Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Self sees summer contests as chance to grow

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bill Self has heard about 5,000 tickets have been sold for Kansas University’s two World University Games exhibitions against Canada, set for 7 p.m., tips on June 23 and 26 in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We hope to get about 10,000 in there both nights with people getting a chance to see their young Jayhawks. It would be cool to do that,” KU coach Self said Wednesday morning on Kansas City 810 radio. It was one of three radio interviews held on a day spent publicizing the exhibitions as well as his basketball camps for youths (June 7-11; June 14-18) and Basketball Boogie for his Assists Foundation (June 13, Abe and Jakes).

Self can take a bit of a breather before gathering his players June 7 for summer school and unlimited practice sessions for the University Games, July 3-14 in South Korea.

“I want our guys to have a great educational experience. I want us to get better and I also want to get better personally (as a coach),” Self said on Lawrence 1320 radio. “I think with the FIBA rules and the short (24-second) clock ... I think there’s a lot of different things we can do defensively to put us in a situation to experiment some. I think that will be positive. I want it to be fun, but we’ve got to win. I think our players will take great pride in the fact they are actually representing our country playing over there against pros. We’ll go see how we stack up against the world.”

KU is allowed a roster of 12 players. Foreign-born Svi Mykhailiuk and Cheick Diallo are not eligible to play for Team USA. Also, Brannen Greene will not participate as he rehabs from hip surgery.

Incoming freshmen Carlton Bragg and LaGerald Vick (if as expected he reclassifies to the Class of 2015) figure to be joined by SMU guard Nic Moore plus returning Jayhawks Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., Devonté Graham, Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Perry Ellis, Hunter Mickelson, Evan Manning and Tyler Self. Those Jayhawks who do not play — KU is hoping to sign a transfer big man such as Providence’s Paschal Chukwu of Nigeria who also would not be eligible — can still make the trip as team managers.

“I can see all three of our little guys (5-9 Moore, 5-11 Mason, 6-2 Graham) playing together. I can see two of them playing with Wayne. I think it’ll be a fun deal,” Self said. “What I will do, and our players will understand this, I’m going to play everybody. Even though we’re going to play to win ... we’re probably not going to do the platoon quite like Kentucky did last year (but) we’re going to give everybody an opportunity to play and get better because some of our guys do desperately need some minutes,” he added.

Self told Topeka 580 radio that “the good thing is when it is. Our season is so long, but this is June, July. The guys will have five weeks off before school starts (in August). They’ll have plenty of chances to get their batteries recharged. It will be something I think makes us better.

“We are so limited in what we can do with kids in the summer. It’s more than it used to be (two hours per week) but still not enough. In this situation we have unlimited practice time with our guys. We’ll be doing a lot of things from an individual improvement standpoint where hopefully everyone will see a noticeable difference between last year and this year.”

Of adding SMU senior Moore, Self explained: “With Brannen not able to go and Svi not able to go, our only returning perimeter players are Wayne, Frank and Devonté. If we get another guy (Vick) that would be four. You still can’t play with four. That would put too much pressure on Evan and Tyler (walk-ons). We’ll take all our returning players who are eligible to go. I wanted to get somebody else. Coach (Larry Brown, SMU) pushed Nic to go. He really wants to go. He’s player of year in the American Conference which everybody knows is a great league. I’m excited to have him on board. He’ll help us a ton.”

The Canadian team, by the way, will practice in Lawrence the week leading up to the exhibition games.

“It won’t include Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins) or Tristan Thompson or those guys as they will probably be with their Pan Am Games team,” Self said, “but it is a team of pros. Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) is on the team and Brady Heslip. Ticket sales are going well.”

For ticket information call 1-800-34-Hawks or go to the Web address To order tickets for Self’s boogie, go to To assure spots in upcoming camps, go to

24 and under: Self noted that players must be age 24 or under by the end of the calendar year to be eligible for the World Games.

“We have some kids we’d love to have taken with us whether it be Travis (Releford) or Elijah (Johnson) or Tyshawn (Taylor) or whatnot who can’t go because they are too old,” Self said. “Guys under NBA contracts presently are not allowed to go so we decided to take our team. It’ll be tough. Northern Iowa went once and Wisconsin went once. I think both teams failed to get in medal play because the competition is so stiff. We’ll have to be prepared to play.”

Self on newcomer Cheick Diallo: “He is an energy guy, a legit 6-9 with a 7-2 wingspan. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t play harder (just) because the game is close at the end. He will play at the same pace from the opening tip. I think he’s as good as any young big kid out there.”

List for Chukwu: Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu has added Iona to his list of schools, reports. The 7-footer is also considering KU, Michigan State, Nebraska and Virginia, Zagsblog reports.

Jordan or James?: Self was asked by 810 radio which player was better, Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

“I personally think Mike is still the greatest, still the best,” Self said. “No question he (James) is going to be in the same category. I just don’t think to this point in his career, when he’s great and Michael’s great (but) I’d take Michael every day. LeBron can do it rebounding. He can do it passing. He can do it scoring, but the hardest thing to do is to score. Mike could get his own shot every possession and that’s what great players do. Kobe (Bryant) to me that’s what he does best, get his own shot. LeBron can too, but not to the level those other guys can. If I was going to start a team, with the exception of Michael, I don’t see how you can pick anybody other than LeBron when he is at his best.”

