A 26-day contact period in college basketball recruiting started Saturday.
This gives coaches like Kansas University's Bill Self the freedom to travel the country and make in-home visits with seniors in the recruiting class of 2007.
"Not a ton : we'll probably have in the range of five or six in-homes," Self said, not able to talk about specific recruits in accordance with NCAA rules.
It's a safe bet Self will be visiting these prep seniors: Cole Aldrich, 6-foot-11, Bloomington, Minn., who has committed orally to KU; Derrick Rose, 6-4, Chicago; Kyle Singler, 6-8, Medford, Ore.; James Anderson, 6-5, Junction City, Ark.; Anthony Randolph, 6-10, Dallas; and Tyrel Reed, 6-3, Burlington.
During the in-home visits, Self and one of his assistants speak with the prospective players and their parents and sometimes high school and/or AAU coaches. Typically, a highlight video is shown and there are discussion of KU's academic programs.
Aldrich has filled KU's sole available scholarship. Self has said he could sign one or two additional players in anticipation of players perhaps turning pro.
¢ Foundation update: It's full speed ahead for Self's new ASSIST foundation, which will "assist causes that improve the lives of young people." The charitable foundation will hold its inaugural fundraising event entitled "72 Hour ASSIST" the weekend of Oct. 13-15.
Ten individuals have agreed to donate money to shadow Self that weekend at Media Day, Late Night in the Phog, coaches staff meetings, a tailgate at the KU-Oklahoma State football game and the Chicago Bulls-Seattle SuperSonics NBA game.
"It's full. The reception to this has been great," Self said. "It should be a fun weekend."
The foundation could raise up to $100,000 that first kickoff weekend.
"We're going to have different events to try to generate funds for things," Self said. "Hopefully, we'll raise some money in giving back to the community. We've not finalized where all the money is going. We'll investigate where we want it all to go this year.
"Certainly this will be a worthy cause, and there are so many worthy causes out there. Hopefully, we can make this place even a little bit better for our youth in Lawrence."
More information about Self's foundation will be announced in coming weeks.
¢ Response to Illini: Self this weekend responded to angry University of Illinois fans who believe KU's coach had to cheat to beat the Illini in recruiting for Chicago natives Julian Wright and Sherron Collins and make the final list of Chicagoan Derrick Rose.
"I've never bought a kid in my life," Self told Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette. "Ask Luther (Head) or Dee (Brown) if they ever got a dime, and they'll tell you heck no. Ask Charlie Villanueva (who committed to Illinois but headed to Connecticut after Self left). The bottom line is, they didn't get a thing."
Wright, a sophomore, committed to KU without visiting campus.
"We didn't even get in on him until he decided he didn't want to go to Illinois," Self said. "The bottom line is, he always liked Kansas, and he committed on the home visit. Basically, he held back on Kansas because he didn't like me personally and felt I should have paid more attention to him when he was a sophomore. He actually told me that he forgave me."
Self was upset at fans innuendo that KU paid Collins' high school coach, Anthony Longstreet.
"We just showed him attention and cultivated the relationship," Self told Tate. "I made maybe seven trips to see him. Sherron had every opportunity to commit to Illinois, but he didn't."
Rose recently eliminated Illinois from his list of schools and cut his list to five - KU, Memphis, DePaul, UCLA and Indiana. All five schools have a contract with Adidas.
"When I read the latest thing about the shoe companies, I couldn't believe we were all lumped together like that," Self said. "We are an Adidas school, but if something is going on with Adidas, I'm not aware of it. I'd take a lie detector test on that. I thought, 'What has Loren got against me? How did they get Loren to believe that stuff?' All those innuendoes upset me."
¢ Bechard OK after weight mishap: KU sophomore walk-on Brennan Bechard recently needed 12 stitches to close a cut on the top of a finger on his left hand. His finger was pinned between weights in a lifting mishap. Originally it was feared there might be some nerve damage, but Bechard is fine and has resumed individual workouts and can play in pick-up games.
¢ Babbitt update: Luke Babbitt, a 6-8 junior forward from Galena (Nev.) High, has KU on his list of 10 schools. He's considering KU, Duke Texas, Illinois, Washington, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Nevada and Gonzaga.