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Archive for Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self tired of buddy talk

KU basketball Notebook

January 24, 2006

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A radio reporter who had an interview scheduled with Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie asked Kansas University's Bill Self if he wanted to relay a message to the Aggies' coach.

"Yeah, tell Billy I'm tired of talking about him," Self quipped while dining on Mexican food after Monday's weekly news conference.

Self was peppered with questions about Gillispie - first on the Big 12 Conference weekly teleconference, next at his own media session and finally on his Hawk Talk radio show.

Gillispie, whose Aggies (12-4 overall, 2-3 Big 12) will play host to Self's Jayhawks (11-6, 2-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Reed Arena, worked as an assistant for Self at Tulsa and Illinois. The two coaches are best friends and had an interesting first introduction.

"I didn't know Billy at all when I hired him at Tulsa," Self said. "My only run in with Billy : I went to a high school tournament in Vegas, and while I was there I went to pay, and they didn't take credit cards. I didn't have enough money to pay (for program with recruiting contacts, which costs several hundred dollars).

"I didn't know Billy well. I knew he was at Baylor. I said, 'Can you float me? I'll go down to the money machine and get it to you after this session is over?' He said, 'No.' He made me hit somebody else up. That's the first time I ever talked to him."

Self didn't hold it against him when he needed a top recruiter.

"I asked several people who they thought the best recruiter in the state of Texas was. I thought that was important at Tulsa. Three of the five people I asked pointed to him," Self said. "He found out I had an interest and called me one night and said, 'Let's do this.'

"I said, 'Why don't you come in for an interview?' He said, 'We're wasting days (in recruiting).' He took the job on the phone. I shipped him a couple of Tulsa T-shirts and we were ready to go."

Gillispie - he and Self still talk "all the time" on the phone - explained his version of the Vegas story Monday.

"Absolutely not. If he ever wanted to borrow money, I wouldn't (lend it)," Gillispie said with a laugh. "I did loan him money on several occasions and never got it back. I had foresight before I knew him that this would not be money well spent. Luckily, he didn't hold it against me."

Self won the only meeting between the two coaches - 65-60 - last season in Allen Fieldhouse.

"He is enjoying the season greatly," Gillispie said of Self. "I think it will be a great team. Once the NCAA Tournament rolls around, they could have a chance to play for a long time in that tournament."

Of the reunion, Self said: "It's not a fun game for Billy or myself because we both need the game; but it'll be a hotly contested one."

Downs talk: Self was asked on his radio show if freshman Micah Downs would be as patient as Russell Robinson was in waiting for playing time at KU. Robinson, like Downs, played little as a freshman, but has now emerged as a regular.

"I wish that is the case, and I'm sure it is. I'm not sure how patient Micah is, though," Self said. "We want him to be patient and do what he needs to do. It's a tough adjustment for him, being away from home. Hopefully, he'll hang in there and stay positive.

"The last game would have been great for him to play a ton of minutes (against Nebraska). He couldn't. He said no way he could go (because of flu bug). Micah has done some good things. I believe perseverance will prevail. There's nothing you can put a magic wand over and say, 'Now you are a starter and will play 20 minutes.' You have to do what is best for the team, and hopefully that's what's best for Micah. He has to hang in there."

Kobe's explosion amazing: Self, like everybody else, was amazed at Kobe Bryant's 81-point outing against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

"I would have never thought somebody could score 81," said Self, who doesn't think Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point outing will ever be matched.

"Kobe did get 55 in a half though," Self said of the Laker guard, adding if anybody ever did score 100 it probably would be a guard. "I think it's easier for a guard in today's times. He has the ball in his hands at all times."

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