Bill Self is a popular and busy man around Lawrence, but the Kansas basketball coach doesn’t mind taking some time to boost the spirits of a young fan.
A short video message from Self began making the rounds on Facebook Monday.
The coach wished a bleated happy birthday to a young fan named Brooklyn, who, as the KU coach pointed out, had to celebrate from a hospital room.
“I know you’ve been going through a little bit of a rough stretch here recently,” Self says to the young Jayhawks fan in the video, “and your lungs are filling with blood right now, but I’m sure they’ll get that straightened out.
"But I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. I hope you’re doing fine. I know that’s gotta get you down a little bit, especially on an important day like this.
"But I’m sure mom and dad are gonna take care of you in a big, big way.”
And, in typical Self fashion, the coach found a way to really personalize the interaction.
“I wish my players were just half as tough as what you are,” Self told the youngster.
Watch Self’s message below:
Entering the final game of the regular season, No. 1-ranked Kansas already has wrapped up its 12th consecutive Big 12 championship ahead of Saturday’s Allen Fieldhouse finale, versus No. 21 Iowa State.
KU coach Bill Self discussed the Jayhawks’ Senior Day and much more at his weekly press conference on Thursday afternoon.
— Read the Q&A highlights from KUsports.com’s live coverage of the press conference: Jayhawks preparing for season finale
Coming off a memorable overtime victory against Kentucky, the Kansas Jayhawks return to Big 12 play on Wednesday night, when they host in-state rival Kansas State.
KU coach Bill Self discussed the Sunflower Showdown, the Jayhawks’ issues on defense and much more at his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon.
— Check out the highlights from the Q&A from KUsports.com’s live coverage.
During his weekly press conference on Thursday afternoon, Bill Self answered questions about the No. 3-ranked Jayhawks, who are coming off a loss at Oklahoma State, and play host to Texas on Saturday, at Allen Fieldhouse.
Self opened the Q&A by addressing what the team talked about when they got together the day after KU lost at OSU.
“I think there were several things, but I think that the big thing is you don't go from being a really good team to a bad team overnight. You have bad days,” Self said.
— Check out the highlights from the presser at KUsports.com’s live site.
— AUDIO | Bill Self: Going to be ‘wild’ year in Big 12.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self met the media Thursday afternoon to discuss the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks’ season opener against Northern Colorado.
But the discussion quickly turned to KU freshman big man Cheick Diallo, who is still waiting to hear from the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding his eligibility.
- Click here to read about what Self said on the Diallo matter and much more: Live coverage recap
- Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self remains confident Cheick Diallo will play for KU this season
From rules changes, to lineup possibilities to the strength of the Big 12 Conference, there was plenty for Kansas basketball coach Bill Self and Jayhawks Frank Mason III, Perry Ellis and Hunter Mickelson to address Tuesday at the league's annual media day, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
"I thought we got off to a pretty good start this past summer in South Korea and the World University Games and hopefully developed some valuable experience and gave some guys some minutes that will definitely be beneficial moving forward," Self said of where KU stands entering the season. "But it should be a fun time. We've got a group of competitive guys, quite a bit of balance. It will be an unbelievable league again, just like it has been."
Get a recap of it all — from morning to afternoon — by clicking over to our live coverage site.
The hype for Kansas University’s 2015-16 men’s basketball season received another early boost to accompany the just-announced January showdown versus Kentucky, at Allen Fieldhouse.
With actual games still almost six months away, The Sporting News rolled out an updated preseason Top 25 and placed the Jayhawks at No. 1.
KU, of course, hasn’t advanced past the Round of 32 in the previous two NCAA Tournaments, so the selection might come as a surprise to some.
“When the best answer to the question of ‘Why Kansas?’ is ‘Why not?’, you’ve got yourself a pretty strange college basketball season on the way,” Mike DeCourcy wrote.
Between reliable senior-to-be Perry Ellis, the addition of incoming freshman big man Cheick Diallo and a number of Jayhawks capable of making significant strides in their development, The Sporting News likes KU’s potential rotation.
