepin' a eye on your mother's virtue, play 70 point take what they give ya all the way, then at key moments take gambles the size of bull balls with the rubes that play the percentages blind all the way, move your impact pieces around the floor where they can make big plays, and you've got another conference title to stick in their eye. And if you'd just god-dang not get so in your face we're gonna out macho ya in the grind it out, and keep takin' what they give ya, other than this NFL on wood kindda shiz, man, I wish we'dda had that word shiz, back when I was a kid, uh, so, where was I, uh, so, do like I learned ya to, Billy, don't bang'em quite so much; then these long and athletic impact guys and my beloved glue guys wouldn't burn out on ya in the Madness. From the minute you went to the Ten and learnt ta arm wrestle and street fight with that sawed off little scarface in Lansing, your competitive juices, and your Okie-deep-love of football and all that Bud "Nice Killer" Wilkinson, Barry "Stack the Deck by Cheating" Switzer and Bobbah Stoops hero lore, you started not always keepin' what me, and Paul, and Henry learnt ya front and center. Oklahoma Hard Scrabble, kid. That's what you are. That's what you will always be. And it just so happens you've made it sexy, and you are maybe the best there ever was at it. You could be the best there ever will be at it. But not if you keep drifting off message. Not if you keep thinkin' you gotta be somethin' otherin' what you are. You come from good wood, son. I know your old man."

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Eddied continued.

"And you played for a pure, pure, pure good Okie Ballin' man in Paul Hansen. And you sat at the foot and were taught by Hank hisself. And Larry Brown? That little street ball sucker taught you all about what was sharp and shrewd outside uh Okie Ball. And Leonard? He is a waaaay smart basketball man, who just lacks a bit of the charisma we all need some of, like I lacked it, but who really learnt you about what it was like to be uh African American in a white man's world. And Billy Boy, you needed that like I need that like every white man needs that, if they are gonna live and work and respect and be team players with African American coaches and players, which God and the Declaration and the Constitution say we should, so except for the dumb racists, somethings don't need no further justification, ya follow? You cain't learn about another kinda person without workin' with'em, not really. The only way to get past ignorance about another kinda person is to see that person sweat the details and try to fit the pieces together and handle the doubters That's where common humanity; that's where we discover we are all the same, only different individually. And Billy Boy, when you got to work under Leonard Hamilton, you got dealt one of the biggest aces in the deck that you coulda been dealt. And by the time I got ya, well, you were like this perfectly formed, slick and beautiful glass milk bottle ready for me to poor the pure, raw, unhomogenized milk and cream of my 30 years of stumblin' through the darkness of trying to take the best of Hank and the best of me and form it into a kind of modern day Oklahoma Hardscrabble kinda ball that all kinda American boys and girls could play, no matter what kinda talent god gave'em, and no matter what color they wuz, and no matter how rich, or poor, their daddies were. And man did the cream ever rise to the top in you, Billy Boy!"

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

"Shoot, Coach, I can't even get a word in edgewise and I don't deserve that," Bill interrupts, puffing up big, but trying to compensate with the midwestern self-effacing thing.

"Kid, cut the crap with ol'Coach," Eddie says, "I'm as midwestern as an International Travellall, but I know the 'midwestern humble thang' is just the wall paper on a brick wall of I want it so bad I can taste it. I been poor kid, real poor. Dirt eating poor. Poor like even some of these ghetto kids don't get. Bucklin wasn't no Bella Vista, when I grew up in it. It warn't no Garden of Eden. It was more like the "Garden of Sand" by Earl Thompson, the real greatest writer Kansas, or the midwest, or maybe America ever produced in the 20th Century--he had the proper take-what-they-give-ya follow-up to Herman Flippin' Melville, not Teddy Dreiser, Billy Boy, and sure not to these god danged sensitives and thriller writers cloggin' up the book shelves these days." Eddie pauses and curses at a big strike that he just missed setting the hook on, then resumes. "I don't abide with ol' Earl's need to portray the prurient, but the fact is he didn't portray nothin' prurient that didn't go on sometimes among the most unfortunate. Life is hard, hard, hard, and sometimes there ain't no bottom to down for some poor folks. Hell, yes, we oughta take care of all of 'em, unless were bigger stinkin' monsters than all the crooked investment bankers that just shagged us all for those fake insured derivatives and then stole the bail out too. Earl Thompson told it like it was in ol'North Wichita, kid, like it still is in many places, for a whole lotta poor folks, for too many poor folks, in the midwest, heck across this country, heck, around this big wide world."

