Friday, July 21, 2017

Self will seek to fill scholarship opened up by Whitman departure

Kansas coach Bill Self calls to his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas. Kansas won 77-67.

Kansas coach Bill Self calls to his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas. Kansas won 77-67.


Although news of forward Jack Whitman’s departure from the program caught him “totally off guard,” Kansas coach Bill Self already has started thinking about what to do with the scholarship vacated by Whitman’s departure.

During a Friday morning phone conversation with the Journal-World, Self, who had just returned to town from a recruiting trip, said he would like to add someone in time for the upcoming season but was not sure he and his staff would be able to find a player worthy of the roster spot.

“We’re not gonna sign somebody just to sign somebody,” Self told the Journal-World. “The pool of players is so small.”

While Self said later at the Hardwood Classic AAU tournament in Lawrence that he was “disappointed” by Whitman’s departure, the Kansas coach said there was a small silver lining.

“Better now than in the fall,” Self said. “If there is a good thing, although it’s crappy timing, if it happens in the summer you can use that scholarship. So we didn’t lose the scholarship.”

Self said he would consider all options in looking to fill the Jayhawks’ 13th scholarship, including junior college transfers, high school players and even players from overseas. He even joked that the team might be lucky and find some Italian player to join the roster during their upcoming exhibition tour in Italy, though the likelihood of that is a long shot at best. Self also said he would consider holding onto the spot for a potential December transfer should one come available.

“The idea is to find someone to help you this year,” he said. “I think that’s the best way to put it. But if you can’t find someone to help us this year, there’s no reason to burn it.”

As for any clarity on why Whitman left, Self said he was still unsure as to the exact reason and added that Whitman was already back in his hometown of Lexington, Ky., when he made the call to tell Self he was leaving the program.

Despite the loss of a player who figured to be KU’s fourth big man during the 2017-18 season, Self said the immediate impact was not as bad as some might think.

“This does not affect us on how we will play as long as everyone’s healthy,” Self said. “If you have an injury, that will obviously change the way we play a little. But, right now, I still see us playing two bigs more than we did last year.

“We’ve gotta get our best players on the floor and we’ve got a pretty good seven or eight right now. And that wasn’t including Jack. So not having Jack doesn’t affect how we play at all. Where it could affect us is, if a guy becomes injured, now you’re gonna probably be playing small a lot more.”

Staying healthy is a key part of any team’s success so nothing changed for the Jayhawks there. And Self will spend the next several days, including Friday, looking at every possible avenue to add a player who could impact the team in a positive way right away. He said the chances of adding such a player before the trip to Italy were “next to zero,” but added that he would still have time to look around at potential additions after their return on Aug. 8.

“We’ll go wherever we have to to find a body,” Self emphasized. “But the chances of finding somebody I don’t think are real high.”


Ryan Mullen 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure Coach Self knew nothing and this quote ''caught him “totally off guard' is very true'. LOL

Brian Wilson 5 years, 4 months ago

IDK, Stache didn't even stop in at the office to say goodbye. He phoned it in! I can't remember any KU player just calling up coach while at home with mommy and saying "I quit"!

Lawrence McGlinn 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't follow other college teams, so I am not sure, but there does seem to be a lot of instability among KU's marginal players. There was the "I want to be closer to my family" Tharpe "transfer" that was an obvious denial of the next year's scholarship to make room for Graham. Bragg? Would not surprise me. Whitman, dunno. It is a business.

Brent Held 5 years, 4 months ago

Lol I think Tharpe's reasoning was the picture of him with the topless girl that got out

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

Tharpe was most likely told that his starting days were over. I think Self probably made that decision after Tharpe hit Embiid with the ball on a poorly timed pass from one side of the court to the other.

Bill Pitcher 5 years, 4 months ago

Dwight Coleby, come back, all is forgiven...

Yolanda Gay 5 years, 4 months ago

Dwight Coleby has nothing to be forgiven for. KU kinda booted him out when Svi decided to come back to school. Wasn't the deal there were no more scholarships?

David Lara 5 years, 4 months ago

There was another scholly because they gave it to Whitman. There would be no reason at all to boot Coleby for Whitman. Coleby showed he can contribute some positive minutes providing everything you want of your backup bigs. You never know what you will get out of a grad transfer. Too risky a swap. Don't think it was about getting rid of Coleby because that just makes no sense.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

Svi and Coleby already had scholarships and neither depended on what the other player decided. After Bragg had made his decision to transfer, I'm still not sure what Coleby was thinking as there was a lot of minutes to divide up in the front court.

John Brazelton 5 years, 4 months ago

Self never plays more than 8 or 9 players.

Tim Orel 5 years, 4 months ago

The injury thing is huge, though. Az didn't make it through last fall, let alone the year, and we don't have a Josh Jackson and a national POY to take over and win games. I'll grant that Az's injury was a fluke, but still, we have just him in the center spot and two power forwards, one of whom just suffered his own injury.

I just hope Graham can have the same impact that Mason did.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 4 months ago

Problem is KU literally has 8 scholarship players until mid-remember. KU does not have the depth to absorb any injuries or foul issues otherwise there will be walk ons playing relevant minutes for KU.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

True but when you only have 8- 9 players available, there isn't much room for injuries, player suspensions or eligibility issues.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 4 months ago

Is there any particular reason you post this exact comment in every article?

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey Tait, how about an article to show what Selfs options are in filling the scholarship? I'm curious who's even available at this point.

Matt Tait 5 years, 4 months ago

So is he. Self obviously knows more than we do, but, in talking to him, it doesn't sound like he's that confident he'll find a bunch of new options because so many kids are already signed or committed.

That said, I'm sure they'll find someone. They always do.

I'll call around and look around and see if I can't throw some sort of speculative list together.

I'd be shocked if anything happens before they leave for Italy, so they've got some time to look around and really do their homework on what's out there, if anything.

Mike Johns 5 years, 4 months ago

Start scouring Towson & Appalachian State's rosters! :)

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 4 months ago

Part of me loves the idea of having to improvise. Coach Self and his staff are geniuses at coming up with the right strategies. Heaven knows, the 13 consecutive conference championships had their share of years where plans had to be altered.

In short, it gives a chance to emphasize the adage that "the cream rises to the top", and Coach Self gets to demonstrate again why he is a Hall of Fame coach and person.

Rock Chalk!

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

Coleby, Bragg, Alexander, Diallo and Whitman aren't helping us much in the minds os some recruits.

Mike Greer 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree they aren't helping, but on the other hand look at the number of players we picked up from other schools; Lawson Bros., Cunliffe, Moore, and Newman. These are more than likely better players than the ones who didn't pan out.

Also, you have to look at those players you mention and ask why. Alexander's family got him into NCAA hot water, Diallo had NCAA issues which retarded his progress (he would have likely been a star had he stayed a second year), Coleby had an injury that really impacted his ability to play and wanted a guarantee he would get minutes in his final season. That leaves us with Bragg and Whitman, I can only guess that Whitman saw how the cards were laid out and figured he didn't want to spend his last year of eligibility playing <5 min per game. Bragg, ok you got me on that one, everyone had great expectations for his sophomore year and it turned out to be a flop, was it the "paraphernalia with residue", was it the incident with the false accusation, or was it KU? I guess we're never really going to know on that one.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

Great answer. I'm just talking about how things might appear to recruits. You can be sure that other coaches are using this information in the most unflattering light possible.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 4 months ago

This guy just left campus, not even sure he called the coach. Not what we need.

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