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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Notebook: KU coach Bill Self says he always enjoyed competing against now-former K-State coach Bruce Weber

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji receives the Big 12 Player of the Year trophy from commissioner Bob Bowlsby prior to tipoff against West Virginia on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji receives the Big 12 Player of the Year trophy from commissioner Bob Bowlsby prior to tipoff against West Virginia on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

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Kansas City, Mo. — After what wound up being his final game as the head coach at Kansas State, now former-K-State coach Bruce Weber shared with the media on Wednesday that he had been growing his hair out as a protest of sorts and only planned to cut it when the college basketball programs tied up in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball were punished.

Thursday morning, Kansas State announced that Weber had resigned following his team’s latest losing season.

On the way out the door, Weber boasted about running his program “the right way” and said that he was proud of how he had done things during his time at Kansas State, win or lose.

With Kansas being one of the schools Weber referenced — KU is still awaiting a ruling from the IARP in its infractions case — KU coach Bill Self was asked following Thursday’s 87-63 quarterfinal win over West Virginia if he had seen Weber’s comments.

“I heard them,” Self said.

The Kansas coach then became the latest in the league to commend Weber for the work he did in leading the Wildcats.

“This time of year, I think everybody in our profession feels a little bit of pressure, stress (and) certainly can be emotional,” Self said. “I know that I go through those phases as well. I have enjoyed competing against his teams. I never thought it was him against me. But I have enjoyed my players competing against his players. And I thought he did a good job in Manhattan and certainly wish him well whatever the next step is for him.”

Kansas State Athletic Director Gene Taylor held an impromptu press conference with the media in downtown Kansas City on Thursday to reveal a look at what KSU would do in its search for Weber’s replacement.

Taylor said he would not be hiring anyone from Weber’s staff to take over and the assumption is the Wildcats will conduct a national search while looking for their next men’s basketball coach.

Self and Weber have been connected in college basketball circles for the better part of the past two decades. Weber succeeded Self at Illinois after the KU coach left the Illini to come to Kansas in 2003. And the two faced each other 23 times after Weber took over at Kansas State 10 years ago. Self went 20-3 in those head-to-head matchups.

Dajuan’s dunk

Late in Thursday’s win over West Virginia, Kansas point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., got his hands on a pass near mid-court and tipped it ahead to himself before chasing it down for what quickly turned into a breakaway opportunity for the KU sophomore.

Rather than laying it in, Harris went up and flushed it. The play, which was Harris’ exclamation point on a day that featured six points, seven assists and zero turnovers in 25 minutes, turned out to be Harris’ last. And it was greeted by some pretty good reactions on the Kansas bench.

“It was all right,” KU junior and longtime Harris friend Christian Braun said of the highlight play. “I’ve seen him dunk better than that in eighth grade. It was good for him to get one of those, but it wasn’t his best.”

On the other hand, KU senior Ochai Agbaji said he “loved it.”

“I thought he was going to lay it up, but then he kind of took off too far (out) and got one of those iffy dunks,” Agbaji said while reliving the play. “But a dunk is a dunk, and for him to be doing that on a fastbreak just shows you a lot about our team and a lot about him.”

More minutes for Martin?

Prior to Thursday’s win over WVU, Self discussed the idea of senior point guard Remy Martin logging more minutes in this week’s Big 12 tournament.

“I’ll be honest,” Self said. “In a perfect world, it would be nice to give him some major minutes, but we’re also trying to win the game. So, I hope they both can co-exist.”

It looked like that might happen on Thursday, when KU raced out to big leads and Martin played nine minutes in the first half alone. That was one minute more than his per-game average in his four outings since returning from the bone bruise in his right knee that forced him to sit out several games.

But Martin, who finished with four points, two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers, played just two minutes in the second half on Thursday.

“I thought Remy’s second half wasn’t as engaged,” Self said after the win. “He had a couple of bad turnovers. He looked healthy, though.

Martin looked jet-quick on a couple of layups in Thursday’s first half, providing support for Self’s Wednesday comments about Martin’s health being “pretty good.”

“I think he’s gotten past worrying about cutting sharp and playing on it full-speed,” Self said. “I do think he’s shown flashes of being his old self. But, you know, he was out for quite a bit of time. I don’t know that, up until the last couple days, he actually looked like old Remy. If he plays like old Remy, then he’ll get his minutes. But I’m not going to put him out there if he’s not able to perform in a way that gives us the best chance to win.”

Ochai collects his hardware

In his final appearance at the Big 12 tournament in his hometown, KU senior Ochai Agbaji kicked things off by receiving his Big 12 Player of the Year trophy from conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

Bowlsby presented Agbaji with his trophy on the T-Mobile Center court after TCU’s win over Texas and before Kansas and West Virginia tipped off.