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Eddie pauses and gives Sean directions to troll the next cove over, then resumes. "Billy, I ain't sayin' you're god, or nothin'. I'm just sayin' you're the best Okie Ballin' coach Hank's family tree ever produced, but ya gotta stay true to your self and your roots and your code now more than ever. Ya can't let a bunch of spoilt, self-doubtin', hand wringers make ya doubt what your horse sense is tellin' ya. Ya got three, maybe four MUAs, kiddoe; that's one, maybe two more than 80, maybe 90 percent of the D1 teams in America. Don't you go doubtin' yerself, Billy. One thing ol' Oral Roberts knew. Doubt won't get you a gin fizz in a bottle club, kid, nor a full tent in a depression. Ya gotta believe in what you know to be true...whatever the heck it is...whatever the heck a bunch of 'lookie lou's' thinks." Eddie pauses again and barks at Sean to slow the boat down. "Ya don't catch fish by trollin' fasternin' the fish can swim and ya don't win basketball games by runnin' fasterin' your best boys can play 38 hard minutes. Last year ya got sucked in by a cornucopia of depth, kid. I told ya, shorten that flippin' bench December 1st, not January 1st. And run the first 8 kids ragged till the best seven of those 8 on any given night can go 38 on a day's rest come March. 38 on a days rest; that's the gold standard. Some things never change. Good women confuse ya while they're savin' ya. Bad women make ya think you understand, while they're wreckin' ya. Smart men try to be the best at what they are. Dumb men try to be the best at what they ain't. And seven of eight good boys that play great together and can go 38 on a days rest beat a bushel of talent that can't go 38 on a days rest, and they'll beat'em 9 dang times out of ten. Don't listen to that stinkin' jaybate talk about playin' 9 or 10 and runnin'."

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Eddie continues.

"jaybate may be a little smarter than a door knob, but he's still just another lookie-lou. You run the tails off your best 8, play your best seven, add the 8th situationally, and take what they give ya, run when they give it, walk when they give it, and gamble when the cards favor you, and not when not, and you will have another conference ring and be in position to get hot in March." Eddie pauses one more time. "You're at the Garden of Basketball Eden, kid, but east of Eden is a garden of sand, just like ol Earl wrote. Stay out of it. Keep your chin up. Now, I gotta go kid. Sean's got my Mepps spinner hung up on a rock and I was born poor enough that I just hate cuttin' a line and reachin' for a new Mepps, ya know? All for now kid."


(Note: all of Bill and Eddie is fiction. No malice.)

(Note: If you are curious about Kansan author Earl Thompson, read the following comment about him at the following link 'before' seeking out his books. They are not for the faint hearted. But they maybe a necessary antidote for people who think it was all okay, once upon a time in Kansas, or anywhere else. Ad astra per aspera and rock chalk!)

REHawk 11 years, 2 months ago

O Lordy, Jaybate, you are settin' the hook for some huge lunkers!

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Good! If you wanna be part of the first 8, ya gotta be ready to go a hard 38 on a day's rest!

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

lol - absolutely. hey - you never did answer my question about if you caught any walleye on that trip back in the 60's.....

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

You mean trips. Every year for six straight years to the Border Waters.

And I caught small mouths, walleyed pike, and northern pike like they were minnows being seined.

Back in those days you could catch fish and there was no stocking the puppies either!

Are you ready for a fish story?

My favorite catch of all was most unusual.

We're anchored on a rocky point in our little 16 foot Alumaweld with my dad's Q-ship outboard motor, an early 50s, really rare, green Kiekhaffer Mercury 10 horse racing motor (god, how I wish I had that motor now!).

We had caught three small mouths in a cove, and had trolled a bit and caught a walleye. And had decided to stop and try a rocky point in this lake that had been good to us the day before.

So: I drop the stringer of small mouths and his prized walleye he had caught earlier over the side at the bow, and start fishing. I'm fishing with a silver Rapala. I'm 12, maybe 11. I don't finesse. I throw the sucker out and reel it in fast and repeat. Third rep I get this serious strike.

But I lose it.

I cast again. It was an old Garcia Mitchell 308 with a right hand reel so I could cast the rod with my left. I'm a south paw and it was my Dad's special gift to me that year.

Anyway, next cast, I get another big strike, only about 15 yards closer in.

Miss it again!

My dad shakes his head, and says, "Have you forgotten everything I ever taught you about setting a hook? Thank heavens we aren't depending on you for dinner."

Cast again and I get another strike not ten yards from the boat and this time the line starts going out like I caught a freight train.

