Sunday, March 25, 2012

KU notebook: Bill Self praises predecessor Roy Williams


— Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self publicly praised his predecessor, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, on Saturday at Edward Jones Dome.

“There’s some things that he’s done academically. Some things like that were so enforced, I think kind of a mind-set within the department, that we have been able to take it and run with it,” ninth-year KU coach Self said.

“We’re graduating all our guys. Our APR is (perfect) 1,000 the last six years. I mean, there’s a lot of good things going on, which I think means as much to having a program as winning games do. And when he was there, he built the program.”

Bitterness revisited: Self was asked about the bitterness of some KU fans toward Williams’ leaving KU for his alma mater, UNC.

“I’ll be real honest with you. I think that anybody that basically said that they had so much dislike or whatever for coach Williams because he left, I think all he should ever take in is it was a back-handed compliment. If they didn’t care for him so much, why would they care if he left?

“The other thing ... (it) kind of upset me because that made me feel like they must really want him here a lot more than they want me here, which they did. It took a few years to try to balance that out. Inside the walls (of program), there was never any animosity, nothing like that. He and his staff did a remarkable job there. Won a lot of games and conducted themselves in a very favorable way. And the foundation was set even though I think the foundation was set also before Roy got there, too. I think winning a national championship (with Larry Brown in 1988) helps set it also, but he just did a remarkable job, and we were the beneficiaries of taking over a healthy program.”

Moving up: KU’s Thomas Robinson is in second place on KU’s single-season rebounding list (429 to Wilt Chamberlain’s 510).

“I am? Wow,” Robinson said, informed of that feat. “It hasn’t hit me ... everything I did this year. I want to keep adding to it. I’m not ready for my career to be over with. (I want to) just keep playing,” added Robinson, who figures to declare for the NBA Draft at the conclusion of the season.

Will shooting improve?: KU hit 37.5 percent of its shots (one of 14 threes) in Friday’s 60-57 Sweet 16 win over North Carolina State, 33.9 percent (six of 24 threes) in a 63-60 second-round win over Purdue and 46 percent (five of 16 threes) in a 65-50 first-round win over Detroit.

“It’s hard to get assists if you never make a shot. I mean, we really pass it well,” Self said. KU had 13 assists, 14 turnovers vs. N.C. State; 10 assists, seven turnovers vs. Purdue; and 12 assists, 14 turnovers vs. Detroit.

“The last two games we played were Big 10 games when I was at Illinois. I’ve always thought at Kansas, my mind-set was the first one to 70 always wins. Always. Either road or home, if I’m at Kansas, if a team, if I’m the first one to 70, we should win. Now, (that) doesn’t mean we always do, but we should if you take enough pride defensively.

“Now it’s the first one to 60. Still, we were the second-leading scoring team I think in our league. I know we can score better than what we have. We just have got to find a way to manufacture some easy baskets so guys get confidence. One thing I think, and those that have played know this, guys think that they get confidence by making hard shots. It’s unbelievable to me, you’re oh-fer, and then you want to take guarded shots. Why don’t you make a layup and then all of a sudden you think you can’t be stopped, even though it’s an uncontested layup or get to the free-throw line or something?

“I don’t think our shot selection’s been that poor. I just think we haven’t shot the ball well. But I get great pride in that, because to me, to me when you make shots, you should win. And when you don’t, you’ve got to kind of find a way to grit it out. And I take pride in gritting those games out.”

This, that: KU assistant Joe Dooley is being listed as a possible candidate for the head-coaching position at Mississippi State. ... KU (2,068) and UNC (2,065) rank second and third in all-time victories. Kentucky (2,087) is all-time leader. ... Self is 2-1 in games coached against Williams. Self was 1-1 versus KU as Illinois coach and is 1-0 versus UNC. ... KU has been to 13 Final Fours. ... KU is 6-1 all-time in tourney games in St. Louis, including a 5-1 mark in Jones Dome. ... UNC leads the all-time series, 6-3, yet the series is tied 2-2 in the NCAAs. ... Self watched tape of the Jayhawks’ 2008 Final Four semifinal victory over North Carolina at brunch Saturday. He said some Jayhawks watched part of the tape, looking at tendencies.

Williams ill: Williams had a severe dizzy spell in Friday’s Sweet 16 win over Ohio.

“I didn’t feel very well. The blood rush getting up and down, and I’ve had a cold for three weeks. I’m a yeller, and trying to get information out to my guys, and I don’t think they can hear me. So I’m trying to yell louder,” he said. “And all of a sudden, I feel this pain in the temples and things start a little dizzy, and I go black for two or three seconds. And it happened more often last night than any game that I’ve ever coached.”

“I think it’s directly related to the frustration of not being able to get guys to hear me. And after the game I had a little headache, not bad. I got something to eat, feel great today. I just wish I would get over this dadgum sore throat is the bottom line.