The unanimous pick for this season’s MVP and the fourth Jayhawk to win the award in the past six seasons, Agbaji talked recently about returning to T-Mobile Center — known throughout most of his KU career as Sprint Center — for one final run.

“Being the one on the court now, I feel that buzz,” Agbaji said of playing in the venue he grew up watching others play in. “It’s crazy that I’m about to have my last go around.”

This and that…

Thursday’s win made Kansas 22-3 in Big 12 tournament quarterfinal games and pushed the Jayhawks into the Big 12 semifinals for the 22nd time in 25 years… The Jayhawks are now 4-1 in neutral-site games this season, 78-28 in league tournament play all-time and 48-12 all-time at the Big 12 tournament… KU’s win improved the program to 44-10 all-time inside T-Mobile Center (formerly known as Sprint Center), including a 2-0 mark this season… Self is now 43-13 all-time in league tournaments, with 34 of those wins, against just eight losses, coming at Kansas… Agbaji is now 17 points away from moving into 20th place on KU’s all-time scoring list… KU’s 24-point win is the biggest margin of victory for Kansas in a Big 12 tournament game since topping Texas Tech 91-63 in 2013.

Comments

Dirk Medema 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I wonder if there was pressure to resign?

It will be interesting to see who replaces him.

RJ King 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh, now I get it. One final dig.

I just thought Weber had asked for the Donald Sutherland cut. He'll be playing Dumbledore in summer stock theater if he waits this one out.

Lee Short 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The epitome of jealousy and sour grapes. Textbook example in how to not leave a job. What a lack of maturity. Seriously, growing your hair out? Pretty childish. Of course, he wanted to come out with this outlandish ending to three losing seasons in a row during conference tournament play.

He just made Coach Self look even better by contrast with this stunt. What a professional response by a coach you lost to 20 out of 23 matchups.

Bruce Weber just reduced his head coaching opportunities significantly over what it would have been otherwise.

K-state fans, you can do better.

Brianna Zaleski 3 months, 2 weeks ago

He just from classy to ashy in one fail swoop. It’s like Ashy Larry, but in reverse…. Bonus points if you get the reference ;)

Bryce Landon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

No, he went from classy to ashy the day he held a mock funeral for Bill Self at Illinois.

Spencer Goff 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The part that pisses me off with his comments is that he doesn't have the cajones to actually say it up front.

He alludes to KU as though 1) their basketball team doesn't graduate (which is flatly untrue and the Big 12 has the records to prove it) and 2) that this unnamed pile of evidence the NCAA allegedly has is anything more than Townsend running his mouth about a player that went to Duke. Want to know how much Zion got paid? Ask Duke you whiny jackass. Call out Coach K on national TV if your balls are so big.

Weber wanted to feign altruism like Coach Pete Bell in Blue Chips. The difference? He knew he was going to get fired for performance, Bell blew up after a huge win. Bell exposed corruption in his own house that he knew for a fact existed, Weber just operates off hearsay and sour grapes on other programs. Weber's team lost to a conference foe he was expected to beat, ironically the guy that revived that program maybe did so again by running him off. So instead of focusing on his own team and hoping they might get a NIT bid, he decided to do what he does best: whine and virtue signal.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Who was the “crushed dove” AD? Maybe he’s a speech writer for Bry

Chad Smith 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Bruce Weber is done in power 5 college basketball now I think. He may get an opportunity at a mid-major or smaller school. The comments were unnecessary. He went out of his way to say all that. He knew the writing on the wall and just wanted to vent his frustrations in a public forum. The problem with that is now any good things he did during his coaching career are now tainted, because he couldn't handle himself professionally. People will always remember him for this, and not really for anything prior. It's just sad to me. And his insinuations about other college programs not graduating players is vicious and projects a false narrative. He chose to say what he said, and I believe he will regret it.

David Gisi 3 months, 2 weeks ago

There's been a lot of questions posed to coaches about the handshake line at the end of games and whether it should end. After another fiasco involving Howard and, who would have guessed it: a sportsmanship issue with Duke, I was thinking about why it's important to show sportsmanship, win or lose. If anyone deserves recognition for the right way to treat opposing coaches and teams it is Coach Bill Self. Coach Self has consistently walked thru handshake lines with Coach Weber 2-3 times a season and shook hands with a man who has treated Coach Self as poorly as anything I've ever seen between coaches. His bitter resentment has been evident from the burning at Illinois, to the constant "right way" references that excuse his own shortcomings. He has, especially against KU, been a "6th man" on the court where he has literally blocked Jayhawk players and never received so much as a technical. His attitude and demeanor bear more responsibility for the reckless court storming at KState that endangered players and coaches. It also contributed greatly to the fight at KU. And yet, Bill Self courteously shakes his hand. Thank you, Coach Self, for showing others the RIGHT WAY to treat opposing coaches and players.