Self said Keith Langford was the best player he’s coached at KU “driving the ball.” He said Sherron Collins was “the best at squaring a guy up and getting (a defender) on his heels and rising up. I don’t think people knew what a bad boy he was,” he gushed of Collins.


Elias Dunlavy 7 years, 6 months ago

Trust me Coach. We all know what a stud Sherron was. That guy was one of a kind and basically carried the team on his back in 09-10

Brian Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

Speaking about carrying the team. Williams carried MU last year, and as I have mentioned he woudl be a great addition to KU and it woudl be a fun slap in the Tiggers face to get him. So, ESPN has now posted an article about the remaining players available. And, Williams is now no longer blocked from coming to KU, and KU, is now on his list. see below:

1. Johnathan Williams III, Missouri -- The Memphis native led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding this past season. There are restrictions on his release: He can’t go to an SEC and can’t transfer to Illinois or Arizona. Williams formerly had a restriction on moving to a Big 12 school, but Mizzou lifted it last week and Kansas is now a possible destination. Considering: Gonzaga, Michigan State, Georgetown, SMU, Kansas

Although slim, we only have one basketball scholarship to give, but it is possible KU could sign more than one player this year. With transfers having to sit a year, players can receive academic scholarships, and there are ways for students to get academic financial support that is not in violation of NCAA rules. it would be interesting if both Johnathan Williams and Pascal Chukwu could decide to come. From what I can see both Williams and Chukwu have to sit a year and develop.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

Self's preference seems to be Chukwu because he has a much higher ceiling than Williams so Williams is KU's fall back plan for a second time now. I do feel bad because Williams has always wanted to come to KU and he was KU's fall back had Embiid gone to Florida instead of KU. Williams is the more consistent and versatile player because he can play in both the high and low post and is a good enough 3 point shooter that he has to be respected out there.

Jesse Johnson 7 years, 6 months ago

Langford is the best slasher that I can ever remember who played for KU.

Tom Longhofer 7 years, 6 months ago

Langford was so exciting and such a great finisher. Did you ever get to see John Douglas ('76-'78)?


Severeno Woods 7 years, 6 months ago

Tom I was not even born yet, but I will go with Paul Pierce.

Tom Longhofer 7 years, 6 months ago

You cannot go wrong with Paul Pierce! Douglas has the additional credential for being a participant in a wild brawl with Missouri in January '77 in Allen :)

Jesse Johnson 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, sorry Tom, I wasn't born yet. I just remember Langford's ability to use his quickness and hops to create space for himself anywhere in the paint and he was a clutch finisher. I remember having a good feeling every time he got the ball in his hands down low like something good was going to happen. We haven't had many wings since then that I felt as confident about having the ball in their hands down low like as I did with Langford. There have been some forwards, Marcus Morris and Darrel Arthur come to mind.

Tom Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

He was more of a smasher and a biter (ask Evander Holyfield).

Daniel Cummings 7 years, 6 months ago

I love Keith but I'll put Darrin Hancock on the list. I once saw him slash along the baseline against Indiana in NCAA tourney action in St. Louis and his first step and rise was amazing!

Joe Ross 7 years, 6 months ago

I can't imagine Kansas would have any trouble selling this game out. I mean it's the summer...amid an ocean of nothingness in terms of basketball games here lies a chance oasis to stop by. And the games are in Kansas City. Practically ground zero for Hawk fans. You can bet Ill be there.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 6 months ago

Agreed. I picked up tickets for both games as soon as they were available. Also picked up tickets to the Roundball classic.

Gary Bedore 7 years, 6 months ago

If KU sells out one or two of these games it again shows how different this program is. Some (most) schools couldn't come close to selling out Sprint Center for a regular season game. Remember last year Late Night wasn't close to full. Times are changing with fans attending live events. This is another huge 'test' for interest in KU basketball. If KU can sell out 2 practice games that mean nothing, wow! It's in the fans' court right now. One plus for KU is as of now nobody has announced plans to televise the games. If they are not on TV, KU fans in the KC area will be even more curious and may opt to attend IMO. 10,000 per night would be quite the crowds IMO. We.Shall.See.

Joe Ross 7 years, 6 months ago

Agree Gary.

I was quite surprised at Iowa State's turnout for the Big 12 tournament last year. They were both more numerous and more boisterous than our own fans. I think we've been spoiled and have become a bit complacent. I hope we rally and have a good showing next month to support our guys. As far as late night, we (and by "we" I mean the University) need to change the program up quite a bit. At the risk of appearing negative, we need a wholesale change in thinking relative to the late night program.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

The unlimited practice for these games with an elite caliber PG to defend against is the biggest advantage for KU this season. This was already a national title contending team and they now get a one month of unlimited practice to implement the stuff and get the freshmen integrated into the team.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 6 months ago

A Chance to get better? Heck on this site it is a given. Everyone, regardless is going to make huge improvements over last year. It is also given we are the NC favorites. Clear a place in the trophy case that one is ours! :)

10,000 sounds about right for each game. Got to remember there are a lot of things for people to do. Its a practice game. For Gosh(my new favorite word) sakes students are out, its summer, its practice with the new clock, rules etc... 10,000 each game would be fine.