“But when I was at Kansas, they got worried about it one time and sneaked me into the hospital one night and ran all these tests. And I don’t know that they really cared that much about me or just didn’t want me to die on their watch. So I come to North Carolina, and they have done the same thing. But I’ve been to the Mayo Clinic, and they said I have a benign positional vertigo, and I need to be careful with some of those things. But it’s something that started with me when I was 13 years old. And just any time I would jump up quickly and try to do something, I have that little two- or three-second deal. So I tell everybody not worry about it, just my assistants are good, because if they think I’m going all the way down, if we’re playing well, they catch me. And if we’re playing poorly, they’re afraid that I’m going to do something else, so then they try to push me away. Or I should say vice versa type of thing. But, no, I’m fine.”

Mizzou revisited: Self’s players said they were touched by his reaction after the 87-86 overtime home victory over Missouri, in which KU erased a 19-point deficit.

“I think they said, ‘No curfew, right, coach?’ That was about it,” Self said of the team reaction.

Of his fist-pumping and arms raised over his head at the buzzer, he said: “That was just an emotional game because there was so much pent-up frustration on a lot of different fronts for a lot of different reasons. To have a team come from 19 down midway through the second half against a team that was a top-five team in the country, I thought was pretty remarkable for our kids.

“And it’s probably the best basketball regular-season game that I’ll ever be a part of. And not just this year, but maybe the rest of my life. And those kids, too. So that was probably more the emotional thing of it. But I think our guys know me pretty well. I’m a fairly emotional guy. If I can say it, I can get it off my chest. I don’t carry around frustration or anything unless I can’t say it, and then I do. But if I can say it, I can get it off my chest, and our guys have kind of learned to take me for what I am.”

Harrison says: North Carolina sophomore small forward Harrison Barnes looked back on when he was being recruited by Kansas: “Coach Self was definitely one of my favorite coaches during the recruiting process,” Barnes said. “He was just always real laid-back, a real player’s coach. My mom loved him a lot. Just getting to know the Kansas program, I have nothing but respect for them.”

Why, then, did Barnes choose to go to North Carolina and not Kansas?

“It was a few things,” Barnes said. “Academics definitely factored in, in terms of the undergraduate business schools. And player relations. I felt like I got along better with the UNC players than the players at any of the other schools.”

KU senior guard Tyshawn Taylor was his host for the visit.

“Nice kid,” Taylor said of what he remembered. “Really wasn’t too talkative, just nice and kind of observant. He looked like he was having fun and he jelled with us, and he enjoyed himself.”

Taylor indicated he wasn’t as easy to read as some recruits.

“Sometimes, a lot of guys show a lot of emotion and are like, ‘Man, this is crazy.’ He wasn’t one of those guys,” Taylor said. “He really didn’t show too much emotion. He was kind of taking it all in. After he left, coach asked, ‘What did you think?’ I always say I don’t know how they can come on a visit and not want to commit. I never understand that.”

More Barnes: Barnes said it didn’t take him long after arriving in St. Louis to figure out how some extreme Kansas fans feel about North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who coached Kansas to four Final Fours in his 15 years: “I was in the hotel the other day and I saw a Kansas shirt that said, ‘Why play with Roy when I can play with myself?’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is the Sweet 16 right now, we’re not even playing you guys yet.’ It’s definitely extra motivation to try to get the win for him.”

Recruiting: Shabazz Muhammad, a 6-6 senior guard from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, will announce his college choice on April 10, and Tony Parker, a 6-9 forward from Miller Grove High in Lithonia, Ga., on April 11, reports. Parker is considering KU, UCLA, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis and Georgia. Muhammad is considering UCLA, KU, Kentucky, Duke and UNLV. UCLA is believed to be the leader.


spacey440 10 years, 8 months ago

What a joke. Roy Williams remade KU bball and without him we'd still be doing the Ted Owens shuffle cause Brown was not gonna stay. God I love Roy

RJ King 10 years, 8 months ago

He was referring to the T-shirt. The shirt's been around for awhile. It's kind of funny when you first see it in the store. Can't imagine paying $ thinking you'll actually wear it.

I like and admire Roy too. He's a big part of the Good Book of Kansas Basketball.

Momanfan2015 10 years, 8 months ago

The hate on Roy needs to stop. I think we are fine without him and he gave everything he had to this place.

Stephen Johnson 10 years, 8 months ago

We were soooo fortunate to have had both Brown and Williams as coaches at KU. I thought I would never get over Williams leaving and that I would be angry about that forever. However, Bill Self has made me forget. He has won 8 straight Big 12 championships!!! He has the best winning percentage of any KU coach and brought us a NC in 2008.

cklarock 10 years, 8 months ago

+1 to that +1. Let's leave the loser thinking to Missouri.

Coach Williams elevated the program while he was here. He was a great coach for us, and as Coach Self has said, did things right while he was here.

