Archive for Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Frequent-flier miles add up in July

Self, staff crisscrossed country to hit summer hoops hot spots

July 18, 2006

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The first 10 days of the July college basketball recruiting evaluation period took Kansas University coach Bill Self to six cities: Indianapolis; Atlanta; Kansas City; North Augusta, S.C.; Teaneck, N.J.; and his favorite stop of all - Miami.

"Everything went well. I don't think there were any negative things for me. The highlight is we were able to hustle down and see Wayne get married in Miami," Self said of he and his family members watching ex-Jayhawk forward Wayne Simien tie the knot July 8 in Florida.

"It was great, great," Self added of the ceremony.

He'll say the same for his July 6-16 recruiting travels, which included the Nike, Reebok and Adidas shoe camps featuring the top high school prospects in the country.

"Recruiting in July ... very few people think it goes poorly," Self said. "You can't talk to them (prospects), and they can't talk to you. All you can do is watch guys play.

"We think it went well, but we don't know what the prospects or families are thinking. This is an important week because we can visit with the prospects."

Self and the rest of the country's college coaches are back on their respective campuses during the current July 16-20 "dead period." It'll be back on the road for the final 10 days of the summer evaluation period July 21-31, following this week's phone calls to recruits.

"We'll know a lot more by the first week of August, what the interest level is," Self said.

"Right now the break is good. It lets the staff regroup," he added, referring to assistants Joe Dooley, Tim Jankovich and Kurtis Townsend, who also have been out of the office most of the month. "You can get the staff together and evaluate and cross check and discuss what direction you need to go the last 10 days."

KU has already received an oral commitment from Cole Aldrich, a 6-foot-11 senior from Bloomington, Minn.

Others on the wish list for two or three available slots expected to be open because of players turning pro include Derrick Rose (6-4, Chicago), Kyle Singler (6-8, Medford, Ore.), James Anderson (6-5, Junction City, Ark.), Jerryd Bayless (6-3, Phoenix), Anthony Randolph (6-10, Dallas) and Tyrel Reed (6-3, Burlington) among others.

Of that group, only Rose has publicly discussed the possibility of heading to Europe for a year on a barnstorming tour as a way of making money while awaiting eligibility for the NBA draft.

Current rules make prep players ineligible until a year after their high school class graduates. They also must be at least 19 years old at some point in that draft's calendar year. The No. 1 player in the class of 2007, O.J. Mayo, has also mentioned the possibility of signing a shoe deal while awaiting the 2007 draft.

"I don't think kids are thinking that," Self said. "There may be somebody throwing that out there, but I don't think that could be a legitimate option at this stage. I think these are 17-year-old guys who are thinking about having a good summer and during their senior year, if business decisions occur, they will think about them at that point. As of now I wouldn't see that as any potential problem."

Self said he had no problem with an NCAA rule prohibiting coaches from even saying hello to prospects and their coaches at the various evaluation camps such as Nike All-America camp (Indianapolis), Reebok ABCD camp (New Jersey), adidas Superstar camp (Atlanta) and Nike Peach Jam (South Carolina).

"I think it is good. What it does is it allows you to evaluate," Self said. "If you could talk to them or do those things, you'd spend all your time doing that. This is better for players and coaches. It gives them a chance to focus on watching and playing the games."

Like every year, he hoped all coaches were playing the recruiting game fairly.

"I can only speak for us," Self said, "and the way we do things. I feel the new rules have been positive for the most part."

"It is competitive out there," he quickly added.

¢ Giles healing: KU junior forward C.J. Giles, who had surgery June 14 to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb, is back on the court working out in individual drills. The 6-10 Giles should be at full speed within a week, Self said.

"We think he's healing fine," Self indicated. "He'll have no contact for another week."

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