Did Bill Self overreact to Brannen Greene's dunk vs. K-State?
Did Bill Self overreact to Brannen Greene’s meaningless and unnecessary dunk in the final seconds of Wednesday’s blowout victory over Kansas State?
The thought had not even crossed my mind until I was flipping channels Thursday morning looking for a little Super Bowl coverage to kick-start my day.
There, on FOX Sports 1, was radio personality Colin Cowherd talking live from San Francisco about, what I assumed would be, Super Bowl 50. And it was. For the most part. But tossed in between his discussion of the Broncos and Panthers was a mini-rant about college basketball coaches operating as dictators and then a more specific rant about Bill Self’s reaction to Greene’s dunk on Wednesday night.
Self, as you surely know by now, called it a punk move — although he used slightly different terminology — and said it was totally classless and apologized to K-State.
To me, it seemed like the right thing for Self to do and, judging by the reaction on Twitter, it looked as if most KU fans agreed.
But then Cowherd started going off on Self and I began to question it a little. Was Cowherd right? Was Self using this as an opportunity to make himself look good because Greene made HIM look bad, as Cowherd suggests? Was it really a completely meaningless act in a college basketball game that no one should get too worked up about because it had nothing to do with the outcome and didn’t hurt a soul?
And I get where Cowherd is coming from. But here’s the thing Cowherd doesn’t get. And, worse, what he probably did not take the time to try to get.
This is not the first time Brannen Greene has pulled some type of shenanigans during his career at Kansas. He leads the team in suspensions, has been a thorn in Self’s side just about every year he’s been here and has proven on far too many occasions that he believes he, in whatever small way, is bigger or at least more important than the Kansas program and college basketball in general. And it's too bad too because Greene is a heck of a talent and has always been one of my favorite KU basketball players to interview because he always seems genuine and real.
I posted this on Twitter Wednesday night and I think it’s probably the most important thing to remember in the Great Greene Dunk Controversy of 2016: If this had been any other player, if Wayne Selden or Jamari Traylor or literally any other player on the KU roster had pulled what Greene pulled, I don’t think it would’ve been as big of a deal to Self.
Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think he would’ve liked it and I’m sure he would’ve said something about it. But I’m not sure his scolding would’ve come as publicly as his comments about Greene did. And that’s on Greene. He earned that by pushing Self’s buttons too many times before.
Heck, if this had been a freshman who simply did not know better, that would’ve been one thing. But you can’t tell me for one second that Greene did not know that Self would hate the dunk the minute he threw it down. Now, maybe he didn’t think about it while he was doing. (Let’s hope that’s the case). But you know he’s been around long enough to know better.
And that brings me back to Cowherd. On the surface, sure, this was a silly play that could very, very, very easily have been overlooked. But to those people familiar with Kansas basketball — the fans, the media, KU employees and even those who are a part of this KU team — this was not just a silly play. This was stupid, a dumb move by a player who has proven time and again that he’s not afraid to make these types of mistakes.
Because of that, Self was absolutely justified in calling Greene out. Who cares if Self did so because it made him look bad. It made Kansas look bad. Maybe not to people in all four corners of the world and certainly not to people outside of college athletics. But in the realm in which the KU program matters most, college sports and college basketball, this move was a very un-Kansas like thing to do, and as the leader of the program it is Self’s job — an absolute requirement behind all of that fame, notoriety and money he makes — to make sure that his players represent the school, the state and college basketball in a way that paints KU in a positive light.
He won’t be able to bat 1.000 in that department. But when he reacts to such stupidity the way he did last night, it sure increases his chances of getting close.
I won't argue with the people who say Self overreacted, but, at least in my opinion, Cowherd did, as well.