Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self maintained a rather hectic schedule during the first 10 days of the July basketball recruiting period.
“It wasn’t that grueling (but) I went to a lot of places. I went from Indy (Indianapolis) to Akron to Indy to St. Louis to Dallas to Augusta (S.C.) to Milwaukee to Minneapolis and then back here,” Self said of his travels to AAU tournaments from July 6-15. After a short break, he’ll be back on the road from July 22-31.
“I had some help with the school plane or I couldn’t have made all those trips,” said Self, who will finish the recruiting period at events in Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and Kansas City.
“We’ll definitely be in one place for longer periods of time,” he added.
Self can’t discuss specific KU targets in accordance with NCAA rules. On Wednesday, from the comforts of his office, he was willing to address recruiting in general, however.
“We believe we are actually in pretty good shape early. Of course, you never know what will happen,” Self said. “I really like the guys we are recruiting. We’re going into it with the mindset we know we have three scholarships to give, and that number could obviously be increased based on the potential for guys to leave (for NBA) early.
“We are going to be prepared to sign at least four guys to fill some specific needs to go with the team we have returning the following year on paper.”
The Jayhawks are reportedly in the hunt for some highly ranked players such as No. 19 Perry Ellis (6-8, Wichita Heights); No. 12 Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, St. Mark’s High, Southborough, Mass.); No. 1 Shabazz Muhammad (6-5 Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas); No. 45 Nino Jackson (6-2, Ardmore, Okla., High); No. 59 J’Mychal Reese (6-1, Bryan, Texas High); No. 24 Marcus Smart (6-4, Marcus High, Flower Mound, Texas); No. 5 Mitch McGary (6-10, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H.); No. 134 Landen Lucas (6-8, Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.); No. 32 Robert Upshaw (6-11, San Joaquin Memorial High, Fresno, Calif.); No. 44 Winston Shepard (6-8, Findlay Prep); No. 11 Archie Goodwin (6-4, Sylvan Hills High, Little Rock, Ark.); No. 50 Adam Woodbury (7-0, East High, Sioux City, Iowa); No. 36 T.J. Warren (6-7, Brewster Academy); No. 26 Danuel House (6-7, Hightower High, Missouri City, Texas); No. 29 Shaquille Cleare (6-9, Village School, Houston); No. 30 Tony Parker (6-9, Miller Grove High, Lithonia, Ga.); No. 71 Andrew White (6-6, Miller High, Chester, Va.); unranked Christian Sanders (6-3, St. Thomas High, Houston); unrated Dillon Graham (6-3, First Academy, Orlando, Fla.); and others.
“I want the best players we can get, period,” Self said. “It doesn’t make any difference to me what the ratings say. The ratings ... absolutely anybody that’s ever watched one game of basketball could probably tell you that the top five guys rated are pretty good. You usually don’t have a roster full of top five guys at all spots. It’s getting the pieces to fit, getting guys you can look at and see how they can develop within your system and individually.
“Certainly we feel we’ve done a good job recruiting since we’ve been here, but certainly we know this is a crucial recruiting year coming up.”
Self said he’s enjoyed the NCAA-mandated breather this week.
“It was a good break. We were able to run down a lot of the kids we’ve been recruiting that we’ve watched and followed and let them know of our interest level and see what theirs is,” Self said of a week in which phone calls were allowed by the NCAA
Yet he’s ready to get back to the grind in Vegas and Florida.
“It’s basically all in the gym. You may have free time of an hour between games that you need to watch, or something like that,” Self said. “There’s not a lot of free time.”
As far as time spent in the gym ... Self said he does not go out of his way to meet with rival coaches.
“You don’t go with the idea of visiting. You go with the idea of watching,” Self said. “There’s not any one coach I try to sit with or do anything like that except our coaches. When we are sitting there watching our guys I want to sit with them,” he added of Joe Dooley, Kurtis Townsend and Danny Manning, also allowed to hit the road recruiting in July.
The KU coaches actually might spend a little bit less time on the road next July. The NCAA is thinking about altering the recruiting calendar.
“I think there will be some modifications, which I do think could possibly be very good for everybody,” Self said. “Maybe reduce the number of days in July, but give us some of those days back in April. I think that would be a positive.”