Still, attempting to predict next season’s elite teams, DeCourcy said on SportingNews.com, wasn’t as easy as it was in 2014-15, with Kentucky, Wisconsin and Duke leading the pack.
“What we have now are a lot of teams that have potential, but flaws,” he said, “and they’re gonna have to overcome those flaws in order to be champions.”
Settling on Bill Self’s Jayhawks, DeCourcy added, came with some trepidation.
“There’s just not any single player that says, ‘I’m your star,’ and usually you need someone to carry you to a title,” he indicated. “Nobody at Kansas at this point has emerged as that sort of player.”
DeCourcy questioned whether Ellis possesses headliner power and pointed to Wayne Selden Jr. as someone who hasn’t proven to look comfortable in that role. Diallo, he added, projects as “a great defensive weapon,” but might not be as reliable on offense.
“One of those guys has to be a star for us to be right,” he offered, “but we like them more than some of the other contenders.”
Ultimately, DeCourcy said The Sporting News staff believes in Self, and thinks the Jayhawks will play great defense in 2015-16.
The two teams immediately following the Jayhawks in the advance rankings have Kansas ties. Former KU guard Mark Turgeon’s Maryland Terrapins snagged the No. 2 spot and Self’s predecessor at Kansas, Roy Williams, leads No. 3 North Carolina.
Wichita State, which knocked the Jayhawks out of The Big Dance this past March and adds former KU guard Conner Frankamp to the roster this coming season, landed at No. 9.
The Big 12 earned four total spots in the rankings, with No. 7 Iowa State, No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 16 West Virginia joining KU.
Sporting News College Hoops 2015-16 Preseason Top 10
3. North Carolina
7. Iowa State
9. Wichita State
With March just four days away, the SportingNews.com’s Michael DeCourcy rolled out a list of “Tourney All-Stars,” ranking the top 15 college hoops coaches in the expanded bracket era.
To make it clear, the list only includes the postseason accomplishments of coaches since the 1984-85 tourney, when the field expanded to 64 teams.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self makes an appearance on the list at No. 11. Self, of course, has guided KU to a pair of Final Fours, in 2008 and 2012, and his ’08 team captured the program’s first national championship in 20 years.
The former Tulsa and Illinois coach has compiled an NCAA Tournament record of 36-15. Here’s what DeCourcy had to say about Self landing at No. 11 on the Top-15 list:
“When a list such as this is compiled in another 10 years, it’s likely Self will be closer to the top five. Funny thing: When his Jayhawks at last broke through his alleged “barrier”, it was to get past the Elite Eight (four prior visits) and into the Final Four. Can you imagine that – that some consider getting to the Elite Eight all the time some sort of affliction?”
One of the 10 coaches ranked ahead of Self is his predecessor at Kansas, Roy Williams. The North Carolina coach has a pair of UNC championships on his résumé, and seven Final Four appearances, between his time at KU and UNC.
His NCAA Tournament record sits at 63-22.
SportingNews.com’s Top Expanded Bracket Era Coaches
No. 1: Mike Krzyzewski — Duke
No. 2: Jim Calhoun — Connecticut and Northeastern
No. 3: Roy Williams — North Carolina and Kansas
No. 4: Rick Pitino — Louisville, Providence and Kentucky
No. 5: John Calipari — Kentucky, UMass and Memphis
No. 6: Dean Smith — North Carolina
No. 7: Billy Donovan — Florida
No. 8: Tom Izzo — Michigan State
No. 9: Jerry Tarkanian — UNLV
No. 10: Nolan Richardson — Arkansas and Tulsa
No. 11: Bill Self — Kansas, Tulsa and Illinois
— See who else made the top-15 cut at SportingNews.com.
Kansas University basketball legend Danny Manning received quite the introduction earlier this year when he arrived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to take over the Wake Forest program.
After a two-year stop at Tulsa, Manning rode onto Wake's campus with a 38-29 career record as a head coach and one NCAA Tournament berth (in 2014).
Still settling in at his new home, the Demon Deacons' coach took some time recently to talk with Chip Patterson, of CBSsports.com, for the site's "New Faces, New Places" series.