It will be interesting if Moore helps us in guarding the open lane we had to the basket for players just like him last year. Hope we improve on that.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 6 months ago

So you're saying there is a chance that the players get unlimited practice for a full month, get to play a dozen or so games, and yet they will not get better? Do you truly believe there is a chance all of that practice and game time will not make them better in any way?

Maybe you haven't noticed but NC favorites rarely actually win the title (see all of UConn's titles, Kentucky not winning last year, etc.). It's actually not all that common that the #1 overall seed wins the title (and we aren't expected to be the #1 overall, just one of the top 4-5 teams this coming year. That means we are one of the favorites, not that we are guaranteed to win (I know you know this but you can't troll and use your brain at the same time so you play dumb so you can be a troll).

Rodney Crain 7 years, 6 months ago

Did it help Tharpe, Selden, EJ??? It is not a given that any player will get a huge improvement with extra practice.

This is a myth of the "we will get them next year crowd". We get the same tripe over the holiday break too. Some improve, some do not, some regress. It is not a given Shannon that every player will improve. That is all I was saying. It's not like you show up and in a month you make a jump in ability. That is not how it works for everyone.

Pump the brakes a little, gosh.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 6 months ago

Nobody said everyone would get better. We are saying they will get better as a team. The Freshmen will have the greatest chance to improve and getting the rest of the team used to playing with them and getting the new combo of players to gel (something that never really happened last year). Even if some of them don't get any better, if some of them do, and they become a better team, the net result will be an improvement.

Playing with the shorter shot clock will also help since the NCAA also shortened the clock. That will give this team more time to learn how to play faster to account for the new rules.

Nobody said this trip would turn all of them into All-American's, pump the brakes a little, gosh.

But I'm sure you're right, they won't get any better with all of this extra practice and game time, heck they will probably regress and drop out of the Preseason Top 25 after the World University Games and be lucky to make the tourney after all of this extra time to regress.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

You must of read my post this past week. Adding Nic is like a cherry on the top this summer by HCBS. Mason and Graham should make enormous improvement practicing against Moore and Selden. They should also be able to watch and learn about how a short 5'9" PG handles the bigs. Besides being an excellent offensive player for his size he is also a really good defender as well. It's too bad that Mason was mentored by Naadir Tharpe. It's time for Mason and Graham to get away from that lineage and begin a new era at the PG position.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 6 months ago

Agree Brian, I hope it helps us with our foot work and positioning. This is great news having Nic push us for this event.

Lynn Anderson 7 years, 6 months ago

Good grief...really Rodney? GIVE IT A REST. We get it. Most fans on here are more pie in the sky than you. You feel people have crimson and blue glasses on and you are one of the few on here who are actually realistic (in your opinion). You use to ridicule people for not contributing to the site...tell me, what exactly do your juvenile posts contribute? AGAIN, we get are a fan, but a realistic fan who feels that the team that finished blah blah and have the same team blah blah and recruiting sucked (oops no it didn't) blah blah we will be lucky to blahblah... I don't post on here...but you are truly annoying.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 6 months ago

The truth can be unsettling which is why my posts tend to resonate as negative instead of just providing a different perspective of reality.

It continues to amaze me that some people on here think the comments section is only to praise anything said or done by our team. Frightening actually. If you can state your point whatever you want, why can't I do the same? Why the double standard?

If you see my name, I believe you can just skip over it if you think it will upset you. You don't "have" to read it... Although I am flattered you do.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 6 months ago

The difference is you're so far out in left field compared to reality that your posts aren't "truth", heck they aren't even based on reality in most cases. Your posts make me think you're also a tin hat wearing conspiracy theorists who believes we've never been to the moon, 911 was an inside job, our head honcho isn't an American citizen, reptilian humanoids run the world, Elvis is still alive, etc.

Pam Rowe 7 years, 6 months ago

wilt was the greatest ever. scored when they were playing three players on him fifty points a game.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

Wanaah Bail

Funny transfer of the year award goes to UCLA for:

Wanaah Bail, 6-9, F, Soph.

gets all kinds of jokes and laughs since he declared OAD with UCLA looking to play for another school.

John Randall 7 years, 5 months ago

To bring up Wilt Chamberlain as the G.O.A.T is to not acknowledge that basketball has gone through several "eras" in the last 50+ years. For their own time, Oscar Robertson and Wilt stood out – Big "O" was the most complete, best player and Wilt the most dominant player. Neither of them spent summers on (semi-pro) AAU teams the way today's players can (and mostly do), which allows them to be much closer to maximum potential than those from earlier eras. The simple fact of how common season- or career-ending injuries have become points to the fact that many are playing at their highest level, with almost no margin for error. With two or three "maxed out" players per team, we are more likely to see the playoffs brings us "survivors" than "champions."

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