Marc Frey 10 years, 8 months ago

Plus, it is due to a Jayhawk that NC has a program anyway.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

As Bill Self says, Roy left the program in terrific shape, on many fronts. The guy committed fifteen years of his life to maintaining and building upon a first class hoops establishment. He left behind some marvelous players and a clean program for the guy who leaped at the opportunity to grab the job. It is past time for his name to be etched lastingly on the edifices of Jayhawk hoops monuments.
However, this evening the Jayhawks need to step up, resurrect an offense, and send North Carolina home to watch the Final Four on television. If Roy is left behind to shed another tear, so be it. Perhaps we can provide him with a dandy little Jayhawk emblem to wear next weekend in New Orleans.

TulsaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I totally agree. After he wore the Jayhawk after we beat him in 2008, it showed a lot of character on his part.

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree, he is a great coach, and did us proud and he really was the one who built the program. I bear no ill will against him. All he did was go home, and I believe it was very hard for him. A Hall of Fame coach for sure.

That said, the charge that he did not recruit in the East because he didn't want to compete with UNC now rings very true. He, and Larry Brown before him, always said "Kids from the East don't want to come here." Maybe it was true at one time, but Self showed it is nonsense now. At the time, I'd have said it was ridiculous to suggest that he would lessen his own success by not going after certain players, but I now believe he didn't want to compete with UNC and didn't think he really had to, maybe with some justification. He did get a lot of great players from the Midwest and the West.

I will always be grateful for the 15 years of fantastic basketball he gave us. I am glad to see his success at UNC. He's happy, their happy, and we are happy.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

I really don't understand hating Roy, I understand wanting to beat him every time we play to say, ya, KU is better. I understand wanting to beat a team like UNC every time we play, for one thing they are right on our tails in all-time wins and head to head matchups are key, on top of that it's just a huge name to play. He was a great figure for the program and the institution and I was proud to root for him and the teams he put on the floor. It was upsetting that he left, but we found a great replacement and we're better off in the long run with HCBS who will hopefully be at KU for years and years.

Our players said earlier against Duke this is why you come to a place like Kansas, to play in these games, hopefully they are stoked to get the W this time, when it really counts. The shirt obviously should have read "Why play with Roy when I can play with my Self" which is solid, but we definitely don't need to give UNC any extra motivation. I think our guys knew how bad all of KU wanted the win in 2008 and it gave them extra motivation.

Hank Cross 10 years, 8 months ago

To say Roy remade KU BB is a joke. Larry Brown was the one who resurrected KU BB. 2 FFs and 1 NC in 5 years. Brown got his best player to win an NC with a meager supporting cast. Roy couldn't even get Pierce to the FF with 3 other NBAers on the roster. Plus, you never thought that Brown was pining for the UNC job the whole time he was here.

There was a Denver Post piece that said that Roy never taught his KU teams to take a punch in the mouth. That was right on target. Year after year they'd get beat in the same way by quick guards like Hardaway and UTEP and Harold Deane and UVa and Roy never made any adjustments. Other than the team that got beat by Duke in the NC, Roy's achievements aren't that great when you consider the talent that he had.

Paul Mitten 10 years, 8 months ago

Coach Brown was a great coach, but do you remember the mess he left the program in? Just saying... the very fact that an assistant with no HC experience got the coaching job of all coaching jobs tells you that LB achieved success but he wasn't leaving much of a program behind. Let's take the good and the bad, shall we? LB was a great coach and got a ring, but Roy did a great job at Kansas. Sorry to bring it up again, but was it Roy's fault that we went 12-30 on the FT line against Syracuse? That was about as much of a freak occurrence as, I don't know, Mario's shot... consider that one.

Eric Dawson 10 years, 8 months ago

The "mess" was post-season probation, triggered by a violation that today is no longer a violation, in large part because of the stink that was raised from the unfairness of that probation. Also keep in mind that the penalty would have been a lot less except for pre-existing football program issues that led the NCAA to invoke the dreaded "lack of institutional control".

Other than that, Roy's 1988-89 roster included JR PG Kevin Pritchard, RSSO F Mark Randall, SR G/F Milt Newton, JR G Jeff Gueldner and SO F Mike Maddox (all but Gueldner averaging double figures scoring), lacking only an impact player to replace the lost Manning, a difficult recruiting assignment regardless of the situation. Yet despite the loss of Manning, they still finished 19-12 (only one more loss than the previous year, mind you), and probably would have made the NCAA-T but for the probation.

Did the probation make it a little tougher for Roy to recruit? Sure, but he still landed Adonis Jordan, and with the addition of transfers Ricky Calloway (from Indiana) and Terry Brown in 1989-90, they went 30-5 that next year.

Bob Frederick hired an untested assistant on the advice of Dean Smith, who 5 years earlier had recommended Larry Brown, who old-timers will recall was also a controversial hire that worked out for KU.

Brown put Kansas back on the national stage again, and Roy took the solid core that was left and built on it to keep Kansas on that stage.

NOT taking away from what Roy accomplished. Winningest program of the 1990s and 4 FFs is pretty incredible. Just saying that denying what Larry Brown accomplished and left for Roy to carry forward with is unrealistic and unfair.

cklarock 10 years, 8 months ago

Great history lesson, I hope all the misinformed have a read. Coach Brown -> Coach Williams -> Coach Self. We've been a lucky bunch to have them.