In the Q & A, Manning credited three men with shaping his coaching style:
• his father, Ed
• his coach at KU, Larry Brown, the current head coach at SMU
• the man who gave him his intro to coaching, Jayhawks coach Bill Self
Patterson asked Wake's new head man to describe his personal basketball philosophy.
"What's good for the team is good for you. And that's just the mentality that we have to have. I think Coach Self talked about it all the time, 'The pie is big enough for everybody if we do it the right way.' Ten years from now, what will the legacy of that team be? There are certain instances where people say, 'Hey I remember when Randolph Childress scored 35 points per game in the ACC Tournament and Wake Forest won.' That's a great moment. That's a great memory. But you talk to Randolph and he'll talk about, 'We had a good bunch of guys on the team and everybody sacrificed for each other and we did it for each other' or 'Coach (Dave) Odom really had us playing at a high clip.' Those are the memories that you cherish as a former member of the team."
Though Wake Forest failed to reach the NCAA Tournament each of the past four seasons (which included three straight losing records before going 17-16 in 2013-14), clearly Manning is embracing the program's history.
That's the right approach to take at any school that has produced pro players everybody knows, such as San Antonio's five-time NBA champion Duncan and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. But Manning, of course, still wants to find more concrete ways to connect with his players at Wake Forest. He said he shares his array of playing experiences — ups and downs — in order to do so.
"As a player, I've been the guy that's been called upon to start and score points. I've been a starter, a facilitator, I've been sixth man, I've been a rotation guy, I've been a non-rotation guy, I've been injured. I've had every role on a team throughout my career that you can have. So I can relate to each individual on our team. I'm not sure exactly how that particular person is feeling, but I've got a pretty good idea."
And he knows when offseason efforts need to be rewarded.
Manning also spoke about the importance of academics (and having something to fall back on when basketball is over), returning to North Carolina (where he grew up) and his thoughts on the state of college transfers and the rules surrounding them.
He shared that Self, who hired him at KU once his NBA career concluded, taught him a great deal about the world of coaching.
"Coach Self provided a great opportunity for me, created a spot for me, to get started and work my way up. I got a chance to see what the managers go through, what the trainers go through, what the medical staff goes through, then you move up to director of ops-type things. All that, up to assistant coach, has been very beneficial to me."
Manning described the support since his arrival as "overwhelming." One might say he is happy to be at Wake Forest.
Now that incoming Kansas University freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre have arrived on campus, it's safe to assume the two five-star recruits will be mostly all business as they aim to develop in coach Bill Self's program.
Last month, ballislife.com caught up with the two Jayhawks, who were in Long Beach, California, for the BallisLife High School All-American Game.
— SPOILER ALERT: What follows is real talk from young athletes with professional aspirations. You won't see them answer questions in this fashion while they're playing at Kansas. Read/watch at your own risk. —
In a relaxed, playful interview, Alexander and Oubre show off a little of their personalities in a video the website posted this week.
From the opening, their Q & A with Rachel DeMita provides a chance to see the big man and wing both speak honestly and joke back and forth. DeMita suggests that Oubre might be a bigger hit with the females at KU.
Alexander's response: "It might be true… He a pretty guy."
The short back-and-forth includes authentic answers when the interviewer asks the two of them about being from large metropolitan areas, and what they'll miss about big-city life while living in Lawrence.
Alexander says it won't be an issue, and Oubre expands on the idea by saying they are at KU to play basketball, with the ultimate goal of moving on to the NBA.
"We're trying to get this money, man," Oubre says. "We're trying to use college as a springboard … to reach our dreams."
Other interview topics include their favorite NBA teams and tattoos, while Alexander and Oubre also discuss choosing Kansas because of Self's ability to develop players and the allure of Allen Fieldhouse and its fans.
As for which team will win the 2015 NCAA Championship?
Alexander: "The Kansas Jayhawks. Rock chalk."
Added Oubre: "A lot of other schools have good programs. Don't knock them. But we have savages on our team."
See the entire video below: