Saturday, February 25, 2017

Notebook: Jayhawks keep business as usual after Big 12 outright title; Bill Walton meets with team

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) shoots over Texas forward Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) shoots over Texas forward Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas.


— There were no trophies, no hugs and smiles, no celebratory video and, really, no hubbub at all.

Instead, KU coach Bill Self, following Saturday’s 77-67 victory over Texas by third-ranked Kansas, merely offered his team congratulations and reminded them of one thing as it pertained to the Big 12 Conference title the Jayhawks won outright with the victory.

“We really didn’t even talk about it much,” Self said. “Afterwards, we said, ‘Congratulations. We don’t have to share.’ So, it’s nice, without question. But I think the euphoria of winning the league took place on Wednesday.”

Regardless of what came after Saturday’s clincher, what came before it played a huge role in the Jayhawks jumping out to leads of 9-2 and 14-6 during a first half in which Self said his team played solid basketball for 15 minutes.

“That was just our main focus,” junior guard Devonte’ Graham explained. “Don’t come out flat just because we got a share of the Big 12 title. We wanted to come in here and win it outright.”

Near the end of his postgame meeting with the media, Self was asked by a Texas-based reporter what it was going to take for a team other than Kansas (26-3 overall, 14-2 Big 12) to win the Big 12.

“Oh, it’s gonna happen,” Self responded. “We’ve had good players and we’ve been so fortunate, injury-wise, things like that, where a lot of programs have setbacks. I hope we can extend it as long as we possibly can. But the league’s so good and we’ve got a lot of breaks and there’ll be a time where those breaks don’t go our way and somebody else will get ’em all. But I hope we can delay it as long as we can.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on Coleby's big night, sealing outright Big 12 title

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self fields questions from the media following a big night from backup big man Dwight Coleby in a 77-67 Kansas victory that wrapped up an outright Big 12 championship for the Jayhawks.

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Freshman vs. Freshman

After torching the Jayhawks for 22 points and 19 rebounds — seven offensive — in a Texas loss in Lawrence, UT freshman Jarrett Allen was limited to 20 points and 11 rebounds in the rematch, leading Self to seem incredulous in saying that Kansas improved its defense on the Texas big man.

Kansas freshman Josh Jackson handled the bulk of the defensive duties on Texas’ 6-foot-11, 235-pound freshman forward.

“Well, he didn’t get 22 and 19, he only got 20 and 11,” Self said. “So, yeah, I guess we were better. I actually thought Josh did a good job on him, but if he can turn to that left shoulder it’s pretty much money.”

Asked what it was about the Jayhawks that brought out the best in Allen, Self lamented losing out on him in the recruiting battle.

“We should be the one that’s mad at him since he picked Texas over us,” Self joked. “He shouldn’t be mad at us. We didn’t do anything.... I love his game and I know other people do, as well. Whenever he comes out, this kid’s a lottery pick.”

Self on Jackson

One day after learning that a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property had been filed against him, Jackson responded by scoring eight of KU’s first 17 points — including the first five — and finished with a team-high 18 points in 38 minutes.

“He’s getting ready to play his best ball right now,” Self noted after the game.

As for whether the off-the-court issues were now behind him, Self said both he and Jackson were ready to move forward.

“What transpired we knew transpired back in December and it was handled then,” said Self reiterating similar thoughts from his Friday statement. “He’s felt bad about it for a long time, but the way that it’s all come to light here of late, obviously, is disappointing and embarrassing for him.... He had one night where he handled a situation very poorly, but anything other than that he’s handled very, very well. Sometimes it’s hard to make a wrong a right but it hasn’t been from a lack of him handling his business right.”

Self said he did not feel the need to punish Jackson further and added “that doesn’t mean that there’s still not some things that he’s gotta do.”

Walton on the call

Although KU fans groaned on Twitter throughout Saturday’s game about Bill Walton’s commentary on the television broadcast, the basketball cult hero provided plenty of entertainment for those inside the Erwin Center.

Shortly after a presentation of a tie-dyed T-Shirt from new Texas football coach Tom Herman to Walton during a first-half timeout, the former UCLA and Portland Trailblazers star stripped down to his bare chest and quickly changed into the “Keep Austin Weird” shirt Herman gifted him, all from his spot at mid-court.

Self said Walton spoke to the Jayhawks on Saturday and offered a memorable exchange.

“I asked Bill if he led the league in assists ever,” Self joked. ‘And, 20 minutes later, he was talking to our guys still.... His message was very good, though, and I thought our guys really enjoyed it.”

Walton was not in the same kind of talkative mood following the game. Asked on his way out of the arena for his thoughts about Kansas tying his beloved UCLA Bruins with 13 consecutive conference titles, Walton said simply, “We said it all on the air.”

This and that...

KU now leads the all-time series with Texas, 29-8, including a 9-6 mark in Austin.... The Jayhawks now have won 26 games in three consecutive seasons and 10 times in Self’s 14 years in Lawrence.... KU is 9-1 in true road games this season and 13-2 in games played outside of Allen Fieldhouse.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Texas 67.

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Texas 67.