Those three have established Kansas as a top-5 program that wins ball games at a ferocious clip and graduates its athletes. It's a great day to be a Jayhawk!

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 8 months ago

LT: He did have some good players left, but as I remember Adonis is the only recruit that stayed. The rest bailed when probation was announced.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 8 months ago

The probation could have been avoided. KU administrators were arrogant enough to think they could handle this issue without outside counsel and in the end got smacked by the NCAA.

Had KU hired one of the firms that specialized in this type of litigation, it is very likely that KU would have gotten no more than a slap in the wrist.

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I believe that a coach paying for a player's plane ticket is still a violation. Larry should have known better, but if Vincent Askew had paid him back, it would not have been a violation. Surprise, Askew really didn't care.

The football mess was caused by Don Fambrough, and no one else.

AllenFieldmouse 10 years, 8 months ago

I think you've hit on the one major difference between HCBS' teams and Williams teams: Roy's Jayhawks always seemed to be the team with far and above the most talent on the court, but would get easily rattled by physical play, and fold (like origami, but fold just the same), whereas HCBS teams fight through the uncalled fouls, as witnessed against NC State, and scrap their way to the top.

If the officiating is tight, it favors Williams' brand of precision play, but if the zebras let the boys play, this is the Jayhawks' game to win ugly.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 8 months ago

If you followed conference play (Big 8, Big 12) for as far as I can remember, including the William years, you would know that the ref in the conference always called tight games. This ended up hurting the conference at tournament time, when a lot more physical play was allowed but the conference teams were not used to it. It was a big advantage for conferences such as the Big 10, where physical play was the norm.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 8 months ago

How did my post above (reply to AllenFieldmopuse) ended up in two places?

actorman 10 years, 8 months ago

"Plus, you never thought that Brown was pining for the UNC job the whole time he was here."

You ARE kidding, right????? That may be the single dumbest comment I've ever read here (and that's saying something). You do realize that we're talking about Larry Brown, right? The guy who never met a next job he didn't like? The guy who moved so often that Misuse fans held up a sign saying he would be quitting at halftime of the ISU game? The guy who promised everywhere that he would stay and never kept that promise?

Don't get me wrong, I love what he did while he was at KU, and '88 was incredible. But if you think that Roy wanting to leave for only one job, which happened to be his alma mater, was worse than Brown pining for every job short of Division 3 that came along, then you're out of your freaking mind!

TulsaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I have to disagree on coach Williams legacy. He took a program with no recruits his first year, and built up a final four team after two years. He took kids that were not highly recruited and made KU a consistent winner.

He finally was able to recruit talent, but also talent with no off court issues. We win and have a good program because of the foundation he laid, just like coach Self said.

Anyway we're in the Final Four!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk, go KU!

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I disagree. Larry did a great job, but we were not there with recruiting. He was getting his system down the first two years, but he did have immediate success. 86 was a great team, 87 ok, 88 started great, fell, finished great. The 86 team was dominated by Owen's recruits - Calvin Thompson, Ron Kellogg, Greg Dreiling. He brought some good players, but except for Danny, not really great players. No disrespect to Kevin Prichard and Mark Randall, these were guys that did play professionally. I loved those players on Brown's teams.

As noted, things were a bit of a mess when Larry left. It was really bad, we nearly had the death penalty, but part of that was due to football troubles in the early 80s. It felt like the program had fallen hard.

Roy came along, provided stability, and consistently (although Bill Self is more consistent) brought in very talented players. Except for 89 and 99, we always had talented teams, though sometimes young. He took the program beyond what Ted Owens had done, in my opinion. Roy did not maintain what Larry built, he built on it to make us a stronger program than ever, or at least since the 1950s.

We all know the team with th e most talent does not always win.Any coach that takes us to Four Final Fours and two Finals is a winner... period.

jayhawker_97 10 years, 8 months ago

"And when he was there, he built the program.”

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

He did rebuild the program. My four years at KU were Owen's last four. I confess ignorance of the history at the time, but I wondered at the time what the fuss was about KU basketball. We had one good team, three bad ones. Larry started the rebuilding, Roy took it to a "reloading" level where we consistently had good teams, Owens, the coach for 19 years, did have some very good teams, but was not as consistent.

KU fans are now very spoiled and take our success as expected. I am glad we are so spoiled, but I remember the thrill when we had a some Top 10 teams for the first time in awhile. The 88 team success was a total shock after losing seven players. Remember Larry only won one Big 8 Championship in 5 years.

KellyGerling 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm a fan of KU. When Roy left I attempted to write the whole story of his departure. I did quite a bit of research and published it in Carolina Blue. If anyone wants to go in-depth into Roy's departure and what it means about him as a leader, and what leaders can learn from him, take a look:

I sent it to Roy. He was kind enough to read it and write back. He liked it, he said.

