Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

KU’s Self identifies needs

Coach on recruiting trail to find Class of 2004

May 29, 2003


Bill Self looks at his Kansas University men's basketball roster and sees needs to fill in the Class of 2004.

"We could use a wing shooter. We could use another primary handler, and you can never have enough big guys," Self, the Jayhawks' new hoops coach, said of goals in recruiting for the upcoming school year. "There are some needs that have to be met, no question, but every program in America has that."

KU will have two or three scholarships available next school year, depending on what Brooklyn, N.Y., prep Charlie Villanueva does. The 6-foot-10 Villanueva is considering attending KU or Connecticut this August or heading straight to the NBA.

"On paper we have two or three (scholarships). I always say 'on paper' because you can expect the unexpected," Self said.

He didn't expound, but rosters are extremely volatile nowadays with players regularly bolting early to the NBA.

The good news for Kansas fans is that Self is one of the hardest-working recruiters in the business.

"If you say, 'Do you love it or hate it?' I'd say, 'Neither,''' Self said. "I really like getting to know families and locking in and selling a great product and those sorts of things. I don't hate anything about it, but I do dislike some of the things -- the non-glamorous things -- involved with recruiting.

"I enjoy people and I enjoy meeting people. That's what recruiting is, building relationships and working hard. I don't think there's any coach in America who would say on their day off they would love to spend the entire day recruiting if you've done it a lot. There are some coaches more passionate about it, and I hope I'm one of those guys."

Self has recruited for 10 years at Illinois, Tulsa and Oral Roberts.

"What I enjoy doing is pushing a product you can sell," Self said. "Obviously the other places I've been you can sell it, but Kansas is the best product we've had to sell. The other thing ... I love identifying and finding a diamond in the rough, which at Kansas you don't find as many diamonds in the rough because most of the guys you recruit are high, major type of recruits. I love recruiting somebody and two years later I want everybody to say, 'How'd you get him?' Or 'Where'd you get him from?'''

The personable Self isn't big on lavish recruiting presentations.

"We have a very informal program," Self said of in-home visits. "We go in the home, say this is who we are and give 'em a chance to get to know us."

It should be noted KU is recruiting players all over the country, including the East Coast, which former coach Roy Williams considered off limits because he felt the ACC and Big East were especially tough to beat for those athletes.

With the AAU season heating up, here's a look at some players -- in no particular order -- who have said they were interested in KU. Self can't comment on recruiting -- or KU's possible interest in these players -- in accordance with NCAA rules.

  • Kalem Grimes, 6-9, Florissant, Mo.: The 260-pounder, who averaged 14.5 points, 10 rebounds and 6.0 blocks a game his junior season, is known as a quick, explosive player and relentless rebounder. He's considering KU, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and St. Louis.
  • Jason Horton, 6-1, Cedar Hill, Texas: Horton, who plans on visiting KU this summer, is said to be favoring Missouri over KU, Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida and Florida State.
  • Sean Singletary, 5-11, Philadelphia: The blue-chip playmaker, who told he wanted to visit KU or Virginia in the next two weeks, also has Rutgers, Ohio State and Indiana on his list.
  • A.J. Price, 6-1, Amityville, N.Y.: Price, who averaged 25.4 points a game last year, likes KU, Virginia, St. John's, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and UConn.
  • Alexander Kaun, 6-11, Melbourne, Fla.: The 245-pound Kaun, who averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 boards last year, has a final list of KU, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgetown and Duke.
  • Marvin Williams, 6-8, Bremerton, Wash.: Williams, who has relatives in North Carolina, has UNC as a finalist with KU, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Duke.
  • Josh Heytvelt, 6-9, Clarkston, Wash.: The 195-pound Heytvelt, who is considered the No. 2 prospect in the West behind Williams, has a final four of KU, Arizona, Oregon and Gonzaga.
  • Kevin Langford, 6-8, Fort Worth, Texas: The brother of KU junior Keith Langford has visited Stanford and also likes KU, Wake Forest, Virginia and Kentucky. Other suitors include UCLA, Georgia Tech, UConn and Georgetown.
  • Darnell Jackson, 6-8, Oklahoma City: The 235-pound power forward, who is a buddy of incoming KU player J.R. Giddens and has long loved KU, also has Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Purdue on the list.
  • Joseph Jones, 6-9, Normangee, Texas: The 250-pounder, who attended the recent Jayhawk Invitational, is listing Texas, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech, KU, Houston, Oklahoma State, Arkansas and others.
  • Marcus Monk, 6-6, Lepanto, Ark.: Monk, who has visited Oklahoma, also likes KU, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Northwestern.
  • Jeremis Smith, 6-8, Fort Worth, Texas: The 230-pounder has mentioned Florida, KU, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and TCU.
  • Corey Brewer, 6-8, Portland, Tenn.: Brewer, who averaged 28 points per game last season, has mentioned Memphis, Kentucky, Tennessee, KU, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina State.
  • Malik Hairston, 6-6, Detroit: He's talking about Michigan State, Ohio State, KU, Kentucky, Indiana, Arizona and Missouri.
  • Josh Wright, 6-1, Utica, N.Y.: He has mentioned KU, Seton Hall, Boston College, Syracuse, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville and UConn.
  • NBA workouts on tap: Ex-Jayhawks Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison worked out Tuesday for the Golden State Warriors. Hinrich will visit the camp of the Los Angeles Clippers today after working out for Seattle Wednesday. They are both expected to be first-round picks in the June 26 NBA draft.

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