Bryce Landon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

In Weber's defense, he did potentially save Bill Self's life during the 2015 court storming that got out of hand by getting between him and the whacko KSU fans.

Bryce Landon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

In regards to the 2020 brawl, I will say this: Weber clearly didn't command the respect of his players. As I recall from the postgame press conference, Weber had told his guys to back off; the game was all but over and there was no point in trying any late "heroics". Instead, his player disobeyed and stole the ball from Silvio De Sousa. And we all know the rest of that story.

Chad Smith 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I've watched that brawl video from very beginning in the play leading up to it and all the way through 20 times and Weber never once reprimanded his players for instigating and escalating the situation. Everyone including ESPN focused on the chair and I understand why, but the Injured KSU Player in Street clothes jumping off the bench and making a beeline straight towards De Souza and throwing punches is what created the brawl. Had that not happened, I believe technical fouls and maybe some words would have been all that would have been exchanged.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Chad, not sure how you missed it, but De Sousa ran past a KU player who was letting the layup happen because Silvio had a TO at halfcourt. Hard foul, well that was stupid but if he had just walked away instead of standing over the KSU player on the ground there would have not been a brawl, stool, him stomping on someone else in front of the student section, him being suspended, etc...

Taunting, standing over a player after a physical play is not ok. There was only 11 seconds to go and we had a 20 point lead. Explain how that was ok for him to do that.

De Sousa, is at fault 100%. He lighted the fuse for everything after.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sportsmanship? Really?

So now we are congratulating Self on how he handles the handshake line? How he treats a coach who had a funeral for him at IL? Where does it stop?

Hey I saw him hold a door open for a mother with child, oh did you see him walk that little old lady across the street?

He has and always has been a standup guy. No one has ever questioned his character. His HOF coaching record, very solid. Some would have liked one or two more national championships, but who wouldn't?

Weber is nothing more than a footnote now. Let the departed rest in peace.

Brett McCabe 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly wrong. 100% on ksuck. Cheap play. Paid for it and couldn’t deal with it. Time for KU fans to quit blaming Silvio for a tough bball play against a heated rival.

He stood over him and scowled? Oh mama that man’s being mean to me after I tried to embarrass him when he was showing me mercy.

If you are going to post this drivel, do it on Weber’s self-pity post card.

Bj Cassady 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I figured Mr Weber and Huggie Bear would be done this season. So far I am half right. Huggie bear doesnt have the fire he used to have.

Spencer Goff 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I thought Huggins might retire and sort of posed that question here a few weeks back. To be honest, I would hate to see him retire after that game though.

Spencer Goff 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Every time I wanted to like Weber, his whine and cheese show just killed it for me. There has not been a bigger hypocrite and whiner in this league to date (young Scott Drew was close but he matured out of it). And while I have a lot to say about this guy, I'll load up and move on, and hope their next hire actually brings some fun to the rivalry.

Does he REALLY think that Kansas State's athletic program is clean? I guess most fans think their teams are, so maybe he actually does too? Bah... Gotta move on.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Rodney - Was it okay to score 150 pts against UK back when Pitino was just starting there? They kept pressing and we kept breaking the press. That’s basketball.

Sorta like the Michigan-Wisconsin game earlier this season. Michigan had clearly lost and kept contesting the advance of the basketball out of the backcourt. (In most places, that’s known as a press, but not in Howard’s Michigan.) Wisconsin called a timeout; a normal basketball play in response to the opponents pressure defense.

To some extent, it started when someone gave the ball to the center expecting him to dribble out the clock. Dumb. It escalated when the kitty stole the ball, though a normal basketball play when the game is being contested. It escalated when Silvio punked his shot, though a normal basketball play when the game is being contested. (Are we really supposed to let them steal the ball and shoot uncontested layups? How many times?)

You are right that he should have walked away. Standing over someone is technical worthy but still common in basketball. (At least CB and Mitch are nodding in agreement.)

It got out of hand when a non-basketball player entered the court and attacked Silvio from behind. That’s not basketball.

Barry Weiss 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Weber lost alot of the respect he may have built. What a weasel thing to say. Did he just resign on his own or was he given the boot? Some times a man has to know his limitations.

Joshua Tate 3 months, 2 weeks ago

As fun as it is to take the mildkitties to the woodshed each year, it would be nice to have a rival that wasn't a doormat. Bruce has benefited from coach Self's success and now he takes yet another dump on the hall of famer. Shame he couldn't suck it up and be respectful to someone who he owes some of his success(think Illinois) to.

Brad Watson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Tim Jankovich is on the top of the list with Kevin Kruger...and do I dare say...Lonnie also...a 2 time player of the year at KSU in the Big 8 ..back in the day!!!

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