If you want to give me feedback about the article (it is a long piece) just write to

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

Kind of a long read, but I liked it. I have always felt exactly the way you did, he's just a guy who went back home. I did the same thing, it just wasn't at a job with the kind of media scrutiny Roy got. I still hope that the haters are still the minority, at least I hope!

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I didn't read it, but that is it exactly. He just went home.

kef104 10 years, 8 months ago

Kelly, thank you for the link to your article. Most of it I already knew, but it was refreshing to read again. Coach Williams was and remains a class act for Kansas. I am glad Coach Self is giving him his due respects. It also says much about how Coach Self has grown since coming to Kansas. Here's hoping Self has the team fired up enough to make the final 4. This should be a good game for us. I truly believe we are better when we pass down the court rather than slowly walk it down.

mojayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Coach Brown resurrected the program. Coach Williams carried it on, and was/is a great coach. Coach Self is the third in a series of Great Great coaches! No need to hate on any of them. We have enjoyed basketball at its finest since 1985.
It's great to be a Jayhawk!

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago


Agree on LB.

Regarding Roy, we will never really know how good he could have been at KU, because he never recruited east to the Mississippi. All we know is that he's won two rings at UNC recruiting both halves; that tells me he's a good enough coach to win rings. Surely, he would have won two rings in 15 years at KU, probably more like four, recruiting both halves.

John Wooden once said of Roy in Roy's Kansas days that Roy's teams were playing the best ball of anyone in the country. And Jerry West wanted Roy to come and coach the Lakers; that was how great Roy was. He was the natural of his generation. After losing to Bob Knight once while at KU, when Knight was at the peak of his skills, young Roy out-coached Knight each time they met. Roy had such a great basketball mind that he was able to improve on Dean's game, and Dean was an obsessive genius, when it came to the strategy of the Carolina game. Roy was wonder boy. Roy from the beginning could play with 7 or play with 12.

Roy had and still has weaknesses, as all great coaches do. Phog Allen invented and improvised too much to ever get a formula down for winning championships consistently. Wooden refused for 15 years to play full court pressure defense, or to recruit, until a little known assistant named Jerry Norman convinced Wooden to use the 2-2-1 and start recruiting in 1963. Wooden would almost certainly now have 15 NCAA titles, instead of just 10, had he adapted sooner.

Adolph Rupp reputedly really was naive about gambling and gamblers access to his players. And he really did run at times, when a more controlled approach might have suited his talent more and gotten him even more rings than he won strictly on the run (got that from my late father).

Hank Iba, great basketball intellect though he was, could not incorporate the emerging vertical game he introduced at center into all positions, and blend this with the horizontal game he had mastered, or he would have had at least two more rings.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Bob Knight? Sheesh. Where do I begin. He could have been the greatest, not just the guy with the most Ws for awhile. He almost certainly would have won more rings, and more games, when he coached at Indiana, had he managed his temper. Knight appeared to lose tons of recruits, probably most of the best players of his time, because parents did not want their children abused by him. One thing people forget about Knight is that he never had the best players in the country, even on his 1976 team. And he would have stayed and retired at IU, where he could recruit well had he managed his temper; that would have yielded more Ws and rings. Knight would probably have equalled, or exceeded Wooden in rings had Knight not had his terrible temper and been able to coach the best for a decade or two.

Eddie Sutton? The greatest strategic innovator of his generation? The man who invented 70-point take what they give us and three perimeter combo guards with two bigs playing hi-lo, coupled with smothering defense? Does Jack Daniels ring a bell?

Jack Hartman? The man who proved he could win with just one or two impact players and a bunch of glue guys that might not make it as walk-ons at KU? Jack Hartman who developed Walt Frazier at SIU? Everyone who knows anything at all about college basketball coaching knows that Jack Hartman was the greatest tactician and bench coach of his generation, because he consistently won more games and conference titles with 2/3s the talent of any other coach of his generation. Hell, Jack Hartman could win with Lon Kruger and even Lon would tell you he couldn't win with Lon Kruger. But Jack Hartman didn't like to recruit. And once he got established at KSU, he just plain quit recruiting. The last 5-8 years, he coached (and won with) two D1 recruits and a bunch of Division II players. Jack Hartman cost Ted Owens his job, because he kept beating Ted with half the talent. Though Ted's pride midnight not permit it, I suspect Ted might say Jack was the best coach of that generation. But Jack didn't like to recruit, and so increasingly few recall him now, because he never won rings.

