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Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Self shares hoops experiences over lunch

KU coach talks with fans about life after the title at Kansas City’s College Basketball Experience

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self poses with Dusty Workman, of Overbrook, who was one of several fans on board Tuesday at the Sprint Center's College Basketball Experience, where people paid $50 apiece to meet Self, eat lunch and watch KU win the Final Four.

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self poses with Dusty Workman, of Overbrook, who was one of several fans on board Tuesday at the Sprint Center's College Basketball Experience, where people paid $50 apiece to meet Self, eat lunch and watch KU win the Final Four.

June 25, 2008

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Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self holds court Tuesday at a luncheon at the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self holds court Tuesday at a luncheon at the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Mo.

College Basketball Experience

The following is a list of interactive exhibits at the College Basketball Experience, next to Kansas City's Sprint Center:

¢ Beat the Clock: Visitors shoot buzzer-beaters under pressure.

¢ Clean the Glass: Visitors snag rebounds at various heights.

¢ Gallery of Honor: A college hoops Hall of Fame.

¢ Make the Pass: Visitors pass to targets while racing the clock.

¢ Media Lounge: ESPNU creates a scene where fans call the action.

— The fans craned their necks to watch the man they traveled to the College Basketball Experience to see.

They sat patiently through an introduction for a man who needed no introduction, and they stared as Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self spoke of his life since winning the national championship.

"I've never been more busy, got less done, (or) had more fun," Self said just before inviting everyone to eat during a luncheon at the CBE, located next to Sprint Center.

For $50, fans enjoyed lunch, the company of Self and a glimpse into the life and history of college basketball. Overbrook resident and Kansas University alum Dusty Workman and his mother Linda Warriner were among the first to greet Self as they entered the building together.

"We walked in with him," Warriner said. "So we asked him some questions then like how the president visit was. He said it was awesome. So we kind of got to chit-chat with him there."

While they ate, Workman and other attendees were treated to the last few minutes of the national championship game. Like a good audience, they cheered in all the right places, and broke into applause for Mario Chalmers' three-pointer that sent the game to overtime.

The highlight of the event came after lunch when Self spoke on stage with 810 radio announcer Soren Petro and took questions from the audience.

"It's amazing how much people care about athletics," Self said. "I've been in numerous situations in the last few years, whether it be at Illinois or Tulsa, where people have done this, but certainly it's just blown up here in the last few months."

Since winning the national championship Self has been busy making the rounds of awards and congratulations. At one point, he joked that he doesn't want any more phone calls of praise.

With the success, it's only natural that fan excitement and involvement might increase.

"I would say there's no question that fans are excited," Self said. "Usually one way that you can sense their excitement is their interaction and coming out to different events and things like that. But it's always going to be good at Kansas, I think. I don't see that changing."

During the Q&A, Self was asked what kept him at KU when Oklahoma State was pursuing him.

"I could not see myself coaching anywhere but KU period," he said.

He took a question on what he thinks it takes to be a good leader. His two rules? First, get along with people, and second, have people who cover up your weaknesses.

In addition Self, of course, took the inevitable question about how the team looks for next year. His advice to fans was to enjoy the process of watching young players grow and not to worry.

"I knew people would ask about the incoming Jayhawks and things like that," Workman said. "If I would have had a dynamo question, I would have been back there, but I was just soaking it in and absorbing the moment."

The CBE plans to relive this moment every year, inviting the coach of the national championship team in for a luncheon. The event was planned prior to the Jayhawks' victory. By winning, Self made himself the first speaker and added a bit of local flavor.

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Thursday's draft: Self commented on where Jayhawks Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush will fall in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft.

"From what agents are saying and NBA teams have told us, I'd be disappointed if they are not mid-first round, mid-to-late first round at the worst," Self said.

"I've talked to some teams who are really high on Mario, some teams really high on Brandon and some teams really high on Darrell. The consensus is Mario really helped himself with the workouts (for individual teams).

"I think Darnell (Jackson) will get drafted (in second round). Sasha (Kaun) has signed with (team in) Russia, but that doesn't mean he won't get drafted. Most big kids who get drafted late go somewhere else to get better and they (NBA team) bring them back later.

"That's not a negative. With what they are paying him (over $1 million U.S. dollars per year) I told him, 'You've got to go.'

"I told him, 'Who'd have thought seven years ago when you had never picked up a ball and not spoken a lick of English you'd be able to make that kind of money and have a degree?' He's excited. The only one I don't know about is Russ (Robinson). He has overseas offers. I hope he can get in a (NBA) camp.

"If you see enough of Russell he'll wear on you. See him once he's not that impressive. See him a second time he's not bad. See him three to four times and see him take out the other team's point guard you say, 'This guy can play a little bit.' See him over time and you see all he does is win."

ESPN's Bill Simmons and Chad Ford conducted a mock draft on Tuesday. Arthur was the No. 10 pick of the New Jersey Nets, Chalmers No. 12 of the Sacramento Kings and Rush No. 13 overall of the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Twins update: As reported last week, incoming KU freshmen Marcus and Markieff Morris arrive on campus Thursday and enroll in the second summer school session.

"I'm not going to be remotely negative or overly optimistic (of them qualifying academically) because you have to wait for the people to review - the (NCAA) clearinghouse to review everything," Self told FOX broadcaster Frank Boal at the luncheon. "We have to get all the stuff turned in, all the transcripts in before anything officially is said. We'd not have brought them down here if we didn't feel good about it. We need to get them started working in the weight room, get a little taste of what is about to hit them in August."

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