Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Self cites ‘smart’ recruiting

Jayhawk coach targets wide variety of preps

May 23, 2004


Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self is proving he'll go anywhere in pursuit of high school prospects.

In the past week, Self received commitments from a pair of players from the state of Washington (C.J. Giles, Micah Downs), one from Puerto Rico by way of New Jersey (Alex Galindo) and another from Alaska (Mario Chalmers).

That follows last fall's haul of Russia's Alexander Kaun of Florida Air Academy, New York's Russell Robinson and Oklahoma City's Darnell Jackson.

"When we took the job," Self said, "we felt the toughest thing was recruiting somebody else's territory. It's always been the case at Kansas. Yet a majority of our kids come from outside the area.

"We have got to recruit our area and will recruit our area, but we also have to have success in other areas. Our assistant coaches have done a remarkable job in getting out and recruiting other areas, as well as areas close to home."

Self refused to boast after landing incoming freshmen Giles and Galindo, and filling half of his recruiting class of 2005 in juniors Downs and Chalmers in a five-day period.

"It's been a good week," Self said, acknowledging it was nice to fill two of four allotments in next year's recruiting class a full five weeks before the start of the July evaluation period.

"All programs are excited to get early commitments," Self said. "When you get early commitments, it gives you a head start in recruiting, some momentum. Now you are able to hone in on even a smaller pool of players."

One of KU's junior commitments -- Chalmers, a 6-foot-2 point guard -- has stated he might consider skipping college for the NBA.

Unable to comment specifically about Chalmers in accordance with NCAA rules, Self discussed recruiting players who were pondering instant access to the NBA.

"You recruit the best you can and hopefully things work out where they do come to school," Self said. "Regardless of age, we want to recruit the best team possible.

"You have to be smart and not recruit a bunch of guys who you do not have a great chance to coach. Those guys scare away other guys (from signing). With the five we have coming in, we feel they can be great contributors for multiple years."

Indeed, the incoming class of Kaun, Robinson, Giles, Galindo and Jackson figures to remain intact for two to three years, while the current '05 class of Downs and Chalmers should be on board at least two seasons.

With recruiting pretty much over now until the July evaluation period, Self hopes to catch his breath.

"This is a down time in recruiting. We will slow down," Self said. "We do have two weeks of camp in June, summer school with five freshmen on campus when it starts. We have a lot of stuff to do, but recruiting is a never-ending process. Our coaches recruit year-round. Work has been done on these guys (last week's commitments) the last eight or nine months."


Favorable reviews: Bob Dole isn't the only dignitary to praise Self's recruiting.

"Coach Bill Self has to be one happy camper in Lawrence, Kansas," ESPN's Dick Vitale wrote this week. "Recently, I said that Kentucky and Texas had the best recruiting classes in America. Now Kansas must be added to that list."


Say what?: The Anchorage Daily News wrote in Friday's editions: "It might come as a surprise to some that Chalmers picked Kansas over Arizona given his reputation as a shoot-first point guard who lacks the discipline to play hard-nosed defense."

"I can play defense with the best of them," the high-scoring Chalmers responded to the paper.

On the positive side, the News called Chalmers, "a dynamic playmaker who has excellent court vision, which makes him a threat each time he touches the ball. His slick dribbling skills and deft jumper make him almost impossible to stop one-on-one."

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