Very shortly, I try to tighten the drag just a little, and the line snaps. I didn't have a wire leader, because we weren't fishing for Northerns.

I started yelling and cursing about losing the fish again and my Dad got toasted about my cursing. I had never done that in front of him before. So, he grabs my rod and tells me to sit there and watch my mouth till I cool down.

So, he's sitting there tying a swivel and wire leader on my line, and then adding a Johnson's silver spoon and setting it down across the benches; then returning to cast off the stern. He had to be laughing his head off inside, as I was practically wanting to dive into the lake to catch the fish. And I was wanting to kill him, too, for keeping me from this huge fish out there, which I was sure had to be the biggest Northern ever, and he's doing the fishing equivalent of benching me for cursing, but taunting me with this ready to fish rod of mine.

And then the stringer on the bow rattles.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

And then it rattles again, so I pull it up a little ways to see if the stringer is dragging on a rock and in that clear, cold border lake water, I see a Northern has bitten ahold of the smallest small mouth bass on the stringer. I call out, "$hit! Look at this! There's a Northern biting the fish on the stringer!" But then it let go, as I pulled it toward the surface.

Now, my Dad is really hot.

"I said watch you mouth, son, and I meant it! I'm going to take you back to the lodge, if you don't stop it."

"But there was..."

"That wasn't any Northern," he said. "It had to be a turtle, or something. Northern don't just swim up and bite fish on a stringer."

"But I saw it!"

"If I could catch Northern with fish on a stringer, I sure as hell wouldn't waste gasoline trolling deep for the damn things. Now be still! You're scaring the fish away."

He had a double standard about cursing.

So we sat there in silence for a minute or so, and then the stringer rattled again.

This time I pulled up the stringer as fast and as hard as I could and the Northern was latched hard onto his walleye, and twisting and tearing at it. I got this Northern maybe a third of the way out of the water, enough so my dad could see him, before the Northern let go and slipped back in the water.

I'd never seen my dad's eyes get so big.

I leaned over the side and said, "Its down there, I can see it! Its coming back!"

I kid you not; this Northern was coming back for the fish on our stringer. It was kind of like a mini-Moby Dick, or micro Jaws, only Jaws hadn't been written yet, much less made into a summer blockbuster.

The stringer started rattling again and I tried to pull the Northern in again, but this time I only got him to the surface before he let go.

"$hit! It must be a Muskie," I shouted.

Muskie's were the legendary fighting relatives of the Northern. They were scarce even in those days in those waters and I had never seen one at that point.

"There aren't any Muskies in this lake!" my Dad shouted. The stringer rattled again. This time the fish had bit into his walleye.

"Its biting your walleye!"

"Well, pull the stringer into the boat damnit!"

I pulled the stringer out and looked at slashed flesh near the walleye's tail.

"$hit, look at that!"

"Will you stop saying '$hit'! and take your rod and catch the damned thing."

And in two casts I hooked him and the hilarious thing was that he put up a big fight and I was sure that he was a trophy Northern, but when I actually got him in the boat and my dad whacked him in the head with the mallot he used for thumping Northerns, the thing was only about 28 inches long!

That's all folks, and that ain't no stretcher, neither.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

jaybate..... I don't know what to say, so I'll just say THANKS!! I was expecting a simple "yeah, we caught a few keepers", temporarily forgetting who I was dealing with here. Forget what these other knuckleheads say - you can tell me fish stories like that anytime. Besides the fact that I love fishing ALMOST as much as KU Basketball, you're a dang good story teller. I'm going to have to start reading all but the first couple of sentences of all your posts. Sincerely. Thank you. Hopefully you're out fishing right now and won't see this until later.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Thx. But I'm between boats right now. Looking for one though. :-)

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

jay - I'm looking as well. Like great KU basketball articles and events, they are very difficult to find this time of year (at the right price). Maybe we'll both do better in the fall. On the boats AND the KU basketball stuff !

FoCoCoHawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate's real job: Scroll wheel sales rep.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Scroll wheels are so Naught Decade!

Get yourself an iMac and stroke it!

Paul Hurley 11 years, 2 months ago

can someone please tell jaybate to shut the !&$@ up!!!

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

Can someone please tell Mr. Brain Dead above that anyone can, but no one but the hosts of the site can make it stick. :-)

brooksmd 11 years, 2 months ago

Not me. I'd rather read jaybate than alot of the s**t on this board. Ooops, sorry for cursing jaybate. Loved your posts.

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