Self discusses KU’s future roster plans at team banquet

Kansas head coach Bill Self introduces the seniors during the Senior Night speeches on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at Allen Fieldhouse. Photo by Nick Krug

Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self pointed out at Thursday’s season-ending banquet that a year in which a team gets a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament — as the Jayhawks did in 2023-24, before their second-round loss — is considered worthy of praise at plenty of other schools.

But at KU, he said, “We become so accustomed to winning — which is good — that we take it so for granted, and winning, now, becomes something (that’s) expected, so it’s always a relief as opposed to joyous. And losing is something that could be a learning experience, now becomes disaster.”

Self suggested he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That’s the way it will be here for the rest of time,” he said. “And that’s what you deserve, to have it like the rest of time. And I will tell you this: Our shortcomings this year will be addressed, and we’ll be as good as we’ve ever been in the very, very, very near future.”

Those shortcomings, as he put it bluntly when the banquet was over: “Depth, athleticism, perimeter shooting, probably pretty much the obvious.”

Here’s more on what Self said about the offseason development of the KU roster as the Jayhawks look to improve on their 2023-24 results.

• No one has entered the portal yet for KU, but Self described the situation as “fluid.”

“I’m not saying anybody will, but a lot of it may depend on how it goes with recruiting and that kind of stuff, so it’s still up in the air right now,” he said. “But I do feel good about our guys. They’re working hard and as of now everybody’s committed, but you don’t know how that will change based on recruiting and those sorts of things.”

• Zach Clemence is one particular player whose situation could be fluid.

After calling Clemence the team’s most improved player during the banquet, Self raved about his newfound confidence.

“He’s got a lot stronger, he got more physical, tougher, and just got more confident, in large part because he may have been stronger and tougher,” Self said.

But he added that he didn’t have any news to share on Clemence’s future. The forward redshirted this past season after making an unexpected offseason return to KU.

“What I said about Zach is 100% accurate,” Self said, “but I think a lot (depending) on Zach will be what role he foresees himself having when the dust settles, and the dust hasn’t settled yet.”

• Self’s goal is to add “three or four” out of the portal.

He said that KU has the potential for a good foundation coming back, but “we got to go add pieces.”

Right now, with the projected additions of Riley Kugel and Zeke Mayo and zero portal entries, KU is at 12 scholarship players.

With the Jayhawks still required to deduct one total scholarship from their total of 26 over the course of the next two seasons, Self said he would be willing to consider doing so either next season or the following year.

“To me, one over two years, you know obviously it could be significant, but it’s not going to be anything that will keep us from going 13 this year,” Self said, “or would we be worried about only having 12. Twelve is enough, if you take care of your business.”

• The KU staff has a “little bit” of not-yet-public information on what senior center Hunter Dickinson and freshman wing Johnny Furphy plan to do with regard to the NBA Draft that it can use in recruiting.

Self also said that if either player declares for the draft the Jayhawks will pursue players accordingly.

“We will recruit, if they declare, like they’re not going to be here, and then if you get them back that will be a bonus,” he said.

Furphy did not attend Thursday’s banquet because he is back in Australia due to “a situation with his visa, and he’s trying to get that worked out.”

• Self said during the banquet that various estimations of KU’s name, image and likeness budget for men’s basketball have been overstated.

He referenced recent numbers he had heard cited of approximately $7 million and $4 million, and joked that if either were true, the Jayhawks would have NBA stars Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

“But guys, cut those numbers in half,” he said.


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