JD Roth 10 years, 8 months ago

Man at the Big 8 Tournaments (Holiday and Post season) you could feel the respect when Jack Hartman brought his teams out just to watch the prior game before K-State would play. Glad you spoke on Hartman because you are right, "Jack Hartman was the greatest tactician and bench coach of his generation!" I was talking to the late Jari Wills a few months before he was stabbed to death, speaking of the screw job the 1977 Wildcats got from the refs in their loss to Marquette, who then went on to win the National Championship. Wills spoke highly of Hartman, with sentiments similar to yours jaybate.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Larry Brown? Brown was the second greatest I have seen, behind Wooden, when his mind was on it, when he was not restless and ready to move on for more money, when the players had not grown tired of his scathing criticism, when his bosses had not grown to distrust him. Where Wooden could determine games beyond what any other coach could do, Brown could change games beyond what any there coach could do. Brown knew the game. Brown could get guys to do what he wanted. Brown knew the pieces of a champion and he knew which guys could do the roles. Brown could feel a game better than any coach and he could out anticipate any other coach on when to wait and when to strike. Brown had the two wiliest mentors of his generation--Frank McGuire and Dean Smith. Brown knew pro ball. Brown knew college ball. Brown won big at both. Brown could rebuild Carthage after it was salted. Even now when you see him watching a game, as he did at the KU-NCSU game, you can see him sickened by the way the game has degenerated and you can see his mind turning and clicking like tumblers in an elegant lock fixing in on opportunities even Self was missing. Brown could pick great coaches out among young boys that had done nothing but play for him. No coach, except Allen, has produced so many exceptional coaches. But Larry always wore out his welcome. Larry never trusted anyone. Larry was always a wondering outsider. If Larry Brown could just have made people like and trust him in any bureaucracy he has worked in, he would have been the greatest coach of his generation.

Now back to Roy.

Yes, Roy has weaknesses. He doesn't adapt on the fly in a game as fast as Brown, or a lot of coaches. But he doesn't have to, because he is, frankly, vastly better at creating a system that is tough for anyone to beat.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy, by the way, remains the only coach that has been able to win rings and continue winning above 80% during the bang ball era, without having to resort to bang ball. Cal has tried, but he hasn't won a ring...yet. Bill Self? He is the leper with the most fingers. He has elected to play it "the right way," whenever anyone wants to, but also gets down in the mud with anyone that insists on playing bang ball. Consonants? Same as Self. And on and on. Roy is an anachronism. He is the lone purist remaining. (sigh) But I fear even he may be succumbing and that is why I so want the game cleaned up. Once Roy goes, I fear it is the death knell for non bang ball.

Now consider this Roy Hobbsian reverie about what Roy might have been at Kansas.

Imagine each team Roy had at KU with another 2-3 recruits with 4-5 stars. Imagine that Pierce team with not 4 future NBAers, but 7. Imagine Roy stacking 7 Mickey Ds at KU, as he does at UNC, when he can recruit the whole country. Its staggering to contemplate what he would have done back when he had the energy of a younger man. He might have won 90% of his games and 4-5, maybe 6 rings, before he left Kansas. Recruiting both halves of the country, he would never have had alternating years of a nucleus, then nothing, then a nucleus, then nothing.

Roy's devil's bargain with Dean cost us and him maybe the best years of his career in some ways, and I suspect he knows it better than anyone.

Roy, unlike Bob Knight, had assisted for a loooooooong time before he became head coach. He was ready to win out of the box, even though it would take him a decade fully to mature into his own style.

Had Roy recruited the whole country at KU, Roy, and not Coach Consonants would be the greatest coach of his generation. Consonants might still have more total Ws, because he started so young, but Roy would now probably have six rings, and at least, one, probably two, of those would have come out of Consonant's current ring column.

This is the great tragedy of Roy Williams; that he could have been the greatest coach of his generation, but his mentor--Dean Smith--and Roy keep it from happening.

But Roy is still a great coach.

I just want to cut his legs out from under him whenever possible, so long as he is coaching at Baja KU, because his coast to coast recruiting lands guys KU should be getting, and his fine teams sometimes win rings KU should be winning.

When Roy retires, he deserves to be venerated by KU basketball, despite his tragic flaws that in the end hurt him more than KU.

But not before then.

Beat him senseless until then.

Steal his recruits before then.

Expose his flaws and vulnerabilities and use them on him before then.

He will respect nothing less.

And he will beat us if we don't.

And that would be the only greater tragedy than what Dean and Roy did to Roy.

Rock Chalk!

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy brought in more blue-chip recruits than any other KU coach ever has. During his tenure, we came within a few unlucky bounces of winning multiple championships, just as Self in '08 came within a few unlucky bounces of having zero championships. They have both been great, great recruiters and coaches at KU.

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I think he still has mixed emotions and is not over the trauma of leaving. His response that he would not do a 1-1 series with KU makes me think that is the case. The pressure at Carolina is even greater at than KU it seems, even when he as moved himself into Premier Coach territory with two national championships.

I wish nothing but success for him, but beating a great former coach and a great team is especially sweet.

You seem to feel, as I do, that he truly did not want to compete with UNC for recruits. Did he hurt KU by doing this? Hard to say when he was so successful here.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago


Bill Self is the only coach I would want to go to war with.

Bill Self will likely become the greatest coach of his generation.

Bill Self is destined to become the greatest coach of KU's modern era.

Bill Self has advanced the game of basketball, despite its perilous decent into bang ball.