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas


Tony Bandle 5 years, 9 months ago

If there ever was a video of Bill Walton and Dick Vitale having a conversation that was shot into outer space and discovered by an alien race, that race would send an armada to destroy this very weird and dangerous planet!! :_

Len Shaffer 5 years, 9 months ago

Hear, hear!!!!!

I'm copying here what I posted under another article:

After seeing Walton, I felt the need to apologize to Dick Vitale. As much as Vitale drives me nuts, I'd rather have to endure a whole SEASON of him than another FIVE MINUTES of Walton. I watched the entire second half on mute because I couldn't stand having to listen to that imbecile. And the split-screen stuff was driving me nuts too. Why in the world did they keep doing that??? It was like the director was as high as Walton was.

RJ King 5 years, 9 months ago

The split screen and focus on Walton's personality no doubt came from higher up than the director. Probably the executive producer, who hears from the bean counters that ratings are up whenever Walton announces.

That's the bottom line, and he will keep doing games until that changes.

Gary McCullough 5 years, 9 months ago

I disagree. Walton is a legend and I love that he knew about KU hoops history. Sure he's strange, and ESPN split screen drives me crazy regardless of who is doing the commentary. But for god's sake, Vitale is exponentially worse than Walton! I would love to have Walton do commentary on a Big Monday in The Phog next year. Let's take him to The Wheel, and the Freestate, and check out Naismith's grave site. He would love it and we would love him for doing it.

Phyllis Hartwick 5 years, 9 months ago

I hope Kansas Athletics tells ESPN no more Bill Walton. He did not comment on the game - just his various stories and ESPN kept putting the game on half screen so that we could see his antics! We finally turned our TV on mute so that we did not have to hear him.

Bert White 5 years, 9 months ago

LMAO @ I sent ESPN a message/rant yesterday saying;

"Listening to someone that didn't even know the teams in the Big 12 or the name of the players on the #3 ranked team that he's being paid to commentate on (kept calling Vick and Graham by their numbers) is bad enough... But whoever is in charge of the split screens and putting them up there every 5 minutes needs to be fired. People tuned in to watch a game not two people talk. So what he's kooky and has bad taste in clothes, we don't need to see Bill Walton every 5 minutes. Let people watch the GAME since that's why we turned to the channel."

RJ King 5 years, 9 months ago

It won't happen. There's too much revenue at stake. Schools - or conference or regional networks - don't dictate who takes the game.

ESPN, CBS, etc get first dibs on the games they want. The conference or regional networks then decide the schedule for the rest of the games. If ESPN picks up a game, then that's $ the smaller networks don't have to budget for.

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 9 months ago

Bill might have been more talkative on the way out of the arena with another bong hit. He was starting to crash about that time. What a goof! It may play well on the Left Coast, but this is serious midAmerica basketball at a critical time of year. I've got that shirt off deal seared in my brain right now. Bad visual!

RJ King 5 years, 9 months ago

ESPN doesn't care about the fans of the two teams in the matchup. It's all about national ratings. And if ratings are good when Walton announces, they will keep him on.

With typically good weather and surrounding activities out here, only serious fans watch basketball on TV. And west coast fans typically don't care for Walton either - regardless of our political views.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 9 months ago

There were two great moments. The lady behind Walton when she saw him disrobe and the oh so perfect shot of Walton and the Willie Nelson statue on campus.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 9 months ago

Well looks like we should be unanimous number 1 on Monday.....Of course I thought that would be the case when we beat Baylor the first time, only to be jumped by Villanova . I'm sure the committee doesnt have to answer questions about not giving Gonzaga the Number 1 overall seed since they lost to BYU , and Villanova lost to Butler during the week. And to the person who posted that Baylor was a good team and that Scott Drew would mess it up were correct . We can officially start the countdown for NUMBER 14

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 9 months ago

I pray to God, JC and all the saints that we NEVER EVER have Walton for another KU game. That guy make Vital look .... somewhat ok.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 9 months ago

well, Bil was probably tweaked he did not get to call the UofA v. UCLA game. Granted it would have been difficult for him as he bloviates over those two schools like you would not believe. I'm sure he does not want KU to break their record at 13. He was a great player. I still recall some NCAA tourney game where I think he hit 21 of his first 21 shots, something ridiculous like that. He was a real beast in the post.

Lin Rahardja 5 years, 9 months ago

Vote our Senior Class Award: Frank Mason III at this link: P.S> You can vote daily.

John Myers 5 years, 9 months ago

Walton is a disgrace to the broadcasting profession.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 9 months ago

If memory serves me right, my Freshman year at KU (90-91), KU played Pitt in the 1st or 2nd round (I think 2nd) in the tournament. Bill Walton was the 'color' commentator for the game. I distinctly remember him bloviating on and on about how KU didn't stand a chance because of Pitt's "athleticism". He clearly hadn't watched a KU game that year, or if so, not many.

Yesterday, while raving on about KU, it was still pretty obvious he hasnt watched much of KU this year. Not that that's a crime, but it's always obvious for folks at home to tell when the broadcasters have done their homework or not. I get that they're going to Walton for some modicum of "comic relief", but having a clue about the teams who are playing would help.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 9 months ago

Based on another article I read, what got left out of this one where it talks about Self's comments about Walton's talk to the team is that Walton talked so long he used up all the practice time when our guys had planned to practice.

