Archive for Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Forget the strikeouts; Self’s still landing top recruits

Switzerland's Stefan Petkovic, right, and Kansas University's Perry Ellis, battle in Fribourg, Switzerland, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.

Switzerland's Stefan Petkovic, right, and Kansas University's Perry Ellis, battle in Fribourg, Switzerland, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.

September 26, 2012


Every time a headline informs that Kansas University missed out on a highly rated basketball recruit, many local voices wonder, “Why can’t Bill Self and his staff get anybody anymore?”

It’s human nature to remember losses longer than victories, but a close inspection of the numbers reveals KU’s scoring rate for elite recruits has remained the same for the past quarter-century. That encompasses the reigns of Roy Williams, who spent 15 years on the job, and Bill Self, entering his 10th season heading the region’s dominant basketball program.

No measure perfectly captures a coach’s success in landing top recruits, but getting players who earn one of the 24 annual invitations to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game ranks as the best.

In his 15 recruiting seasons at Kansas, Williams landed 15 McDonald’s All-Americans who played for the Jayhawks: Darin Hancock, Calvin Rayford, Jacque Vaughn, Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce, Ryan Robertson, Lester Earl, Kenny Gregory, Eric Chenowith, Jeff Boschee, Nick Collison, Aaron Miles, Wayne Simien, J.R. Giddens and David Padgett (Chris Davis, an honoree in 1992, signed with KU, but failed to qualify).

In nine completed recruiting seasons at Kansas, Self has landed nine McDonald’s All-Americans: Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs, Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Josh Selby and Perry Ellis.

So for both coaches, the ratio works out to exactly one hamburger All-American per season. Why then when Kansas misses on a recruit do the distraught voices seem louder than in the past? Easy. Recruiting is covered more intensely now than ever. Way back when, except in extreme cases, landing a recruit had a much better chance of drawing a headline than missing out on one. Now, both hits and misses make big news.

KU made it all the way to the NCAA title game last April without a McDonald’s All-American on the roster, but tracking the totals does make for an interesting way to gauge how realistic some are in reacting to recruiting news.

“Frustrated,” captures how many might feel about the current KU recruiting season, but if Self stopped right now — which he won’t, of course — chances are high one of his two committed recruits will earn McDonald’s All-American honors. ranks Brannen Greene, a 6-foot-7 forward from Forsyth, at No. 22 in the Class of 2013, and has Conner Frankamp, a 6-foot guard from Wichita, ranked 27th.

Yet, many probably won’t consider this year a success unless Self lands one of the nation’s top two recruits. Julius Randle, a 6-9 forward from Plano, Texas, teamed in high school with KU freshman Zach Peters. Jabari Parker, a 6-8 forward from Chicago Public League powerhouse Simien High, also includes Kansas on his long list.


Leo Hawkins 5 years, 2 months ago

Talent is HALF of what makes a successfully consisitent winning program. Coaching is the other half. So long as Bill Self is our coach, we will be fine.

nativeson 5 years, 2 months ago

The right type of talent is critical. Look at the list of McDonald's players and you do not see a number of players who have contributed signficantly to our success. The 2008 team was a veteran team with a mix of players. About 20% of the McDonald's players signed in the Williams/Self era never contributed significantly to the program.

jonas_opines 5 years, 2 months ago

Here's to hoping that Coach Self will finally land someone like Lester Earl, who's time at KU was productive and untainted by controversy.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 2 months ago

Here's to hoping K.U. offers Self a lifetime contract and here's to hoping he signs it.

dszymanski 5 years, 2 months ago

being a high school basketball talent is no guarantee of success at the college level or in a given basketball program. Everything from academics and injury, willingness to learn or team compatibility or one-and-done impact who is recruited and who remains in the program. It was someone's opinion that a given student should be a McDonald's all-American; then, what was the difference between the next person in line who did not make the list?

Jayhawk1963 5 years, 2 months ago

Bill's doing just fine ! After all, he's winning over 80 % of his games, as did Roy....

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