And I will believe this win or lose tonight.

Go, Bill, go!!!!

FLJHK 10 years, 8 months ago

Outstanding, Jaybate. Wonderful read.

Kent Kossoy 10 years, 8 months ago

Just to keep everyone on the facts, Larry Brown may have brought a championship, but he did not leave the program with stability. Dean Smith was responsible for Roy's hiring. Unfortunately Dean was also responsible for stealing Roy 15 years later. If there should be any bitterness, it should be directed to Dean Smith. He was the original Jayhawk, was then given a chance to be an assistant at UNC thanks to KU-UNC connections. And then stuck it to us in 2003. Because of Dean, the KU-UNC connection no longer exists.
Give Roy a break. Let's just beat the pants of of them today. Stay focused!

RJ King 10 years, 8 months ago

Actually Dean Smith was interviewing with Frank McGuire for the assistant position. NC was about to play Kansas. When McGuire asked Smith who he favored Smith replied, "I'm afraid I'll have to go with my alma mater, sir." Smith thought his answer had probably cost him a job offer, but McGuire admired his honesty and loyalty and the journey began.

Smith had a rough time at first. Carolina fans are as demanding as we are. One season Smith was hung in effigy several times after losses. When they eventually beat Duke and took a title Smith was asked to speak. He replied that he couldn't quite find his voice because there was something very tight around his neck.

Dean integrated his team in 1966 when it was still very unpopular in the South. He is famous for his clean language and team play. Question: who can hold Michael Jordan to under 20 points? Answer: Dean Smith.

Whether or not you favor his innovations, such as the four corners offense (resulting in the use of a shot clock) Kansas should be proud to have such a coach from our tree. KU and UNC will forever be connected - and in a favorable way - no matter the circumstances.

Now, let's go kick their baby blue behinds.

aerohawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I think Roy really thought he wouldn't leave KU when he said he wouldn't. Things change. I was upset at first, but that was just because I like Roy so much. I am glad he was the coach at KU and have very fond memories of my time at KU with Roy there. For those who still have resentment, it really is time to move on. Things couldn't have turned out any better for KU.

JD Roth 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree, the resentment should be gone. KU alums built UNC and UK (Smith and Rupp) Let it go. Roy had the right to change his mind due to circumstances, and he should have never had to put up with Al Bohl's crap either, even though Bohl was fired, Bohl never belonged at KU. Roy gave 15 years to KU, he respects and loves KU, regardless of what some KU fans think. Do you also hate McGrath and Haase for being on the UNC staff?? Now, having said that, let's go whip UNC.

alexvajhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Really, any ill-well should be directed toward Robert Hemenway for forcing out Bob Frederick (bless his soul), and hiring Al Bohl, who made Roy's last couple of years at KU miserable.

In the end, both KU and UNC got a pretty good deal out of this. We got Self, they got Roy.

FLJHK 10 years, 8 months ago

(errantly posted this on another article)

Coach Self's comments are, as always, the epitome of class. We are so fortunate to have him. At this point in history, he is the best at his craft.

But due credit is also appropriate for Coaches Brown and Williams. We have been on an amazing run for more than 25 years now. We are relevant, a part of the equation every year. This stuff just doesn't happen. We are truly blessed to be Jayhawks.

JD Roth 10 years, 8 months ago

I enjoyed my years as a teenager watching Robisch, Stallworth, Brown, Knight, Suttle, and the gang, some of whom battled in some Final Fours that were coached by Ted Owens. I appreciate what Ted Owens did for KU even though he gets no respect for some reason.

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I admit to not being as up on Owens, even though I was a teenager at the time myself. Owens had two Final Fours, a very good record, and a number of Big 8 Championships. I was there his last four years, and firing him was a very hard thing to do. The game had changed, Ted had not. Oklahoma made our brand of ball look dull and lifeless. Missouri had Sunvold and Stepanovich and were ranked as high as #2. He coached at Oral Roberts aftwards, and things didn't go that well.

BTW that #2 ranked Missouri team got blown out by Illinois (by memory) in about the 2nd round. Some things don't change!

UncleMiltyN 10 years, 8 months ago

KU fans were/are mad at Roy for a number of reasons. A large number of fans reminded me of cult members that finally realized their leader had been pulling the wool over their eyes. For me, I really hold a grudge against the guy for the way he handled Big Dub. Wayne may have forgiven him because that's the kind of guy he is....I'm not. When Wayne said "I gave my arm for that man.." I cultivated a real dislike for Roy on many levels. Really think back to the way he handled himself during that 03 tourney run and tell me you still respect him.... Built a program? He improved many things sure, but he was a very good steward and not the builder.

Hey, I took some small sips of the Kool-aid too.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 8 months ago

The way he handled himself during the '03 tourney run? You mean when we beat #3 seed Duke and #1 seed Arizona, crushed Dwayne Wade and Marquette, and then lost by 3 points to Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse in a game where our we couldn't hit our free throws? Yeah, what a disgrace that was.

