Ninth-year Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self returned to Champaign, Ill., on Friday for a banquet honoring his 2000-01 and 2001-02 University of Illinois Big Ten championship basketball teams.
Several of Self’s former Illini players attended, including pros Deron Williams and Brian Cook.
“He (Self) gets personal with his people, and he takes over every room he enters,” Illini assistant coach Jerrance Howard told reporter Loren Tate of illinihq.com. Howard played for both of Self’s league title teams.
“He was able to manage different personalities,” Robert Archibald noted to illinihq.com. Archibald played two seasons for current Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger at U of I and two for Self. “It is easier to push yourself when the coach points out that it makes a difference. He might say that Cory (Bradford) got an open three because I got down the floor quick. Coach Self saw those things,” Archibald added.
Parkland College coach Nate Mast, who played on the 00-01 team, added a memory of Self’s fabled Boot Camp.
“We got to know coach Self early on when an open gym turned into a conditioning session that no one on that team will ever forget,” Mast wrote in a first-person piece at illinihq.com. “We ran every different kind of sprint you could run on a basketball court, with no end in sight. Not to mention we weren’t in shape since this was preseason. More importantly, I think he wanted to see who had some guts. We found out later during our two weeks of Boot Camp what we were really working toward.
“In our last day of Boot Camp, coach Self strutted into the gym with a camouflage shirt on with the word ‘WAR’ on the front in big, black letters, and he’d smeared black army paint under his eyes. There wasn’t one guy in that gym who wasn’t ready to go to battle after that day and it would pay off down the road.”
Self didn’t stick around for Saturday’s alumni game, preferring to let the ex-players have the spotlight.
“For me, I think the rally at Minnesota (67-66) in my second year was No. 1 (memory),” Self said of top moment in his three years at U of I. “I still have a picture in my office of Frank Williams making that winning basket and all those fans in shock. That was awesome.
“Then there were the three wins over Missouri in St. Louis, the ‘Paint the Hall Orange’ game (against Michigan State), and our comeback from 12 down against Wisconsin (68-67) at home that first year.”
In all, Self went 78-24 at Illinois. His 2000-01 team reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Self has coached just one game against his former school while at KU. The Jayhawks rolled, 73-59, in a second-round 2011 NCAA Tournament game in Tulsa.
Robinson looking good: KU junior Thomas Robinson has been playing well in camp counselor scrimmages at the Adidas Nations Global Experience in Los Angeles.
“Robinson continues to show new wrinkles to his game, along w/same phenomenal athleticism. Poised to have a huge season,” Jonathan Givony of draftexpress.com wrote on Twitter Saturday.
Draftexpress.com believes many NBA players will be signing with European teams starting this week in advance of what many expect will be a season-long shutdown of the NBA. The players would need ‘outs’ in their contracts, however, in the event the lockout ended in time for an abbreviated season.
Recruiting: L.J. Rose, a 6-3 senior point guard from Westbury Christian High in Houston, tells Zagsblog.com that Texas is his current leader in recruiting. Rivals.com’s No. 69-rated player is also considering KU, Baylor, Arizona, Memphis and Georgetown. ... T.J. Warren, a 6-7 senior from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. (originally from Raleigh, N.C.), last week received a scholarship offer from North Carolina, Rivals.com reports. Warren, who is rated No. 36, also is considering KU, Florida, Georgetown, Kentucky and North Carolina State. ... UNC last week offered a scholarship to No. 4-rated Jabari Parker, a 6-7 junior from Chicago’s Simeon High. Parker is also considering KU, Illinois, Duke, Michigan State and others.