Kansas City, Kan. With most of his Kansas University basketball players out of town for a four-week break before the start of first semester classes, Bill Self hit the road Thursday to do some teaching at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Wyandotte County Unit.
Self, KU’s 12th-year coach, and Jeff Rosenblatt, director of Science City, paired to put on basketball demonstrations regarding passing, shooting and defending.
Self provided the hoops expertise; Rosenblatt offered the science behind each skill.
“In athletics at every level, it still comes down to academics,” Self told more than 100 receptive youths. “If you want to be really good athletically, you have to understand the components behind what makes those plays work.”
Self and Rosenblatt showed students the proper form for a defensive stance to explain center of gravity. They spun a ball on their fingertips to show centrifugal force. They bounced a tennis ball and basketball in a discussion of kinetic energy. Self also taught the art of the bank shot to show the importance of angles.
“Today was more an academic component, (that) it’s fun to learn,” Self said. “There are so many different teaching techniques in trying to reach kids. One way to get them excited is obviously through athletics. If you want to be a good athlete, there is a correlation taking care of your business academically. Hopefully these kids learn this at an early age.”
Vacation time for players: Self said junior Jamari Traylor was the only scholarship Jayhawk still in town — he’ll be returning to Chicago for vacation soon — as the players rest before the Aug. 25 start of the school year.
“The kids do need to go away. They need to get away from me and get back to see their families, get their batteries recharged and come back ready to go to work,” Self said.
KU looking for bigs: Self, who has one scholarship to give in the Class of 2015 — more if any players leave for the NBA or transfer — asked what he is looking for in recruiting.
“We know we’ve got to get bigger. So if I were going to say if there’s a need, the need would be size,” he said. “We don’t have a senior (on roster). We don’t know how many we’re going to lose. We’re going to try to sign the best players we possibly can. We’re definitely putting an emphasis on trying to sign a couple of big kids.”
Big-men prospects include: Rivals.com’s No. 4-ranked Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-9, O’Dowd High, Oakland, California; No. 5 Cheick Diallo, 6-9, Our Savior New American High, Centereach, New York; No. 6 Diamond Stone, 6-10, Dominican High, Milwaukee; No. 7 Stephen Zimmerman, 7-foot, Bishop Gorman High, Las Vegas; No. 8 Chase Jeter, 6-10, Gorman High, Las Vegas; No. 9 Carlton Bragg, 6-9, Villa Angela St. Joseph High, Cleveland.
Self on July recruiting: “We were gone five days a week for three weeks. It’s nothing compared to what it used to be. It used to be you’d leave June 15 and come home July 31 and maybe one day you come home between that.
“The way everything is set up, you can go see a large amount of kids at less places. It makes it much easier for coaches, but if somebody wanted to hang in July with any coach, I think they would definitely be worn out by night’s end because there’s a lot of ball-watching and a lot of sitting in gyms.”
Svi scores 11: Incoming KU freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored 11 points off 4-of-10 shooting (1-for-3 threes) in Ukraine’s 70-64 loss to Hungary on Thursday at the Under-18 European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. He had eight rebounds, two assists and four turnovers in 28 minutes.
Great show: Self attended the Justin Timberlake concert on Wednesday night in Sprint Center. “He’s unbelievable,” Self said.
Self on skipping college: Self was asked if SMU signee Emmanuel Mudiay’s electing to play a year in China before entering the NBA Draft might become a trend.
“I think it’s a possibility,” he said. “In my world, we need to get rid of the one-and-done rule and definitely add a year to it, but I still think that if kids are old enough to fight to defend our country, then they are probably old enough to go make a living if that is the case. I don’t think the NBA wants that. I think the NBA game and collegiate game would be better if kids go to school because you are drafting an unknown at age 18 usually. The rule will change. I think it will be mandatory two years (of college) eventually,” he said.
Mitchell cuts list: Donovan Mitchell, a 6-2 senior guard from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, on Thursday cut his list to 10 schools. They are: KU, Providence, Creighton, Florida State, Indiana, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Boston College and North Carolina. He’s ranked No. 101 in the Class of 2015.