A modest guy, Bill Self didn't wear 2008 Kansas University national-championship apparel into gyms in Akron, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; Philadelphia; and North Augusta, S.C., during the first half of the July recruiting period.
AAU basketball players and their coaches knew who represented the NCAA champion Jayhawks at the LeBron James Skills Academy, Kentucky Hoopfest, Reebok All-American camp and Nike Peach Jam, held July 6-15.
"One thing that is a positive ... we are a little more recognizable now. You walk in a crowded gym, and they may recognize you. We've gotten a little added airtime," Self said Friday.
He admitted his first recruiting experience following a national title, "probably was a little different, but not different from people who matter - the prospects, their families and coaches. You can't talk to them (in accordance with NCAA rules). You can have no contact with them," Self added.
"It was different from people coming up and congratulating us."
After an NCAA-mandated week break, summer recruiting heats up Tuesday through July 31.
Poker-faced Self wouldn't reveal where he's headed, but it's a safe bet he'll be spending time in Las Vegas for the Reebok Summer Championships as well as Adidas Super 64 and Nike Main Event tournaments.
"Yes," Self said, asked if he thought recruiting was going well. "We always go out thinking we're going to get good players."
He has two available scholarships for the Class of 2009, more if Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich or any of the squad's newcomers decide to turn pro.
"I would say we will try to sign a difference-maker - a guard, wing and big guy. We will recruit like we have more than two (available)," said Self, well aware coaches must expect the unexpected regarding their rosters nowadays.
He can't comment on individual recruits in accordance with NCAA rules.
It's safe to say one "difference-maker" on his radar is Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Putnam City (Okla.) High, who averaged 24 points a game at the Nike Peach Jam. Henry, Rivals.com's No. 2-rated player nationally, has been playing well despite a nagging ankle injury.
"People tell me I shouldn't be playing, that I have nothing to prove," Henry told the Daily Oklahoman. "Until I get that No. 1 by my name, there's something to prove."
Henry has a final four of KU, Memphis, Texas and UCLA. He's talking about making official visits to all four schools despite the fact KU and Memphis long have been his heavy favorites.
KU is also in the running for top-rated John Wall, a 6-4 point guard from Raleigh, N.C. Wall tells Rivals.com he is "wide open with Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Memphis, N.C. State and Baylor coming on very strong."
Other top guards considering KU include No. 11-rated Dominic Cheek, 6-5, Jersey City, N.J.; No. 7 Lance Stephenson, 6-5, Brooklyn, N.Y.; No. 34 Elijah Johnson, 6-2, Las Vegas; No. 14 Abdul Gaddy, 6-3, Tacoma, Wash.; No. 16 Avery Bradley, 6-3, Tacoma, Wash.; No. 28 Rodney Williams, 6-5, New Hope, Minn., and No. 67 Anthony Marshall, 6-3, Las Vegas.
Top forwards considering KU include No. 12 Jordan Hamilton, 6-7, Los Angeles; No. 3 Derrick Favors, 6-9, Atlanta and No. 17 Ryan Kelly, 6-9, Raleigh, N.C.
Top centers considering KU include No. 10 Daniel Orton, 6-10, Oklahoma City and No. 133 Stephan Van Treese, 6-9, Indianapolis.
No. 4-rated Renardo Sidney, 6-10 from Los Angeles, recently failed to mention KU on his most recent list of schools. Rivals.com reports his current favorites as USC, UCLA, Memphis, Texas, Texas A&M and Arizona State.
Other top players who have listed KU include No. 23-rated Dante Taylor, 6-8, Fort Washington, Md.; No. 113 Sherrod Wright, 6-4, Mount Vernon, N.Y.; No. 140 Clarence Trent, 6-7, Henderson, Nev., and Michael Dixon, 6-0, Lee's Summit, Mo.
ESPY's on tonight: KU coach Bill Self and guard Mario Chalmers represented KU at the ESPY Awards show, taped earlier this week in Los Angeles. It will be aired tonight at 8 p.m., on ESPN.
KU was nominated in two categories: Best Game and Best Team.
Best Game went to the New York Giants, winners over New England in the Super Bowl. Best Team was claimed by the NBA champion Boston Celtics.
"It was really cool," Self said of the ESPY experience. "I'm not even disappointed we didn't win one. Sure we wished we'd won, but we played our game (NCAA title win over Memphis) when the Super Bowl was one of the best ever. And we were up for Best Team when the Celtics had such a great year. We're certainly proud we were nominated."