By the way, Wayne was there for Roy's HOF induction, and in Roy's book he says it was a wonderful, emotional reconciliation. Wayne's over it, we should be too.

ku_foaf 10 years, 8 months ago

I guess it was all over the media anyway, so maybe he felt he had to announce it, but he should have waited until the '03 got back to Lawrence and the season was truly over. That team's success was nearly an afterthought after the announcement. That is my only gripe, he did steal a bit of their thunder, but probably because the pressure got to him.

okiedave 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy is obviously very nervous about playing Kansas and does not want a home and home series with Kansas. Playing Kansas obviously is stressful for Ol' Roy. Since we blew Carolina out of the gym in '08, just wondering....if Roy's stress is subliminally transfered to his players and makes them tight when playing Kansas? I guess we'll find out today.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 8 months ago

"Why, then, did Barnes choose to go to North Carolina and not Kansas?

“It was a few things,” Barnes said. “Academics definitely factored in, in terms of the undergraduate business schools. And player relations. I felt like I got along better with the UNC players than the players at any of the other schools.”"

I hope that we don't make it any better for Barnes to get along with KU players tonite!

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 8 months ago

I am a little worried about Roy's health. His symptoms don't sound like minor issues. If any of our physician posters might want to take a crack at a basic diagnosis, I would be intersted. He has aged at N.C. more than I would have expected. I've looked back at photos of him when he was leaving KU and recent photos and have seen a noticable difference in him physically. On the other hand, Bill seems to still look as young as he did the day he stepped out for his first introduction at KU.

farawayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

In my honest opinion, most people seem to miss the point of the anger Jayhawk Nation had in reaction to Roy leaving for UNC. Having lived through it myself, I remember both times Roy was considering the UNC job and the emotions people displayed. The first time Roy was offered the job people in Kansas really assumed he would take it, but hoped beyond hope that he would turn it down. The expectation was, however, that he would go. I believe if he had gone to UNC at that time there would have been a dramatically different reaction to the decision. Instead, he made an announcement that he was staying and would be at KU forever. KU fans were elated and felt as if by Roy making this decision and announcement he was truly forgoing his ties to UNC in favor of KU. When the job offer came around the second time, people really did not seem as concerned because we had all been through this before and besides, Roy had already announced he was staying with KU forever. When he made the decision to leave the fans were in shock and yes, it felt like a betrayal. A complete betrayal. We trusted his word the first time the offer was made and refused and did not expect him to reverse that decision. Fast forward to years down the road, when Self gave Jayhawk Nation a National Championship in 2008 I believe that is when fans were finally able to start forgiving. That is how this fan remembers it, and to me it was always more about Roy going back on his word when he turned down the UNC job the first time and pledged his undying love to KU. Rock Chalk~!

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 8 months ago

I think that's right. I was very upset at the time for the same reason. But in those intervening three years, KU had replaced his buddy Frederick with Bohl, and we all know how that turned out. I think he truly believed he was staying forever, but things change.

Janet Olin 10 years, 8 months ago

@farawayhawk: Roy and his wife Wanda both had family members in Carolina with serious health issues the year they left which weren't a factor the first time. Most people can sympathize with that. In my view, the rancor was more about Dean Smith sitting behind the KU bench during FF play being a distraction, then Roy hurriedly boarding the jet to make his announcement in Chapel Hill. That sequence was viewed as cowardly and smarmy. Roy showed a lot of class wearing a Jayhawk sticker in the KU crowd in 2008 after KU whooped his team's butt, and I'm sure he caught a lot of flak. I'm fine with the peace offering, and I agree, it's time to let it go.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy will be welcomed back by Jayhawk fans long before Calipari will be welcomed back by either UMass or U of Memphis and eventually KY fans.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 8 months ago

I am and always have been at peace with Roy's decision. We need to invite him back to Lawrence sooner rather than later. Perhaps putting the names of KU coaches somewhere in the rafters might be appropriate! Names up there like Naismith, Allen, Owens, Brown, Self, and Williams would be impressive!

Janet Olin 10 years, 8 months ago

+1. And Coach Williams needs to be included in the pregame video. btw, Coach Williams said recently how much he appreciated Coach Self calling him to invite him to the Legends of the Phog game, and how much he wished he could have attended. Class on both ends.

Steve Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy is childish selfish. I am not a Roy hater, relish what he did for us, but he wanted it both ways, his cake and eat it.

When Self left Illinois he released his formal relationship with his past teams. When Roy left KU he continued to call his KU recruits, he hosts UNC/KU combined events in Chapel Hill. This weekend in St. Louis a news conf. a reporter asked Roy if he invited Bill and any of his boys to the Chapel Hill UNC/KU combined annual event, he said, well no, I include the players and coaches that played for me. If you want a peak behind the scenes, read the Bill Self book. I vote leave Roy off the video, keep hosting legends of phog events, invite him back, stay classy, welcome him in the house, but hold off any service medal awards for now.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.