I hope I never again have to experience a tv broadcast where so much time is spent away from the game on inane topics I really don't care about and where splitting the screen so we can watch two dumbos talking about anything other than the game while the game is being played on the other small window. Come on, ESPN, I tune in to your network because I want to WATCH a game and I want to HEAR what just happened, who fouled, how many fouls that is on that person. And while you are at it, I don't want to see replays of something that happened several minutes ago, I want to see a replay showing me the foul or whatever just now happened. Sheesh.

Tracey Graham 5 years, 9 months ago

Bill Walton was a great college and NBA player and he can be entertaining in small doses, but yesterday it was just annoying. He clearly had little clue about either Kansas or Texas. The most ridiculous comment may have been when he was talking about how slow he thought Kansas always played. The Jayhawks haven't been in slow paced team in years...they weren't slow paced under Larry Brown or Roy Williams and they certainly haven't been under Bill Self. Maybe that's how they played back in the 1960's or 1970's?

It was clear he only cares about the Pac 12. Why ESPN assigned him to this game, IDK. Instead of paying attention to the actual game, he just kept overpraising the Jayhawks. I mean, I'm a KU alum/supporter, but come on, they didn't really play all that well yesterday. They had a couple of nice stretches, but overall, that was a very meh performance.

Dick Vitale may be annoying and way too OTT, but at least he actually watches the game he's doing the color commentary on and he has at least some clue about the teams going into the contest

Matt Gonzo 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm a Kansas transplant now living in Oregon, PAC 12 country. Walton calls most of those games and he is horrible all over the place. He knows nothing of either team and 90% of the crap that flies out of his trap has nothing to do with basketball or the game. Watch the games with the volume off. Shame on espn for allowing that garbage. Glad KU doesn't get him much. I'll take Fran any day.

Bob Zielinski 5 years, 9 months ago

Walton was clearly peeved he was not on the UCLA v Arizona game. It seemed like he was completely stoned during the pre-recorded segments and possibly even during the broadcast. He also has his political agenda he touched upon and maybe fears Texas is some sort of anti-immigration state where his views are not embraced by all.

That being said, the game was good. KU got the win even though their performance was not at an A level. Walton being stoned and completely uninformed was a nice change and it made most of us very glad that he never calls Big XII games. He is kind of a joke, but he was so out of it and had so little interest in the actual game it was funny to a degree.

Blake Brown 5 years, 9 months ago

I love Bill Walton for what he accomplished as a player in college and the pros as well as the hippy personna he has, but he talks way too much during the games and like Vitale, he misses a good game with too much commentary, often not about the game.

Loved the tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of the best white rock and roll guitar players ever.

Blake Brown 5 years, 9 months ago

BTW, what was that weed thing all about?

Mike Riches 5 years, 9 months ago

That whole segment might have made more sense to those watching the game on mute... :)

Mike Kendall 5 years, 9 months ago

When I was a young lad in Lawrence, the Jayhawks were playing UCLA in the Tournament in March and Curt Gowdy was butchering some of the players names and OMG, it was like all KU Nation was so upset. They sent letters (back then) to CBS and the NCAA. That basically, ended Gowdy's career (college basketball announcing). I think that Bill Walton's attempt at being a color analyst for the KU/Texas game was terrible. "Yeah, what's the name of this conference?" Really Bill? I thought he was just joking--it was hard to tell if he was being sarcastic or whatever. I hope he gets some type of training into researching a game, etc., because that was a poor performance on his part, to say the least. Walton's accomplishments are unquestionable, as far as, what he did at UCLA. He, being an analyst, on ESPN, needs a lot of work. I am hoping he doesn't do another KU game in my lifetime.

Carl O'Hair 5 years, 9 months ago

The fact that he didn't know any names about Wooden Award nominees other than Mason made me happy. That part was as good as having Fran on since he has been for Frank Mason III all season.

Al Martin 5 years, 9 months ago

I remember that game. Gowdy even mispronounced Darnell Valentine. Also, we were #5 in the nation and played UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in the first round.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 9 months ago

On another subject, the comparison of Allen and Jackson is interesting. Clearly, Allen has the stats, but Josh has the victories. Perhaps that illustrates their different mindsets.

Presumably, the biggest factor in Allen's decision to pick Texas was that he knew that he would be "the man" and could pad his statistics in preparation for a one and done season. On the other hand, Josh's motivation seems to be on the team performance and is comfortable in knowing that as the team succeeds, his stock rises too.

Perhaps Trae Young's picking of Oklahoma over KU is similar to Allen's picking Texas over KU. Then again, I am sure that the idea of "home cooking" was instrumental as well.

In short, it will be interesting to see who wins Freshman of the Year. Based upon how many times Josh has won the award on a weekly basis, he should be the clear cut favorite.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 9 months ago

Not sure who votes and unless there is a jealous reaction Josh is the most impactful freshman player in the B12 and in the country along with Lonzo Ball.

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