Self offering insiders’ view

Friday, April 6, 2012

John Calipari, a voice we all will hear plenty of in the coming year — important public service message: Don’t let that remote get swallowed by the couch — bled famous words when asked Sunday if he had ever watched the 2008 national-title game.

“I have never looked at that tape,” Calipari said the day before his Kentucky team defeated Kansas, 67-59, to win the national title. “That tape was flung out the door of the bus as we were going to the plane.”

Bill Self, who beat Calipari’s Memphis team in ’08 and lost to his Kentucky team Monday night in New Orleans, knows the feeling. He said he only watched the tape of one of his Elite Eight losses, and that was in preparation for facing the team again.

“In this case,” Self said Thursday of Monday’s national-title game tape from a couch in the anteroom of his office, “I’m so proud of our kids. I’m so happy for them. They tried so hard, and I haven’t watched it yet. I’m going to, and I’m going to soak up every minute of it. The way I look at it, I don’t think we got beat. I think we ran out of time. We didn’t play well the first half and spotted them too much.”

Gentlemen, as long as you are at least 35 years old, Self wants you to join him when he watches a replay of the comeback and talks about what they tried, what worked, what didn’t, what he might have tried but decided against doing so. He also wants you to do the same for a film breakdown session of the rally from 19 points down in the second half to victory against Missouri in overtime.

He, his assistants and former players want to coach you for three days, while you wear a Kansas uniform in games in which all stats are recorded and every second is videotaped, so that he and/or other coaches can share their insights into your game.

Then he wants to join you at a social event and have you to his house for a cookout and stories you won’t read in the newspaper because he only tells them off the record. They’ll split your gut. And the next day in practice he’ll give you a chance to experience what it’s like to have strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy bust your gut.

Self wants you to listen to him walk through the scouting report for the national-title game against Kentucky.

He wants you to feel what it’s like to be introduced with all the normal Allen Fieldhouse fanfare, including the video highlighting all the tradition.

The first Bill Self Basketball Fantasy Camp takes place April 13-15. Close to 40 campers, ranging from former college players to aging driveway hacks, have signed up from all over the country. Self wants the camp to have more of a Kansas flavor, so he has slashed the price for the three-day camp from $4,995 to $2,995 for Williams Fund members. He said he will cap it at 46 players, so don’t let indecisiveness freeze you out of a good time yet again. If you’d rather coach than play, there’s a spot for you as well.

Those interested should call Matt Chacksfield at 785-318-4005 or contact him at

Self worked the Michael Jordan Fantasy Camp multiple times and is trying it in Lawrence. The proceeds go to the charitable Assist Foundation that he and wife Cindy started.

“It’s a pretty cool deal,” Self said of the fantasy camp.

Coaches watch the players work out, and they draft their teams, based on their notes.

“Some of the guys are hard-core,” Self said. “But you just come for the experience and the fellowship. To be honest, the biggest reason you should come is because of networking.”

Self will give campers a taste of the coach behind the smile.

“There’s nobody coming in here that doesn’t want to get their butt jumped,” Self said. “Everybody wants to get yelled at. I mean, it’s amazing to me. Kids, when they’re playing, nobody likes getting yelled at, but when they’re older, (they’re like): ‘Give me that.’ If they’re selfish, or if they don’t set a screen, then they deserve to be yelled at a little bit. But some of the guys we’ll be yelling at are CEOs of some Fortune 500 companies, so we won’t yell that loud.”

What a cool early Father’s Day gift a spot in the camp would make for a guy who has provided well enough for his family that the Assist Foundation donation wouldn’t be missed.